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I love a good cliffhanger on TV shows, wondering what may happen next to my all-time favorite couple or characters I have been watching for years and years. The excitement and build-up of watching a show week after week, enjoying storyline after storyline makes me invested in not only the series, but also the characters on the show.
I feel as if I know them on a personal level; I could sit down and have a real life conversation with any character on the show, and basically be BFF’s with them in the real world. Cliffhangers create the “oh my gosh, I can’t wait” factor for the audience. You then find yourself biting your nails, and looking up spoilers and clues as the months pass by until the next season airs.
This is the same reaction Event Planners want to provide to event attendees for every event they attend. Planners want to capture your attention, keep you in suspense, and make you wonder what may happen at next year’s event! Here are ten amazing ways Event Planners can show love to their event attendees!
Create the “Oh My Gosh” Experience
Leading up to any event, pay attention to every small detail, especially in the marketing you do to attendees. When you start planning the event, design and create ads, banners, emails and campaigns that get your attendees excited about the event in short, fun and unique ways.
Give them the highlights and then move on. The idea is to provide a sense of appeal – the wonderment of “what may” happen at the event, which may start social swirling of your event hashtag and fun back and forth interaction between event attendees. Only give them small pieces to the puzzle, and make them wonder, “what’s that all about?” They will want to know more.
Provide a Sneak Peek
Allowing your attendees to see a bit of the fun before they arrive at the event will excite them more! Just like a movie trailer, put together a fun 2-4 minute collage of event highlights to look forward to. This could even be snippets of some of the keynote speakers, to create buzz around their speaking sessions. Be sure to include hashtags, social info, and make the videos fun and engaging.
Remember Digital is Key
Nowadays everything and anything you can do online or via your mobile device is the way to go. Make sure you create a mobile app, and work with your event team to ensure the registration process is as seamless as it can be. Have all attendees fill out their information before they arrive, and check in with a QR code, or mobile scanner when they come onsite to collect their badges.
Have all attendee bags ready to go right away, and have staff greeting each attendee, along with an information desk ready to ask any questions attendees may have as they come onsite the first day.
Nothing feels better than coming to an event and having more than you dreamed of covered for you, rather than having to dig into your own pockets.
As an event manager, make sure you cover the minor details for your attendees such as valet parking, coat and luggage check, and free Wi-Fi in the expo hall and all hotel rooms. It’s nice to feel the extra perks as an attendee!
Assure Visibility and Audibility Everywhere
As an attendee of an event or conference at some point in our lives, we can all say it’s a pretty bad feeling when you can’t see or hear a speaker talking. What’s the point of paying all of the money for a conference pass, hotel room and flight to get somewhere and not be able to learn anything?!
Make sure you plan well, work with technicians onsite months in advance, not just in the keynote rooms, but ALL rooms where you will have speakers, but also in the expo hall. At times there are announcements, and during networking or larger crowded times, you want to make sure everyone can hear when an announcements being made.
Be On Call 24/7
When attendees post questions to social, send an email or come up to event staff onsite, be sure to have a response ready to go in a prompt timeframe. Events can be overwhelming, and attending events can be stressful if you have never been to a specific venue before, or know where you are going.
Event planners should keep FAQ’s on hand and prompt their staff with a quick list of “top ten” questions that come up at every event you should be aware of. This will be helpful when answering questions.
Treat Them Like They’re at Home
Remember, at the end of the day event attendees are away from home, away from their kids, families and friends, and by the end of several long days just want to feel like they are back at home. Give them just that!
Create comfortable networking lounges, cafes with snacks and drinks, quiet areas to catch up on work, fun happy hours at the end of the day with games and prizes, and be sure to get feedback from attendees to see what they would like to have that you’re not providing!
Give Them the Platform
Most attendees want a turn to speak and give feedback of their own. Engage with attendees before the event via chats, or do a contest to decide on a handful or attendee speakers who can speak on a specific day at the event on a panel.
Listen to Feedback
One thing I’ve noticed year after year, is not a lot of change taking place at larger tradeshows (unless you speak up about the things you don’t think work as an attendee). As an event planner, be sure to listen to ALL feedback your attendees give you.
It’s important to implement the important changes provided in their feedback – some things may seem silly like “booth spots are too close to each other,” or “the Wi-Fi is always too slow in the expo hall,” or “we never hear about the keynote speaker until two weeks before the event” – these are all issues that should be listened to and responded to.
Go Out The Way You Came In
No matter what, make sure you treat your attendees the same way from the very beginning to the very end of any event experience.
Have staff lined up, smiling, and ready to send off attendees in style as they exit the event. Give them a thank you postcard with next year’s save the date on it as they leave and a small swag item as a nice gesture. It’s the small things that count in life, and all of the small touches event planners do for attendees go a very long way.
Treat your event attendees with love from the beginning, through the middle and to the end of every event. Listen to what they have to say, communicate with them, and make the experience fun and engaging. Think of their experience as if it was your own! They will for sure keep coming back with the more love you give them!