As a meeting planner myself, I understand the struggles you have in achieving maximum attendance at your meetings and events. It seems as if everyone is in "last minute" mode and I know a number of associations have taken the penalty fee stance for walk-in or late registrants.
Rather than fighting the attendee to come to your event, shouldn't there be a better way to get them there? Here are 4 ideas that were originally inspired by The Meeting Professional magazine. I hope they help you achieve maximum success!
4 FANTASTIC WAYS
- Content is Your Trump Card, Every Time.
When attendees make their decision to attend your conference, they are looking for great content that can help them improve their job, team and/or career options. Spend most of your time defining why you need this meeting, what needs to be said and how the attendee will benefit from the messaging.
All things being equal, attendees will come to your conference if you have more to offer than competing conferences.
- Make Your Destination Easy to Get to and Affordable.
You now have the attendee interested in coming to your event based on your content, but now you need to wrestle with 3 logistical considerations:
1) The date
2) The location and
3) The total cost
Regarding the date, remember no matter what date or dates you choose, approximately 25% of your prospective attendee base will say no for a plethora of reasons that have nothing to do with you. So, focus on the 75% who are going to make their decision to move forward based on the following criteria:
1) How long will it take me to fly or drive to that destination?
2) Can I obtain a direct flight? (Big deal nowadays with constant flight delays)
3) If I fly, is the event close to the airport?
4) If I drive, is there free and ample parking?
5) What is the cost of the conference?
6) What is the cost of the hotel room?
7) Will I have someone checking my email or handling my appointments when I am gone or am I expected to keep up with everything going on back at the office? (This is where event charging kiosks can help in a big way.)
- When building out the agenda, leave ample time for networking and fun.
Even if you are holding your event in a second- or third-tier city, there are things to do and place to go that attendees have not participated in before. Poll your attendees beforehand and have a list of interests that will include attractions, dining and networking options.
- If you are using digital methods for promotion, know where your attendees live.
With 5 generations potentially attending your conference, know which social channels they use and make effective use of those channels. For example, Facebook is not an effective tool for Gen Y and Z, but it is for Xers and Boomers. Gen Y and Z do not check emails, yet this is a very effective tool for Boomers and the Mature market.