New York event planners know that in the realm of planning corporate events and conferences, every single detail matters. Businesses hosting parties for employees, companies entertaining clients, and brands launching new products need their events to be engaging and memorable in a big way. And you’re up for the challenge. But before you present your plan to your corporate event client, make sure you have every one of these must-haves on your list. The best attendee engagement strategies involve these key elements.
Attracting Attendees with Pre-Event Incentives & Reminders
You’ll want to build the right tone for the corporate event experience. And that begins before the event, in the form of engaging invitations and communications. This “attraction” phase of the event conference planning process must have an engaging announcement, followed by a series of equally engaging reminders, campaigns, and incentives. Maybe offer a pre-event gift or stage a pre-event contest. The overarching objective is to get everyone on the invite list excited and eager to mark their calendars.
Here's where you also lay in another must-have, the strategy for building anticipation. Dangle some exciting teasers. Promote your chosen hashtag for the conference ahead of time. Get people talking about what’s coming. And tap into any “exclusivity” for the event for maximum FOMO. During these pre-event communications, also be diligent about dispelling any concerns that might prevent people from attending, like costly accommodations, safety, or parking.
Welcoming Arrival Processes
Another key must-have for corporate events is a stunning arrival or entrance greeting. Go big with thanking those who’ve traveled to be in the room. Have a registration process or badging delegation setup that is smooth, efficient, and digital. Make sure VIP guests are proudly recognized. And offer welcome gifts, with the option of having them sent to their hotel rooms.
Create a tone-specific welcome that also comes with an itinerary of the event. Chaperone guests immediately to any official welcome receptions or cocktail social hours upon arrival. Prepare them as they walk through the door with everything they need to have an engaging and incredible experience.
Rewarding Engagement in a Sustainable Way
Here’s the kicker about attendee engagement. It has to be rewarded and ongoing. But you can’t just rely on providing featured content or entertainment to be effective. Researchers discovered that after a 10-minute presentation, the audience only remembered half of what was actually said. By the second day, that number dropped to one quarter. And a week after that presentation, only 10 percent remembered the original content. People may not remember every keynote speaker message, company branded signage, or key takeaway. But they will remember how those experiences made them feel. As an event planner, your job is to create emotional connections with every experience your corporate event has to offer. And 65% of attendees say they have a better understanding of a product or service from live events.
Live Polls, Live Suggestions & Live Streams
New York conferences, and many corporate events, can become seasonal or annual occurrences if you’re able to build something memorable. Another must-have to add to your list is the liberal use of live polls, live suggestion requests, and live streams throughout the event. The insights can be helpful in the moment should your audience start to feel less engaged. And every nugget of advice you receive can be great for planning next year’s conference. Your corporate event should also offer a virtual hybrid element for an even broader audience. And these live surveys and streaming will make online engagements more impactful, too.
An Engaging and Talented Emcee
Your corporate event details will likely be spelled out down to the letter. But if you have a lackluster host or an emcee whose jokes don’t seem to land well, your conference could be doomed. Spend the extra time you need to identify and properly vet candidates to chaperone your event. Make sure they have experience in a professional setting, introducing keynote speakers in an entertaining way, and are capable of being the segue between event phases.
Do you have these must-have elements penciled into your corporate event strategy? This list isn’t exhaustive either. For more tips about improving attendee engagement for corporate events and New York conferences, stay in tune with our ongoing blog series. And be sure you get in the room this October with events industry titans by attending The Event Planner Expo 2022.