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Marriott International, PCMA and CEMA Release ‘Guiding Principles in Experience Design’ Study

Experience Design in Meetings and Events

Marriott International, PCMA and CEMA, three leading business events associations, released the findings of their “Guiding Principles in Experience Design” study, providing meetings and events professionals insights into the future of experience design in the industry.  

The study’s findings are based on more than 60 one-on-one interviews, each followed by a series of global roundtables with experts and thought leaders in helping the industry identify and understand the evolving behaviors and motivators shaping the future of meetings and events. The information is aimed at helping industry professionals forecast the biggest drivers in consumer patterns to improve planning innovative experiences.  

“Business event professionals are looking to provide innovative experiences that break the mold for meetings and drive lasting results with their event attendees and clients,” said Tammy Routh, senior vice president, global sales at Marriott International. “Consumer patterns, behaviors and motivators are constantly evolving, and we are excited to provide insights our customers have been asking for through this new research.” 

The 6 Guiding Principles of Event Strategy & Design 

The associations analyzed their research findings to assess how to incorporate experience design trends into event strategies and categorized their findings into six guiding principles: 

  • Exploring Identities: The study concludes that humans desire finding their own individualized uniqueness as well as an understanding of how they overlap with and relate to others. “These intersections are fundamental to one’s ability connect and emphasize a need for connection to local communities,” the study stated. TIP: Reimagine networking and create an environment promoting attendees to feel comfortable sharing their ideas and participating.  
  • Architecting Choice: Attendees appreciate having the ability to craft their own itinerary based on what they’re most interested in learning more about and the resources provided to them. TIP: Put yourself in your audience’s shoes and understand the problem you are helping them solve from their perspective. 
  • Designing for Belonging: Ensuring your attendees feel they belong should be at the center of your efforts in planning experience design, as you want all audiences to feel comfortable and capable of participating and to promote positive experiences. TIP: Visit Marriott International and Google Experience Institute’s The Neu Project website to learn more about neuro-inclusive meetings and events.

[Related: The Neu Project Champions More-Neuroinclusive Events]

  • Value of Values: Audiences prioritize experiences they know will give them something valuable in return for their time and those that align with their own personal values, such as sustainability, DEI, CSR and career advancement. TIP: Offer distinct and valuable propositions highlighting the crucial initiatives of your experience design that meet your audience’s needs. 
  • Emotional Data: Understanding the emotional state of your attendees is essential in developing trust and loyalty and therefore help attendees make informed decisions. TIP: Use audience segmentation tools that use personalization to create dialogue that encourages participants to share their preferences in experience design, using pre-event data to make more informed decisions in experience design. 
  • Power of Play: Promote and create opportunities for ideation and collaboration between attendees by allowing them to consider an idea, break it down and put it back together in a new light to develop further ideas and concepts for experience design. TIP: Create “play-first” spaces that are suitable for testing, experimentation and teamwork to help attendees understand new ideas and find solutions. 

Read more about Marriott International, PCMA and CEMA’s “Guiding Principles in Experience Design” study.  

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About the author
Taylor Smith | Content Developer, Destinations and Features

Taylor Smith joined Stamats in May 2022 as a content developer, destinations and features for Meetings Today. Smith has experience covering everything from travel to breaking news and graduated from Ball State University with a bachelor’s degree in news and magazine journalism. Previously, she’s written for St. Louis Magazine and worked as an editorial assistant and apprentice for Aubree Nichols, who has been published in premier publications such as The New York TimesELLE and The Los Angeles Times.