Giving Event Content Strategy a Listening Audience

Author: David McMillin       

As more listeners crave compelling podcasts, a boutique property in Detroit wants to help event organizers turn up the volume on the stories that matter.

Walk into the first floor of hotels, and you’ll find most share some common features — a bar, a restaurant, a coffeehouse, artwork, and the rest of the usual introduction to the guest experience. At the Detroit Foundation Hotel, though, just around corner from the front desk is an unlikely element designed for today’s content-consumption habits: a podcast studio.

On a recent visit to Detroit for the first-ever Fifteen Seconds event in the U.S. in late September, I stayed at the Foundation. While each corner of the 100-room boutique hotel is noteworthy — the property sits on the site of the former Detroit Fire Department Headquarters, and rooms feature headboards made from reclaimed wood from Architectural Salvage Warehouse of Detroit, custom light fixtures, and custom wallpaper with historic Motor City architecture scenes — the podcast studio stood out to me as an ideal fit for organizers who want to create content that endures longer than the few days their event takes place in town. With the Cobo Center — which completed a $279-million renovation and expansion in 2015 — across the street, for event organizers seeking to create content at their events, it couldn’t be easier to set up informal interviews with keynote speakers and thought leaders at the Foundation’s studio.

Emily Childers, director of sales at the Detroit Foundation Hotel, said that this type of approach is exactly what the designers had in mind when they made plans for the studio. “We wanted this to be a community space,” Childers told me. “It’s an environment built for having conversations about culture and sharing ideas.”

Childers said that the studio has been a “home run” since the property opened in late spring of 2017. Featuring four microphones, a Mac computer equipped with all the necessary software for podcast recording, and a relaxed seating area, the space affords flexible rental options: a two- to three-hour chunk for podcasts and half- and full-day add-on rentals for clients who have booked the property’s fifth-floor event space. “When clients rent the space, we also give them the option of adding an AV technician to make sure that recording is smooth and simple,” Childers said. “But if you’re comfortable with podcast recording and all the technology, you can also handle all the duties on your own.”

In addition to giving companies a place to plug in and broadcast, the hotel uses the studio in its own audience engagement efforts, too. “There’s so much happening in Detroit right now,” Childers said, “and we have podcasters who are using the studio to help share those stories. It’s a way to keep our guests updated on reasons they should come back and what they should see while they’re here.”

Click here to check out some of the Foundation’s first podcasts, and look out for the November issue of Convene for more on my Detroit visit.

Photo Caption: The Podcast Studio from outside of Detroit Foundation Hotel.

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