A successful event can be defined in a number of ways: everything went smoothly and was carried out on schedule, the theme and purpose of the event turned out better than expected, and attendee data numbers indicate a positive experience. However, most events in the industry are not just a one-and-done occurrence. It is more than likely that event planners will already be brainstorming thoughts and ideas for next year once they reach the office. It`s one thing to create an experience that’s memorable and worth talking about, but it’s also important to create something that attendees will repeatedly come back to year after year. Creating attendee loyalty is one of the most overlooked aspects of event planning, and can often be done before, during, and even after the event takes place.
1. Top-Notch Customer Service
Attendees should know where to go and whom to speak to if they have questions or concerns. Customer service desks should always be in locations that are easy to find and access (near the entrance or around the main area where attendees will be congregating). Individual representatives should also be placed around the venue where they can be clearly identified, so that any immediate situations can be addressed in a timely manner. Observe, check in, and be genuine.
2. Sophisticated Environments
Lighting, furniture, food, and entertainment should be on par with the theme of the event. It’s important to stay within budget, but to also make sure that everything is of high quality. Attendees often come to events for important occasions, and can tell when professionals put in an effort to make sure that they have a good time.
3. Speak Their Language
When you make time and effort to understand your attendees, you get vital insights into what they like and what they don’t like. Pay attention to words you use, and whether or not attendees respond to them in a positive manner. If you can make match your attendee’s language and terminology, the event will attract the target audience by the masses.
4. Desirable Engagement Features
Attendees want to observe, but they also want to interact. Internet kiosks, phone apps, beacons, customized social media hashtags and walls are all part of the modern-day engagement experience. Introductory icebreakers and networking segments also balance out technology use with face-to-face conversation so that attendees are not constantly glued to a screen.
5. Make and Keep Promises
Attendees expect to get what they pay for, so if you decide to go for bold undertakings, make sure that you can deliver them. Once they see that you stay true to your word and can go above and beyond expectations, this will likely increase their desire to come back.
6. Incentives and Prizes
Special VIP packages, group discounts, and coupons will motivate attendees. Raffles, giveaways, and rewards always draw additional guests. There’s nothing like going to an event with one intention, and walking out with more than you came with!
7. Make it Personal
Making the extra effort to add in a personal touch to all your event elements goes a long way. When attendees can identify your message through customized branding, it will definitely leave a lasting impression.
8. It’s the Little Things
If there’s one thing that attendees usually don’t forget about an event, it’s the way they were treated by staff members. Kindness and positive energy go a long way, so make sure that this is constantly emphasized and displayed through the duration of the event.
Creating loyalty might seem forced or manipulative, but when looking at the bigger picture, it’s all about keeping attendees in mind, while putting their needs first and foremost. When attendees are able to see that, the loyalty part of it will ultimately take care of itself. Be creative, be innovative, and never think twice about showing you care.