People today are more traveled, which can make them harder to impress. And, you’ll find you’re planning events for a new generation that want different things to the previous ones. Millennials want something uniquely local to experience as they crave a greater sense of connection.

Adding local flavor to an event will make it more memorable and successful, but you can also use this in marketing your event. It will help potential attendees feel like going to your event will be worth their time, money and the efforts of travel. Not only that but maximizing your resources by choosing to add local flair to an event will help you stand out from your competition. After all, competing for attendees is something every event organizer is familiar with.

What you want to achieve

With attendees today craving more exceptional experience, it’s essential to use aspects of the region to create that. It isn’t about using commodities like the hotel to impress event goers. One way to think about adding local flavor to an event is to break attendees’ expectations.

Use your event data to consider the types of events they may have been to before and find ways to surpass those. Imagine the event goer is on their way home after your event. If you planned a memorable event, they would be able to think back on different moments that stood out to them, with a sense of “wow, that was amazing”.

Adding local flavor to an event should also help your attendees with talking points when they return home. When someone asks them how it was, you don’t want them saying, “oh yeah, good”. They should have some things that excited them so much that they can’t help talking about the highlights. After all, there’s an expectation when you’ve been somewhere new that you’ll come back with stories. Those stories are exactly what you want to achieve by adding local flavor to an event.

You also want to think about your event in terms of it being turned into an extended stay. If an attendee is traveling to your event, they could plan to bring family, friends or a significant other with them, turning it into a vacation. Adding some of the aspects of local flavor we’ll talk about below, can help make that a reality. Think about how you can value-add in your event planning as not just fulfilling the objectives of a fixed event but making it a part of a broader experience.

Importance of local flair in person vs. digital viewing

One of the reasons why adding local flavor to an event creates an experience like no other is because some things just can’t be replicated digitally. Nothing compares to experiencing something in real time, with other people. Videos, images and digital sound are great, but they can’t substitute for that in-person sensory experience.

You can capitalize on that by taking advantage of the senses to provide an immersive experience. When planning your event, try to choose something to appeal to each of the senses. This will help your attendees appreciate the moment for what it is and stay in the present, much like practicing mindfulness. Food, keepsakes and the feelings of experience are all forms of connection with the destination that event goers can look back on for years to come.

What aspects of local flavor should you consider?

Food and beverage

Food may be the first thing that comes to mind when adding local flavor to an event. While we want to show you there is more to it than that, cuisine shouldn’t be discounted because of its value in creating shared experiences. Rather than choosing one particular food the region is known for and incorporating it in as many ways as possible, there are some much more appealing ways to add flair.

Firstly, think about the area in terms of its produce. These days, consumers are demanding healthier, sustainable options. There’s no reason you can’t use this desire and ensure all food served at your event is locally produced. You could even let the guests know about the farmer’s markets it came from, so they can visit them if they choose.

Consumers are also turning to mission-driven brands more than ever for the sense of community they create. Find out if there are any mission-driven local brands that would be willing to collaborate on your event and feeding your attendees.

You could look at featuring a regional signature dish, but it’s important not to be too adventurous, or you’ll risk alienating attendees! A great way to showcase local food, but provide variety is to arrange a few food trucks to attend during event breaks.

There are plenty of exciting options you can explore for beverages too. Local wine labels, craft beers, and local coffee are all tempting and likely to appeal to a lot of your guests. You could also look at providing a juice bar that makes juices from local produce.

Incorporating local cuisine is a fantastic way to customize the event to reflect regional flair. But, it’s important not to go overboard. Choose one aspect to highlight – whether that be a type of cuisine or beverage or an aspect like sustainable produce.

What to do if you’ve never been to the location

You might be wondering if it’s possible to create a memorable event with local flair if you’ve never been to the destination before. Yes! You can still plan a powerful event without having any personal experience with the city. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Read personal travel blogs to gain real insights. It’s one thing to read what tourism websites have published, but it’s quite another to find out about the gems that well-traveled people have discovered off-the-beaten-path.

Reach out to locals. Who better to give recommendations for what makes a region truly special? When you explain to locals you want visitors to have an authentic experience so that they can see the true beauty of their hometown, they’ll want to help!

If budget permits, you can also look to a destination management company (DMC). They’ll act as an extension of your team in planning an unforgettable destination experience.

Our best advice when adding local flavor to an event is to steer clear of the predictable or somewhat cheesy route. Choose local aspects that are genuinely interesting, and that will stay with attendees when they return home. A good guideline is to incorporate things that locals themselves are proud of, and you’ll be wowing attendees in no time!

We’d love to know if you’ve ever planned an event with local flair that your event goers loved? Let us know in the comments!