4 New Ways to Ensure Attendee Happiness

Planning an event or conference is all about you and your company, right? Wrong! Making sure the attendee is happy and satisfied is your main goal, and you need to plan the whole event around that fact. If your guests aren’t enjoying the event, they won’t learn anything, and they surely won’t be loyal to your company. What’s the point of a conference if it doesn’t benefit your guests?

So, how do you plan for the attendee? Think about your favorite parts of past conferences you ran or attended. What made you feel like the planner really put the guests first while planning? Were there moments where you said, “Oh wow this was a great idea!”? Add those into your next event. If you can’t think of any, here are 4 to get you started.

  1. Make sure everyone involved is passionate and knowledgable. When choosing employees and volunteers to help with this conference, there should be a few deciding factors. First, are they truly passionate about the work being done? If not, they might still be great people, but not the right fit for this event. Second, make sure they are knowledgable about the whole event, company, speaker, venue, etc. Having passionate and knowledgable workers will help each attendee feel more welcome and much happier because it will be oh so easy for them, and they’ll respect you as a company knowing you hired qualified people as your staff and volunteers.
  2. Have discounts, a loyalty program, raffles, etc. Who doesn’t love a random gift of discount? Most conferences I’ve been do have some kind of raffle or free giveaway during breaks or at the end of the conference, and it’s just a silly way to get everyone excited! You can also have a loyalty program or discounts for repeat customers/attendees and give them 20% off their ticket, half price for a friend, a special name tag that shows they’re a repeat customer, or even a free meal if they attend. Get creative with how you can give back to your guests and they’ll feel extra appreciated.
  3. Have kids friendly activities. If this is a family conference, you must make sure the children have something to do. Are the speakers kid friendly? If not, hire a few volunteers to plan fun kids activities, or even hire a speaker specifically for the kids. If they are, make sure to hand out crayons and paper to these kids, and tell the parents in advance where to go if their children need a break.
  4. Make sure it’s easy for them. Give them all the information up front. Give them to the point emails about dates, times, and locations, and separate emails with venue amenities, suggested packing ideas, and even their food options. Your attendees will appreciate everything you do for them that seems “out of the way” or “extra.” Don’t email too often or give too much information, because then you’ll seem spammy or downright annoying. Give them as much information as you would want if you were attending as a guest. Remember, put yourself in their shoes, and you will do great!

Do you have any other suggestions for making attendees happy at an event?

3 Ways To Make Retreat Lessons Memorable

Everyone knows that information and lessons learned at retreats can help attendees for a lifetime, but getting them to remember and utilize the information is the key to success and a life closer to Christ. It’s simple to learn a lesson, believe in and understand it, then a week later either forget about it or push it in the back of your head. So, while what you teach at a retreat is important, the knowledge they take home afterwards is equally as vital to their growth as Christians. Here are 3 tips to take care of during the day or weekend to ensure your lessons will be remembered, implemented, and lived for years to come.

  1. Whether your guests are students or adults, singles or couples, first-time attendees or veterans, they must write down notes and ideas. Giving them a small notebook and pen is great for note taking during discussions and can also serve as a journal for writing down a synopsis of the day before they fall asleep. Giving guests an outline of the speaker’s notes can help them to follow along during a lesson. Or, you can also create a study guide with questions to answer at the end of a discussion or on the attendees’ own time to think deeper about lessons taught. Frequently rereading their notes could easily bring the attendees back to that retreat feeling of love, worship, praise, adoration, and closeness with Jesus Christ.
  2. When teaching a lesson, implement what you’re saying into your attendees’ possible or likely routine. For example, instead of just saying, “This is how to talk with God when you’re in a stressful situation,” say something like, “This is how to talk with God when you’re in a stressful situation, like before a final exam, during your driving test, on a first date, or even in a more serious situation like if your parents are fighting or going through a divorce.” Giving specific examples will make it easier for the kids (and adults) to bring that information home and implement it in their lives.
  3. Giving prayer tips at your retreat can change a person for a lifetime. All Christians pray, right? But that doesn’t mean we do it correctly, or in the way that Jesus would want. Teaching retreat attendees a daily task such as this one will stick in their brains. Getting back to the feeling of being at a retreat is difficult, but repeating activities that took place there could evoke the thoughts and emotions felt during that unforgettable time.

 What are some other ways to help retreat guests remember lessons when they arrive home?

3 Tips to Make First Time Attendees Feel Welcome

Remember the first time you went to an annual event or large conference. A little nerve-racking, wasn’t it? That’s probably how your first time attendees are going to feel. A little lost, a little confused, a little nervous, a little anxious and obviously a whole lot excited. Here are a few tips to keep these awesome people calm and happy.

Have a welcome session. The night before a weekend conference, or the first 30-60 minutes of an event, you could have a meet-up with the newcomers explaining the goals of the event, reassuring them about any concerns, and pushing them to talk to one another. You can explain a little bit about networking and how to really maximize the number of contacts you make. Having a small group and talking to them directly will help them feel more comfortable and content.

Give first time attendees a “newbie nametag.” When someone is a first time attendee, it’s normal for them to be shy during networking sessions and be nervous to start up a conversation. Having them wear a different name tag (maybe a nametag of a different color, or that has a special “first time attendee” ribbon on it) will encourage other veteran guests to talk to them and make them feel more comfortable.

Have a welcome booth. I think you could either do a welcome session or a welcome booth. At most conferences, there is a general welcome booth where you sign in, and get your name tag, schedule for the day/weekend/week, and any other tools normally handed out before the event. A newcomer welcome booth could have all of that, plus an extra bag of goodies comprised of important conference essentials: the “newbie nametag,” a notebook and pen (even if not supplied to everyone else), a pamphlet about the company, literature on networking, and anything else you can think of.

Be creative and help your first time attendees as much as you can. After all, they are an important part of your conference!