Google ‘attendee experience’ and you’ll get over 11 million results in less than a second. Do it (after you read this brief article); you’ll find some great advice out there!
At the base of it all are five principles we use as a checklist when we work with our clients on building an event experience: Attendee Perspective, Ease of Experience, Opportunities for Connection, The Wow Factor (aka – Uniqueness), and Immersion.
- How will attendees view this? Run everything you do through the eyes of your attendees. At the very least, keep yourselves honest by keeping the question top of mind. Even better, use polls or surveys pre-show or put together an attendee council and get input straight from the source. Giving attendees an experience they remember is a springboard to your company meeting its goals.
- Is it easy? Going for an experience doesn’t mean forgetting about the basics. Sound logistics and impeccable execution are more important than ever these days when someone will hop on Twitter and complain about your long registration lines as they stand frustrated. Make sure your event flows at every turn, event staff is friendly and knowledgeable, sessions are easy to find, seating is appropriate and comfortable, food is plentiful but not wasted and easily accessible, etc., etc.
- Are there opportunities for connection? Events are inherently social; a time for coming together. Industry and user events in particular allow networking that people often don’t have time for otherwise. Cocktail hours are great, but the events that stand out give more. Configure comfortable common areas designed to connect people between sessions. Think about a B2B speed ‘dating’ session at the very start of the event for people to get to know each other before they run into each other throughout the show. What about a social improvement program during the lunch break where people work together to do some good? When people have a great experience at your event, your event leaves a great impression.
- Is it unique? You don’t have to have the most earth shatteringly one of a kind event out there, but look to incorporate elements that stand out. Find a unique venue, incorporate something unique from the local arts or food scene, hire someone to lead a meditation at the beginning of the event. DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT!
- Is it immersive? Creating an experience is all about keeping your audience engaged. Once someone is at your event, you want to keep them in your event. This one’s not easy, but following the ideas above and keeping your event interactive goes a long way. Check out this recent blog post that has lots of ways to keep your audience engaged by making your event interactive.