How to Plan an Event Your Attendees Will Fall in Love With
When it comes to planning an event your attendees will adore, here are three key considerations the pros suggest you keep in mind.
Most love stories don’t begin at first sight—it takes intention to grow a relationship. When it comes to building relationships with meeting attendees, planning professionals can take steps to ensure affinity and trust is built with conference attendees.
Some meetings take place in the same destination, year after year, building that connection along the way. Other groups change destinations each year, with attendees noting their favorite stops along the way.
No matter your format, experts say there are some key things to keep in mind to make sure your attendees are happy to return to your conference or meeting each year, regardless of whether the location is familiar or new.
For the top insights to help you plan an event your attendees will love, we turned to the pros at the Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority (RSCVA).
Don’t Be High Maintenance
The first tip for planning meetings that your attendees will fall in love with: Don’t make things complicated.
The team at RSCVA pointed out that no one wants to feel like it’s a burden to get to an association conference or event.
Harris says that proximity of a destination to a major travel hub is a huge boon to meeting planners, explaining that many associations find it helpful to learn that more than 50 airports nationwide offer nonstop or one-stop flights to Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO).
For travelers on the west coast, Harris says that destinations like Reno Tahoe in Northern Nevada, are also accessible by car, making driving just as easy as flying for meeting attendees.
Once you’re in Reno, Harris says the convenience of travel isn’t over thanks to a walkable downtown and multiple options for transportation from Reno to the Lake Tahoe area that make meeting easy.
“Reno Tahoe is easy to navigate and even easier to access thanks to the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, as well as I-80 (or Interstate 80) and I-580/Highway 395, which run right through the city,” said Harris.
Plan Some Great Dates
Another great way to build positive connections with attendees is through fun and memorable experiences.
Reno’s second tip for meeting success: Find activities in your destination city that attendees will love.
Harris advises that planners check to see what events are taking place at your destination at the same time as your conference to really add some local flavor for attendees. For instance, meetings held in early September will be treated to the sight of 80+ hot-air balloons as they take flight during The Great Reno Balloon Race.
The area is also home to annual events like Burning Man, Reno Rodeo and Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival—each bringing their own flavor and brand of fun.
Year round, attendees in Reno can enjoy outdoor adventures like the Truckee River Whitewater Park at Wingfield Park, which integrates nature right into the urban environment, as well as miles of hiking trails within minutes of downtown. Meanwhile, the nearby Lake Tahoe region is teeming with activities and scenic vistas your attendees will swoon over.
Don’t Discount Technology
When it comes to winning at love, meeting a partner online can lead to great success, so why should it be any different when connecting with event attendees?
The third tip for planning a meeting attendees will love: Don’t skimp on technology.
A recent survey conducted by Social Tables showed that more than a third of event planners said that event technology has been the biggest gamechanger for the industry.
From using event apps to connect with attendees while on site, to nurturing your relationship before, during and after the event through email and SMS marketing, there are so many options to connect using technology.
“Having a team in place at your destination that is willing and ready to support your technology needs can be a make it or break it scenario,” Harris said.
Whether you’re looking to host a hybrid meeting or a most traditional in-person event, Harris says it’s crucial to make sure attendees will have a positive experience—and there’s nothing more frustrating than Wi-Fi that won’t connect.
“Here in Reno, the Reno-Sparks Convention Center has been expanded and renovated with state-of-the-art technology,” Harris said. “We’ve updated while mindful of the needs of progressive business and meetings.”
Want help planning your next event from people who know how to spark a connection with attendees? Learn more and start planning your next meeting at www.visitrenotahoe.com/meeting-planners/