When planning your event, it is so important to put the delegate and their experience at the heart of your decision making. Your key event objectives and messages are important, but there is no point in planning excellent content if the delegate experience isn’t going to support them or live up to expectations.
I have worked in events for over 25 years and have specialised in the front of house side of events, so delegate care is very important to me, and I’ve seen over the years how important the ‘small stuff’ can be.
Years ago, we were working with a client on a very large event, and they decided not to have a mid-morning break. The logic was sound, it saved thousands of pounds and the morning session was only a couple of hours long, but the caffeine deprived delegates didn’t agree and by the time they broke for lunch they were not happy. It wasn’t a good experience for the delegates, and it didn’t make them feel cared for or valued. As a result, the morning session was deemed too long and the content too much, so not a productive morning.
When planning your event, walk through the day as a delegate. This exercise raises any issues that may have been missed and puts the delegate and their experience at the heart of the planning process. A happy delegate is a happy event!
The delegate experience starts with making sure the right people are invited and the registration process is quick and easy. Event comms should cover everything the delegate needs to know, and a reminder email a few days before the event is always a nice touch, so delegates have easy access to all their event information. Data gathered during the registration process should be used to plan all aspects of the event as well as highlight any special requirements such as diet or access. Pre-event comms and maximising the potential of your DMS involves and engages the delegates long before arriving at the event often on messaging and content as well as domestics and logistics.
Having a friendly and pro-active front of house events team onsite is key to delegate the experience. ‘Delegate Care’ starts as soon as the delegate arrives, with clear directions and a friendly welcome. A delegate helpdesk which is staffed all day, is really helpful for answering questions or ironing out any problems.
Catering is such an important part of events. Good quality food and drink, regular breaks and easy access to water are so vital. Great food makes people feel good and feel valued. Most clients now invest in a hot lunch and recognise the importance of food and great hospitality.
Temperature is often one of the most complained about event elements, it can be hard to get it right for everyone and often venues have complex systems which can take a while to react to settings and changes. Speak to the venue long before the event about temperature and their system – preferably at the site visit stage. Also consider other basics like light, sun direction and its impact on screen sight lines, stage presenters and general comfort.
Creating interesting and engaging content enhances the delegate experience. Delegates don’t just want to be talked at. Mix up presenting styles, allow for 2-way communication and make sure content is engaging and interactive. There are so many multi-media options that can be used together in a creative way to deliver messages. Add some unexpected variety into the day for better engagement and interaction.
The ‘small stuff’ is important and can make or break an event. Delegates who feel well cared for and valued will be more engaged and will be ready and willing to act on those important call to actions. By planning great logistics and a fabulous delegate experience, this will enhance the event overall and means delegates concentrate on the messages. If you need help to look after your delegate journey and create a great delegate experience, get in touch with us to discuss how we can help.