- Most conferences include a “special networking event” on the first night of the conference, as part of the registration fee. That’s just silly and wasteful… charge a ridiculous amount over and above the exorbitant registration fee for participants to attend the event.
- Tout the outing as a food and wine event at Disney’s Epcot® Center. Don’t provide any details beyond this. The anticipation of those who have never been to Disney — or of those who know from past experience what a treat a dinner there could be — will convince them to shell out the money for the extra charge. Don’t give them any pertinent details, though. Best to leave them guessing.
- Have the participants board the shuttle bus to the park immediately following the last event session of the day. No one minds being all dressed up for a business event when they get to the park. At least, they won’t mind too much, since they expect to be attending a private networking event.
- When they get on the bus, with the “event kit” (envelope) in hand, provide them with these simple, clarifying instructions: The first bus will leave at 9:30, after the fireworks. Then step off the bus, with no further details. When they open their kits, they will find paper-and-cellophane 3D glasses, an evening-entry pass to the park, and a Disney gift card of unstated value.
- Don’t provide any other guidance to your participants. Let them off the bus with no leadership, no instructions, no clarity about where to go or what to do.
- Don’t bother to make any arrangements whatsoever with the park, either. This way, when your confused guests get in and follow signs to the Food and Wine Festival, expecting some meeting area or other guidance onsite, there will be none available. As an added bonus, Cast Members at the park will surely enjoy trying to sort out the needs of your nearly-1000 conference attendees, with exactly the same amount of background information available to them: none whatsoever.
♦ Your “guests” will really enjoy the “adventure” of trying to figure out what in the hell is going on and what they are supposed to do.
♦ They’ll also be really excited to discover that they are lost and separated among the roughly 30,000 other park attendees, dressed in work clothes (the ladies will especially love hiking in heels!) with no destination other than their own whim and what will prove to be $20 to put toward dinner and wine.
♦ They will surely have a wonderful evening, as their feet bleed into their shoes in the darkness, trying to figure out how you came up with the price of this “event” and how they will convince their boss that any additional dinner expense could possibly be warranted.
- Despite extensive reminders to provide evaluations of Every.Other.Aspect. of the conference, don’t give any opportunity for conference attendees to provide any feedback as to their satisfaction of the special event. But it would be awesome if some of the event staff could comment, in passing, on how much you make on this event every year. That will give everyone a nice, warm feeling all over.