Event Marketing Case Study

Rockwell Collins

Corporate Hospitality


Anchorage, Alaska


Attendee Profile

Commercial aviation professionals who specialize in cockpit and cabin systems for the airlines.

This annual conference is for commercial airlines whose employees specialize in aircraft cockpit and cabin systems. The crux of the conference is a couple months prior the airlines submit questions to all the vendors on issues they are having with their products.  Once the conference begins a moderator address’s the  entire conference and they start going through the submitted questions. The vendors then get up in front of everyone and submit their answers.  As you can imagine this type of forum can get pretty intense.

Event Facts

  • Every night of the conference the various vendors host evening hospitalities. Many companies do themes that focus around the conference location.
  • During these hospitalities companies do a raffle each night for a major gift.
  • People are allowed to go from hospitality to hospitality. Invitations are not necessary.  There can be as many as 35 hospitalities going at one time.
  • Rockwell Collins did their hospitality suite on Sunday through Wednesday night.
  • Sunday was casual as people are still arriving. Monday was the first big night, Tuesday was just a dessert and Wednesday was a full night. The suite opened at 6:00 – 11:00 pm.
  • Each year there is a major airline sponsor that sponsors the event.

The above was my outline to do a call to action for the client. The client wanted to do a more cohesive hospitality suite that would have attendees coming back each night  and/or have them stay longer in the suite.  With the above guidelines below are the action steps that we took to improve the overall customer experience.

We came up with a theme centered on gold. Since Alaska is known for its’ gold, we played off of this in a variety of ways.

Action Steps

  • To begin we designed a lottery ticket that served as an invitation to visit the suite. The entire staff did a great job of giving these out every day of the conference. Recipients scratched off the boxes to see what they won.  This immediately drove traffic to the suite because you had to visit our hospitality to claim your prize.

  • Giveaways were centered on items that attendees would use every day.
  • We had demo’s in the suite that were interactive that highlighted RC products.
  • Graphics were placed around the space that highlighted their other services not being demonstrated.
  • For customer interaction we had casino tables.  People loved standing around the craps table cheering each other on. People who won we continued our “gold” theme and gave them a bag of “gold miners” bubblegum. The customers loved this retro gift that they could take home to their kids.

  • The raffle gift given away every night was an iPad 3. We had a packed suite every night at 10:00 pm of customers trying to wine a new iPad.
  • Food, I wanted to make it “kitchy” and fun. Currently all the aviation vendors are courting the Asian market. Since Japan Airlines was the host, the first big night highlighted Asian food and the host airlines.  We hired an Asian chef to cook an interesting variety of stir fry served in Chinese to go boxes with chop sticks.  We also had a variety of sauces so people could customize their stir fry. The attendees who were going from suite to suite appreciated our food offerings being on the healthier side and cooked to order. That evening I had a fortune cookie dipped in Rockwell Collins corporate color with their tag line as the message  in the cookie.  On dessert night we designed “waffling around”.  It was an ice cream bar that had all vessels in or on waffles or waffle cones. The last night I wanted to bring it back home to Cedar Rapids, Iowa where the company is headquartered. We did a sampling of foods that one would find in Cedar Rapids. It was important that we ended the conference highlighting the purity of the Midwest and tying it into Rockwell Collins products and services.

In wrapping up this case study the client said it was their best hospitality ever.  Their attendance was up. My customer and his staff were able to spend quality time with the variety of airline customers. Many customers made our suite their home base for the week. People appreciated the customized food experience and how the entire hospitality experience all tied together.