Meeting Minute With Marilu

Managing Attendees – Beyond Getting Them There

You’ve done the marketing…you’ve even “sold” the attendee…now what? An attendee experience should start as soon as they submit their registration. You want to keep them engaged from the time they register, to the event and after the event to get the greatest return. After all, your attendee is your ROI.

Before The Event.
Your attendees’ experience should begin as soon as they hit the submit button on their registration. You want to keep them informed, engaged and aware before they step foot on site. The first thing they should receive is a confirmation email. This email will act as their resource for the event. Whether its for an expense report or a calendar reminder, make sure that ALL of your event details are included here. The standard who, what, where, when and why is a great place to start. And don’t forget, you’re the one planning the event. You’re married to all of the details on F&B, AV, venue, room set, staging, expo sq. footage, etc.. You’re attendees aren’t. Stay away from the buzz words and keep your content attendee friendly.

Continue your conversation as you lead up to the live event with attendee alert emails. Highlight individual speakers, ask attendees to pre-submit seed questions for panel discussions, advertise exhibitors, thank your sponsors, share pre-event attendee lists, tell them about social media contests or just let them know what kid of food will be served. Being the efficient event planner that you are, you’ve already included all of these emails on your event marketing calendar so they go out automatically to registered attendees.

A couple of days before the event send one last email that includes ALL of the event details. Agenda, directions, what to expect upon arrival, your contact information for any questions…everything and anything that you can think of that your attendee wants to know. Even if you’ve already told them…tell them again. This email is going to be chalked full of information. Use bolded category titles and bulleted points. You want to over inform them, but you don’t want to bore them.

At the Event
SIGNAGE SIGNAGE EVERYWHERE! Directionals telling attendees where to park, where to check in, where to find the expo hall or which way to workshops will ensure that you don’t have attendees wandering the halls wondering where to go. And no, an 8.5″ x 11″ printed sheet in a plastic stand will not suffice. Make sure that attendees can see signage from the lobby, across the room and around the corner. This means signage ranging from “above head height” to your 8.5 printed sheet in a plastic stand. Make sure you’re using the same logos, images, colors and fonts from all of your pre-conference communication so that attendees easily recognize your event branding.

AFTER the Event
PHEW! Event was a huge success! Pat yourself on the back, sit back and…wait a sec, think you’re done now? Not so much, you still have a post-conference survey to send out. The post-conference/event survey is your most important tool as an event planner. Yes, it’s fun to see all of the event planner kudos from attendees boasting about what a wonderful job you did and how much they enjoyed the event but most of all, the post-conference survey is going to be your biggest resource for the next event. Use “select one” options for your survey questions.

How did you hear about the event?
  • Print ad (call out the specific media outlets you used for marketing)
  • Email
  • Direct Mail
  • Employer
  • Speaker
  • Sponsor
  • Other (please specify)
Did you feel that you received information leading up to the event
    • Too little
    • Too much
    • Just right
Did the event exceed your expectations in regards to your event goal here. (ie: networking, product knowledge, market information, etc.)
    • Yes
    • No

Most of all, your post-conference survey is the first opportunity you get to encourage your attendee to return to your next event. End your survey with open ended questions that will 1) provide testimonials that you can use for future events 2) let you know what your opportunities for your next events are 3) inform your attendees of your next event.

What were the highlights for you at the your event name here?

What is one thing you would have changed about the event?

When you attend the insert next event name and date here, what issues would you like addressed?

NOW it’s time to pat yourself on the back, sit back and relax. Congratulations on a successful event! At least, until the next attendee hits “submit” on their registration…


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