According to a survey of more than 600 meeting and event planners, only 27 percent of respondents believe all five senses─sight, sound, taste, smell and touch─are being used effectively throughout the industry. The research about multisensory events was released last week during IMEX America in Las Vegas by London & Partners and CWT Meetings & Events.

Multisensory events deliver more memorable and creative experiences to attendees, according to 78 percent of the planners surveyed. Not only do a majority of planners agree that events that stimulate all senses are important, but 42 percent believe that sensory activations can also help events stand out from the competition.

“It’s clear that the industry can do more to fully embrace sensory experiences in order to deliver unforgettable experiences for event goers,” says Tracy Halliwell, director of business tourism and major events for London & Partners. “In a world full of distractions, the events world needs to be more creative in its approach and not stick with the status quo because it is easier to achieve. Our senses are the cornerstone of our experiences and by producing events that incorporate sight, sound, smell, taste and touch effectively, the messages conveyed to delegates at events, conferences, meetings and tradeshows will become much more memorable and impactful.”

More than half of respondents (57 percent) say they are happy with the way their events highlight the senses, but 23 percent admitted that they now feel pressured to stage multisensory events.

Budgets Impact Multisensory Events

There appear to be three key barriers for not including multisensory elements into all events: not having the budgets required (43 percent); lack of time (26 percent); and inability to find suitable sensory content suitable (24 percent).

“As a global agency, we want to make all our events as memorable and engaging as possible─it’s not simply about delivering messages anymore─it’s about making the audience feel,” says Thierry Duguet, global marketing director for CWT Meetings & Events. “The findings of this study are fascinating and we believe that we need to educate our clients in the benefits of using sensory experiences. By combining the senses with the latest technology and the right KPIs, which can measure the value of engagement, we will show the power of experiential events.”

Most Used Sense is Sight

About 75 percent of planners who responded to the survey said that sight was most widely used. The least use senses for events were smell and touch. According to planners who incorporate sensory activities into their events, 42 percent said they have used light activations such as projections and visual illusions, while a third have featured culinary experiences to stimulate taste and sight.

“In London, you’ll find some of the world’s most talented and creative event production and design companies that can deliver dynamic, truly memorable events,” says Tracy Halliwell. “The city leads the way in the delivery of innovative meetings and events which use the power of the senses to give event attendees unforgettable experiences.”