Your attendees may come to your meeting for the opportunities inside educational sessions and networking receptions, but they’re also looking to take advantage of the fun outside the convention center or hotel meeting rooms. According to the findings of a new American Express survey, two-thirds of U.S. business travelers have extended a business trip to take a personal vacation in the past year.
Ask any meeting marketer, and he or she will tell you that they don’t want the location to overshadow the key benefits of attending the meeting such as earning CE credits and making valuable new business connections; they want attendees to be excited about the programming regardless of where it’s held each year.
However, the survey reinforces the reality that many attendees may want to take advantage of the opportunity to explore more of the host destination’s offerings after many of their colleagues have returned home. Plenty of my millennial colleagues think of it this way: the company already picked up the travel tab, why not shell out some of my own money for a few extra nights of fun?
SEE ALSO: When Meetings Meet Family Vacation Time
Don’t Wait Until They’ve Registered
Some meeting marketers simply offer guidance on what to do, what to see and where to eat to attendees who have already paid their registration fees. While this is a strong method to help build excitement among those who will definitely be on-site, a city’s offerings may be just enough to create a tipping point for some of those unregistered attendees who have been on the fence. A well-crafted email that highlights the host location’s attractions could be the final straw for a prospective attendee to say, “Okay, I’ll pay for the meeting, and I’ll take that vacation that I’ve been meaning to take for such a long time.”
SEE ALSO: The Thing Meeting Marketers Should Be Doing
Email is only the beginning, though. To build some extra online buzz around why attendees won’t want to miss out on the chance to combine work and play, consider running social media contests that reward fans and followers with free only-in-(insert your host city here) experiences.
Do you know how many of your attendees like to turn your meeting into a personal getaway? What have you done to market your meeting’s changing location? Share your tips for success below.