Keeping conferences interesting isn’t always an easy task. When you’re squeezing so much information and so many moments of networking into a few short hours or days, keeping it lively can be difficult.
That’s why we’ve compiled a few tips, tricks, and refreshing ideas to keep your conferences current and engaging.
Top 10 Conference Ideas
1. Vamp up the Venue
Sure, maybe a standard auditorium or speaker to audience setup might work well for your event, but don’t be afraid to look into creative venues that can accommodate your sessions. No matter the type of conference, paying attention to the environment you’re creating as a planner is crucial. Do you want it to be warm and conversational? Colorful and exciting? Clean and innovative? Picking a venue that aligns with the objectives of the event is a great way to get started on the right foot.
2. Smooth Out Your Check-In
Speaking of getting started on the right foot, check-in lines that leave your attendees waiting around impatiently? Not exactly the best first impression. To streamline your check-in process, consider investing in check-in kiosks that will allow your conference attendees to skip the lines and begin their experience effortlessly and efficiently. Show your attendees that you value their time, rather than leaving them waiting around in anticipation.
3. Mobile App Magic
Introducing an event mobile app into your conference is a subtle key to success. By giving your attendees access to personalized agendas right on their phone, you eliminate the hassle of printing and reprinting. If there’s a change of location, or a session cancellation, you can send a notification without stressing. Additionally, going paperless is always a plus.
4. Go Sustainable
Going paperless, or incorporating sustainability into your conference, can help to do good while unifying your attendees with a greater cause. For example, this year, IMEX’s sustainability initiative encouraged attendees and vendors to bring together innovative and creative ideas to incorporate sustainability into their events. Not only are you using your conference to promote the green values you believe in, but you’re also bringing people together to share ideas and converse about this important topic.
5. Techy Badges and Tags
In line with sustainability and eliminating lines, remember to explore your options for attendee badges. Whether it's tags, passive wearables, NFC or RFID technologies, or plastic badges, event badges allow planners to personalize the attendee experience and connect attendees. Event badges can become attendee's payment methods, their food vouchers, in addition to being thier ticket into certain experiences. All they have to do is tap or scan. By simply improving your attendee badges, not only will your revolutionize your attendee's event experience, but you will also gain valuable event metrics and attendee data that you can use to improve future events.
6. Balance Exclusivity and Inclusivity
In the case of big conferences, it can help to create an air of casual exclusivity, by giving some attendees the ability to purchase VIP registrations. These VIP attendees might be granted access to exclusive sessions. That being said, in giving your VIP attendees extra attention, don’t make the mistake of forgetting to give your general attendees a special and personalized experience.
7. Competitive Conferencing
In a conference that’s beginning to drag, use one of the most simple tools to turn it around: competition. Whether you use a mobile app for gamification, scavenger hunts or live polling, creating an atmosphere of friendly competition will get your attendees motivated and communicative.
8. F&B - Get With It
This may sound simple, but stay up to date on the latest food and beverage trends. Whether your attendees are looking for an interactive food experience, a fancy coffee bar, or a classy cocktail hour, keeping your finger on the pulse of F&B trends will help you to provide them with that experience.
9. Fun Thought Leadership
Another way to increase registration numbers and to build anticipation for your conference is to bring in a celebrity keynote speaker or a leader in your industry. Whether you decide to disclose who it is or not, the idea of a guest speaker is exciting and engaging, and will get your attendees excited.
10. Give Back
Lastly, everyone wants to leave your event feeling good, so what better way than to offer a charitable element. Whether you donate some proceeds from the conference to a charity, build sponsorships and partnerships with one, or simply encourage donations, charitable events help those who need it and leave your attendees feeling like they’ve done good in the world.
Hopefully, if you keep these ideas in mind as you plan and execute your conference, you’ll serve up a great attendee experience, and leave people ready to return.