The American Society of Association Executives’ (ASAE) Annual Meeting & Exposition is FINALLY here! We’ve been waiting and waiting, and we have to say, it was worth the wait because Columbus delivered. (And is continuing to deliver!)
The conference kicked off on Saturday night with the Opening Reception at COSI, a dynamic, hands-on science center. The space itself is already cool, but it’s what ASAE and the city of Columbus did with the space that really made the experience memorable.
They took the space - both inside and outside - and divided it into five “neighborhoods,” each one representing a different district of Columbus. There was the German Village, where attendees could munch on sausage and sauerkraut and German potato salad. (Yum!) Then, there was the University District, where cheerleaders from The Ohio State University greeted attendees. And we can’t forget about the Short North Arts District, where attendees could sample local pizza favorites (food truck-style) and observe (and buy!) a variety of local art, from paintings to embroidered handkerchiefs.
And as if that all doesn’t sound amazing enough, there were pockets of entertainment just about everywhere you looked, from singers to snake wranglers. (Yes, snake wranglers.)
To say it was impressive would be a MAJOR understatement.
So seeing this, we wanted to share a few takeaways with you, particularly as you think about planning your own events:
- Celebrate the city you’re in. Whether your event changes locations or it’s held in the same spot every year, embrace that location. What food is native or most enjoyed in that area? What do locals typically do on the weekends? (Any hidden gems?) Not all of your attendees may be from that area, so getting to see what’s unique about it adds an extra element of fun.
- Focus on the details. It was the details that really made this event stand out. The foods from the different neighborhoods. The local art for sale (with many of the artists present). The smiling staff spread out and ready to help. (I can’t emphasize that one enough.) It was these little touches that we - and many others - will remember for years to come.
Like we mentioned earlier, ASAE and the city of Columbus are continuing to deliver, so stay tuned for more conference takeaways. And follow us on Twitter for real-time updates!