Our breakdown of “6 Keys to Event Planning Success” continues with part two: Event Flow. Now that you’ve taken the time to find your perfect event location, it’s time to start planning the logistics of how attendees will experience your event.
From a quick and painless registration setup to personalized, mobile-friendly agendas, you want to make sure that your attendee experience flows smoothly and with as few hiccups (if any) as possible.
From the onset, you want to make your event recognizable to guests both in terms of who you are and what your event is all about. Developing a style guide and graphic that is consistent with your brand and message is essential, as this will help you and your team stay on message without having to say a word.
Next, decide on a unique but recognizable event hashtag and incorporate that into all of your event branding. Hashtags are a highly effective way to centralize communications and promote interaction before, during and after an event, so don’t overlook this essential tool for your organizers and guests.
There is no shortage of opportunities to engage your event’s brand, from social media to giveaways, and through event sponsors, speakers and partners. Incorporate your branding into all your resources and communications from the very start to ensure that your event stands out.
Factors to consider:
- Does your event graphic or logo clearly state who you are?
- Is all the necessary information included in your branding including dates, location, hashtags, etc?
- Does your branding accurately reflect the theme and intention of the event?
- Have you incorporated your brand into all your communications, website and event apps?
It goes without saying that an efficient system for online and onsite registrations has to not only be established, but thoroughly tested in advance of your event. Potential attendees want to know that even if they have to register at the last minute, there will be a clear, easy process for doing so; communicating this via your website, social media, and email is key to getting off on the right foot.
Keep the initial registration process short and sweet, requiring only the most necessary information to begin; you can always follow-up for more information at a later date. Research shows that when redirected to a third party checkout provider on another website, 30-50% more people will opt out of making a purchase than usual, so be sure you have a direct and simplified process for attendees to register that avoids taking them away from your event page.
Factors to Consider:
- Is my registration form too long or cumbersome? Can I simplify it and follow-up for more information after registration?
- Can attendees register and pay for your event directly from the event website?
- For onsite registrations, have you created a clear plan for signage and directions to the registration area?
- Do you have an offline plan in case there are issues with your internet connection?
Let’s face it: time spent standing in long registration lines is wasted time. By automating the check-in and payment process, you not only save your guests valuable time, you also save yourself and your team the time and labor of manually importing (and later exporting) registrant data.
With the right check-in application, conference hosts can easily navigate the registration process, track the arrival times of guests or speakers, know ahead of time about special requests or the need for accommodations, and even track food preferences should snacks and meals be provided.
If you are expecting VIP guests and would like to be notified of their arrival, come up with an efficient system for doing so, or check with your event management software or app provider to see if they provide this option through their product. This will enable you to greet them personally, or to achieve that important face-to-face time that you might not have the chance to get once your event is in full swing.
Factors to Consider:
- Have you communicated the check-in process to attendees in advance of your event?
- What is your physical check-in setup? Will you have a single check-in station, multiple check-in stations, or online check-in only?
- Will you be printing badges onsite, pre-printing, or having attendees print their own badges? For a sustainable option, consider a check-in app that enables onsite printing when the guest arrives.
Although conference guests share a common interest in attending your event, it’s important to recognize that each guest has a unique goal for being there. For instance, sometimes job titles distinguish the need for information that differs from what a self-employed guest may be looking for from the conference.
A successful conference caters to the specialized interests of guests by designing smaller sessions that address pertinent topics. An automated system can track the interests of participants beforehand so that the event planner can schedule a speaker or design a presentation that satisfies those specific topic requests. Then, by offering a schedule with multiple session times, guests can plan their day and leave with valuable information that will make them feel their time spent at the conference was worthwhile.
Factors to consider:
- What information can you gather during the registration process to assist with agenda development?
- How do you want to present your agenda to attendees?
- Is your agenda varied enough to cover the different levels and interests of your attendees?
- How will you factor breaks into your agenda?
Still considering whether or not to employ an event app? Here’s a little food for thought: 91% of event planners say that adopting a mobile event app has provided a positive ROI. The benefits of an event app are endless – both for attendees and for event organizers and marketers – saving time and simplifying communication on both ends.
The right event app not only allows your attendees to personalize their schedules, but will act as a lead retrieval device for exhibitors, allow speakers to share their notes directly with attendees, and assist organizers with capacity planning to prevent overflow. Furthermore, it offers a single channel for real-time attendee and speaker input that planners can use to gauge what’s working and what’s not. But the advantages of an event app don’t stop here.
One of the most beneficial features of an event app is its networking capabilities. Whether it be scheduling meetings with other attendees, or peer networking and engagement through an event activity feed, the opportunity for attendees to connect has never been easier with the right mobile event app.
91% of event planners say that adopting a mobile event app has provided a positive ROI
Factors to Consider:
- Does your event app have features for attendees, speakers, exhibitors, and organizers?
- Is your event app intuitive and easy to access?
- What information do you want to collect from your attendees through your event app?
Once you have your event flow mapped out, you can start thinking about the next major element of event success. Stay tuned for part three of our series, 6 Keys to Event Planning Success: Speakers & Influencers, where we’ll cover how the right presenters can not only inspire your audience, but help to engage them before, during and after the event.