For many associations, the annual conference or trade show is a key member benefit. Often, members who attend these events become more engaged in the association, have stronger retention rates, and are more likely to refer others to your organization.
But on the flip side of that: If a member has a negative experience at your event, you may have a hard time convincing them to come back. Some may choose not to renew their membership, and they likely will not be shy about telling others that they did not have an enjoyable experience.
As you plan your next association meeting, here are three tips to keep in mind that help drive attendee satisfaction:
- Make it easy. From the registration process to the information they receive ahead of the event to when they actually step foot inside the venue, make sure everything is easy for the attendee. Test your registration system to ensure that registration is simple and easy, and that confirmation emails don’t get caught in spam. Make key pieces of information easily accessible on your website and communicate them often via email, social and whatever other channels you have available. And once on-site, there’s never such a thing as too much signage; ensure attendees know where they’re going and when they need to be there. Don’t let attendees get frustrated.
- It’s all about customer service. Make sure the staff or volunteers working at your registration desk are armed with answers to common questions. A great way to do this is to walk-through the space with them ahead of time so they know where events will be held and when. Ensure that they greet attendees with a smile, listen to concerns and know who to ask for help. A little customer service can go a long way when attendees need assistance.
- Know your audience. Different audiences have different expectations. Is your group interested in learning cutting-edge trends in their field? Make sure your programming is well-vetted and speakers are prepared to deliver relevant information. Do these attendees value networking? Create spaces that allow networking to happen. Are your attendees health-conscious? Choose menu items that reflect this. Every group has unique needs; keep this in mind when you make choices about the event.
When planning any event, it’s important to keep the end user in mind. Following the tips above will help ensure that they have a positive experience and continue to engage with your organization.