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How to Boost Conference Attendance—Three Easy Ways

May 18, 2018

If you run an association, you understand the importance of conferences. Not only do they connect your members, they’re often an important source of revenue. So, if conference attendance is lagging, your association might be in trouble. Let’s fix that.

Here are three simple ways to boost attendance at your next conference.

Complete a Content Audit

Why do people attend conferences? According to a 2017 survey from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), the top driver is education. 92% of the 9,000 respondents said that continuing education is top of mind when deciding to attend.

This means that content is crucial. Before you set your next conference in motion, stop and perform a content audit. Does your programming give members the educational value they crave? Is the format helping or hindering the learning process? Would attendees enjoy more break-out sessions or more keynote speeches?

Consider attendees’ needs and infuse your next meeting with the right learning opportunities. Members will thank you by attending your events.

Promote Local Attractions

While education is important, let’s face it, attendees want to have fun and explore new places. 78% of the respondents to ASAE’s survey said that destination factors into their decision. Around 30% said that destination is the deciding factor!

Not every association can host meetings in top-tier locations—and that’s okay. Every location, regardless of popularity, has unique attractions. To increase attendance, highlight those exciting opportunities for attendees to experience and explore.

Don’t think that people attend industry events solely for the industry part. Entice them with what’s exciting and unique about your next conference location.

Refresh Your Networking

76% of respondents said that they attend conferences to network. This makes sense. After all, it’s face-to-face interaction that makes conferences so valuable. Only at association events can attendees connect with so many peers in the same place.

Of course, traditional networking mixers can get tiresome. Even those members who value networking may become bored with the same old event format. For your next event, refresh your networking sessions and build some buzz in your marketing. Think unconventional locations (a hike?) or novel formats (a competition?) to keep your networking fresh.

When planning your next conference, remember why people attend: education, destination, and networking. Give members more of what they want and you’ll surely see them at your next event.

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