There’s nothing more frustrating than getting all hyped up for an event, and then feeling awkward and unsure about what to do the second you arrive. Or worse - going to purchase a ticket, and having such a lousy registration experience that you completely give up on the idea of attending all together.
Events are crucial to association life; no matter the size or purpose, each one should be given the white glove treatment of member experience. You want to make it as easy as possible for any member to attend, all while making sure they get the intended value out of the content you’re presenting...talk about pressure!
Given some attention, these 17 details could mean the difference between a typical event experience, and something truly refreshing for your attendees. Try them as you prepare for your next few events and see how they impact member engagement over time!
- Optimize your registration page to be a quick stop.
Only ask for the information you TRULY need in order to register an attendee. Don’t bog your form down with irrelevant questions or they might quit halfway through!
- And, make sure that registration page has all the info - but not too much.
It’s a fine line to walk; you want to give members a compelling reason to attend and how to do it, without being overwhelming. Just remember: white space is your friend!
- Offer multiple payment options.
If you can, allow attendees to pay for registration both by check or credit/debit card and even consider allowing them to pay upon arriving. You never know if a member’s decision to attend is tied to when payment is due.
- Provide transportation information.
What’s the best way to get there? What’s the parking situation? Is it free? Is there a valet? Determine the most convenient way for attendees to arrive and send a note a day or two before with directions.
- Don’t just go with the flow, create it!
Be intentional about how you want attendees to move through the event; make sure the path is clear, both physically and in a way that members can easily understand where to go next.
- Set up a “coat check” - but don’t limit it to coats.
No one wants to drag bulky and unnecessary items around a conference or while networking. Designate a space where members can safely store coats, bags, umbrellas, etc. for the duration of the event.
- No need to overthink badge distribution.
It doesn’t have to be rocket science. Determine the best way to quickly distribute badges and other materials so members can grab them and move on to the event itself.
- Make signs for EVERYTHING.
Walk through your event and make a note of every single spot that would benefit from having a sign that either points attendees in a certain direction or to take a certain action.
- Go above and beyond on food.
Make snacks and beverages available between meals, or in the absence of them all together. Attendees will appreciate having something to nosh on, no matter the event.
- Know where the outlets are.
...and make sure there will be plenty in areas that attendees will be in most. Work with your vendors to see what options you have for adding charging stations and USB hubs. Bonus points if you can get a sponsor to cover any cost for this perk!
- Ensure smooth access to wifi.
The more bandwidth the better, with all those people trying to access the Internet in one place. Leave no attendee behind! Communicate the network name and password in your signage.
- Use staff as an additional resource.
Put someone at the registration table all day, in case there are a few stragglers. Ask staff with no specific role to be available to help and interact with attendees. Take advantage of that face time - it's precious for both you and your members!
- Set up a special email address for attendee questions.
Or some other communication channel - something that can be both accessed by attendees and monitored by a staff member on the go.
- Have miscellaneous supplies on hand.
We’ve all been there. You arrive for a meeting or speaker and realize you totally forgot a notebook to take notes in - ack! Keep a handful of complimentary supplies in high traffic areas.
- Provide resources before, during and after.
Some events are about way more than the event itself. Think about what would be beneficial for attendees to have on hand during the event, or to be able to review and move forward with after.
- Have a plan for communicating changes.
Did a speaker drop out? Have to move rooms because of a technical issue? Before the event, determine the best way to inform attendees of any changes on the fly.
- Always, always, always conduct an exit survey!
Ok let’s be honest, this is more for your benefit - but attendees get a kickback of that benefit when you can adjust future events based on what they liked and what they didn’t!
These are just a few small things that can make a big impact on your event attendees. But, as you well know, there are a TON of much bigger aspects to consider when going for the gold in event engagement. Download our free guide, How to Engage Your Event Attendees, for tactics on room layouts, social media, off-site/evening events and more!