In 2009, when the recession came into full tilt, many associations and corporations saw a significant drop in their annual meeting attendance. Some organizations, including the Newspaper Association of America even canceled their meeting that year. Others, like the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) saw an attendance reduction of 40 percent.
As a result, many associations knew they had to add innovation and change into their program in order to survive. At PCMA‘s Annual Meeting last week, Lisa Block, Vice President of Meetings and Conferences at SHRM, and Don Neal, President of 360 Live Media presented their case study detailing ideas to bring the Annual Meeting back to life. Here is a synopsis of their thoughts:
- Look at the physical location. What sort of energy does the venue provide? Is it open and cold or intimate and friendly? Is it in a scenic area? Will attendees be excited to go there?
- Offer wellness options. Blood-pressure testing, a massage station, gaming options, along with healthy food choices and exercise options can go a long way to making the attendee feel relaxed and refreshed at the conference.
- Examine the physiological components. What do the guest rooms look like? Are the beds comfortable? Are you feeding attendees healthy food that will increase their stamina?
- Analyze your speakers. Do the speakers appeal to the intellectual and emotional makeup of your audience? What is their speaking style? There are many unique ways they can utilize their PowerPoint presentation equipment and style, including TED, Ignite, or Pecha Kucha (read 7 trends to make your message stand out)
- Improve the promotional message. Try different methods of getting participants excited and involved in your conference, including advertising, public relations, social media, email, and direct mail.
- Make everyone responsible for the success of the conference. Crowdsourcing the agenda and letting everyone vote on speakers, topics, and networking ideas will allow members to be more involved in the conference. They are more likely to be excited and come to the event.
- Keep it fresh. Just because something works this year, doesn’t mean it will next. Looking for continual innovation and trying to bring in unique conference equipment rentals that will contribute to attendee engagement and enjoyment will be instrumental to your success.
If you are event planning in California, look to AV Event Solutions to provide your association with state-of-the-art interactive technology tool rentals that will help bring your annual meeting to life! Click or call today for more information!