Marriott & PCMA’s Study Unveils Event Design Principles


Marriott International and PCMA Release Study on Guiding Principles in Experience Design for Meetings and Events

Marriott International, PCMA, and CEMA have released a study called “Guiding Principles in Experience Design” to help meetings and events professionals anticipate consumer drivers and behaviors that will shape the future of experience design. The study is based on interviews, roundtables, and research conducted by Storycraft Labs. The six guiding principles identified are: exploring identities, architecting choice, designing for belonging, the value of values, emotional data, and power of play. The study emphasizes the importance of personalized experiences, inclusion, sustainability, emotional understanding, and experimentation in event design. The insights gathered from the report will be used to drive engagement, build community, and foster better business relationships.

The research, conducted by Storycraft Labs, was synthesized into six guiding principles intended to drive experience innovation for years to come:

Exploring Identities: 

Humans seek the ability to find their own individualized uniqueness but also to find where they overlap with others. These intersections are fundamental to one’s ability to connect and emphasize a need for connection to local communities. The role of the event designer will be to reimagine networking and create an environment where people feel open enough to stretch their minds and fully participate.

Architecting Choice: 

Audiences desire choice and want to be involved in selecting the various pathways available to them. They also want adequate support and resources to make clear and informed choices. These tools, when leveraged effectively, can help audiences reduce complexity and make confident, informed decisions. To develop the user experience, event strategists need to understand the problem they’re solving for from the perspective of the audience. Asking the audience why they are coming to an event may be a step in the right direction.

Designing for Belonging: 

A sense of belonging for attendees should be a central mission for the experiences that event strategists create. When all audiences are able to participate as they are and feel included for who they are, they can have more positive and impactful experiences. Event strategists need to design events for inclusion, considering different abilities and varying needs related to mental health. As part of Marriott International’s commitment to belonging, Marriott has collaborated with the Google Experience Institute (XI) on The Neu Project to enable more neuro-inclusive meetings and events.

Value of Values:

Audiences search for experiences that provide value beyond the dollar, prioritizing elements like sustainability, inclusion, hybrid channels, community engagement, time and uniqueness. Distinct offerings and value propositions continue to be crucial in meeting audience needs. For the time-conscious, the virtual-hybrid experience will remain essential to be connected to their communities wherever they are.

Emotional Data: 

Understanding the emotional state of participants is key to driving loyalty and decision making. Event strategists need to discover how to leverage emotional data, measure it consistently and analyze it effectively. Audience segmentation tools use personalization to create dialogue and encourage preference sharing. When used pre-event as a vehicle for experience design, they can demonstrate how the emotional data collected has been used to create better experiences for the audience.

Power of Play: 

The process of playing with something, breaking it apart, and putting it back together creates opportunities for ideation and collaboration. Developments in AI are opening new avenues for experimenting and playing with new tech tools that can facilitate connection. Event designers may want to create play-first spaces that celebrate testing and experimentation to help audiences better understand new ideas and synthesize learnings.

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