by Matt Alderton | October 14, 2015
Human beings have five senses, but event planners typically use only a few of them at a time, finds a new survey published today by London's convention and visitors bureau, London & Partners, and CWT Meetings & Events.

According to the survey of more than 600 event organizers, just 27 percent of event professionals believe the events industry effectively uses all five senses: sight, sound, taste, small, and touch. However, more than three-quarters (78 percent) believe that multi-sensory events deliver more memorable and creative experiences for attendees.

"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,'" said CWT Meetings & Events' Global Marketing Director Thierry Duguet. "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 sense with the latest technology and the right KPIs, which can measure the value of engagement, we will show the power of experiential events."

Other key findings from the survey:

• Forty-two percent of event planners say sensory activations can help events stand out from the competition.

• Less than a quarter (23 percent) of event planners feel pressured to bring the senses to life for their events, with the majority (57 percent) saying they are happy with the status quo.

• When asked what is stopping them from delivering sensory-led experiences, the top three responses were: not having the budgets required (43 percent), lack of time (26 percent), and difficulties finding suitable sensory content (24 percent).

• When asked which of the senses is being used most effectively by meeting and event planners, three-quarters selected sight, while the senses of smell and touch were identified as being poorly integrated into events.
• Among event professionals who have successfully incorporated 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.

"It's clear that the industry can do more to fully embrace sensory experiences in order to deliver unforgettable experiences for event goers," said Tracy Halliwell, director of business tourism and major events at 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 conferences, meetings, and trade shows will become much more memorable and impactful."