Every meeting planner knows the attendee experience makes all the difference between a successful conference and one that falls flat – and the destination plays as much of a role as the event organizer in ensuring delegates leave happy, inspired and motivated. Vancouver is globally recognized as an uplifting, rejuvenating meetings destination with the average conference here seeing a notable increase in attendance from the previous meeting. So what makes the attendee experience so memorable in this one-of-a-kind city?
Across the board, impactful conferences are those that surprise, delight and relay key education to delegates. Many conference-goers attend dozens of meetings per year, so it’s crucial that each gathering presents new yet relevant information, is technologically progressive, and offers engaging networking and social opportunities. Scheduling also plays a key role: many conference agendas are jam-packed with content and events, which means delegates rarely see the outside of the conference room let alone have an opportunity to recharge and explore the destination.
Overwhelmingly, delegates see Vancouver differently. From the moment they step off the plane and are greeted by the award-winning airport’s healing water features, original artwork and aesthetic design, conference-goers meeting in Vancouver recognize this is a meetings destination unlike any other. Here, the pace slows and the rejuvenating elements of ocean, mountains and rainforest coexisting with an advanced urban city enchant visitors. And then they reach the downtown waterfront and enter the Vancouver Convention Centre, and their perspective broadens once again.
The city’s Grand Dame of meeting spaces sits along the downtown harbour, its floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the sparkling Pacific Ocean and Coast Mountains. The Vancouver Convention Centre’s West and East buildings offer more than 466,500 square feet of flexible meeting space that has hosted some of the world’s foremost conferences. The ballrooms, meeting rooms and spacious corridors are regularly and seamlessly transformed into environments that suit the myriad meetings held there, and the entire space is regularly outfitted with meditation chairs, cushy lounge couches facing the harbour, and pods built for conversation and connection.
The 22-kilometre seawall, which hugs the water all the way around 1,000-hectare Stanley Park and beyond to the University of British Columbia, begins just outside the convention centre, providing delegates with the perfect opportunity to step out for a quick walk or run. Organizers can also plan group runs or walks pre- or post-meeting to uplift delegate spirits and bridge a closer connection to the local outdoorsy lifestyle. Yoga and meditation sessions are also popular among delegates, as are pop-up spin classes facing the stunning views outside the convention centre windows, and all can be easily set up via Tourism Vancouver’s Meetings team.
Vancouver is filled with world-class meetings facilities, and the surrounding natural beauty reflects locals’ focus on health and wellness. Delegates will find once they arrive here that it’s surprisingly easy to slip into that lifestyle, and difficult to leave once the conference ends. Book your next meeting in Vancouver and see for yourself how memorable and unique the attendee experience can be when you add a little creativity and a lot of natural inspiration.