Kellie Mayrides makes events sticky. Events that draw people in through all their senses. Events that people talk about with their friends, colleagues, and networks.
Which makes her the perfect co-host for the Meeting Professionals International (MPI) Philadelphia Chapter annual luncheon whose attendees are all Certified Meeting Professionals. Those who throw top-of-the-line events, conferences, and conventions for their clients. The annual luncheon expands people’s imaginations of what is possible and catalyzes the next year of extraordinary experiences.
The 2020 MPI luncheon was scheduled for June- more than three months into remote working and overscheduled video calls. People were already exhausted and bored. Kellie worked with Nikki Benner, President of MPI PHL. They agreed that they didn’t want to attend, let alone host, yet another zoom conference.
“We were determined to be on the leading edge. We kept asking ourselves, ‘Can we take this up a notch? How do we make this unforgettable?’”
They knew the future of virtual events wouldn’t remain in the vortex of talking heads and technology malfunctions. They wanted to show people that virtual events could be as surprising and extraordinary as in-person events.
MPI utilized a studio at Synergetic to produce the entire luncheon conference like a TV show. Kellie works for, CORT, a high-end event furnishing provider, and they used CORT furniture to curate distinct sets. They had set changes and a bi-video wall like weather people. They created a storyboard for the program and rehearsed prior to going live on the day of the program. . They streamed the whole webinar through YouTube and featured their strategic partners in video spots between program segments.
“Dineable allowed the MPI Philadelphia Area Chapter to create a sense of engagement and community through a shared meal, and provided a way to recognize some of our sponsors and “VIP” attendees.”
Nikki Benner, MPI Philadelphia President
To further elevate the experience, Kellie and her fellow MPI chapter leaders called on Dineable to provide lunch to their CMP and CMM certified members, in lieu of the usual in person luncheon that usually takes place. In two and a half weeks, Dineable coordinated with Drexelbrook Catering, boutique beverage vendor Reveal, and delivery services. The experience of receiving a shared meal via Dineable gave the attendees a sensory experience of smell, taste, and touch that made the event memorable in a way that an e-gift card never could have accomplished.
“To make an event truly memorable, to make it sticky, you have to incorporate sensory experiences. Our CMP and CMM members were in a [virtual] watch party and chatting with one another. They’ll remember sharing a meal together as well as the content of the program.”
Since that June webinar, virtual events have continued to dominate the event landscape and event planners must curate superior attendee experiences. Catering, swag boxes, and experiential touches have become even more prevalent as a result.
Says Kellie, “We’re going to see virtual and hybrid meetings for a long time after this. Companies committed to delivering high-quality events are going to need to find ways to get creative and involve more senses than just looking at a screen. Attendees are going to want something more engaging, memorable. We’ve got to make it sticky.”
“Mark is great to work with. He was really game to try this new approach and to do so in a really short window. Dineable was incredibly amenable and meticulous about getting people’s dietary restrictions right.”
This was one of Dineable’s first virtual events for its pivot to Virtual Catering. Learnings included:
“For the luncheon’s beverage, Dineable included boutique beverage company Reveal, a Philly startup from the Drexel Food Lab. They make iced tea from upcycled avocado seeds, to help reduce & reuse food waste. They planned to launch their product in the Spring, but COVID derailed that. Being included in the MPI luncheon was a big break that they were incredibly excited about.”