The Big Kickoff…of the Meetings Industry

While many might view the Super Bowl as the official kickoff of the year, the Castle events team launches a new year with an event of another kind. For our clients, their annual kickoff meeting is equivalent to the “Big Game” in sports, complete with game plans, hype and lots of leadup. 

kickoff meetings industry

The onset of a new year – and this year, a new decade – provides an outstanding opportunity for companies, especially sales organizations, to gather for a state of the union, introduce new products and energize teams, offer training sessions, encourage teambuilding and networking, recognize top performers from the previous year and map out strategies for the year(s) ahead.  

Castle is proud to work with several companies across the country to plan and execute their annual kickoff meetings. Each year these conferences are increasingly driven by technology and this year was no exception. 

In January, Castle headed to Orlando, Florida with a long-standing technology client with their internal sales meeting hosted for almost 1,200 employees and leadership teams.  The three-day conference consisted of a large scale main stage production/general session with keynotes, concurrent breakout sessions, a 5K fun run with proceeds to charity, an awards dinner celebration and after-party and a special off-site event held at the House of Blues Orlando with an employee talent show.

The meeting started with a live webcast for the entire company, allowing the 5,000 worldwide employees to tune into the opening address. The conference, aside from room signage, was completely paperless. All attendees logged onto an app on their mobile device to review their customized agenda which included assigned breakout sessions and room locations.

Large LED digital walls throughout the conference center displayed the agenda, live conference updates and provided visual appeal. A technology Help Village was established so attendees could visit at break periods to ask questions regarding IT, podcasts, social selling and sales automation and how these could better serve their sales role.

At another kickoff in Austin, Texas, Castle executed the logistics behind four-days of events for a $10 billion global provider of information technology products and services. The conference was attended by 1,650 employees and 300 strategic partners, who gathered to strategize, train and celebrate major wins from 2019. The schedule consisted of informational mainstage sessions — including a powerful keynote by entrepreneur/magician, Vihn Giang — leadership meetings, vertical breakouts, sales trainings, 110-booth tradeshow, regional dinners, and a company-wide award ceremony with an after-party featuring music by a hip Austin band.

Attendees registered via iPad using a custom-built check-in system that printed name badges on-demand. This impressive technology allowed the team to register 1,000 people in under 40 minutes. Outside of the name badge, this conference was also mostly paperless. The client leveraged the hotel’s digital signage, interactive space maps and computerized reader boards in lieu of traditional directional signage. Attendees used the event app to access their customized agenda, post to social media, participate in a gamified partner session and receive notifications throughout the week.

We live in an exciting time with more opportunities for connection and technology driving the user experience. While the Super Bowl energizes football fans, annual kickoff meetings create enormous impact for our clients and their employees, setting the tone for the year to come.

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The Castle Group, Executive Vice President, Keri McIntosh
Written By: Keri McIntosh


Outdoors of the Castle Group office