Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

June 19 2014

3 Secrets To Attracting Millennial Attendees

By David McMillin


As more meeting professionals work to pack their session rooms and networking receptions with young attendees, it seems like everyone is talking about Millennials. What do they want when they’re away from their offices? Do they care about face-to-face meetings when they spend so much time online? How do they prefer to learn? The list of questions is quite long, and finding the answers is crucial to the continued success of any organization and any meeting.

Dan Schwabel, Managing Partner of Millennial Branding and author of New York Times bestseller The New Rules For Career Success, recently released a new white paper to provide the meetings industry with some helpful hints on what matters to Millennials. Here’s a sneak preview of three pieces of advice.

FREE DOWNLOAD: How Millennials See Meetings Differently

1)    Make your website more than an address. 

Still recycling that outdated web template from four years ago for your meeting website? If you’re serious about impressing a younger generation of attendees, it’s time to invest in designing an online experience that gives them a reason to bookmark your address and keep coming back for more information.

Schwabel recommends asking speakers to write blog posts in advance of the meeting and allow visitors to post questions. If the pre-meeting experience is interactive, Millennials will feel more excited about what waits for them on-site.

“Millennials are highly connected and want to see that an association understands tech,” Schwabel writes.

SEE ALSO: Busting Myths About Millennial Attendees 

2)    Tell them what to do. 

Here’s one area where your youngest attendees probably share some similarities with everyone in your audience: they need some directions. When faced with four days of hundreds of sessions, speakers and exhibitors, it’s important to act as a guide and help them maximize their time at the meeting.

“In your program manual, make sure you spell everything out for them,” Schwabel writes. “Tell them how to tweet, where to go for what sessions and make some suggestions for them.”

“When they have too many choices and no navigation, they end up not participating,” Schwabel adds.

SEE ALSO: What Your Millennial Attendees Really Want In A Destination 

3)    Get in touch with their parents. 

Millennials aren’t too cool for school. They’re well past that stage, and they truly respect what their parents do and think.

“Based on a study I did a few years ago, we found that Millennials view their parents as mentors, and influencers, over professors, friends and co-workers,” Schwabel writes.

Schwabel advises that some meeting professionals should ask their more seasoned attendees to invite their children to participate, too. Rather than bombarding Millennials with email marketing messages and social media posts, they may be more willing to listen to their mothers and fathers.

Looking for more help as you work to increase your Millennial attendee count? Click here to download the white paper from Schwabel’s speaking agency, the American Program Bureau.

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