6 Creative Ways to Thank Your Event Attendees
Your event attendees may travel thousands of miles and spend hundreds of dollars just to show up at your event. Finding a way to show appreciation for their attendance is not only required, it is expected.
More and more often, events are finding fabulous and creative ways to appreciate their guests. Here are few ideas to start spreading the love at your next event.
Give Away Items
Who doesn’t love a good freebie? No matter who you are and how much clutter you may have, you still appreciate something for nothing. The key is providing valuable items as your freebies, so your guests don’t just feel like they’re getting another grocery bag, pen or notepad.
To find out what your guests might like, try surveying them with some of your selections. This is a fun way to get them excited in advance and also show your gratitude. They will be busting with anticipation to see which attendee gift won out.
Almost everyone loves to eat! Try giving your attendees ice cream as they leave a session or just simply providing free coffee. I know these expenses can add up, but they also show your attendees that you want them to be happy and you appreciate them spending time at your event. Nothing says we care about your happiness, more than free coffee!
Social media is an excellent place to thank your guests. People love recognition. It is just human nature. Finding a way to recognize your guests online is a fabulous way to interact and say thank you at the same time.
Try tweeting out messages of appreciation throughout the event. You could also create a Facebook photo album following the event, thanking your guests for attending. Many of your attendees may share the album and this could also encourage future attendees to join your event!
If you have an attendee group that is very active on social media you could also feature some of their messages by sharing or retweeting. Perhaps you could encourage your guests to blog or write about their experience and then share that on your site. This will show appreciation for your guests and it will also add value to your event and your future attendees.
If you have a long-standing event, you should take the time to recognize attendees that have been with you for the long haul. Perhaps this is done at a special dinner or session, or maybe you feature them in a newsletter or blog post. While you may not be able to recognize every attendee, this will show all of your guests that you are taking the time to appreciate loyalty to your event.
You could also feature first-time attendees or have a first-time attendee mixer or session. This helps to break the ice, get first timers more involved and gives you a chance to thank them for joining your event.
Providing exclusive or early access to learning materials, discounts or programs can be a great way to show appreciation for your attendees. Finding ways to give guests additional benefits that other people (non-attendees) will not get is a sign of appreciation. Nothing is less exciting than seeing a special or discount at an event, only to come home and realize everyone had access to that deal. Attendees want to feel special and truly valued. Providing exclusivity gives them more of this extra special feeling.
Creative Thank You Messaging
Most people are tired of getting a standard form letter in the mail as sign of appreciation following an event. As event profs we need to find ways to be creative, especially in our thank you messaging. The form letter is overdone and played out, so try to think of new and exciting ideas when sending a thank you message.
Perhaps within your thank you correspondence you can imbed a video from the event, where you include some type of appreciative message. It doesn’t have to be anything grand, just a nice 30 second or 1 minute video will go a long way!
If you have a small group of attendees, I would encourage you to send out hand-written messages. These are becoming a thing of the past, but they are extremely impactful and show that you care enough to take the time and attention to write a message directly to your guest.
If you do have to go with a standardized letter for your thank you, at the very least get personal. Address each person by name, perhaps include details from sessions they attended or highlight when you might have future events in their state or region. Providing messaging that truly connects with your attendees will go a long way in your appreciation efforts.
Saying thank you can seem like such a small part of your event, but it can really make or break the feeling your event attendees have when reflecting on your gathering. The appreciation and gratitude you share with your attendees will help to grow your event, build your business and allow you become a more valuable and respected professional. By thanking other people often, YOU will be the one reaping the benefits for years to come.