comebacksoonLet’s face these facts: Without attendees, you have no meeting. And without a key group of attendees who return year after year, your marketing time and effort to secure new ones goes up, up, up.

So, what’s the value of a repeat attendee? It’s much greater than you think.

Today’s blog post will focus on the value of this niche attendee and the four things you can do to garner their interest early and keep it piqued.

Returning Attendees Have Value

Research states the following:

  • Repeat attendees refer twice as many people as a new attendee.
  • It’s five to 10 times more expensive to acquire a new attendee than to retain a current one.
  • 89 percent of attendees turn to your competitors after a poor experience.
    Remember: There are approximately 500,000 events each year in the United States alone.
  • Attendees who come back learn to trust your organization.

Given all of these parameters, it makes tremendous sense to keep your existing attendees extremely happy and make them your invisible marketing arm.

Four Key Ingredients to the Secret Sauce:

Deliver Consistent, Excellent Content

This may seem intuitively obvious, but if your conference delivers great education through fantastic speakers who resonate with your audience, people will be leaving your meeting ready to conquer the world and willing to come back next time.

It’s when you have “chinks in the armor,” so to speak, where the speakers are flat and the message is convoluted, that you’re at risk for losing attendees. And at the end of the meeting, the attendee has assessed that the opportunity cost was too high; he or she should have stayed home instead.

But if they keep coming and the conference is always great, they will spread the word and be the first ones to sign up again as soon as registration opens.

Make the Registration Process Easy Peasy

Make sure your attendees can register online 24/7 with payment options available from all major credit cards. Don’t have login requirements, PDFs or redirects to multiple sites. With every step of difficulty, the attendee will be more reluctant to register with you.

Make it easy for attendees to add guests or to cancel if they need to do so.

Don’t forget to place the registration link everywhere — on your website, social media channels and distributed through ongoing email campaigns.

Help Attendees Make Connections and Feel Welcome

Whether it’s through strategic introductions, networking sessions, gamification or mentoring new, younger attendees, people need to feel a sense of belonging.

Start off your session right by having a welcoming committee to make new and returning attendees know their time is appreciated, questions are welcome, and you and your staff are there to help in any way possible.

Use Data to Make Intelligent Decisions

Gather the data from the conference including: individual requests, interests and feedback about the destination, venue, presenters and topics, and use every last piece of it to craft a better meeting. Treat every piece of data as if it were a key to a door to something great.

Too often, data from conferences is ignored, scuttled, forgotten or talked away through planner biases and experience. Remember the first statement of this blog — without attendees, you have no meeting.

Consolidate your key findings and communicate the plan for improvements to everyone who attended the conference. This instills confidence that their suggestions are being heard, and that confidence brings about trust in return.

Kalahari Resorts and Conventions Can Help

Giving participants an environment for learning and networking is one of Kalahari’s goals to help you bring attendees back year after year. Improve the odds of attendees loving your event by taking advantage of the numerous ways they can also relax and bring their families along!

Kalahari Resorts and Conventions combines the best in family-friendly resort amenities with massive, state-of-the-art convention space, leading to a 20 percent increase in meeting attendance. Give one of our group sales professionals a call at 855.411.4605 to learn more about our own secret sauce!