Conferences have gained popularity for multiple reasons, including networking and expanding one’s knowledge in their professional field. The focused nature of conferences is excellent for personal and professional development. Apart from the benefits to attendees, the organisers also have objectives for hosting the conferences. Their goal could be to increase membership, improve professional development, and encourage members to work together. Due to the numerous conferences organised by multiple organisations, association members can become overwhelmed. Therefore, as an organiser, you need creative ways for optimising conference results. If you are having trouble improving the outcomes of your conference, the following tips will come in handy.
1. Set Clear Objectives for Optimising Conference Results
When organising a conference, setting goals is a no-brainer. However, are your goals relevant to the event you are planning? What metrics are you using to determine the success of the conference? While most planners use ticket sales, it is not enough to measure the actual outcomes of a conference.
Nevertheless, to keep track of the performance of a conference, you need clear, attainable objectives, and the metrics to measure the results. In professional associations, you can keep track of new attendees, return attendees, and ticket purchases through social media. Comprehensive goals make it easy to analyse the performance and discover new ways of improving the conference outcomes in the future.
2. Send Invitations and Market the Conference Early
The earlier you begin your marketing, the better the outcomes. Remember, most association professionals have busy schedules. If you want them to attend the event, you need to inform them six months before the event so that they can include it in their calendar. You can also announce the date of the next conference and register attendees during the conference. It will give you a head start on the following year’s conference and make marketing easy. You should also launch social media campaigns and keep the buzz alive in all social media channels. Prepare early bird tickets and register many attendees before they commit to other conferences.
3. Improve Delegates‘ Experience
Just like in a business where customer experience is paramount, conference attendees also need to have the best experience. Treating every attendee like a VIP is a sure-fire way to improve attendance in the future. People are likely to invite their friends if they love how they are treated. How do you improve the attendee experience?
- Ensure the staff and volunteers understand the mission of the conference and present a positive image of the brand at all times.
- The staff handling inquiries should be passionate about the conference and present it in a positive light. Making the most of the first point of contact can increase attendance and improve outcomes exponentially.
- The organisers should deal with problems head-on and promptly to avoid bad experiences. When you handle a complaint fast, it will become a relationship builder and improve the image of the conference.
- Treating every attendee like a VIP will create a great first impression and improve retention.
4. Encourage Interaction
Many people attend events to mingle with other professionals in their field and develop professionally. Therefore, you should provide avenues for networking and interactions during breaks or have interactive sessions. Also, encourage keynote speakers, VIPs, and other notable stakeholders to mingle with the attendees. People can learn a lot from face-to-face conversations and are likely to attend the following year if you provide value.
5. Do Not Give Up
Planning conferences, marketing, and supervising them can be hectic and time-consuming. Optimising conference results is even more challenging since you do not always achieve the desired outcomes. It is easy to throw in the towel if you are not meeting the objectives. However, before you give up, ensure you have exhausted all your options. You can start by finding out what went wrong in the previous conference. What mistakes did you or the staff make? Often, the issues can be fixed with the right strategies. For instance, you can survey to find out what attendees hope to achieve in a conference. Once you have realigned your goals and discovered new strategies, you can give a new direction to your conference.
Improving conference outcomes goes beyond having a full house. You need to look into the future and consider how you can increase retention and achieves its objectives. The above tips will help you optimise the conference outcomes.
Congrex Switzerland is an internationally operating agency providing customised solutions. This encompasses the overall organisation of conferences and meetings, including the management of hotel rooms and the strategic consultancy. Annually Congrex Switzerland organises approximately 45 events with over 73’000 delegates. Amongst our clients are international associations, governmental organisations and corporations. Say hello!