We've written numerous posts about the importance of refreshing events to attract new attendees and keep repeat attendees engaged. Now we've taken our own advice and refreshed GovEvents.com to provide a new look and better functionality.
On the revamped site you'll notice:
- New Home Page - Includes highlights of and access to open calls for papers/presentations, exhibitor/sponsor opportunities, as well as the top trending events.
- Important Message Banner - This bar, visible across the main site pages, will be used to highlight upcoming deadlines, announce weather-related event cancellations or changes, and special offers.
- Exclude Items in Search - You can indicate phrases or categories you do not want included in your search results.
- Search Confirmation/Suggestion - In entering a search, if you misspell a word or there is another closely aligned search term with more relevant results, the site will give you clarification options.
- Event Suggestions - When viewing an event you are interested in the site will recommend up to three similar events.
- Easier than Ever to Add Events - Now all government users can add events without having to register as a vendor or an event organizer.
- Mobile Responsive - The updated site is more mobile friendly for members that access GovEvents on a smart phone or tablet.
Many of these updates were made based on user feedback. Have more ideas? We always welcome new ideas. Let us know what you think of the refreshed site in the comments below.
In recent posts on gamification and IoT we talked about some ways to use technology to better engage modern event audiences. While the tech is here to stay and it is important to integrate it into events, every new twist you add does not have to involve technology.
In a recent survey, 99% of respondents said that in-person meetings have helped them succeed in their careers. Meetings are seen as critical to business and personal success and the rise in spending on attending them (both in the general market and the federal market) backs up that belief. Attendees want more than a technology-heavy experience (they get that in other facets of their work day). They want experiences that are uniquely real world. So how do event planners keep events fresh without making them a virtual reality experience?
While the topics discussed at government events can be incredibly serious -- national security, cyber threats, defense -- that does not mean events have to be solemn. We've talked here before about bringing some fun to federal events without undermining the critical nature of the content.
Whether we realize it or not, Gamification has made its way into our professional lives. From "medals" awarded during mandatory online training to challenge.gov-type procurements to department contests for holiday cube decorating or charitable collections, we've inserted gameplay seamlessly into our work lives and it can also be done at our events. This game motivation goes back to our school days when teachers would post stars next to classmates' names for good behavior or excellent grades.
We are hearing that budgets and travel restrictions for government are starting to loosen up a bit and event planners are more optimistic about growing their in-person attendance. But this growth in physical events does not necessarily signal a downturn in virtual events. We believe that online events such as webinars, virtual tradeshows, and streamed hybrid events are here to stay and here's why.┬á
When we saw the headline, How to Entertain a Serious Audience, we immediately thought of government events. We know it is an overgeneralization and a misrepresentation that people who serve the government tend to be more serious, bureaucratic, and careful with their words, but there is some truth to this stereotype. With very real mandates around gifts, endorsements, and the reality of austere budgets, events for the federal sector cannot be as flashy as those for commercial-focused attendees. But that does not mean they cannot be fun.
While the day-to day work and missions of government audiences are incredibly important, vital, and sometimes even deadly serious, it does not mean they don't enjoy some levity. Here are a couple ideas to lighten the mood at events and create some fun differentiators in the crowded federal event marketplace.┬á