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How to Boost Meeting Attendance


4 Ways to Effectively Promote Your Event & Increase RSVPs

Your organization may include 10 or 10,000 members—but let’s face it, not all of them are going to come to your event. Some of your target markets may always be inclined to attend. Others never show up. And then there is a portion of your demographic in the middle that will RSVP if you can effectively market to them the value of attending the meeting or conference.

Outlined below are four smart ways to boost meeting attendance, including: targeting your demographic; choosing the right venue; creating value; and promoting it effectively.

Target your demographic.

Before you choose a venue, put the program together or start to create promotional material, brainstorm who it is you are trying to reach and why.

This is a valuable first step for any type of event—corporate, association or other—and it’s especially crucial if you are holding a trade show. Vendors and meeting attendees have different primary goals. The former wants to make sales connections. The latter is usually seeking information.    

Honing in as precisely as possible to the goals of all segments of your target audience will allow you to make the right decisions about ways to reach out and boost meeting attendance.

Choose the right venue.

There are some groups that always meet in the same geographic part of the country like a certain city or region. Others may rotate across time zones. And some go to the same venue year after year.

Finding the right venue is a multi-faceted task—but in terms of choosing one that will help boost attendance there are a few things to consider:

  •  Geography is important. Some potential attendees will base their decision to attend on how convenient (and costly) it is to travel to the destination, whether driving or flying. In the case of larger conventions, groups also like it if it’s easy to get back and forth between trade show space and hotels.

  • Excitement factor. You may get the attention of your target market if you pick a venue or a city that your group has never used before. Of course, you’ll do your research and pick a property that’s a good fit. But a different city or an exciting venue that has a “Wow Factor” attached to it can get you more RSVPs.

  • Match the venue to the audience. Say for example, your conference is focused on green policies. You’re not going to set an attendance record if your destination doesn’t have strong support for environmental initiatives. On the other hand, if you know a lot of your members have children, picking a family-friendly venue can lead to an attendance bump.

Create value.

After you’ve targeted your demographic and picked a great venue it’s time to create value in your event program.

  • Time is still money. Pick a time of the year that doesn’t conflict with major holidays or big events in your group’s industry. Conflicts force potential attendees to make choices, and that’s a recipe for a lower turnout.

  • Choose a great speaker. Budget willing, pick somebody with celebrity or buzz. It doesn’t have to be a Hollywood celebrity—but they might be somebody within your industry who’s just written a popular book or developed a new way to innovate.

  • Past success. Don’t be afraid to look back on past events and see what was popular. Do you have attendee feedback from prior events? Cull through the positives (and the negatives) to help build value into this year’s agenda.

Promote Effectively.

You’ve added a value-rich program to the perfect meeting site for your targeted demographic. Now the key is the effective promotion of it all.

  • Yes, organizations still use the mail to send out meeting promotional packets. But social media is also a good way to share information about your event and drive potential attendees directly to a registration link. You can invest in Facebook ads to promote your event – narrow targeting is key here. And don’t forget to create and use hashtags on Instagram and Twitter to build buzz leading up to your event.

  • Be sure to share the event agenda with potential attendees—but highlight the best parts. Some people will read everything; some want to look for bullet points.

  • After people have gotten hooked on all or parts of the agenda, make it easy for them to RSVP. This is not the time for long forms that need to be filled out or a questionnaire. You’ve got attendees hooked, make initial registration easy so they can jump in the boat.

  • Offer incentives to act right away: Create cost savings for registering early. Offer VIP access or a bonus event invite or swag bag for committing by a certain date.

  • The event should be getting maximum exposure on your website and social media platforms as well as email marketing. And, personal emails and phone calls can be very effective.

Targeting your demographic, venue selection, creating value, and promoting your meeting effectively are four of the best ways to boost attendance at your next conference or event.

Kalahari can help boost meeting attendance and the team will collaborate with you to maximize attendance at your conference or event. And, we’re doubling the size of our convention centers in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania! Call our sales team at 855.411.4605 to schedule your site visit today.