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/Chapters 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 vacation
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 Corp 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.