This Event Expert article focuses on event programming and specifically on how to stop attendees leaving events early.
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When do you think I can get away with leaving your event?
There will always be delegates, guests who want to sneak off early to hit the road; go shopping or just bunk off! It’s not ideal and can sometimes really deplete audience numbers for those final programme items. So is there anything we can do to help stop this early exodus. Well, here are a few thoughts.
- Make sure your event is actually worth staying for i.e. it finishes with a bang. No ‘cope out’ networking sessions, panels or Q & A’s. They will never encourage us to stay. Do make sure the last few activities sound, read and look as good as the early programme items. You really need to ‘promote’ these final sessions relentlessly.
- If the last day is only a ½ day then delegates will assume (rightly or wrongly) it is half as good as the previous day’s programme. Delegates therefore often think – let’s save the hotel bill and hit the road. The lesson: the last day has to be as good as the first day! With no exceptions.
- Incentivise staying. Could those that stay get a white paper or receive a free recording of the event. This only works if what you are offering is of genuine value to the delegates or guests and those NOT staying are therefore going to be charged for access to these incentives.
- Make it feel worth staying. Is there an after-show party, a chance to win a big prize? Consider why anyone would want to come to the party – give them a compelling reason to stay. This is again a heavy selling job
- You should also get your keynote speakers to do more than just present and go. Can they help you pre-promote their sessions? Will they stick around after the event to meet your delegates? Speakers can really help: let me rephrase this should help you keep bums of seats.
- How far? If you know your audience has travelled a long way then getting final event timings right are key. Do a quick survey, ring up a few previous delegates who you know have travelled a good distance and ask them what times would work for them: when would they seek to leave – however good the star attractions maybe.
You and I will never like early leavers, so it is important to make sure your event really is worth staying to the end for.
About Chris Powell, The Event Expert
I run an event management training and consultancy company (The Event Expert) delivering In-house and On-Line event management training courses and event consultancy services to accidental, occasional and professional event managers. My objective is to give them the confidence and skills to design, plan, promote and deliver their own successful and rewarding events.
My courses are based on 20+ years of practical event management experience. I practice what I preach!
My clients come from the world of business, education, sport, the public and charity sector, training companies, tourism, creative agencies, universities and festivals.