Dreams vs. Reality - How to Merge The Two

Last month, we talked about dreams for the future - and challenged you to dream big for your next event. Did you do it? Did you come up with a list of things to try at your next event? How did the process feel? Were there some moments of negativity? If so, that's OK! You should be proud that you put that aside and came up with ideas you are passionate about! We would love to hear about those ideas, so drop us a note to tell us what is on your list.

This month we are going to talk about dreams versus reality. Don't worry, we are keeping it positive, but this is to help prioritize what is possible now and what we need to build on. Let's start at the beginning. How do you begin to plan an event? As planners, we were formally taught to establish our goals and objectives first. That alone is not reality, though, right? Usually, someone on the leadership team says, "Hey, let's do an event," - and then you jump right into the planning. Sound familiar? When creating the event, what I like to do, even if no one else sees it but me, is to create a list of goals and objectives. This helps me stay on track. The leadership team might say something in passing that is important to them, and I add that to my list of goals. So, for example, every leader wants to save money or spend as little as possible while maximizing the number of leads at a trade show booth. Goal one is to stay under budget, and goal two is to increase qualified leads at the booth. Fantastic...now how do we go about making it happen?

As you all know by now, my passion is sustainable events, and I specialize in B2B events. I share that as a reminder of the lens through which I share these examples. While I would love to make the tradeshow sustainable immediately, that might not be a reality. As I mentioned in the first blog, you might have to break things down into smaller tasks that are easier to accomplish. In that spirit, I'll break my thoughts into sections generally found at an event.


While no destination is entirely sustainable, we can certainly do our best to research destinations that take sustainability seriously. We can make better destination decisions with the help of Convention and Visitor Bureaus, Chambers of Commerce, and certifications like the EIC Sustainable Event Standards. However, let's say that you can't do any research. Common sense suggests that if your team is based in Boston, flying everyone to Chicago wouldn't be sustainable (or make financial sense, for that matter).  


This is a tricky topic because most transportation options aren't sustainable due to our use of fossil fuels - but that is a conversation for another blog.  When looking for good transportation options, pick something close to where most attendees are coming from. Pick public transportation from the airport to the meeting venue/hotel. Many cities have subway systems, so use that. If it fits the budget, provide subway passes and instructions to attendees. Make it as easy as possible to use. If that isn't possible, use ride-share options. 


Work with the hotel. I'll say it louder for those in the back WORK WITH THE HOTEL. There is no need to reinvent the wheel here. So many properties have already incorporated some sustainable initiatives. Let your hotel salesperson know you want to be as sustainable as possible. Ask for their sustainable initiatives at the start of planning. Pick a hotel that has a list that you are happy with. It is a great starting point, even if they only do a handful of sustainable items.

Meeting and Venue

Again, so many venues already have sustainable initiatives. Let us know if you have heard this before but work with your salesperson. Communicate your goals. Some initiatives are better than none.  

Food and Beverage

I know you would love to have all the farm food options within 10 miles of your meeting. Right now, that probably isn't feasible. It is a great goal to work towards in the future!  You can't control the supply chain, so let's focus on what you can control. Eliminate individual bottles of water. You have heard this before, but many meetings still offer these bottles. No more! Work with the chef to pick a menu that serves food in season. Serve with china plates and real flatware. If possible, compost. All these items should be possible now. If not, work with the venue to see what they can do to come as close as possible to these requests. 


Bins! You simply cannot have enough bins. Recycling bins and collection bins for batteries, swag, flowers, or anything else that can be collected from the show floor should all be on your list of items to have on hand. It is better to donate and divert from the landfill.

Use recycled carpet, drapes, or tablecloths. This is a great but rarely used option. Start the trend at your next event!

These are simple examples, but this blog isn't about me…it is about you. I broke these examples into major event categories to show what you could do. Again, doing all these things and more would be great, but let's keep it simple and build from there. Start with one or two. Look at your dream list. How would you break it down? I would love to hear about your process and help you hone in on the ones that are easier to attain and build from. Let me know how you are doing! Good luck and the Meeting Revolution team is here to bounce around ideas! Let's get moving toward those dreams!