Creating A Next-Level Conference Experience

Distinguish Your Conference From Competitors

During the planning of your next business event, it’s easy to forget that your conference-goers are real people. Real people want to gather with one another and connect through shared experiences. The good news is that with today’s technology, it is possible to deliver a next-level conference experience. It’s time to break the status quo. In most cases, the next-level experience is a mix of easy to attend, super interactive, and white glove service. White glove service meaning that you can tap into the data and start referring to your attendees by name and welcome them back if they have previously attended this conference.

Where do we start?

We start with the attendees and spend some time better understanding their desires. What do they want? What do they value in a conference? What do they want to get out of the experience? We know that most attendees are taking time from work to attend. In this example, we want to deliver a conference that is convenient to participate in. One way to accomplish this is limiting the number of presentation-based breakout sessions. In other words, develop a peer-to-peer structure that promotes more close-knit discussions and limits disruptions.

Drastically Reduce Long Lines

The registration area is the perfect place to start since our goal is to keep things flowing. In this case, as guests enter, you can add a variety of options to reduce lines drastically. Consider a blend of well-staffed check-in tables and on-site badge printing. Showcasing clear and simple signage throughout the registration area will assist with directing attendees to the correct tables. Highlight the “the don’t forget to” list when they are checking in. Don’t forget to download the event app. Don’t forget to check the event website for daily updates. Your main goal is to keep guests moving through the experience funnel and avoid bottlenecks.

Next Level Conference Experience

Boost attendee interaction and satisfaction

There are several ways you can boost attendee interaction and satisfaction. To get back to the basics, focus on improving networking sessions, upgrade the physical environment, and organize session schedules that don’t overlap and confuse attendees.

First, you need to get back to building the basics of your event strategy. Where to start? Begin by creating a layout that fosters networking and relaxation for attendees. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Event design and overall layout of the space is HUGE for attendees
  • Having space/opportunities outside of the event is important
  • Limit the number of presentation based breakout sessions
  • Engage with attendees from past events to understand what they enjoyed or did not find effective before
  • Build an informative website that is easy to update with real-time alerts

You can also support the event kickoff with pre-social media outreach and an event app for all information. Utilize engaging and concise messaging. By doing this, you are starting the conference off by creating a feedback loop.

Event Technology

Spend time understanding what types of technologies your event attendees feel comfortable with and can utilize throughout the event to heighten their experience. Don’t include over-the-top technology just to do so. Build an event inclusive of technology that fits the goals of each attendee. An event app is a great way for attendees to engage with technology while staying in-tune with all of the event elements. Make sure the app content is concise and easy to navigate throughout the event.

Keep a pulse on industry trends

The way the business community communicates changes continually; nonetheless, innovation happens during collaboration, which drives inspiration. The next level conference strategy needs to emphasize knowledge sharing and present actionable lessons that attendees can take back to their company. As well, you can aim for a sustainable or viable differentiation strategy. As the name suggests, this distinguishes your conference from competitors, which means you will always win. You are aiming for:

  • Authenticity
  • Consistency
  • Continuous Improvement
Conference Attendees During Break

Events Design Is Similar To The Product Life Cycle

After the attendees leave the event, you need to nurture the relationship, use their feedback to drive event improvement and increase registration for next year.

Creativity As A Driver

There is also a need to be as creative as possible while keeping the content and event information simple. I know what you are thinking, “simple thinking” just won’t cut it. Here is something we can both agree on: it’s best not to try to over complicate elements of an event. While getting creative and unique is important, if any event content or experince is not straight forward, it will be ineffective. Be clear in all event communications and again, you win. Another principle to not lose sight of is the skill of building on last year’s experience. Now is the time to dig into the event data to build an event that is beneficial for attendees and stakeholders.

Lynn Tangorra Corporate Event Planning
Lynn Tangorra, Associate Producer

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