Editor's Note: This is a guest post contribution. Author bylines and information are found at the end of the post. To learn more about submitting guest content to the MeetingPlay Blog email Lori.E@meetingplay.com
Event planning can be a difficult and frustrating process. Whether it’s your nonprofit’s auction or your business’ big convention, managing the day-of experience and preparing for all the details can get to be a huge hassle.
But if you think about it, there are plenty of great ways to change your events around and give them that extra push they so desperately need. These changes can be made at any level of the event-planning process, from the pre-planning to the execution itself.
While events are an amazing way to bring more attention to your business, your organization, or your cause, many events can fall short in how they address the needs of their attendees. This mistake can cost you dearly.
Many event planners don’t pay attention to basic adjustments that could take their event planning to the next level. These include such activities as designing unique gifts or using event apps to make their attendees feel more deeply involved in the overall experience.
And although different events like raffles and silent auctions might require different planning on the logistics-end of things, there are still some ways you can improve your event no matter what it is.
If you think your event-planning is missing something, you are not alone. There are plenty of brilliant ways you can achieve great results, and there are plenty of event-management services out there who can help you. Take a look at these innovative event ideas to get yourself started.
Upgrade your event by designing unique gifts.
Gifts are a commonly overlooked way to add an extra element of fun to your event-planning.
Offering gift packages is an excellent idea to give to your attendees. You can add all sorts of merchandise to the package and reward special sponsors or important attendees with specific gift bags.
Creating custom merch for your event is another fantastic way you can literally give your attendees something to remember you by. Not only does it charm your attendees, but it also acts as a great branding opportunity for your organization. So it’s a win-win!
Events like auctions or raffles are centered around fantastic and exciting gifts that your attendees can take home. Additionally, any event can have a gift-based element to it. And you can also offer all sorts of surprise prizes during your event to create a fun and inviting atmosphere for all of your attendees.
Take advantage of the pre-planning period to make your event really shine.
It’s easy to underestimate how important pre-planning is to the event process. But there are so many great opportunities to boost event attendance during this part of the event-planning process, that it would be a mistake not to pay attention to them.
Do some thinking prior to the event-planning process in order to understand your audience. Consider who you want to attend the event and what demographics they might be a part of. This will affect the entire event-planning process. For example, a convention for medical professionals will require different event-planning than a silent auction held for your church.
If you can, it’s also a great idea to take surveys of your target demographic in order to understand how they look at events and what they want from each event they attend. Once again, this will change depending on your target audience. Also, if it is an option, look at any feedback you’ve gotten from past events or other survey data in order to plan the best event you can.
Once you’ve collected information and thought about you ideal attendees, it is a good move to set an achievable goal for your event. The important word here is achievable. You don’t want your raffle fundraiser to look like it failed at reaching its target amount, even though you could’ve raised a decent amount of money regardless.
There are a number of Salesforce partners, as well as partners with other CRMs, that can help at this phase of the event-planning process. Make sure to do your research and figure out what software can help you the most.
Use a chatbot or an event app to make the event experience smooth and enjoyable.
Chatbots and event apps are a fantastic addition to the event-planning process.
Did you know that there is a difference between chatbots and event apps? Although they can both be integrated with each in order to help with better event-planning, each tool has its own set of capabilities.
♦ Chatbots are computer programs designed to interact with users as if they were human. They can be useful in multiple situations, including surveys and customer service. When it comes to event planning, they are helpful when gathering feedback from attendees and for providing information to anyone interested in the event.
♦ Event apps are any kind of customer-oriented software that can be used by the attendee during the event itself in order to increase their immersion in the experience. They offer all kinds of features like social network functionality, user profiles, and activity feeds. They can perform all of a chatbot’s services like taking feedback and providing information, but they also add an extra level of depth to the attendee’s event experience.
Don’t forget that event apps and chatbots can be used together to create a fully interactive event for everyone involved. This allows your attendees to feel taken care of and helps create an exciting and cutting-edge event for everybody. The best event apps can integrate fully with all kinds of software your organization might be using, including CRMs.
Personalize elements of your event for attendees.
Personalization is a key method of making your event fun and likable. Adding interactivity and depth to you event apps and your feedback process, for example, can only help your current event and any event planning you might do in the future.
Using the right event app makes all the difference when it comes to personalization. By using such features as profiles and session check-ins, great event apps can act as tools to help your attendees feel important and involved. This can be a deciding factor in how attendees perceive your event.
Taking advantage of kiosks onsite the day of the event can also lessen the amount of work you have to do in order to make sure the event runs smoothly. Kiosks can eliminate a lot of potential errors when it comes to checking in your attendees or other logistical concerns you might run into the day of the event.
Another great move is to collect audience data in order to understand how successful your efforts have been to target the right demographic for your event. Use an event-app or a kiosk to get an idea of what your turnout is and what changes you need to make according to the research you do.
Make the most out of the day-of experience.
The most important day in event-planning is, of course, the event itself.
When it comes to the day of, there are a number of event planning tips that can help you make the most out of all the time and labor you’ve spent in the days, weeks, and months leading up to the event.
It can be interesting, for example, when an event can use multiple and unique spaces. After all, not all events need to take place in the hotel conference room! Think about unconventional spaces your event could be held in, or simply think of surprising ways to use the space you have to add a level of excitement your attendees will certainly appreciate.
A helpful idea is to find an exciting keynote speaker. If you can find a recognizable speaker, you’ll find that attendees will be even more interested in the event than they were before. Even if you can’t find a recognizable keynote, simply finding an engaging and energetic speaker will do wonders for how your attendees experience the event.
And yes, that does mean that a key part of event-planning is keeping the audience involved. Whether that means holding the right kind of games or booking the right speaker, your attendees and their relationship to your goals should be the main focus of your event-planning process.
So pay attention to any opportunities for increased attendee involvement that you might be missing. For example, if you’re ordering custom shirts for your event through a company like Bonfire, think about the design you’re using on the shirt. See if you can use the shirt to connect with you attendees on a deeper level.
While these suggestions aren’t the only improvements you can make, they actually are a fantastic way to begin improving your entire event-planning process. Use them as inspiration and start to take your events to new places.
With all of these ideas, you should have no problem taking a second look at your event planning and seeing where you could improve. Soon you’ll realize how helpful even some tiny tweaks can be. At the very least, there’ll be a few spots where creative event ideas will make a difference.
Keep in mind that not all of these tips are applicable to every event. A nonprofit’s keynote speech will need some different planning than a business convention.
So with these ideas at your disposal, it should be no problem to throw a stellar event that will impress attendees and sponsors alike!