Wash, Rinse, Repeat – Three Ways to Increase your Meeting Attendance

Are you hosting the same event over and over again? You’re not the only one who has the increasingly difficult job of hosting the same meeting with an expectation of more attendees on the same budget. The trick to success is thinking about your event from the attendees point of view. What would make this event worth the investment of my time and resources? Can you provide cutting edge education, access to connections and maybe the opportunity to bring my family? See below for 3 ways to refresh your event:

Rethink your venue

Try an unusual and unique space. More than ever, events are being held in unique locations. If you can invite your guests to a place they’ve never seen before, you are adding to the allure of the event, thus creating excitement and that translates into attendance. Call your local MPI chapter http://www.mpiweb.org/Community/ChaptersĀ and ask for a planner who can help. Meeting Professionals International is the nation’s largest association of meeting planners and has members who know your area and can help you think out of the box. Maybe your meeting is appropriate in a conference center but your networking events don’t have to be.

 

Tie it in with a vacationĀ 

If your guests are traveling to attend your event, negotiate the room blocks with the option of coming early/staying over for the same discounted rate. How great would it be if your attendees are so excited about the location that they want to make a vacation out of it? Give them the perks of your buying power and get them the same rate for their vacation days. Or can they upgrade to a family friendly room at a discount? While we’re talking families, arrange childcare with a vendor like Kiddie CorpĀ https://www.kiddiecorp.com/) who specializes in conference childcare. Call the local Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and get information on local attractions and discounts. Your attendee will be the family hero and they’ll have you to thank.

Adjust the schedule

The TED sessions are brilliant and wildly successful. Why? They are short, straight to the point and provide valuable information in a concise way. Attendees are looking for more bang for their buck so if they can go to 6 sessions a day instead of 3, that helps them justify their investment. Make the sessions no longer than 30-45 minutes, with a speaker only talking for 20-30 minutes and then pushing their content out electronically. Also, provide plenty of “hang space” – furniture seating in the hall or open space for people to meet and brainstorm. Add a charging station and some water and coffee and bam – you’ve just facilitated connections.

Make sure you spotlight what’s new and different in your correspondence. The invitation sets the tone for the whole meeting, so use this prime space carefully and pay it off in spades with new twists on the not-so-same event.

 

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What your wedding guests really care about

So, you’re throwing a wedding and you have a budget. While you have grand ideas about how every detail matters because it must match your vision, you need to know that you can kill yourself over things that no one will notice or you can focus on the areas that your Guests will remember. Here they are:

The Venue

What is more exciting than going to a unique location for a party? Exposed brick, a garden, festoon lighting and curated grounds are all characteristics that make for a beautiful space and photos to swoon over. Your Guests will want to take more pictures – and post them with your hashtag. What a way to make your memories last forever!

The Food

They just sat through the ceremony; now reward them with great food. Don’t default to “Package 2” – customize your menu to make it look like you. While a standard pasta dish is appreciated, a tuna roll station or do-it-yourself smores bar is a fun addition. I recently had a bride who loves Taco Bell. She is a well-respected, refined lawyer who loves to eat Taco Bell after fun nights out with her friends. I had the chef prepare four cheese quesadillas and portion them into bite-sized pieces and we placed a Taco Bell sauce packet in each portion. When these hit the crowd around 11:00 pm, it was a huge hit. People appreciate you feeding them. Don’t skimp on it.

Cake

People normally only eat cake when they are at weddings. Make it worth their wait. Along those lines, don’t make the cake such a unique flavor that it won’t appeal to the masses. If you want orange marmalade-strawberry cream cheese, have one layer of it and then have the other layers be more traditional.

If you keep in mind that all your Guests want is to celebrate with you, you’ll take pressure off of yourself and be able to enjoy your day.