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again like creating a memorable movie, manage the sequence of moments your guests or custom- ers will experience, from the climactic opening scene through [to] the end.


Crowdsource Content Dave Serino Our first [SoMeT] event was in 2010. We did very little to market it or do any advertis- ing. When we originally started, we had a core group of online influencers that we knew were very passionate about travel, tours and hospital- ity, social media, and digital marketing. I used technology and my relationships within the industry to find those people. I personally made contact with them through phone calls and Skype. We engaged, and I asked them questions and told them about my idea for the event. I asked, “What would it take to get people here? How should we develop [the conference]? What do you think is important?” And from that core, all of their com- ments and feedback is what I used for the founda- tion of the event.


Say Hello Like You Mean It KA At what point are they stepping into the experi- ence where they feel like they’re going to the con- ference? Frankly, it’s when they’re getting on the airplane. So if there’s something that I get on my smartphone if I have one, or just before I go, that’s either a tidbit of a tip from one of the speakers, because you asked for it ahead of time, or a tanta- lizing question because we know you’re moving into the conference experience — it’s recognizing that moment. Because if it’s a regional or national meeting, we’re probably getting on a plane. Setting it up in the beginning is important. It’s


usually boring, the waiting in line to go to check in [once you’re on site] — there’s never enough people to do the registration for the meeting, and the signage [in the registration area] doesn’t have any kind of slogan on it; it just says speakers, attendees, A, B, C. So, what can you do there? You might have an


Moments of Engagement Top, author and publisher Dave Eggers speaks at The Vine conference in 2007 in Napa Valley, Calif. Middle, Mikala Taylor of Think! Social Media; and bottom, Jeremy Harvey, Visit Loudon, and Theresa Overby, Miles Partnership, at the 2012 SoMeT.


improv group acting out a scene in costume, com- plimenting people, and asking, “Wow, what do you want to get out of this thing?” Something with a bit of drama and interaction. There might be one of those rear-projection


backdrops on a side wall, which has iconic scenes from the destination. There are these big, beauti- ful, full-color scenes, and you say, “Go over there


PCMA.ORG FEBRUARY 2013 PCMA CONVENE 53


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