It seems that today the most well attended conventions seem to be the ones that dangle the best carrots for the. That has a lot of meeting planners working hard planning convention activities that could potentially end up being the deciding factor for delegates on whether to attend or not.
Take the Pulse of Delegates Before Planning Convention Activities
Convention activities such as tours, restaurants and theater performances usually get good numbers. This is why many planners hire a, or “DMC” as they are known in the industry, to help them plan their convention planning activities. DMC’s, being the local experts, are usually very good at proposing activities which reflect the best that the region has to offer. Look at previous years’ conventions to see what was popular as well as any feedback that the delegates provided. Many DMC’ S keep this information on hand and are willing to share their numbers with industry colleagues. In fact I would be concerned if a DMC refused to provide you with that information. It’s also a good idea to get feedback from the potential delegates themselves. If your organization has regular correspondence with its members, it’s not a bad idea to use an informal survey to also find out what attendees want to do.
Planning Convention Activities from Past Mistakes
When you’re doing your research for planning convention activities it’s also a good idea that you take a look at what did not work well in the past. As saying goes – it’s not the fact that you make a mistakes, rather it’s what you learn from that mistake that matters. The same can be said about planning convention activities. Look at which activities underperformed at previous conventions. Did they fail because of weather, or another factor that was beyond the control of the organizer? Or, did they fail because there was little to no interest from the delegates themselves? This is important to know. The previous activity may have been one that delegates would have signed up for but perhaps didn’t because of weather or other unforeseen reason. So the activity itself, even though the numbers were low from previous years, might be worth offering again this year. This is why it’s important to know your attendees and what they like to do at conventions. Especially if the group is composed of pretty much the same people year after year.
Planning convention activities shouldn’t be an afterthought. As any seasonedknows – offering the right activities to the right delegates can often increase your attendance. It’s important to find out the likes and dislikes of potential attendees, as well what the top tours and activities of the region are. Doing so can mean the difference between a well attended convention and one where the delegates seem bored, or worse yet, don’t attend.