5 tips to encourage guests to attend your next conference

One of the biggest challenges when hosting an event is ensuring you have enough guests attending to make the event worthwhile. Here are 5 tips that can help you to boost your numbers at your next conference, without the last minute ‘free-ticket’ scramble.

Consider the timing of your event

It’s important to do careful research when considering what time of year to hold your conference. To encourage guests to attend, ensure there are no other competing conferences, events or holidays that may draw your delegates away from attending.

To avoid conflicting events, the first step is to conduct some research looking for other conferences, awards ceremonies and gala dinners that may be of interest to the industry. Take note of when they are being held and when there are reasonable gaps.

Secondly, think about busy holiday periods, like summer when people are inclined to travel and also any holidays that are industry specific, for example bank holidays for those in finance or school holidays for educators. Steer clear of those.

Next, consider how long you want your event to run for. While you may have a lot of content to cover, it may not be practical to host a week-long affair. You will need to consider the cost of venue hire and how much time your potential delegates are likely to get off work.

Offer early bird pricing and reward last year’s attendees

If this is an event you have held previously, an easy way to encourage attendees to register is to offer a returning delegate discount. This is a good starting point to gauge early interest in your event.

You may also wish to offer discounts for colleagues working at the same company. For example, if two delegates from the same company register (at the same time), a third can come for free!

Alternatively, ‘early-bird’ pricing for keen attendees who register far in advance is another way to draw a baseline of expected numbers. If you get good takeup for your early bird pricing, either your discount is too good to refuse or your attendees believe you really have something exciting and important to share.

Invite a high profile speaker or entertainer to present

Whether it be a celebrity in the industry or an actual Hollywood celebrity, getting a notable person involved in your event is sure to boost event registrations as your attendees want the opportunity to see and meet this high-flyer.

Remember that high flyers may ask for payment to be involved in your event, so if you plan to go down this route, make sure you factor that in to your budget.

They may also only be available at certain dates or times, so either consider this when choosing a date to host your event or make sure that your agenda is flexible.

Use reputable suppliers for your catering, audiovisual and venue needs

Choosing well-known suppliers for all your event needs, demonstrates the professional calibre of your event.

Some suppliers work in-house, like AVPartners, so they have strong knowledge of the venue you have hired and will be well connected with staff. This means aspects around setup may be integrated, creating a more cohesive event. For example, if you are choosing to have a theme, the way the room is dressed and the lighting and sound utilised to reflect this theme will be in sync.

Having a strong understanding of the venue is particularly useful for audiovisual suppliers as they will know the quirks of lighting and sound inside your chosen venue. With strong venue knowledge, they can set your lighting at the appropriate height and sound at the appropriate level to achieve best results.

Likewise, if you have any type of query, it’s easier to be pointed towards the right staff member who can assist. Using seasoned suppliers also means you have strong support should something go wrong.

Promote your event using social media

Social media has the ability to reach far and wide very quickly. It’s easy to create a social media page advertising your event and have interested people share this and talk about it. People are far more likely to be interested in an event if their friends are attending.

It’s worthwhile encouraging attendees to get involved in a conversation on social media as a way to promote the event. Or better still, provide your attendees with a ‘sneak peek’ of what they can expect to see at the event. Perhaps a short video of a speaker or photos from a past event. This is a great way to create excitement around your event and it’s easy content for your attendees to share and hopefully entice others to register.

AVPartners are the in-house audiovisual specialists for a range of hotels and event venues across Australia. Contact us so we can assist you to boost your delegate numbers at your next conference.