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Engaging First-Time Conference Attendees

Engaging First-Time Conference Attendees: 4 Tactics to Try

Of course you want to provide an exceptional experience for ALL of your conference attendees, but ensuring that happens for your first-time attendees is particularly important. Their decision to attend future events (and possibly even renew their membership) depends heavily on that first experience, so going the extra mile for those folks, in particular, is certainly worth it.

What does “going the extra mile” for your first-time attendees look like? Here are a few tactics worth trying:

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11 Ways to Provide Your Members with a VIP Conference Experience

Posted by Callie Walker

VIP Experiences.jpg

Events are likely one of your association’s biggest revenue drivers. But are you maximizing the amount of revenue your event could bring in?

Yes, ‘upselling’ is often thought of as a negative term, but people are willing to pay for better experiences, and so it’s important that you’re at least offering those to your members and attendees.

Now it’s important to note that VIP experiences don’t have to be expensive. For $20 extra, attendees could get one or two extra perks. The beauty of VIP packages is that you can bundle them however you’d like. You can even create VIP tiers to garner more interest and participation. The key, though, is making sure the money matches the benefit.

Not sure what type of VIP experiences to offer? Here are a few ideas to help you get started:

  1. Allow your VIP attendees to reserve their seats in advance (particularly for crowded keynotes and educational sessions)
  2. Allow them to meet the keynote speaker(s) or attend a private Q&A
  3. Provide them with a gift (something meaningful, like a signed book from one of the speakers or a framed picture from the actual event)
  4. Allow them to attend a special VIP reception (with good food, drinks, key industry leaders, and maybe even a view!)
  5. Take them on a behind-the-scenes tour (particularly if your event is somewhere unique, like a stadium or a museum)
  6. Give them access to a VIP “Quiet Room” - with chargers/outlets, beverages and snacks, and maybe even 5-minute massages
  7. Provide them with a VIP bag drop-off, where they can safely leave their bulky items (coats, computers, tote bags, etc.)
  8. Take them on a VIP city tour showcasing the best of your conference’s host city
  9. Provide them with VIP parking (depending on the nature/location of your event)
  10. Provide them with VIP-exclusive swag (a t-shirt, tote bag, cup/mug, etc. that ONLY VIP attendees receive)
  11. Depending on the size of your event, provide them with an express check-in lane (This could also be where they pick up their VIP swag!)

At the end of the day, VIP packages should be mutually beneficial: They should be value-added for your attendees and revenue drivers for your association. You should never lose money from VIP packages, so pick your offerings and price points carefully.

Want more tips for planning a majorly successful meeting or event? Check out our Complete Guide to Association Event Planning below!

Association Event Planning: The Complete Guide  Best practices for before, during, and after an event Download this guide

Topics: association management, event planning, member engagement, membership management, Association Views

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