Updated Oct 12th, 2023 by Nicolas Zenker
Organizing a successful corporate business event is like putting together a highly complex machine composed of many moving parts. You have to think about your event topic, your keynote speakers and panelists, your venue, your refreshments, and, of course, your attendees.
The latter element, in fact, is possibly the most crucial for success—and the one we’ll focus on in this article. Keep reading our unmissable guide if you’re looking for ways to blow your event attendees away at your next gathering.
Whether you run a sportswear store, a VoIP phone service, or a food business, you are surely familiar with what the customer experience is. Without any further connotations, a customer experience includes all the actions and events that happen between you and your customers across all the touch points of their customer journey.
In a similar way, the event attendee experience is about how you and your event attendee interact at various points of a business event. Customer experiences can be positive or negative, depending on how well you craft them, and the same goes for event attendee experiences.
Importantly, to build a great experience for your event attendees, you need to consider the three stages of the event: before, during, and after the event itself takes place. This may feel like a lot, but don’t worry—we are delving deeper into each of these and providing plenty of actionable tips to ensure your success.
Now, let’s look at the top three benefits that a great event attendee experience can generate for your business.
One of the core elements of stellar event experiences is attendee engagement. When your event guests feel part of what’s happening at the event, they are much more likely to enjoy it and leave with a big smile on their faces (and awesome reviews on your website). Happy event attendees are also more likely to turn into happy paying customers, which is the lifeblood of any business.
Speaking of reviews, if your attendees found that their experience at your event was fabulous, they will be eager to flood you with stellar feedback. And, as you know, five-star customer reviews are one of the main drivers of a thriving business and the best (and cheapest) type of word-of-mouth you can get.
Once you have nailed the pillars of an exceptional event attendee’s experience, you can use them to inform your next event—and massively increase the likelihood of continued success.
Unlike what you may think, crafting an incredible attendee experience is not limited to ensuring that your guests have a great time on the day of the event. It starts much earlier and continues way after the event is over.
Find out more in the next sections.
You have all the main elements: a captivating topic, a phenomenal panel of speakers, and a super-cool venue. Now is the perfect time to start shouting about your event from the (virtual) rooftops—and get those email reminders ready!
A few months before your event is set to happen, start creating some hype around it. Unsurprisingly, social media is the best place to do this. Take to your social pages and begin using event-related hashtags, posting content about the event, and offering sneak peeks of what it will all be about.
In parallel, you should also create an event-specific landing page which you’re going to dutifully update with more information the closer you get to the event. On this page, you should also include a link for quick, easy, and secure registration and payment. Make sure that your event landing page has a trusted and locally-relevant domain, such as a .il domain if your company operates in Israel.
When creating your invitations, make sure that you address each guest by their name (either by using their first or full name). This will provide that extra bit of personalization that people love and that helps you deliver a great event experience.
As we mentioned earlier, a great attendee experience is all about engagement and interaction. And what better way to boost both than by using fun polls, questionnaires, and surveys to help you steer your event in the right direction?
Ask your guests anything: favorite business topics, go-to industry leaders, and even more “trivial” aspects such as refreshments, activities, and entertainment. All the data you gather at this stage is very precious as it will tell you more about what your audience wants and needs from your event.
Make sure that attendees can easily contact you, wherever they are. Using a modern communications solution with automated emails and a VoIP phone service means attendees can reach you anywhere and you can set up a series of automated emails with surveys and detailed information leading up to the day of the event.
Based on these findings, you can tweak your event to meet your attendees’ expectations and show them how much you care about delivering a fantastic experience.
The big day is finally here! This is your golden opportunity to make it a memorable one for all your guests.
Few things are more off-putting at an event than standing in a long line waiting to be registered and welcomed. Make sure this doesn’t happen by implementing fast, automated registration processes that let all your guests in quickly and in a stress-free way.
You can also offer a hybrid experience for potential guests who want to attend remotely. If you employ a virtual phone system with video and chat capabilities, you can offer a high-quality experience. You can also involve these guests in the Q&A section through the groupchat and as your speakers the submitted questions. This will help remote attendees feel more engaged.
To ensure that your attendees make the most of your event, provide them with lots of opportunities to chat, mingle, and do a bit of networking. Two of the best ways in which you can do this are:
One of the main reasons why your attendees are here today is to see and hear your panelists and speakers. So, make sure you don’t disappoint them and gather a few top-notch industry leaders who are also charismatic, captivating, and entertaining.
Throughout the day, you’ll want to offer your event attendees lots of opportunities for learning, networking, and enjoyment. To this effect, you may want to consider including the following:
Think that all your hard work is done now the event is over? Think again. Nurturing your after-event activities means nurturing your audience, which in turn is great for your business in the long term.
Do you remember the feeling you always get when you’re driving home after an incredible day spent at the most inspiring business event? That’s the exact feeling you’ll want to tap into right now that the curtains are closing on your big day.
Craft personalized thank-you emails for all your guests, and add a CTA at the end, which links to a little bonus. For example, ask them to leave their feedback on the event, and, in turn, you will unlock a special discount or a freebie that they might enjoy.
In parallel, keep the buzz going on social media. Re-post stories in which your attendees have tagged you, respond to comments and DMs and write a wrap-up post to celebrate your success.
You could also consider setting up a chat service on your event website or app. This can be a valuable platform for attendees to continue networking, share insights, and even engage in post-event discussions with speakers and panelists. This ensures that connections made during the event can thrive beyond the event’s timeframe, fostering a sense of community among your attendees.
If you want to elevate the attendee experience even further, consider giving your guests access to special webinars and micro-sessions that can take place online in the following days and weeks. These will keep their interest and attention strong, which in turn makes it more likely they’ll stick around for longer.
Customer feedback is where it’s at when it comes to determining the success of an event. So, at the end of the event, provide your attendees with easy, quick, and anonymous ways to leave ratings and reviews, as well as offer suggestions on how you could improve your future events further.
Your event is over, but you are left with a ton of great-quality content. From keynote speeches to customer reviews, from questionnaires to Q&A sessions, the wealth of information is still there for you to use: why not repurpose it?
Turn your inspiring speeches into podcasts, your best reviews into customer testimonials, and your thought-provoking Q&A sessions into blog posts.
Bringing together a fantastic panel of speakers at a beautiful venue is only part of what makes a business event successful. The real benchmark for triumph is crafting an amazing event attendee experience.
In our guide, we looked at the importance of the event attendee experience, as well as offered plenty of actionable tips to build an incredible experience for your guests. Are you ready to wow them at your next event?