How’s the Experience?
What makes the hottest parties happening? The guest list! Without attendees, there is no event. What have you done lately to ensure their experience is everything they hoped it would be? Ask yourself the below questions and see how you measure up.
ARE YOU ONLINE?
Do you dread that “show up 15 minutes early for your appointment” line a new doctor’s office will feed you? Attendees are no different. It seems like a no-brainer, but some associations are seriously behind the curve on registration and even payment information. If yours is one of them, get up to speed. Make it even more convenient by offering a discount or other benefit for early sign-ups or additional provided information that can help you with marketing.
ARE YOU SOCIAL?
You can enhance the on-site experience for your members by using the power of social media to connect them before the event, essentially creating a virtual mixer where networking can happen ahead of schedule. Instead of just meeting new people at the first-night cocktail party, they can have face-to-face drinks with the folks they’ve been networking with in the months leading up to the meeting! You can engage members by asking questions to start conversations and then keeping the chatter going. Select someone on your staff to moderate and keep things on topic and moving.
ARE YOU TECH-FORWARD?
Maybe you were into the Pokemon Go craze. Maybe your kids were. Either way, it was an undeniable sensation, one that used virtual and augmented reality – two forms of tech that are ripe for more incorporation into meetings. Virtual product demonstrations, industry- or topic-relevant scavenger hunts (that’s what Pokemon Go was, after all!), site surveys and more can be enhanced by this new and evolving technology.
ARE YOU GIVING ATTENDEES THE POWER TO PLAN?
Okay, maybe not plan plan. That’s your job. But knowing what they’d love to see, or love to see change, in real time can seriously improve their experience – and your team’s approval rating when the meeting is through. Give your attendees the ability to express their opinions with survey tools they can access in the moment via your event management software – and where possible, make the changes to improve their experience while the event is still in motion.
Social Responsibility: It Feels Good
Part of what meetings do – and this is increasingly important as we all seem to burrow deeper and deeper into the tech matrix – is encourage face-to-face interaction wherein attendees put down the devices and kick it old school.
Giving back during meetings is a wonderful way to bond and forge real friendships, not just the Facebook variety. Along the way, your attendees can help real people, as well, and Texas has so many citizens in need, especially in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, who can benefit.
Building wheelchairs for disabled veterans, filling backpacks with valuable school supplies for middle and high-schoolers, putting together care packages for chemotherapy patients – there are a host of opportunities to give back while team building – nonprofits that focus on just about any wider social issue imaginable. Meeting planners and their partners in hospitality are in tune with the idea of creative giving. They understand that attendees thrive when their companies or associations get onboard with the idea that it’s not just profit that matters, it’s people.
Author Amy Drew Thompson is a meetings and travel writer based in Florida.
Photo credit: Syda Productions/Shutterstock.com