Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

December 01 2015

Why This New Buzz Word is Crucial to Attracting Attendees

David McMillin

The recent Decision to Attend Study garnered more than 7,100 responses and revealed that 82% of attendees consider the destination an important factor in their decision to attend a meeting or convention.

Destination factors could include ease of access, affordability, and destination appeal – not just what the city offers to see and experience outside of the meeting, but also during the meeting.

What if special events, opening receptions, keynote speeches, closing ceremonies, and the like incorporated the appeal of the destination in a way that spoke directly to how your attendee base desires to experience the host city?

A buzz word among destination marketers, “Travel Personas” reflect what inspires an individual to book a trip, or extend a stay. By tailoring events to appeal to your attendees’ specific travel personas, your chosen destination can become a strong factor in driving attendance.

“Visit Indy went 100-percent digital in leisure marketing this past year, targeting nine different travel personas as opposed to one main demographic,” said Chris Gahl, Vice President of Marketing at Visit Indy. “The increase in the relevancy of our messaging to potential visitors produced record-breaking results for both hotel room nights booked and website traffic generated. We look forward to continuing the strategy in 2016.”

 What inspires an Urban Adventurer could be very different from what inspires a Connoisseur, Bucket Lister, or Modern Family. Connoisseurs may look for a luxury spa treatment, cultural experience, and opportunity to dine directly with a chef. A Bucket Lister will probably want to check off the one major attraction or event that the destination is known for. Modern families may look for what their spouse and children can do during sessions. And Urban Adventurers may need to know where to find the nearest bike and brew tour.

Make a little effort to know your members and attendees, appeal to what influences them to travel, and get those registration numbers up. “What we have learned this year is the more relevant the message we can deliver, the more engagement that results,” said Gahl.

Learn what motivates them to travel, and tailor your convention schedule and marketing accordingly.

Continue reading to check out some more examples from Indianapolis.


Host your opening reception at the renowned Indianapolis Museum of Art and invite Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra’s contemporary trio Time for Three to take the stage.

Bucket Listers

Create a registration incentive by giving away a fast lap around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at 180 mph in a real IndyCar. (Enter to win your own fast lap experience in an IndyCar driven by Mario Andretti during the 100th running of the Indy 500 here.)

Modern Families

Organize spouse and family tours to the world’s largest children’s museum, a top 10 zoo, the nation’s largest urban state park, or a Smithsonian-affiliated interactive history center.

Urban Adventurers

Provide bike share passes as an alternative to shuttles, arrange city tours of the Indianapolis Cultural Trail through ActiveIndy Tours, and arrange an event in the artsy Mass Ave or Fountain Square neighborhood.


Host your VIPs on the floor of Lucas Oil Stadium - home of Super Bowl XLVI, or offer behind-the-scenes tours of the award-winning facility.

Night Owls

Arrange for after-hours networking at bars named to GQ’s Best Bars in America list, including The Libertine, Ball & Biscuit, and Nicky Blaine’s. Have local mixologists create an official convention drink.


 Organize a “dine around” night at the city’s James Beard and Food & Wine recognized restaurants like St. Elmo’s, R bistro, Bluebeard, Milktooth, Goose the Market, and Black Market. Or assist your key sponsors in arranging customer receptions with the city’s premier chefs.

“Interested in learning more about what Indy can do for your attendees? Click here to get in touch with the team at Visit Indy.”

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