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While the ultimate goal of any conference is to provide attendees with top-level educational sessions, it is important to find fun and creative ways to engage them outside the breakout rooms as well. An attendee’s overall experience at a conference will likely determine their commitment for future meetings. Go above and beyond their expectations to create a memorable conference atmosphere so that people will want to come back year after year.
Here are 6 ways you can upgrade your next conference:
ANNUAL MEETING 5K FUN RUN/WALK
Conference attendees will spend most of their day sitting in sessions, listening and learning. Jumpstart their morning with a 5K Fun Run/Walk! Suitable for runners and walkers of all ages and levels, the 5K boosts camaraderie and provides some much-needed fresh air for all conference-goers! Best of all, most convention locations will either have a pre-determined course or have a partner group that can facilitate race day logistics.
PROVIDE ANNUAL MEETING SWAG
Nothing beats freebies! Give your attendees something to remember their time by. A conference t-shirt is a fantastic way to remind attendees of the great time they had at your meeting long after they have left. But don’t just do it once; hand out new shirts year after year with a fresh, location-specific design! Conference tumblers or travel mugs branded with your meeting logo are another great option. Not only will attendees use these onsite but they will be sure to take them home and re-use them throughout the year.
MAKE YOUR STAFF AVAILABLE
Whether it is through a dedicated space inside the exhibit hall or a desk outside of education sessions, making your staff available to attendees goes a long way to strengthening relationships and providing real-time support. Many of your attendees will most likely be in touch with your group throughout the year—and there is no better chance for them to put a face to a name than at your annual meeting.
DON’T SKIMP ON THE BEVERAGES
Providing attendees with coffee, tea, juice, and other beverages throughout your meeting keeps them engage during their sessions and leaves them feeling appreciated. Attendees will pay a lot of money to attend your event. While flights and hotel rooms will take up the bulk of their budget, little things like coffee and snacks can really add up. Offering attendees access to beverages throughout the entirety of the conference is great way to keep morale up and to let your attendees know you care.
HIRE A PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER FOR YOUR EVENT
Settling for a staff member’s photos will not do your conference justice. Instead, get a professional to capture the best moments of your event. With quality photos, you can re-live the event via marketing blasts to your members or in a hosted album on your site. This not only reminds those who were there of their positive memories, but also shows those who weren’t there just what they missed out on!
CLOSE OUT YOUR CONFERENCE WITH A SOCIAL EVENT
End your event on a high note! There is no better way to celebrate the end of a meeting than with a party. Break away from the office setting and allow your attendees to kick back, network and enjoy their time together!