Paying conference guests often have high expectations and rightly so. When delegates pay to attend an event, they naturally want to gain a return on their investment and have a great customer experience.
There are some key areas which are often the most likely to affect a delegate’s experience, so it is essential to focus on making these aspects as slick as possible. However, the most useful thing you can do as a conference organiser is to approach ALL aspects from a proactive perspective, asking – where can we add value to the delegate experience? How can we make it as easy as possible for delegates to relax and enjoy the conference?
This kind of approach will really help to set your conference up for success.
A delegate’s conference experience begins the moment they purchase a ticket so everything after this point needs to be delivered to a high standard. For example, having seamless pre-conference communications with attendees is worthless if your registration process is poorly managed on the day.
Conference registration is essentially the start of your delegate’s conference experience. First impressions really do count and this entry point is a vital component to setting their day in a positive direction. Yet, delegate registration can be one of the more challenging conference organisation processes to get right – their name has been spelt incorrectly, their badge is missing, you have no record on their booking…all of these potential mistakes can cause an unwanted initial state in both the delegates and your registration staff.
Therefore, it can be useful to ask yourself some of the following questions:
- How would I like delegates to feel when they first arrive? Welcome? Informed? Relaxed?
- What would make registration as easy as possible for all involved? Effective systems? Professional staff?
- What would need to happen to reduce the margin for errors? Contingency plans? On-site badge printing?
Armed with the answers to these questions you can adapt your staff training, make wiser choices when it comes to badging software and add additional processes to further support your delegates initial impression of the conference.
Moreover, integrating delegate tracking software into the registration process will allow improved post-event reporting and analysis, which will increase the potential to improve the delegate experience for future events.
Making it easy for conference delegates to find their way both to and around the venue is an essential element to enhancing their entire experience.
With regards to getting to the venue, you will need to ensure this information is concise yet thorough. Provide this information in as many places as possible – by email attachment, on your website and perhaps via a conference app. In addition, if your conference attracts international delegates, you might also like to consider adding value here by providing directions to popular local attractions, hotels and local amenities.
At the venue, you need to make it as easy as possible for your attendees to get from A to B without having to ask someone. This is where additional signage is useful, printed venue maps and better still, interactive venue maps via a mobile app.
With conferences, one thing is absolutely certain…things change! Therefore, it is important to have smooth processes in place to easily update delegates of any changes that may impact them, such as a change of presenter, or amendment to the programme schedule etc.
Using technology aids such a mobile app and/or large digital display screens can come in handy here. However, the more ways you make information updates available, the better.
Effectively, you want to avoid disappointment at all costs. By keeping ‘during’ event communication as seamless as the pre-event ones, you are more likely to avoid these kinds of situations and the negative impact they might have on your delegates.
The food at events is a frequent topic of discussion among delegates. After all, food is a very evocative subject. Thus, it’s imperative that this particular aspect receives your full attention.
In general, the catering needs to be of high quality and this is where a pre-event tasting can be useful. Most venues will be open to provide this upon request.
It can be especially useful to organise specific processes for managing specific dietary requirements such as allergies, restrictions and intolerances. Whilst catering for the majority is often a given with mass catering events, you will be highly regarded and remembered for your ability to provide flexible options and support for the minority.
Essentially, offering plenty of choice and options is one of the best decisions you can make when it comes to event catering.
By following these tips you will ensure your conference delegates have a great experience and become loyal customers.