3 ways to help first time attendees

An essential element to convert first-time attendees into loyal, repeat future customers? Engagement. Looking for simple ways to engage? Help them get more out of your event and feel more welcomed? These three steps can make substantial progress toward that end:

1) Welcome emails

Don’t forget the basics. Something as simple as sending an email to first-timers prior to the meeting can go a long way toward making them feel a welcoming embrace. Want to do more? Then go bigger. Enlist long-time, repeat attendees into reaching out to a handful of potential attendees. This carries significant purpose, as the first-timers can “get to know” people, albeit electronically, as opposed to not knowing anyone before the event.

2) First-timer’s guide

Some event planners have begun to develop guides for first time attendees. For example, the Society of American Archivists has a thorough guide to its 2017 annual meeting. The guide presents first-timers a road map on how to be prepared and get as much as possible out of the conference. Now that’s engagement! The guide answers the most basic of questions: what should I wear, to a bevy additional helpful links such as to the article, An Introvert’s Guide to Standing Out at Conferences.  SAA Guide

3) Some form of organized networking

Let’s be honest no one really likes forced networking. Many people think of awkward ice-breaker games you did in grade school. Instead, get creative with your destination, and hide the fact that you are facilitating those connections. Strategically split your attendees into groups, then send them out into the city’s walkable district for something as simple as a scavenger hunt. Ask the local CVB what activities other groups have done in their destination to glean ideas. Whatever you do make sure that you are strategically assembling the teams ensuring that first-timers are set up with repeat attendees.

If you have any questions, I encourage you to reach out to me or check out one of the additional resources below. Written by Luke Wiggins, Meetings & Conventions Sales Manager, Visit Rogers. 479-619-3191 Luke@RogersLowell.com

4 ways to engage (and create loyal) first-time attendees

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