5 Creative Ways to Increase Meeting Attendance

February 20, 2015 Susan Harvey

san francisco cable car 5 Creative Ways to Increase Meeting AttendanceIt is important to design your meeting agenda to be as memorable as possible, no matter where it is. Between scheduled conference meetings, group meals, and the popular “down time,” you may not have many opportunities for extracurricular activities. The ones you do plan need to have true value and you must promote this value ahead of time.

Cvent offers five ideas for attendance boosters that will help planners get attendees signed up for meetings—and keep them coming back year after year.

Have some off-site fun and attend a local performance
It may seem easy and convenient to bring the entertainment to your meeting, but you’ll make a much bigger impact on your attendees if you get them out of the hotel for a night. A play in New York, a cable car ride or visit to Alcatraz in San Francisco, a tour of South Beach in Miami with its active clubs and music scene. There are loads of options available in any venue. Make use of them.

Ask for suggestions from locals, such as a CVB team
There is a certain level of civic pride one feels when giving a personal recommendation. Take advantage of this attention to detail by working directly with the local CVB to ensure you’re selecting the most representative and reputable attractions and dining establishments to visit. Allowing your attendees to get a true feeling for the city will help to grow buzz for next year’s event too!

Customized elements that make guests feel important
Nothing makes someone feel more welcomed and appreciated than a personal touch, and putting some extra effort into a customized welcome reception can go a long way. At the Coralville, Iowa, Marriott Hotel & Conference Center, meeting guests and VIPs have been treated to personalized fortune cookies, private chef’s tables, and even fireworks displays. These memorable experiences are great conversation starters for attendees and also provide unique opportunities to capture photos and testimonials.

Give back with a service project
Serve food at a homeless shelter, read to kids at a local hospital, or choose to build a service project directly into the curriculum of the meeting itself. Not only is this an opportunity for positive corporate PR, but it also helps to build meaningful relationships amongst attendees. Even better, allow attendees to weigh in or vote on the charity of their choice before the meeting.

Promote your meeting before, during, and after the event
What good is all this planning if no one knows about it? Have a promotional plan in place ahead of time to shout out all the great activities you’ve lined up. Take another step and create a Twitter hashtag for attendees to use during the event. This can even be helpful for taking polls, handing out door prizes, and gathering photos to promote next year’s meeting. Even better, those who chose not to attend will get a glimpse of the great programs they’re missing out on.

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