I have a confession. I’m “somewhat” of a picky person. As a child that aspect of my personality was reflected in food preferences—I wouldn’t eat anything green (or red, orange, yellow, blue, purple…). Basically I stuck to cheddar cheese and white bread. Now that my taste buds have matured, I find my self being picky about other things—my job, my apartment, and events I attend. A few days ago I was surprised with an email about a conference I’ve been searching for for months.
I spent half an hour on the site getting excited for the event–the speakers are leaders in the field, the networking opportunities are ideal, and the vendors are offering exclusives–in other words, everything seemed perfect, even to my picky self. But once I began registration, a very important detail was exposed: it’s being held across the country!
When you plan the events for your association, don’t assume your participants are in the same city. Tell visitors upfront where the event is being held because finding out late will lead to disappointment and abandonment.
It is easy to share location, especially if you already have a landing page for the event (which you should). But don’t stop there! Exceed expectations by offering suggestions for travel methods and nearby hotels. This doesn’t mean you have to book the plane, train, or automobile, but do provide upfront information so you don’t loose people mid-registration.
Of course, you still want to attract the people who can’t make the travel commitment. Recently associations and other organizations have been offering online versions of events–you can stream lectures and provide links to vendor’s sites. But be careful because no matter how many people attend from their desks, your event won’t look successful if the in-person crowd is small! Make sure there is incentive to attend your event in person; try offering only a portion of the content in the online version.
As a final note, display times and dates visibly, clearly, and consistently too! I can’t tell you how many times I have seen organizations print a different start time on each medium. Is it 1:00? 1:30? or 1:45? The answer will make a big difference in how attendees plan their travels because a picky person like me is going to want to plan out every detail of the day.