Event Experiential Success!

“Experiential” is a trendy word for events right now — but what it really means is making your event so compelling, helpful, interactive, and fun that attendees and sponsors sign up and keep coming back!

We asked Agnes Varnum, Deputy Director of the Texas Tribune’s Revenue Lab, to give us some quick tips on creating event “magic”, and why it’s so critical in the crowded event space.


With so many demands on attendee time and attention, how can your event stand out in a sea of competing events, work deadlines, and personal demands? How do you make your event “can’t miss”?

Not to oversimplify, but…Put on a great show! Maybe it’s a high profile speaker you can invite, or a cool venue allowing you access for a private event, or something unique to your audience that would be worth their effort.

If you aren’t sure what your audience would be into, how about a quick survey? You might get a lot of good (and bad) suggestions that spark a winning idea!


What are the best ways to create memorable moments during an event that are both fun and reinforce attendee learning?

My post-event surveys reflect enthusiasm for our timely, relevant programs — they show up and pay attention. Second to that, people like to talk with each other. Provide ample time for attendees to connect with each other and they will love you for it! Our folks love trivia and breakfast tacos.


Can you share an experiential event success story?

We think of our entire event, The Texas Tribune Festival, this way, but I will parse some examples from the event when we discuss how we’ve built an audience around political conversations. Come to my session on Wednesday morning at Super Niche!


As a Texan, any recommendations on what to do first in San Antonio?

Take a river boat ride! The history is fascinating and it’s a lovely way to see the canals. Then head to the Mercado. It’s a feast for the senses.


Agnes will contribute to the Event Tech panel on Tuesday, and lead the Event Experiences session on Wednesday at Super Niche! Sign up now – down to the final tickets!



About Agnes: Agnes Varnum is the Deputy Director of the Texas Tribune’s Revenue Lab. Launched in 2020, RevLab helps newsrooms around the world adopt the Tribune’s playbook for financial sustainability, and it experiments with new revenue ideas, which it tests locally and then shares freely. Drawing on her years as the Tribune’s director of events, Agnes leads training on event production and strategy. Agnes has also directed the Texas Tribune Festival, growing the audience and revenue, and reinventing the event in downtown Austin.


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