Modern day conferences need to go above and beyond in order to attract and engage attendees. Conference Producers need to keep up with the latest trends and implement new technologies to gain an edge on the competition. However, through the continual search for progressive conference strategies, fundamental planning stages are overlooked. Attention to detail when planning the basic elements of your event allows you to create a tailored experience and shows a deep understanding of your attendees. Below are two essential conference areas that are commonly neglected.
You only have one chance to give a great first impression. First impressions set the tone of the event and attendees will form opinions based on their initial engagement with the conference. You want to give your attendees an easy and enjoyable experience from the very first moment they arrive. Walking into a large hotel or conference building with no clear signage or event officials to greet you instantly gives a bad impression. Even if you gave attendees detailed directions in previous communications, guests will still arrive without checking the floor or room number. Nothing is more favourable than a knowledgeable conference official waiting at the venue entrance to assist guests. If you are unable to have event staff perform this role, clear signage is a must.
Once guests have found the event room they need to be registered quickly and efficiently. Whatever registration platform you are using, think about the flow of attendees around the space. Do you want to place the registration desk next to the coat room or refreshment area to ensure guests can easily see and use those facilities? Do you have a specific order you want guests to follow? For example, registration, event programme, coat room, refreshments. Do you have space to have the registration desk at the entrance to the conference or will you need event assistants to direct guests? Basic event design principles need to be implemented with the attendee experience in mind in order to create an enjoyable arrival process.
You cannot underestimate the power of a good cup of tea and some biscuits to refresh your attendees after they’ve been sat in a stuffy event room for hours on end. Nothing is worse than desperately needing an energy boost during a long conference day only to find cheap coffee and unappetizing snacks. Your food and beverage options reflect the quality of your conference, you should have premium products in sufficient volume to ensure none of your attendees go without – it is always better to over order. Refreshments are easily overlooked but they can make a huge difference to the overall tone of your event and help stabilize attendee engagement levels during the afternoon slump.
Refreshments not only need to be plentiful and high quality, they also need to be in keeping with the content of the conference. Attendees at a fitness conference may not want chocolate biscuits, they might want coconut water and chia seed crackers. If you’re planning an F&B conference, consider having samples of new products for guests to try. Attention to detail is crucial to show a real understanding of what your attendees want and ensure they have a positive experience.
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Go back to basics and think about every aspect that will impact your attendee experience. Use thorough target market research and attention to detail when planning the fundamental steps to make your conference stand out from the competition.