Revitalize Participation: Innovative Approaches for Elevating Attendance at Your Association’s Upcoming In-Person Event

By Autumn Quarantotto • August 23, 2023

Events have evolved significantly, transitioning from exclusively virtual affairs to a dynamic blend of hybrid, virtual, and live experiences. This shift underscores the paramount importance of achieving attendance goals, irrespective of event scale. Whether it’s a small-scale member meet and greet aiming for 100 participants or a grand annual show with a target of 3,000 attendees, the common denominator is the drive to maximize participation. However, a prevailing trend post-COVID reveals that in-person attendance rates have plateaued at around 70% of pre-pandemic levels. Acknowledging this shift, we have formulated three strategies to reignite member interest.

Elevate FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)

Empirical data affirms a preference for face-to-face gatherings over virtual or hybrid alternatives. Leverage this insight to your advantage during event promotion. Capitalize on the psychological phenomenon known as FOMO – the fear of missing out – to invigorate enthusiasm for your association’s in-person events.

Incorporate FOMO enhancement into event announcements. Craft engaging social media posts, captivating video commercials, and targeted email campaigns that spotlight the exclusive benefits of physical attendance. Will participants wield the power to influence crucial association decisions? Could they snag a coveted swag bag reserved solely for on-site attendees? Might they seize a rare opportunity to engage with industry luminaries? Furthermore, introduce “by-invitation-only” sessions or mixers tailored for A+ prospects and esteemed speakers. Additionally, align with influential speakers and thought leaders, utilizing their clout to amplify anticipation for your upcoming event. This dual strategy expands event outreach while lending credibility to your lineup.

Highlight the experiential facets. Emphasize the wealth of knowledge awaiting participants and the vibrant event atmosphere. Stress the camaraderie and support attendees will garner from industry peers – a dimension that virtual interactions can’t replicate. To crystallize the event’s allure, share vibrant visuals and videos from past editions, conjuring vivid expectations for prospective attendees.

Unleash Incentives

An incentivization approach serves as another potent attendance catalyst. Extend enticements like early-bird discounts for prompt registration or group incentives for those bringing their entire teams.

Early-bird savings reward punctual registrants while furnishing organizers with attendance estimates for strategic planning. Such financial perks resonate strongly with budget-conscious attendees, amplifying their ROI and enthusiasm. Correspondingly, these positive experiences influence post-event discourse, stimulating interest within professional circles.

Consider the “buy-one-get-one” (BOGO) strategy or tiered discounts for organizations registering larger groups. Introducing a “bring an industry friend” incentive fosters a sense of friendly competition among members and augments registration figures.

Simultaneous Event Pairing

Why settle for one when you can offer two? Consider hosting concurrent or co-located events, enhancing accessibility for attendees. Collaborate with kindred associations or allied industries to deliver added value through convenience, networking, and cost efficiency.

This dual-event concept not only optimizes participant experience but also brings forth logistical and resource benefits. Reduced costs, vendor perks, and enhanced sponsor and exhibitor value cascade from this approach, all while extending your brand reach to new horizons.

This proposition stands as a mutually beneficial proposition, benefiting both attendees and your association.

In Summation

Concerted efforts toward curating compelling, value-rich events amplify in-person attendance and engagement. Should your association seek adept guidance in navigating post-pandemic event dynamics and augmenting in-person participation, Naylor stands poised with expert insights in trade show and event management.

To delve deeper into how Naylor can kindle member enthusiasm and bolster attendance at your next event, do not hesitate to connect with our team today. Your event’s success story awaits.

About The Author

Autumn Quarantotto-Caruso is the Senior Marketing Manager at Digital Summit, the nation’s largest conference series for digital marketers. Reach her at [email protected].