If your organization frequently plans and hosts events, you already know that the attendee experience is a top priority. Regardless of how much effort you put in, a negative attendee experience means that your event was likely not successful.
Whether it’s your event registration form or the day-of experience, each step of the journey should be streamlined to encourage registration and get people excited for the big day.
While each event has its own unique nuances, there are a few common steps you can take to benefit the overall attendee experience. Take a look at your event management tools and think about how you can leverage your software to anticipate your attendees’ needs before they happen.
Most event planners will agree that the attendee experience involves a careful balance of providing the right amount of event information and empowering registrants to take control of their experience. Consider the following event elements that can elevate the entire attendee experience:
- Provide a dedicated online space for event details.
- Personalize event marketing communications.
- Let attendees take control with an event agenda.
- Offer a mobile event app.
- Ensure a continuous open line of communications.
Events are a great way to engage your supporters and provide an unforgettable experience. Prioritize the attendee experience with these top tips!
1. Provide a dedicated online space for event details.
The first stop on a potential attendee’s journey is likely the internet. If someone wants more information on your event, they’re going to their favorite search engine to look it up.
As a modern event planner, you already know that offering online registration is now a necessity to ensure you’re maximizing your attendance rate.
A good idea is to create an online registration form and embed it into your organization’s main website. This way, when potential attendees read about your organization, they can easily register through your website. To take this even further, your best bet is to create an event microsite.
A microsite is a temporary webpage (or group of webpages) that is associated with your main website. You can easily link your microsite on your main website, so users can simply click it to learn more. While it is still branded to your organization, a microsite is considered a separate entity. Often, online registration platforms, like Accelevents, will create a dedicated page to your event that you can fully customize.
With an event microsite, you create a dedicated hub for all event details without the clutter of unrelated information. Display your registration form prominently with the other essential details. Create targeted advertisements and track lead metrics more effectively with a single landing page for your event.
2. Personalize event marketing communications.
Once a user registers for your event, it’s a good idea to send them event updates and important announcements in the days leading up to it. However, this doesn’t mean that you should mass send the same emails to everyone who signs up.
All organizations can benefit from personalizing their email marketing strategies. According to this Fonteva article, optimizing your email communications is also a great way to engage with recipients and continuously nurture those relationships.
If you’re interested in putting more effort into your email marketing to better reach your event attendees, consider these strategies:
- Segment your recipients. A great way to send targeted event communications is to segment your guests. This way, they only receive messages that are relevant to them and you don’t overflow their inbox with emails they won’t open. For example, you can segment your audience by registration type (VIP vs general admission) so that specific event details are sent to relevant attendees.
- Incorporate personal attendee details. With the right event management tool, you can automatically use your attendee data in your email communications. This means that whenever you do send event emails, it will automatically have the recipient’s name and other relevant information within the email body.
- Automate emails based on attendee actions. This is great for items like receipts! As soon as a user registers for your event, trigger an email to send out with their personalized event details and a payment invoice.
Maintain constant but smart communication with your event attendees to get them excited for the big day.
3. Let attendees take control of their event experience.
Depending on the size and scope, your event might span multiple days, include multiple venues, and offer a variety of activities. As soon as users register for your event, provide them with additional options to customize and optimize their experience.
For example, if your event spans multiple days or sessions, let registrants quickly select the day or session that they want to attend. This way, attendees aren’t automatically locked into activities they aren’t interested in. Additionally, if each day or session costs a specific amount, your registrants won’t have to waste money on an activity they don’t necessarily want to attend.
A great way to further optimize the event experience is to empower your attendees with an event agenda builder. In addition to presenting users with a selection of sessions during registration, let them build an agenda based on the activities they do want to see. Instead of a locked-in agenda, attendees can tweak their schedule based on their needs.
Instead of simply offering more ownership of their experience, an event agenda builder also provides a quick reference for attendees. This way, they can simply glance at their event agenda when they want to move on from an activity instead of wandering around or having to remember each session beforehand.
4. Provide a mobile event app.
Your event management tools can also optimize the experience on the day of your event. Many modern event planners offer a mobile event app for attendees to download on their phone and easily access throughout the event.
With a mobile event app, your attendees have a reliable resource for all event details. It’s a great place to provide updates on last-minute changes or announcements during the event.
If you’re still not convinced, here are some key ways that a mobile event app empowers your attendees by providing them with essential details:
- Access to agenda builder. If your attendees created their own agenda before the event, display it on your mobile app so they can reference it quickly. Let them change the agenda as the event goes on as well.
- Provides a portal for attendee engagement. Allow event guests to interact with each other through an online forum or discussion board. This way, they have a space to ask each other questions and share insights.
- Post urgent announcements. You never know when there might be a last-minute change or a speaker cancellation. Quickly update your attendees by notifying them through your mobile event app.
- FAQ resource and customer service. Provide a FAQ section and “contact me” resources within your mobile event app to allow attendees to ask questions and make inquiries.
According to Pathable, there are a wide range of mobile event apps that can supplement your event experience. However, there are intuitive event management solutions that will provide a mobile app for you. You have the flexibility to customize it to fit your unique event and provide features that empower your attendees.
5. Ensure there’s always an open line for communication.
Surveys are the best way to empower your attendees and shape future event improvements.
Event surveys are a key strategy for receiving feedback on your event and gauging attendee satisfaction. Many organizations use this approach to improve their engagement strategies. For example, nonprofit organizations often send out donor surveys in order to improve donor relationships and the way they engage with them.
However, it’s not uncommon for surveys to be ignored or forgotten— especially if you don’t distribute them soon after your event ends. At that point, the attendee might not remember certain crucial details. Make sure to ask the right questions and follow these survey best practices:
- Send out an event survey to gain feedback on your event. Ask attendees what their favorite and least favorite part was.
- Distribute the survey through both your mobile event app and email. Delivering the survey through multiple platforms ensures all attendee preferences are addressed.
- Give incentives for guests who submit surveys within a certain timeframe. Examples include entering their name in a raffle, sending free merchandise, or offering future discounted event tickets!
- Allow guests to submit surveys anonymously. They might be more honest without their name attached to it.
Surveys not only help your team figure out what went wrong or right, but also give your attendees the chance to express their opinion. It’s important to always give your attendees a voice and keep the line of communication open.
While your event may have its own unique needs and processes, the elements discussed above can help any organization improve the event attendee experience. With these tips, you will host stronger events and see better results. Good luck!