The Meeting Planner’s Guide To Dealing With Unexpected Challenges
While you want to bring new faces to your annual meeting each year, you also want many of those new faces to become repeat registrants - the kind you can count on for long-term loyalty. So what’s with the one-and-done approach to being part of an annual meeting?
If you are struggling to retain your first-time attendees, here are three reasons why they might not be coming back the following year.
If your list of “expert” speakers looks identical each year, chances are that many of those first-time attendees may want to look elsewhere for new perspectives. Many organizations count on the same panelists and presenters year in and year out, but the vast majority of attendees are looking for what’s new at your meeting in the new year.
Rather than rely on the tried and true speakers at your next meeting, set a goal to add a minimum number of never-spoken-before names to the list.
Remember that time you walked into a party and felt like everyone knew each other - - except you? That same feeling can be easy to share at an annual meeting where many veteran attendees have known each other for what seems like a lifetime.
You won’t be able to break up cliques at your meeting, but you can help newbies feel better with a mentor program that pairs new attendees with some of your die-hard loyalists or an orientation that connects first-timers with fellow first-timers.
You’ve heard it time and again: the benefits of attending must outlive the three or four days of the actual meeting. Well, so must your marketing strategy. Rather than wait to send those first-time attendees meeting marketing materials when it’s time to promote registration again, retention relies on building a relationship all year long.
Send updates and news on the most pressing issues impacting your industry to demonstrate your organization’s 365-day relevance. Those updates can help keep you and the reasons why to attend your annual meeting top of mind for those new attendees.
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