Is your event conference dwindling in attendance year after year? If so, you are not alone. Many meeting professionals are finding fewer and fewer attendees at their conference and/or they are attracting first-time attendees who don’t come back.
While you and your stakeholders continue to scratch your head about ways to stop the bleeding, there are simple solutions to your problem that will help attract — and retain — attendees.
- Make the content, presenters, location and investment fee worth it.
Many associations spend time working the logistics of an event. However, it is vital that you start with content. People are thirsty for knowledge and will travel to a great location if the content and speakers are worth it. In addition, you need to price your event appropriately — not too high but also not free.
People make the room in their schedules — and their budgets — for content they think is “worth it.” So don’t skimp.
- Cap meeting attendance.
Whether you choose one large meeting or several smaller ones, it is psychologically beneficial if you tell attendees up front that attendance will be capped at a certain number. It provides a sense that the product is a premium offer and instills a sense of urgency. This can be an incredibly transparent process — with Eventbrite, you can list the price of the ticket along with how many total tickets are available.
- Hold your meetings toward the end of the week or over a weekend.
Most professionals would confess that their busiest day of the week is Monday because they are usually catching up from the weekend. However, as the week progresses, everything usually peaks around Wednesday.
Holding your meeting on a Thursday or Friday might be very attractive to attendees for two reasons: 1) they can bring their families who can enjoy the recreational activities of the facility and 2) they can extend their time and visit with family and friends in the area.
- Make sure there is an educational “carrot” at your event.
If attendees are earning credit toward a certification, especially renewing a certification, make certain that is conveyed early and often. If someone can come to your conference and earn all or most of their renewal credits, your meeting becomes very attractive to that section of attendees.
- Allow plenty of networking time.
Whether you offer icebreakers out on the patio or time to naturally gather at the bar or in meeting spaces throughout the convention center, it is important to let your meeting participants network in their own way and give them enough time to do so.