5 Ways to Rethink Your Space (for a Better Attendee Experience)


Photo Credit: Becca Ellison | Rebecca Ellison Creative

Often, we in the event industry define the attendee experience as starting the moment an attendee arrives and ending the moment they leave. In truth, the attendee experience starts long before your event begins and can last a lifetime. Standard convention and room setups might be failing us here. An end-to-end great attendee experience takes the whole person into account. When venues work with event planners, thinking outside the box, you can blow your attendee’s expectations out of the water. Here are five ways you can rethink your event space to provide the ultimate attendee experience.

  1. Meditation Spaces

The true benefit of creating quiet spaces at your event comes in the ways it engages your attendees. Everyone knows those times when we need to take a break and realign. Staying focused is instrumental in maximizing the amount of information your attendees can absorb. Whether creating expert-led meditation rooms, inclusive prayer rooms, or just a calm space to decompress, this offering goes a long way with attendees. For the most effectiveness, utilize low lighting, privacy partitions, comfortable seating, and soothing music. Or go above and beyond and provide professional shoulder and neck massages! Maybe even a little bit of yoga?

  1. Working Spaces

Like fighting burnout, work is another distraction we’re all familiar with. No matter if it’s the constant notifications on your laptop or that red circle showing you all your unread emails it’s so easy to feel like you must keep up while away from your desk. Commitment to your job is absolutely a redeemable quality, but by providing dedicated spaces to take care of those responsibilities, you fight distraction in your breakout sessions. Just like a WeWork space, provide open table setups with power outlets and refreshments. Or you can go a more traditional route and provide cubicle style spaces with rooms for taking calls. By restricting work to a defined area, you ensure that attendees are tuned in to your speakers and not their inbox.

  1. Idle Areas

Sometimes, especially when you have limited space, it’s challenging knowing what to do with your attendees in between activities. You could have a big room changeover for lunch or have to set up your big, end of the day reception. No matter the reason, there are times you need attendees busy elsewhere to make your event run smoothly. An interactive space for attendees to essentially kill time eliminates a huge gap in content at your event. Providing an activity that’s event specific and delivering it in a fun way keeps attendees engaged seamlessly. Set up an arcade for your gaming convention, do wine and cheese tasting for those with pristine palates. There truly is no limit to the ways you can engage attendees if you stick to the keyword – fun.

  1. Networking Opportunities

Okay, hear us out. We know networking isn’t groundbreaking. By the same token, though, we can all agree that talking to strangers is a little intimidating. The natural awkwardness of speaking to someone you know nothing about is often a huge obstacle for successful networking. We recommend, not just providing a networking opportunity, but facilitating it. A great way to do this is set up a type of lounge or bar; something heavily themed that easily draws in your attendees. Then staff bartenders and encourage them to facilitate conversation! When sitting at a bar next to a stranger, the first instinct is to try to pretend they’re not there, but once the bartender engages, suddenly there’s a little more familiarity to the situation. Not a drinking event? You can achieve the same result with a networking poker room. The constant is an objective third party in an enticing and exciting space and is the perfect way to build relationships among your attendees.

  1. Consultation/Expert Rooms

Another way to further your attendee’s experience is consultation. This is ideal for attendees who are a little more introverted and don’t feel like speaking up at a large Q & A, or for when time runs out and you don’t get the chance to ask your question. Beyond that, the ability to sit down with an expert one-on-one and flesh out some of your concerns or ideas is an immeasurable benefit to many. Creating a space with some isolated areas for an exchange of expertise or consultation is a one size fits all type of opportunity. The obvious route is professional consultation, but it doesn’t stop there! You can offer resume consultation at a job fair, design consultation at a home and garden show, a quick engine check at an auto show – the list goes on and on. Whatever the event, this experience offers a whole new type of takeaway for attendees.

If you’re stuck brainstorming ways to rethink space for your event, we want to help! Our Event Managers are experts at transforming event spaces and our building is the perfect blend of flexibility and finish to take your attendees to new heights! Reach out today for more information!

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Meydenbauer Center/ Visit Bellevue CEO Stacy Graven to Retire December 31, 2018

The Bellevue Convention Center Authority Announces Meydenbauer Center/ Visit Bellevue CEO Stacy Graven to Retire December 31, 2018.  Tim Carr Appointed CEO, Effective January 1, 2019

Stacy Graven, Chief Executive Officer, Meydenbauer Convention Center/Visit Bellevue Washington, has informed the Bellevue Convention Center Authority (BCCA), of her intention to retire on December 31, 2018. Graven joined the staff of Meydenbauer Center in September 1990 as the Director of Sales. She was appointed Executive Director in September 1994. Graven developed Visit Bellevue Washington, Bellevue’s official destination marketing and management organization, and brought it into the BCCA suite of responsibilities in 2009. She was named CEO in 2016.

BCCA Board Chair Rick Carlson commented, “There are no adequate words to describe what Stacy has meant to Meydenbauer. Her passion and tireless efforts brought the convention center from an idea on paper to the successful, thriving enterprise that to date has generated over $600 million in economic impact to the community. Thanks to her vision, Meydenbauer Center is an indispensable business and cultural center for the City of Bellevue.”

“I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to lead this organization these past 25 years. I thank the City of Bellevue, the BCCA Board, the business and arts communities and – above all – Meydenbauer’s tremendous staff for their dedication to this facility and belief that we could be great. I am incredibly proud of our many accomplishments”, said Graven.

On October 24, 2018, the BCCA Board named Tim Carr to replace Graven as CEO effective January 1, 2019. Carr currently serves as Meydenbauer’s Chief Operating Officer. Over his 23-year history with the organization, Carr has also served as Food and Beverage Manager, Manager of Sales, Marketing and Event Operations, and Operations Director.

“I am humbled by the opportunity to take the reins from Stacy and thank the BCCA Board for its vote of confidence. Over the course of my career with Meydenbauer, we have worked hard to understand the changing needs of Bellevue’s business community and to grow our services alongside them. Our vision is to remain a major catalyst for Bellevue’s business, arts and tourism sectors. I look forward to working with the Board and our staff to create a customer experience that is second to none”, said Carr.

Carlson added, “Tim was the clear and obvious choice to lead Meydenbauer Center and Visit Bellevue Washington into the next decade. His proven leadership and exceptional vision will help ensure the Center continues along its vibrant path. The future is extremely bright.”

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Meydenbauer Center Theatre – A Community Gathering Place

A number of superstitions surround ghost lights and their presence in the theatre. For Meydenbauer Center Theatre, our ghost light represents so much more than superstition. A ghost light is lit in a dark theatre, an exposed bulb radiating a single source of light from just around center stage off into the darkness. It emits light, vision, safety and even a sense of warmth. For Bellevue and the surrounding communities, our goal is to emit those very things and be a gathering place for you and the passions you hold dear.

In 1997, Meydenbauer Center Theatre was dedicated as a gift to the community. “Great,” you may be thinking, “now what?” Well, we’re glad you asked. Truthfully? The answer is anything you might imagine. From vibrant and lively Bollywood-style dance shows to impressive displays of ballet and even engaging speakers, the theatre’s presence has truly blossomed into a center for culture and community.

Without tooting our own horn too much, Meydenbauer Center Theatre is proud to be the only rental theatre space with a professional environment in the immediate area. With us, you’re looking at a crew of professional stagehands and a safe setting that lets you manifest your vision. The Eastside has always been a place of culture and vibrancy, we’re merely the stage upon which that spirited community comes to life.

And come to life it does. The work done upon the stage at Meydenbauer Center Theatre is gorgeous and inspiring. We take pride in companies taking up residence here. It’s our goal to give our community something they may not find elsewhere – flexibility and consistency. Beyond that, we get to see this beautiful work brought to the masses.

One of the best examples of the intensity of art in the community is through the youth we get to see. Ballet companies bus in children from all over. Village Theatre brings their Pied Piper program here. Believe us, you haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen a dozen kids dressed as mice, buzzing around a theatre as they prepare to dance onstage in The Nutcracker. In fact, 18% of our programming in the theatre is directly associated with arts education. A huge part of the life and power of Meydenbauer Center Theatre comes from the wonder and drive from the youth in our community.

Here, our aim is simple; exposure, art and community for adults, kids and kids at heart. We may be just a venue for the liveliness of our region to proudly display itself, but that means we get to see the energy in person. We get to see the possibilities, the creation, and the craft. We get to see the magic. Whether you’re a performer on the stage or one of 410 people filling a sold out crowd, you are that magic. It fills our heart to see such incredible community and we can’t wait to experience it with you for years and years to come.

For more information about Meydenbauer Center Theatre and our programming, visit www.meydenbauer.com/theatre-meydenbauer/. Or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MeydenbauerCtrTheatre/.

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