Location, Location, Location. New Meeting Options in DC

While the location of an event may not make or break it, the venue has a huge impact on the attendees' experience. The content could be fantastic, but if people have to circle a parking lot for 30 minutes looking for a space, they may not be ready to take in all the great information being delivered (speaking from experience....).

There's also a fatigue factor among venues to consider. Events in a city seem to take place at the same dozen or so venues. For event planners, this puts more pressure on the content of your event to drive the experience. It becomes harder to stand out from the other events people have attended at the same location. While there is a great deal of innovation in modern meeting spaces, the reality is once you've been to one convention center, you've really seen them all. And let's not get started on the windowless ballrooms.

With all this in mind, we've done some research on new spaces for government events in DC. Continue reading

Maximizing the Attendee Experience

Our post on Citizen Experience with government services got us thinking, how can event planners better cater to the needs and expectations of their attendees and what role do those attendees play in the feedback loop?

As this article illustrates, there is immediate and delayed feedback. Immediate feedback is gleaned through polls, show of hands questions, and quick surveys. These are easy for the attendee but don't provide a huge amount of insight for planners. Delayed feedback comes in the form of post-event surveys that can ask more complex questions. While this requires more work for attendees, it can be much more valuable for event organizers. A mix of both of these types of feedback loops may prove to be the most beneficial for planners and attendees alike. Continue reading

The No Phone Zone: Cell Phone Blackouts at Events

We've written here in the past about embracing attendees' love of mobile devices and how to integrate mobile into events. While including the use of mobile can make the event more interactive and also help appeal to a younger demographic, sometimes you just want attendees to focus. We'd like to take a look at what events would look like if phones, tablets, and computers were banned from events.

This thought likely made many of you gasp. Hours away from your phone and connectivity can be unnerving. A study from Deloitte found that people in the U.S. ages 18 to 75 check their device approximately 47 times per day. Even with this innate reliance on phones and the amplification social media can provide a brand, many entertainers are pushing for their fans to go dark. Musicians including Alicia Keys, Guns N' Roses, Adele and comedians Dave Chapelle and Chris Rock are calling their concerts and performances "phone-free zones." Rock even goes so far as to have any phone using offenders escorted out of the venue. Continue reading

If You Build It They Will Come? Not Always. Converting Registrants to Attendees

When we surveyed our GovEvents' organizer members in the fall, we asked an open-ended question, "What is your biggest challenge as an event organizer in the government space?" We received a wide variety of answers, but the response that came up most often was converting registrants to attendees.

This conversion challenge is not unique to the government market but may be exacerbated by the fact that so many events are free for government attendees. On average, free events see a conversion rate of 40% to 50% of registrants actually attending. Continue reading

Give Them a (Meaningful) Break

Time is a precious commodity. With events, attendees are giving up precious time away from the office and possibly, away from their families. Because event organizers know that their attendees' time is valuable, their response is often to pack as much into an event as possible to provide the most value in attending. But, as in many areas of life, this "more is more" mentality can backfire. A lack of breaks can leave attendees tired and their purpose for attending left unfulfilled. Without these breaks, there is no time for attendees to absorb information or make impromptu connections. 

If the event is organized in a way that encourages interaction with and by attendees, you want to give them the chance to recharge from all of that engagement. A study published in the Harvard Business Review revealed that the most engaged employees are also the ones that burn out the quickest. With this understanding, it makes sense that engaged event attendees will get tired (burn out) as they are being challenged with new ideas and information. So, what should event planners do to maximize both the quantity and quality of the time spent with their attendees?

Continue reading