When planning a meeting, conference, or other corporate event, it’s easy to get caught up in the message you want to convey, the atmosphere you want to create, and the return on investment you want to secure. As a result, you could end up making your event all about you, instead of focusing on what attendees will get from the experience. When you do this, you might create an expensive spectacle that fails to impress your target demographic and tanks your industry credibility.
Says Lauren Turner, Associate Account Manager at AMI, “A good conference organizer or event planner knows that failing to focus on the attendee experience can lead to disastrous results. Ultimately, these are the people you need to impress if you want your event to be successful.”
How can you ensure that your event is tailored to the wants and needs of attendees? How can you create a unique and engaging experience that elicits praise and makes attendees want to return for subsequent events? Here are several ways to make your event all about your attendees and ensure an entirely positive response.
- Find the right conference organizer
When you partner with a reputable and experienced global meeting services organization like American Meetings, Inc. (AMI), you’ll get a lot more than just strategic planning and logistical services. You’ll gain access to a certified meeting planner/event expert offering a wealth of knowledge and experience that ensures you have the resources and guidance to make your attendees feel valued and catered to.
- Understand your community
Before you ever start brainstorming logistics with your conference organizer, you need to take the time to consider who is attending your meeting or event. What does this community value as a whole? What do they hope to gain from attending your event specifically? How can you work to provide them with the convenience and value that will elicit positive reactions and compel them to return for future events? Answering these questions is the first step toward planning an event that revolves around your attendees.
- Personalize communications
Event attendees want to feel like their community is well-represented, but each guest is also an individual, and doesn’t want to be treated like just another cog in the machine. The good news is that there are simple ways to make your event more personal and provide opportunities for guests to personalize their experience further.
For starters, you’ll find that it’s relatively easy to personalize communications, delivering generic information in a personal way electronically. Collecting pertinent information during the registration process can help you here. You can also create opportunities for attendees to personalize their own experience by setting up hashtags and encouraging users to post pics, videos, and comments from the event.
You could have your conference organizer set up photo ops throughout the event or even add photo booths that send pics to the cloud for easy digital access and reposting on social media. There are even easy, interactive apps like Gifyyy that create short videos and upload them to the cloud. Personalizing your event allows you to reach individual attendees, and innovative ideas can result not only in greater participation and enjoyment by guests, but also increased sharing that benefits your brand and your event.
- Have your certified meeting planner vet speakers
Speakers can make or break your event, so it’s important to choose the right ones. You naturally want to impart relevant and timely information, and you need industry authorities to add credence to the proceedings. However, you also need an element of entertainment to keep guests riveted. Don’t choose a guest speaker simply because he has a new bestseller or she’s a household name. Pick the speakers that are going to connect with your attendees and enhance their experience on multiple levels.
- Up the ante on technology
Technology is an essential component of any modern event, and your certified meeting planner can help you to select the equipment and applications that are going to make your event run smoothly and create an engaging and interactive experience for attendees. For example, certain technologies can add convenience by expediting registration and check-in.
The right technology can increase your ability to track user movement, activity, and participation at your event. It can create interactive and immersive experiences that wow guests and encourage sharing. In other words, you must carefully consider how you integrate technologies.
- Go to the source
Your certified meeting planner from AMI is not going to abandon you after your conference or event is over. Surveys and follow-ups designed to understand the attendee experience will give you clues as to how to improve future events. With help from the experts at AMI, you can focus on attendees and craft successful events every time.