Create Better Events Using Attendee Insights
Get To Know Your Customers For Better Attendee Experience
With all of the moving parts involved in planning corporate meetings and events, it is important to remember what your success is determined by attendee experience. Studying trends, implementing technology, and planning new meetings activities will only create positive effects if they are meaningful and engaging to attendees. We don’t have a crystal ball to see into our attendees’ decision making processes, preferences, and priorities, but we do have a lot of attendee insights through data collection—which can be almost just as good for optimizing attendee experience.
We want attendees to feel excited about joining an event and refreshed when they leave, and that requires some authentic insight. This year for Get To Know Your Customers Day, we are celebrating with four ways you can use attendee insights to get in their heads and create memorable events built just for them.
Tip 1: Just Ask (Strategically)
Sometimes it really is as simple as asking our target attendees what they want from us in order to gain valuable attendee insights. It can be easy to get caught up in planning an event we think they should like, but ultimately every demographic prioritizes different aspects of corporate meetings and events. Using surveys strategically can unlock event highlights and disappointments, making it easier for you to address them.
The key to using surveys is knowing when to ask, who to ask, and what to ask. With advanced AI capabilities, you can now integrate surveys throughout the event itself, capturing emotional responses and preferences as they occur. Directly after an event closes, you have a short window of time to gather as much information about your attendees’ experiences to influence your next moves. If you are starting from scratch, informal polls on social media or email surveys in the time leading up to an event can help you identify what attendees are excited about and expect.
Obviously, you want to ask attendees themselves, but don’t forget other key players such as sponsors, event workers, and speakers. The people working the event will know the most common questions and complaints they encountered, and sponsors who were at the event can reveal who attendees gravitated to.
To properly measure target attendee experience, you have to ask the right questions. Consider what information would be the most helpful, and hone in on those inquiries. A survey takes too long to complete will be abandoned and leave you with no answers. Consider using a mixture of open-ended questions and ratings to balance ease of completion with depth of answers. When writing questions, consider these illuminating topics:
- How did your attendees hear about your meeting or conference?
- What was the highlight of the event for them?
- What was a disappointment of the event?
- How will this event improve their work?
- Are they a repeat attendee?
Accepting feedback can be difficult, but taking the time to get to know your attendees and molding your decisions around their preferences is the only way to build successfully engaging events.
Tip 2: Use AI For Better Attendee Insights
We already know how AI can improve communication, responsiveness, and personalization. Artificial Intelligence in the form of chatbots, when done correctly, can be a source of insight into your target attendee.
When you engage with attendees in real time, you are able to collect more of their thoughts, questions, concerns, and reactions. Chatbots allow you to provide customer support in the moment, making it easy for customers to show what is really on their mind as they consider attending your event.
No matter how you interact with attendees, you can find patterns of behavior that will reveal information. Analyzing their communication with your chatbot can reveal concerns and questions that are on their minds.
Tip 3: Seek Out The “No Shows”
Every event has them, but no one wants to think about them: the attendees who register, but never show up to the event. While their reasons to skip your event could be out of your control, understanding them could help you create a more specific target attendee persona.
When you are surveying your attendees, remember to create a separate list of questions to send out to those who didn’t show up. It is important to personalize your surveys for these separate and very different lists. To extract key information, consider asking your no-shows these questions:
- How did they learn about your event?
- Why didn’t they attend?
- When did they realize they wouldn’t be able to attend?
- What competing events have they attended this year?
These topics cover your no-show’s motivation and priorities, as well as if a different event grabbed their attention. This is all vital to understand for rounding out your target demographic for future marketing and scheduling.
Tip 4: Know Your Attendee Types
Personalizing your event design to engage your attendees will create value in sharing the experiences you offer. Individualized opportunities can excite attendees, but bigger event planning coordination requires understanding your target attendee base as a whole. When you zoom out and make big-picture planning decisions, it can be helpful to understand the personality types most present in your attendee base. There are various ways of identifying your attendees’ motivations for registering for your event and how you can connect with them in the most meaningful way.
- Connect with Knowledge Seekers by marketing your lineup of educational opportunities and speakers. Offer updates through social media or email about new breakout sessions, workshops, and educational tracks as they are developed.
- Your Tech-Savvy Networkers will be most interested in the parts of your app that allow them to store networking information and find new contacts. Give them ample opportunities to build their contact lists and keep communication open.
- The attendees who submit questions about possible community outreach experiences during the event or motivational speakers on the agenda will most likely be Inspiration Seekers. Embrace their energy with nontraditional sessions outside of lectures.
- Your Social Butterfly attendees are happy to share their experiences on social media, and will usually use your hashtag appropriately as well. Appeal to their need for interaction with lots of social events on the agenda.
- Reluctant Attendees will be submitting questions about which sessions are mandatory and which they can skip. Win them over by citing the benefits to the various opportunities throughout your event.
- Everyone wants an event full of Brand Fanatics. They will be your repeat attendees who are thrilled to show their loyalty. They use your hashtags, know your brand, and love your story. They thrive on “wow” factor and huge gestures.
Today’s methods of getting to know your attendees require you to dive deep into available data, parsing numbers, behaviors, and keywords until clear patterns come into focus. Though this task seems daunting, having the right technology on your side can make all the difference. Instead of combing through mountains of data from various event management platforms, you can now gain a 360 degree view of the event data points, bringing together the streams of disparate data. With our proprietary management system Ontrac™, you have the opportunity to extract the key attendee insights with actionable data points that can improve attendee engagement in real time.
Delivering engaging events is only possible if you take the time to tailor those experiences to your attendees, which takes strategy and planning. Contact us to discuss how we can bring our experience and resources to your next event.