A successful meeting planner figures out ways to meet more of their attendees’ needs to increase retention and interest in the meeting. Here are 6 tips and examples on how other organizations have become more aligned with what their attendees need in order to create more successful meetings.

On this blog we’ve talked about how customization is an important trend and factor in engagement. Most meeting planners would agree customizing your offerings to what attendees want is a great way to make an impression and ensure they find it enjoyable, which leads to increased return rates. However, implementing customization can feel daunting to many planners. Where do you begin? How do you give attendees what they want without burning your budget or alienating others? Here are examples of how several organizations met the challenge to see results.

Meeting Industry and Member Needs

Many organizations host their meetings or conferences at approximately the same time each year, but industry and personal needs change over time. You may find your locked in date no longer suits your attendees or the industry. For instance, a state Parent Teachers Association may have hosted its first meeting the week before the children went back to school. Traditionally that was August, now the state has mandated children will start in September, this will alter the conference schedule.

SnowSport Industries America noticed this same sort of disconnect in its busy season and its annual meeting. Traditionally the meeting was held in late January. Starting in 2017 they will switch it to mid-December in order to accommodate its evolving buying cycle and busy season.

It’s necessary to keep an eye out on industry events that could impact your meeting calendar. Changes could come from a new law, a change in your industry’s busy time, or drastic government budget changes that would mean attendees have to choose between your event or another one. Listen to your attendees for scheduling adjustments that may be necessary.

Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin


Some groups host multiple meetings across the country or world to make attending more convenient, but if numbers drop, it could become cost prohibitive to do so. You don’t want to spread yourself too thin from a resources perspective, nor do you want your events cannibalizing one another. You don’t want attendees to choose to go to the nearby meeting and forgo your annual one.

If you see numbers drop, it may be time to consolidate meetings. The Adhesive & Sealant Council decided to eliminate its two meetings a year and combine them into one. This places a larger importance on your annual meeting and allows you to dedicate more resources to it. For attendees who used to have to budget for two meetings or decide which one they’d like to attend, this simplifies their finances.

Junkets Are So 1990

From government to corporate, organizations everywhere are slashing travel and professional development budgets. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the conference industry. Ultra-luxurious destinations are out for most organizations and many are cutting down on the length of their conferences. The International Association of Convention Centers asked its members their preference and found out, bigger (as in longer) is not always better. Their 2015 meeting was shortened to two-days and incorporated a one-day option for those looking for something more economical with less time away from the job.

Give Attendees a Jaw-Dropping Moment

image: http://www.eventmanagerblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/6-Tips-to-Become-A-Successful-Meeting-Planner-Give-Attendees-a-Jaw-Dropping-Moment.jpg


Personalization of your meeting to your attendees’ interests and needs is a great way to engage conference goers, but personalization doesn’t mean you have to give them exactly what they want and expect. A savvy meeting professional will know to create what wedding and event planner Colin Cowie calls a “jaw-dropping moment.”

Not only do attendees enjoy these magnificent surprises, they are also well-remembered. In a study out of Berkeley (on fear), researchers found that emotional events are remembered much better than daily occurrences. They also found emotional events trigger the birth of new neurons inside our brains. These new cells are created and activated by the experience. That’s why those jaw-dropping moments have such a lasting effect on our attendees. Staying top-of-mind is essential to retention.

Virtual Options Keep People Connected When They Can’t Attend

Meeting planners know it’s easier to attract return attendees than it is to convince someone new to attend. Returning attendees are key to any conference planner’s success. But budgets and work sometimes preclude people from going. When this happens, there’s a good chance they won’t be back.

Attendance is a pattern, and sadly, skipping can become one too. That’s why it’s important to stay connected with attendees who aren’t able to come. The Higher Education Users Group heard their members’ desire to stay involved, even when they weren’t able to attend, and so they created a virtual option and made videos available (after conference) for free for their members. They want all their members to be able to be a part of the action and education.

Vendors Want to Be Heard Too

Vendors provide the basis for a lot of what you are able to offer at annual meetings and conferences. When exhibitor numbers decrease you have to secure a lot more sponsorships or increase attendee numbers by a large percentage to make up the difference. That’s why you shouldn’t think of customization as something just for attendees.
Many vendors attend multiple conferences and trade shows on an annual basis. Requesting their opinions on what you’re offering, and then responding to it, is essential to ensuring they feel valued and feel they are receiving a return on their investment.

In Conclusion

The art of listening to your attendees is not about reacting and changing your offerings every time someone has a complaint. It’s about understanding their needs and realizing they are your greatest source of information on engagement. Together, you and your attendees (and exhibitors) can shape the future of your meetings and conferences. And this is truly proof of a great meeting planner.

Courtesy: Event Manager Blog

6 Tips to Become A Successful Meeting Planner
Tagged on:

11 thoughts on “6 Tips to Become A Successful Meeting Planner

  • March 7, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    Hurrah, that’s what I was exploring for, just what a material!
    present here at this webpage, thanks admin with this webpage.

  • March 10, 2016 at 4:30 am

    Its such as you learn my thoughts! You seem to know a whole lot about this, including you wrote the
    e-book inside or something that is. In my opinion that you simply could use a number of p.c.
    to power your message house slightly, but apart
    from that, this is certainly excellent blog. An excellent read.
    I’ll definitely come back.

  • March 13, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    Which is a great tip particularly to people a novice to
    the blogosphere. Short but very precise info Thanks a lot for sharing this one.
    Essential read article!

  • March 18, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    Great post. I found myself checking constantly this website and
    I am impressed! Very helpful info particularly the past part :
    ) I care for such info much. I was seeking this particular information to get a very
    long time. Thank you and better of luck.

  • March 21, 2016 at 7:00 pm

    I adore whatever you guys are usually up too.
    These kinds of clever work and exposure! Keep up the awesome works guys
    I’ve you guys to my blogroll.

  • March 22, 2016 at 5:53 pm

    I’m not certain the spot you’re getting your information, but good topic.

    I must spend some time learning more or identifying more. Thanks for fantastic info I had been looking for
    this information for my mission.

  • March 25, 2016 at 1:30 am

    As the admin of this website is working, no uncertainty very soon it will be renowned, due to its feature contents.

  • March 26, 2016 at 10:31 pm

    Hi! I recently wanted to ask if you have any issues with hackers?
    My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing months
    of hard work due to no back. Do you have any solutions
    to prevent hackers?

  • April 26, 2016 at 11:03 am

    Yes! Finally something about books.

  • April 27, 2016 at 11:04 am

    Hi there! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and
    say I really enjoy reading through your posts. Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums
    that cover the same subjects? Thanks for your time!

  • May 28, 2016 at 10:15 pm

    I understand this web page gives quality dependent articles and extra material,
    can there be every other website which offers these
    data in quality?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.