Events are likely one of your association’s primary benefits. They’re key for engaging members and providing them with value (the value they’re going to assess when renewal season rolls around).
That said, how are your events currently performing? What’s attendance like? What’s engagement like? What kind of feedback are you getting post-event?
Chances are, there’s room for a little improvement. To take your events up a notch - and really provide your members with a valuable, memorable experience - consider putting together an attendee journey map. The map should highlight what your attendees experience at every stage of the event planning process: before, during, and after your event.
Now the real value of having an attendee journey map is this:
- You can pinpoint the weak spots in your event - Where might attendees experience confusion or disappointment? By identifying (and correcting) those spots, you can improve the member experience.
- You can identify areas where you can add extra value - Some aspects of events are just fine; not bad, but also not great. But with a little brainstorming, can you add in a little extra greatness? For example, when members are waiting in line at registration, what are they experiencing? If they’re just standing there, could a magician or some live music make it more enjoyable? (That could be an added sponsorship opportunity for your association as well!)
Attendee journey maps are all about improving the member experience. To create a thorough attendee journey map, here are a few key areas you’ll want to evaluate:
Before the event:
- What’s the registration process like?
- Do members (and prospects) have to fill out pages and pages of information?
- How easy is it to find and download the schedule?
- How easy is it to find and download the app (if you have one)?
During the event:
- What’s onsite registration like?
- Is there a long line?
- What are attendees seeing/hearing while they wait?
- Is the wifi information clear?
- Where can attendees access those credentials? Are they listed in multiple places? (On a screen, in your brochure, on the lanyards, etc.)
- If there are changes to the schedule, how will attendees be notified?
- What’s it like going from one session to another?
- Are the rooms very far apart?
- Is there enough seating for everyone?
- Are staff/volunteers easily identifiable?
- If someone has a question, will they be able to spot someone to ask without having to walk all the way to registration?
- Are charging stations available?
- If attendees need to recharge their devices, where can they go? Will they have to wait?
After the event:
- How many times do attendees hear from you after the event?
- Do you thank them for coming?
- Do you provide them with pictures/video?
- Can attendees access the breakout session PowerPoints?
- What’s that process like?
- Do you notify attendees once all the presentations are up?
- Do you collect attendee feedback, and if so, how/how soon after?
Creating an attendee journey map may take some extra time, but the insights you gather can be invaluable. For more tips on planning on a top-notch event, check out our Complete Guide to Association Event Planning below! It has tips and best practices for improving the member experience before, during, and after your next event!