4 Ways to Take Your VIP Event to the Next Level

With inspiration from a recent Imagine Dragons and Marriott collaboration, we show you how

Planning and executing a VIP event can be a daunting task. Whether it’s creating an engaging program or picking the perfect appetizer platter, with so many competing options and digital distractions available to your guests, providing a unique and valuable experience is more important than ever.

With inspiration from a recent Imagine Dragons and Marriott International collaboration, we explore four strategies to boost the appeal of your next VIP event.

1. Make the Experience Exclusive 

In September, alternative rock band Imagine Dragons performed a private gig in Bangkok for over 300 Marriott Rewards members as part of a concert series by Universal Music Group and Marriott International. With a social following of over 12 million, coupled with the recent release of their latest album Evolve, the Imagine Dragons performance was fresh and exciting for attendees––and made the event feel highly exclusive.

To drum up interest for the event, an elite group of Marriott Rewards members who bid on Marriott Rewards Moments were given a chance to attend the sound check as a prelude to the concert. Afterward, the group met the rock stars during a private greenroom experience, further increasing the exclusivity. Even the performance had an air of intimacy with the band in such close proximity. 

Another way to boost the exclusivity of your event is to leverage the power of prominent headline speakers. At Content Marketing World 2016, the closing keynote speaker was Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars trilogy. Hamill’s attendance made the event feel exclusive and special, which encouraged attendees to stay till the end. The star appearance was clearly a success; in 2017, the Content Marketing World closing speaker was Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

2. Leverage Technology to Build an Online Following

One of the best ways to boost your event ROI is by building an online following. Use your social media handles to highlight your event, surrounding facilities and the city you are in to reach a global audience.

Although the Imagine Dragons concert was exclusive to Marriott Rewards members, Marriott amplified the event’s online presence by setting up a social wall that pulled in posts tagged with #travelbrilliantly and #membersgetmore. A pre-event hyperlapse video was also posted on Marriott’s Instagram to generate hype for the concert.

Livestreams are also fast gaining traction, with a yearly 113 percent increase in ad growth. In Marriott’s case, the concert was livestreamed on its Asia Pacific Facebook account, which has since amassed more than 650,000 views. According to Digitell, 30 percent of people who watch a livestream of an event will attend the same event in person the following year.

To solidify its online presence, Marriott also invited 12 social influencers from its key Asia Pacific markets to attend the concert. One of these influencers, @janechuck, was selected to do an Instagram takeover on the @marriottrewardsap Instagram account on the day of the concert. 

3. Spice Up the Food & Beverage Menu

Try not to neglect the details for your event––they will have a cumulative force on your guests’ overall experience.

Take the food and beverage menu as an example. Instead of the usual wines, opt for something fresh and unexpected, like sour beer. The tangy brews are typically paired with foods commonly associated with wine. Additionally, the charcoal cocktail can be a great conversation-starter among attendees. Armed with its jet-black appearance, charcoal is also known for its health benefits and is trending in the wellness scene.

Instead of the usual international spread, consider local cuisine. Traditional tastes have distinct flavors that help to gastronomically encapsulate the surrounding culture and heritage of the destination. 

4. Design Matters

Guests have better experiences when the event is more experiential and interactive than decorative. From lighting to service crew attire to room colors, there is more to an event design than the space itself. LED uplighters, for example, are great for creating event spotlights and enlivening the atmosphere. Color washes enable the display of corporate logos or event branding on the walls. What the service crew wears also matters. The Bangkok Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park staff members are suited in uniforms made using local silks and cottons that reflect Thai culture. 

For outdoor events, the setup can transform an otherwise basic space. The Imagine Dragons concert was staged at the outdoor arena of the Bangkok Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park, which is known for its iconic and creative Thai architecture. Soft furnishings made from traditional Thai fabrics, golden textiles, majestic patterns and classic ornaments are complemented by sleek lines and floor-to-ceiling windows. The outdoor space was transformed into a concert area with the billowing white sheets to hide the steel beams and brightly colored lights to illuminate the area at night. Guests could also enjoy the expansive Bangkok skyline while enjoying the intimate atmosphere of a music concert hall.

To host a VIP event is to create a journey for the guest that is fully engaging, exciting and extraordinary. Embrace going against the grain. After all, VIPs are meant to stand out from the crowd.