7 Ways GO WEST 2019 Delivered Value for Planners
In January 2019, over 500 event professionals converged in Alberta’s capital city. Needless to say, Edmonton, hailed not only as a Winter City but also rated as one of the Top Cities in the World in 2018 did not disappoint. All receptions and education sessions were conveniently hosted within a 3 minute walking distance of each other, allowing attendees to experience different venues, setups and cuisine. Producers Arlene Schilke and Brent Taylor had one goal in mind, to add value to planners. The event doubled in size in less than a year and here are 7 reasons planners are singing the praises of GO WEST 2019.
- Access to industry thought leaders. Building on the success of the inaugural GO WEST in 2018, it is no surprise that GO WEST has become the largest gathering of event professionals in Western Canada. Producers at Timewise Event Management used their influence to bring thought-leaders from across the continent and immersed them into 2 days of programming so that they were accessible to planners. Where else can you have espresso with Michael Cerbelli, lunch with David Adler, and drinks with Will Curran, all in one day? The pop-up Nespresso bar and café style furniture pods designed by LoungeWorks provided the perfect setting for tête-à-têtes.
- A plethora of resources. Over 80 exhibits to explore, event professionals had the opportunity to meet venues, technology providers, and industry organizations. Coined as The Experiential Hall, the traditional style exhibit hall was turned 45 degrees to dissolve the illusion of aisles and boxes. All exhibitors were encouraged to engage with planners by offering interactive experiences to help break the ice and generate meaningful conversations between supplies and planners. Needless to say, coffee and Baileys offered by Freeman AV was a popular hangout!
- Edmonton has been coined as being Canada’s Most Exciting Culinary City. Event professionals attending GO WEST were treated to culinary delights of the award-winning chefs at the Edmonton Convention Centre. Arlene Schilke, producer of GO WEST, said the best move she made was to tell the culinary team they could do whatever they wanted to make an impression on 500 event professionals from across Canada. To this day, the food is still being talked about.
- Education, from in-depth bootcamps to Ted-Style talks on The Main Stage and ongoing back-to-back sessions in the Learning Lounge, there was no shortage of education. A wide range of topics from hotel contracts, social media marketing to sustainability, planners left feeling smarter with nuggets of knowledge embedded into their brains.
- Technology – including an event app by Pathable and an event bot by Sciensio. Not only the opportunity to use them IRL but access to the people behind the technology to answer questions. For many, it was the first time they were able to experience an event bot (Gabe was a hit!). Event technology and audio visual companies pulled out all the stops to showcase the latest and greatest in event tech and planners were soaking it in.
- One of the trademarks for GO WEST is collaboration and connection. Industry associations got behind GO WEST this year in a big way to support the event and to reach out to planners. 47% of planners attendees are not currently involved with an industry association and for many, they were grateful to have made the connection that will help them build meaningful relationships after GO WEST.
- Idea-book. Planners are scouring magazines, blogs, Instagram, looking for the ideas. GO WEST gave them hands-on face-to-face IRL scenarios to see ideas in action. From the design, seating arrangements and decor of The Main Stage, The Social Event, flower-wall, balloon art, body painting, planners had no shortage of ideas to take back to the office. GO WEST left them a book full of ideas and enough inspiration to last until GO WEST 2020.