Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

August 29 2016

What Meeting Professionals Can Learn From Movie Theaters

Staci Wuokko

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When is the last time you went to a movie?

Think about it — you got in your car, traveled a few miles, picked up an oversized box of popcorn and settled in for the previews followed by the featured picture. If those trips seem few and far between, your movie-going routine falls in line with the rest of the country. Last year, movie theater attendance dropped to a 19-year low. The figure doesn’t seem that surprising, considering the changing landscape of entertainment. Rather than pay $15 for a two-hour blockbuster, consumers can pay $7.99 for a full month of streaming on Netflix. Who needs to go to the new Will Smith movie when they have the option to binge-watch every episode of Stranger Things?

Rather than simply continue to raise prices to make up for declining attendance, one cinema chain is aiming to elevate the experience. Last week, Regal Entertainment Group announced the expansion of 4DX-enabled screens. If you’re not familiar with 4DX, it’s like watching a movie on steroids. Using motion, scents, water and other special effects, a 4DX movie is a more immersive experience. If a character sneezes, you might feel it on your shoulder. If the scene takes place in a garden, you’ll probably smell the lilacs. The technology helps accomplish the most important piece of paying to go to a movie; it gives the audience members something they cannot find at home.

Does Your Meeting Feel Like A 4DX Experience?

The meetings industry is tackling many of the same challenges impacting the entertainment business. As new competition arrives in the adult education space, plenty of prospective attendees are finding cheaper learning opportunities from the comfort of their computer screens.  It creates a scenario similar to the big screen vs. at-home streaming conundrum. Who needs to pay $1,200 for the big annual meeting when they can earn the same number of credits from a series of sponsored webinars?

As you look ahead to your next meeting or conference, ask yourself this tough question: does the experience truly warrant paying the registration price tag and forking over travel expenses? Or could your audience receive similar benefits while enjoying the convenience of staying at home? Think with a 4DX mindset, and design your meeting to deliver an experience that will send attendees home saying, “I can only be part of this kind of education and celebration if I’m actually at the meeting.”

Interested in more ways to apply the entertainment business to your meeting? Check out “What Your Meetings Should Learn From Netflix.”

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