How do you create a great conference experience? By getting attendees ready for a great conference experience! Here are three new things to try out:
Rock the pre-conference communications: What are the most common attendee mistakes or misunderstandings? What is the biggest pain point for your conference? Is it how to get there, which sessions to go to or how to get the most out of the reception? How do you want attendees to feel at the conference? Answer all of these questions and more in a series of regularly spaced, pre-conference communications. Make sure attendees are prepared and while you are at it set the tone of the conference.
Focus on first-timers: First timers are nervous. They don’t know where to go or what to do. They don’t even know how to dress. They are probably new professionals or new to the industry so they are alone: no network, no peers, no contacts – yet. Let your first-timers know what to expect. Help them plan their conference schedule. Communicate with first timers in exclusive pre-conference communications, invite them to an orientation or a breakfast, have a special agenda for them in the program, and give them VIP (not new member) ribbons.
A big on site welcome! Attendees have arrived and they are full of expectations and questions. Make sure they receive big smiley welcomes at registration. Consider posting staff or super-knowledgable volunteers at, before, around registration and in other busy places.
All of these tactics go a long way toward making attendees feel welcomed, helping them feel informed and positioning them to learn as much as they can. First impressions are key to creating the experience you want to create.