Planning an event can be quite the minefield. With the internet bringing greater connectivity than ever before, participants expect more from conferences than they did in years’ past. Conferences used to be one of the few opportunities for industry networking, but now strangers can make business connections online that sustain for life.
Despite this, conferences are more popular than ever before. Perhaps it’s a desire to put faces to email addresses, or a need to step away from the screens for a day, to socialize, learn and grow.
The downside of this is that as conferences become more popular, there’s increased competition between events. Participants are fussier than ever before about what events they want to attend, and want to attend events that meet their specific needs. To make your event stand out, you have to cater to these needs.
But what are they?
Finding out what people really want from events can be difficult, but luckily these days there are tools you can use to find out what most people want, like an event app.
If you figure out what participants want, you can create an event that’s successful this year, and that people will be eager to attend in the years to follow.
We’ve broken down five best ways to find out what participants want from an event.
1. Engage with Participants on Social Media
These days most people are glued to their handsets, keeping up with friends – and with strangers- on their favorite social media sites. Lots of brands have successfully engaged with their customers on social media to make fan-favorite decisions- like KFC launching the ‘Double Down’ Burger.
Tap into this resource and run a campaign for your event across social media platforms. If you create a rapport with participants, you’ll be able to find out what they like in event, what they dislike, what they love, and what is an absolute no-no.
2. Use Polling Software
Although it isn’t a hard and fast rule in life – and certainly not in business – when it comes to planning an event: majority rules.
You want your event to appeal to as many people as possible, but it’s hard to figure out how to do that only using anecdotal evidence. In this day and age, you don’t have to rely on hearsay or dubious advice to discover what most people want; you can reliably poll participants yourself.
Using an event app like MeetApp means you can poll people who are interested in your conference about what they’re really looking for from an event. Just ask a question, provide multiple options and find out exactly what most people want- then execute it. No longer do you have to rely on unreliable second-hand feedback.
This tactic can become a marketing point for your conference in and of itself: yours is the conference which participants help build.
3. Ask Potential Participants Their Needs
Using an event app like MeetApp means you can ask your participants questions regarding their specific needs. This completely cuts out the middle man between you and your participants, and allows for direct engagement between you and them.
You simply send a question through the app, and participants choose whether they want to respond. It’s a great way of soliciting information without being pushy or aggressive- tactics which alienate participants.
Participants really favor an approach like this. When event organizers solicit their feedback, and listen to their needs, it shows a real level of care- which is great way to create advocates from participants.
4. Leave Time for Session-based Feedback
Gathering and understanding audience feedback like which session topics were most popular or which session speakers were effective is a great way to help shape better future events. The most effective time to gather that feedback is at the very end of each session while the attendees feedback is still fresh in their minds.
At you next event, be sure to let your session facilitators dedicate the last 5 minutes of their session to having their attendees open their apps and complete the session evaluation. With MeetApp, you can create session evaluation questions across your entire program or have certain questions on specific sessions.
5. Use a Dynamic Word Cloud
Let’s face it, most people are a bit nosy. Because of this, participants will be keen to see the feedback of others.
Use a feature like MeetApp’s Dynamic Word Cloud to visualize the feedback you’ve got so far, so everyone can engage with it. This visualization satisfies people’s curiosity about what other people are thinking- and the enjoyment they get from it makes them more likely to engage in future feedback.
A dynamic Word Cloud means feedback generates feedback; making sure you can plan the best event based on your participants needs and desires.