Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

August 10 2015

3 Things Your Attendees Care About Other Than Education And Networking

By David McMillin

Promoting the number of daily education sessions and nightly cocktail receptions can help motivate prospective attendees to participate in your upcoming conference, but these aren’t the only reasons they’ll decide to click the register button. Phase One of The Decision To Attend Study, an initiative sponsored by IAEE, PCMA and The Experience Institute, highlights that attendees are thinking just like leisure travelers when they pack their bags for an upcoming convention. Here’s a look at three key components to keep in mind as you work to increase attendee satisfaction.

1)    They need time to explore.

When you and your meetings team are outlining the schedule for evening activities for a three- of four-day conference, you don’t need to provide plans for every minute of an attendee’s schedule. In fact, they want some time to themselves, and 75 percent of Decision To Attend respondents indicate that they like to get “out and about” during a conference. Work with your CVB partner to include recommendations for sightseeing, dining and entertainment to help point your attendees toward ways to truly experience the destination.

FREE DOWNLOAD: The Decision To Attend Study

2) They’re looking for the opportunity to stay when everyone else goes home.

Even if you offer additional time to explore during the conference, many attendees may not be able to make the most of it. Whether they’re busy accepting business meetings or feeling exhausted after long days, finding time to do something other than learn, meet and greet can be challenging. That’s why more than 50 percent of attendees say they like to extend their stays or turn conference trips into vacations. With this in mind, be sure to ask your hotel partners if you can offer discounted housing rates to attendees who want to stay longer. It’s a win-win: the hotel fills rooms, and the attendee thanks your organization for the savings.

3) They want a chance to bring a companion with them.

Husbands, wives, friends, family members — attendees have long lists of people they don’t want to leave at home. Nearly 50 percent of respondents in the study indicate that they like to bring someone along for the convention. If possible, your organization should consider offering a guest pass that allows attendees to bring their traveling companions to receptions and celebratory events on the program.

Looking for more insights into what your attendees want? Check out “This Is What Your Attendees Really Care About When They Travel.”

Please log in to post comments.