Okay, so your guests already confirmed their attendance and bought their tickets. So you just send them a quick “see you there” message and just leave it at that until event day, right? No, far from it.
You still have a lot of work to do to keep them up to date in the interim between the ticket purchase and day of the event. Here’s a few ideas to keep guests in the loop.
1. Show Guests What Others Are Saying
All those tweets and other social media posts that people are sending make for some pretty hefty user generated content. Look for positive posts that include the event hashtag and content that you may deem worthy of sharing.
These can be written posts, Instagram pics, or captioned GIFs. Aside from sharing them on your social networks, you can also embed them on your blog posts or take snapshots of them. The tweets and posts can even be older ones from a previous event.
Consider posts from last year’s event taken during the event, such as a tweet like this taken during the 2014 Americas Incentive Business Travel and Meetings exposition.
2. Continuous Updates
Your event will likely still be in its planning phase well after tickets go on sale. As such, some aspects of the event may still to be determined. Once you acquire new information, such as securing a venue or speaker, share it with the attendees.
The easiest way to send updates is via tweets, though you can also use Instagram or Snapchat if you have a visual presentation of the update. If you have something at length to say about the update, then include it in your blog or vlog and include the link to the blog/vlog post on your social media.
3. A Breakdown of the Event
As the event comes together during the planning phase, you will be able to begin breaking it down. Guests should know what to expect by the time they enter the venue. As soon as the event is mostly organized, send attendees a breakdown. You can also send them a digital copy of the scheduler if it’s already available.
The breakdown should be detailed and include information, such as:
- What to expect when they enter the venue (e.g. registration, having bags checked)
- Time and location of the workshops
- Time of main presentation
- Lunch/intermission and type of food served
Also keep in mind that you don’t have to wait until every last bit of detail is in to share your breakdown. You can send partial schedulers and let guests know that more details will be filled in in the coming days.
4. Introduce Your Speakers
Let attendees know who the speaker is once you have someone confirmed. Of course, you should go further and introduce the speaker in depth. This is especially the case if he is relatively unknown. Include the speaker’s complete bio and portfolio.
Highlight some of his experiences and past events he presented at. Include links to videos of his speaking engagements if available. Guests will be more receptive to the speaker if they have an idea of his background and industry history. This also helps the speaker build his name recognition if he’s still particularly unknown.
5. An introduction of the Venue and the Area
The venue can use some love, too. Give a detailed overview of the facility, such as:
- Driving directions and parking information, such as whether a parking permit is required
- Available amenities, such as a bar, spa, pool table, etc.
- Venue layout, such as whether there’s a balcony, a VIP lounge, smoking area, or handicap access
- A detailed history of the venue, such as the year it was built, what it was previously used for, when it first became open to the public, etc.
While you’re at it, go ahead and also highlight some of the landmarks around the venue. Are there popular restaurants or cafes within walking distance that you would recommend for guests to stop by before or after the event?
Maybe there are a few nearby locations that are notable Pokestops; guests that are avid Pokémon Go players might appreciate this little detail.
6. Introduce Your Event App
If you’re using an event app, then be sure to make it available for download as soon as it’s ready for use. You can add a blog post or video tutorial on how to use it and how it works. You don’t want guests becoming discouraged because they’re having trouble figuring out the intricacies of your event app.
Don’t leave it to guesswork or trial and error for your guests; walk them through the steps. The event app can also come with some pre-loaded material, such as the event scheduler or the post-event survey that they’ll be able to submit after the event.
Don’t leave attendees hanging between the time they buy a ticket and day of event. Make an effort to constantly engage with them. Not only will this increase anticipation but it will also improve overall business/customer rapport.
This is a guest post by Dan McCarthy, Event Manager at JD Parties, an event management company based in the UK. Dan has five years of event project management under his belt. He has worked on many successful events, and currently he shares his knowledge by writing on the company blog. Follow him on Twitter @DanCarthy2.