Thinking Outside the Convention Center
I am excited to be both a media partner and keynote speaker for the Digimarcon Cruise this coming April. I was asked to assist with running the conference as well, and it really got me thinking about how a cruise as a venue has some things even the most seasoned event manager can miss.
1. Helping your exhibitor: When it comes to your exhibitor, they have to think a bit differently when it comes to show preparation. Exhibit graphics and materials have to be on the ship and last minute changes need to take place while you are still in port. If extra materials need to be printed, you probably won’t find a Kinko’s on board.
2. Helping your attendee: Schedules need to be carefully considered on a cruise. Your attendee will want to balance education and networking with, well, having fun. But you can do both. Time at sea is a great time to have lectures, exhibits, and networking activities.
3. Helping your volunteers: If you think a conference center will have you sprinting, you better believe a ship will put some miles on your tennis shoes too. You will also have to work around people who are on the ship for vacation only, and have all the time in the world. But being professional and courteous, both on and off the ship, are key, regardless of whether the ship-goer is also an attendee.
4. Helping your lecturer: Be sure to wear comfortable shoes during your lecture, as your stage can easily start rocking. Also, stay hydrated on the ship, wash your hands often, and get plenty of rest. The last thing you want is to get sick before your talk (or before going into a port you were excited to visit).
5. Helping yourself: Whatever group you may fall under (or multiple, in my case), take advantage of having attendees, lecturers and exhibitors in the same space for 7 days to really network, converse, and learn. If you see a fellow attendee at breakfast, for example, be sure to introduce yourself, and maybe even sit down and chat for a bit.
When it comes to unique venues, you may need to think outside the convention center. And if you are considering attending the Digimarcon Cruise, be sure to register soon before cabins run out.