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How to Create an Experience not just a Conference

Mention the word conference a decade ago and it would have brought up memories of stuffy, windowless hotel function rooms. Rows of lecture style seating and endless presentation after presentation about the latest [insert whatever relevant industry] developments delivered in ‘death by powerpoint’ style.

Not any more.

Conferences are a chance to delight, entertain and inspire your attendees (as well as pick up the obligatory PD points). Nowadays conferences can be more like mini-festivals. So how can you make sure that your next event is truly an experience and not just a conference?

 

Think about how to make your audience comfortable

We’re not talking literally about the types of chairs you use (although, if you can take that into consideration, a comfortable chair makes a world of difference during long presentations) but we’re talking about thinking through how your audience will feel welcomed and comfortable throughout the whole conference experience.

You can start this well before the conference day itself in the way that you communicate with your delegates. Think about the information that you give them and the support in knowing exactly where they should be, at what point in time, and what they are going to get from being a part of the event.

When an attendee arrives, consider how they are likely to be feeling. Are they going to know anyone at the conference? Are they dreading that pre-event ‘networking’ session that is due to start any second? Do they know where to go? The first impression at the registration table can really set the tone for the rest of the experience so ensure that you have your friendliest people on ‘check in’ duty to make your attendees feel immediately like they are going to have a great time.

 

Consider your venue choice carefully

Attendees (rightly so) are pushing back on the windowless boxes of a room in which many conferences of old were held. Natural light and lots of it is very much the order of the day, as is space, and openness, and areas where attendees can move freely.

Choosing a venue where you can host break out sessions and get outside for fresh air is paramount in ensuring that your delegates stay alert and energised (and vitally, want to keep coming back year after year because of their positive conference experience).

 

Take your attendees on a journey

Not a literal journey but think about the whole conference experience from their eyes. Walk through the whole thing from start to finish to capture any gaps where you may need to give your delegates more information or increase the engagement be that pre- during- or post-conference.

Can you send snippets of some of the presentations they are going to see so they will start to get excited about the speakers? Maybe you can even pre-order activities or lunch!… What about sending recordings of the session post-event so that attendees can re-watch parts they may have missed, and so that they can be fully present and attentive during the day instead of trying to take notes?

 

What are the speaker sessions themselves?

The speaking circuit is big business nowadays and there are many companies acting as agents between speakers and conference organisers. You can pretty much find a speaker for any topic or expertise area you so desire.

Gone are the days of boring lecture style presentation. Think panel discussions, great debates, ‘pitch fests’, Q&A sessions, masterclasses or Ted-style rapid fire talks.

 

Bring the festival-atmosphere

As conferences become more like mini-festivals (thanks to the likes of large scale events such as SXSX (South By Southwest) it has become as much about the food, and the music, and the entertainment as it has about the information.

What extras touches can you bring in that introduce these other elements to build on the overall conference experience of the attendee?

Here at The Pavilion Kiama we work closely with conference organisers to elevate their conference experience and ensure attendees are wowed. We are so lucky that being in the stunning location we are, right on the beach the venue and location pieces are already taken care of with swathes of natural light, open space and room options. But for the little touches and to ensure that your conference is an experience then we are here and ready to serve.

Find out more about the conference packages available from one of the leading conference providers on the South Coast, NSW, or call the team on 02 4232 1419 to arrange a walk around of the event spaces available to you in this unique venue. 

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Hi Jackie & Bec, Long time so see. If you recall, Suzanne and I were your first wedding at The Pavilion under the new arrangements back in November 2016. Something triggered me to think about the Pavilion and I decided to check out your website.

Rob & Suzanne – Wedding

I wanted to touch base and say thank you so much to The Pavilion Kiama and Culinarius. The wedding was everything we could have imagined and more. Any request was never too much for you and the team, no matter how small or silly. It made us feel so g

Sharmane & Patrick – Wedding

Everything was absolutely perfect. The food was delicious and filling, the service was great and all the staff were so lovely and accommodating. The room was set just as planned and nothing was too much. We couldn't fault anything and had nothing but

Melissa – Wedding

Can I just say everyone has been going on about how delicious the food was! Even in my dress which I thought would stop me eating much I had both my meals and then stole some of Kieran's!!Just delicious. And your team are the epitome of dream te

Sarah & Keiran – Wedding

A great venue for Kiama High School’s Year 12 formal. From beginning to end the staff work with us to ensure the event is a memorable one, with beautiful decorations, thoughtful catering and exceptional service. Thank you for a wonderful experience

Catherine Glover – Kiama High School

With million dollar views and professional staff who provide exceptional service – what more could you want?! The Kiama Pavilion is my first choice when it comes to choosing work functions.

Rebecca McPhee – The Cultured Nutritionist

The team at The Pavilion made sure that our day was a huge success. They supported and guided every step of the way. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend The Pavilion, you won’t be sorry.

Michelle Kerridge – Event

Monika & her team were amazing. There was so much food & everyone commented on how delicious it all was. Great variety for a cocktail wedding. Highly recommended!!!

Susannah & Mark – Wedding

Thank you for everything you did for us. It was such an amazing night and everything went perfectly! The food was beautiful & all the staff were really lovely.

Lauren & Chris – Wedding

Thank you for all you did to make our wedding so beautiful. We had the best time and were blown away by how well everything went. The service was phenomenal, all of our guests were commenting. The food was delicious and very generous. We have had the

Taryn & Jack – Wedding

Rebecca and Monica are so professional, they were always so helpful in every way possible and made wedding planning so simple for us. The food was amazing and the setup was beautiful, everything we had ever dreamed of!

Taryn & Jack – Wedding

Simply amazing food. Rebecca & Monika were fantastic. Rebecca was always ready to answer any questions & dealing with her throughout the lead up to the wedding took a lot of stress out of the process. Monika ran everything perfectly on the ni

Gabby & Tristan – Wedding

Rebecca, you & your team were delightful to work with. Friendly, helpful & professional without us feeling "corporate" or "wedding". To be able to adjust the tone of your work to "family" & low key for Rod's birthday is testament to your flexibility

Rod & Glenys – 50th Birthday celebration

Fantastic venue, delicious food and wonderful staff. The catering staff and the Pavilion Staff were exceptional. We couldn't have asked for a better send off for Mum. The location goes without saying. The children played and walked on the beach and

Wendy & Kay – Family Event

A most sincere thank you for everything you did to help with our fundraiser – it was lovely dealing with you both and we truly appreciated the efforts you went to to help us out.

Nerida Robinson – Gosh! Advertising & Public Relations

Your professionalism, guidance and energetic demeanour assisted greatly in the success of the awards night. I rely heavily on the external venue staff when developing, producing and delivering the annual State Conference and Awards Night and you cert

Bethanie Tobin - Executive Officer – Parks & Leisure Australia (NSW/ACT)

Thank you for the professionalism of the event management of our Professional Development Day. Making yourself available for meetings to confirm details ensured the smooth running on the day. No matter what the request, it was always met with a smile

Lisa O'Grady - Program Manager Communities for Children – Barnados Australia

I would thoroughly recommend Kiama Pavilion for any group looking for a fantastic venue for a Year 12 Formal. The event coordinators were professional, informative and always contactable and worked collaboratively with the teacher and students. All

Year Advisor – Kiama High School 2016

Fulton Hogan has enjoyed the services of the Pavilion Kiama for several events, including whole of workforce events (over 450 attendees) and more specialised events. We have found the facilities to be well presented and comfortable, the catering has

Michael Phillips - Ryder – Project Director - Fulton Hogan

The South Coast Child Wellbeing Network would like to thank the Pavilion team for their professionalism in the event management of our Professional Development Day. Being available for pre-event meetings to confirm all event details ensured the ev

Program Manager – South Coast Child Wellbeing Network

A modern and clean venue for our monthly auctions, with great facilities and an easy hiring process. Recommended for any type of event.

Jessica Vantas – Raine & Horne Kiama

The Pavilion provides the best location, atmosphere, service and friendly helpful staff.

John Dick – Roman Hot Rods

The Illawarra Folk Club has held the Folk by the Sea Festival at the Kiama Pavilion for the last three years. The Festival has been an outstanding success from its beginning and major factors in this success are the beauty of the Showground site, the

Rod and Judy Cork – Folk by the Sea

Fantastic venue – well placed between the Shoalhaven and Illawarra, friendly staff and the catering was excellent.

 

David Bunder – Child, Adolescent & Youth Mental Health

The venue and the staff were excellent an absolute pleasure to work with. Many who attended our event have commented positively about it.

Linda Livingstone – Coordinare

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