Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

June 13 2016

Using Pre- And Post-Meeting Experiences To Appeal To Millennial Attendees

Carolyn Clark

Fifty percent — that’s how many of your attendees are likely to extend their stay during your next meeting to turn their trip into a vacation, according to Phase 1 of The Decision To Attend Study. In an era where so many meeting professionals worry that time and budget may prevent attendees from participating in a face-to-face experience, this statistic shows that many attendees are more than willing to invest more dollars and more days from their calendars to experience a new place. For convention organizers, this means that the educational courses and evening receptions on a program can only go so far in motivating an attendee to click the ‘register’ button. The research shows that 82 percent of respondents in the study indicated that the destination factors into their decision-making process.

For Millennials, the destination isn’t just important during the convention, either; it plays a crucial role outside the action-packed three- or four-day schedule. In fact, a recent study from Hipmunk shows that 81 percent of Millennials indicate they will probably add extra time to a business trip. With that in mind, making strong pre- and post-meeting recommendations for attendees is becoming more important than ever.

Uncovering Outdoor Opportunities

“We know that appealing to Millennials is a top priority for many of our clients,” Carolyn Watson, Manager, Marketing + Communications, Meetings + Conventions Calgary, says. “They represent the next generation of success for everyone in the face-to-face industry, and it’s clear that they want more than just convention time. So we’re really aiming to showcase all the unique experiences in and around Calgary that can satisfy an appetite for adventure.”

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Banff National Park, just 80 miles west of Calgary, is a prime place to start one of those adventures. Canada’s oldest national park offers rugged trails, stunning views and wildlife viewing options — perfect choices for any attendee looking to tack on some outdoor time before or after they spend plenty of time inside a convention center or hotel ballroom. While it would be easy to spend a full week in Banff, there are also many great day trips for attendees with limited time. And research shows that hiking, biking and kayaking are ideal for many Millennials; 78 percent of them are more interested in thrilling, active vacations.

SEE ALSO: 3 Facts You Should Know About Your Millennial Attendees

Exploring The Flavors Of The Host Destination

Of course, some Millennial attendees may also be looking to extend their time in the actual host destination and avoid renting a car to travel elsewhere. When they do, many of them are looking to eat, drink and discover the local F&B scene. As meeting professionals promote registration, it may be wise to include recommendations of local food and beverage tours to build anticipation among attendees. In Calgary, Calgary Brewery Tours is an option that will entice young hop fanatics. I can personally vouch for one of the stops on the tour, too. When I visited Calgary last summer, Last Best quickly became one of my favorite microbreweries.

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SEE ALSO: Up-Close And Personal In Canada’s Up-And-Coming Convention Destination

Fueling Your Room Night Numbers

These pre- and post-meeting opportunities don’t just deliver benefits for attendees; meeting professionals can reap the benefits of additional room nights, too. So no matter where you host your next meeting, you should aim to offer your negotiated room rate on nights before and after the convention. Be sure to discuss how to measure that impact with your host destination, too.

“Today’s attendees are consumers and should be valued in a new light,” The Decision To Attend report reads. “The ‘peak night’ room block metric needs to evolve — beyond ‘heads in beds’ to a new metric that values this dynamic — a metric that reflects the ‘behavioral profile’ including extended stays, bringing others and their ‘overall spend’ while they’re there.”

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This article was brought to you by Meetings + Conventions Calgary. One of Canada’s top convention cities, Calgary is appealing to a wide range of international associations and giving attendees plenty to do — during the program and after the closing general session ends. Interested in learning more about Calgary? Click here.

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