As the event unfolds, the responsibilities also emerge. Despite an extensive planning, things might not go as foreseen, so it’s important to at least draft a strategy just in case there is a need for in-event adjustments. But the task also involves managing even the normal circumstances, because even though they are predictable, they still need to be pumped up constantly to avoid dull moments.
A good marketing events team prepares for both the expected and unexpected:
Hospitality and Parking. It’s easy enough to deduce that most people who attend business events don’t go there strictly for business – they’d also wanna take a break from their corporate world for a change. Imagine checking into a hotel and everyone greets you, takes your bag and gives you a drink while you wait for your room. It’s a sign of good things to come, and generates a good first impression. And take note of parking, too – don’t let them walk a long way from the parking lot to the venue, because it’s going to be hard to win them back.
Registration. It’s a standard process, so most people don’t see the significance of that piece of paper that contains the list of everyone who came, including those who are not expected to be there. It’s a golden list of prospects who could, given the right circumstances, be the very people you would be having business with soon. Make the most out of it by including a column for email addresses, contact numbers and other useful information. And set up at least three people at the registration table; long queues are not very welcome-y.
Fill the gaps.Business people usually arrive early, especially in out-of-town, large-scale events. They may have to wait until the event officially starts, so it’s great to have a little tour of the venue (say, a golf resort or a fantastic hotel), to kill the time. If your venue isn’t that eye-popping, you could serve a little snack and play a little music (be careful of the song choices, it says something about the event itself). Plus tip: free Wi-Fi access.
Engage and interact. Good speakers may already incorporate question-and-answer portions in their stints, but to further the interaction, some events let the attendees gather around in small groups to do a little discussion about certain topics. Others pass around pieces of paper with standing questions asking for people’s opinion about the talk. Leave room for event feedback, but steer away from lengthy multiple choice surveys.
Give them something. A little souvenir wouldn’t hurt, but while you’re at it, why not include calling cards or company brochures? Giveaways make them feel special and give them something to remember the event with, so they can spread the word. Don’t overdo with the brochures, though.
Show your appreciation. The operative word is “show” and there’s a difference between showing and telling. Ask them if they had fun, shake their hands, and walk them to the exits. Leave an impression that you’re going to see each other again.