Why They'll Never See Us Sweat

April 22, 2019

What happens when you show up to your event and the conference room has no roof?

You swiftly turn to plan B and prepare for a plan C at the same time.

“We’re the best at navigating roadblocks” is a motto among our experienced activation team, having executed events in every setting imaginable: We’ve transported the highlights of South Dakota – complete with a one-third scale replica of Mount Rushmore – to Millennium Park; we’ve brought the essence of Costa Rica’s “pura vida” to the prestigious Sundance Film Festival; we’ve created a walkabout through Australia in the heart of South by Southwest. And every year, we pull off three premier events – two domestic and one international event for thought leaders in the travel and tourism industry.

While the façade is always flawless, what people don’t see are the mechanics operating behind the scenes from concept to execution. Here are some tips on how we make even the most high-octane events seem effortless.

  • We have a network of resources to tap into. When we discovered within days of an event that hotel construction meant the conference space no longer had a roof, we swung into action with our local partners to come up with another space that honored the same rates.
  • We plan ahead what items need to be hand-carried and what can be shipped. For example, posters or other collateral can be shipped because if they arrive damaged, we can run to a printing service to replace them.
  • We learn from our mistakes: In the early years of DMO Mojo, we decided to hand out carry-on luggage to all 60 attendees. Well, think about shipping 60 pieces of carry-on luggage to a hotel! They arrived in three huge pallets and I was the one to unload them all. After that, we opted for smaller swag like cuff links and necklaces.
  • We don’t rest until the job is done. My personal record is about 16 hours of being on my feet at an activation. During an activation, my fitness tracker averages about 10 miles per day, but it’s clocked as high as 25 miles in a single day.

The best-laid plans are amazing, but things never go exactly as planned. So even though I never talk about rain, I always have a backup plan ready to go. It’s all about how we overcome roadblocks with a positive attitude.