It goes without saying that attendees are the lifeblood of meetings and events. As a meetings professional, you know that strong participation means more business gets accomplished, exhibitors are happier, educational sessions are well attended, hotel room blocks are filled and best of all, your ROI is maximized!
Yet you also know that attracting robust participation can be very hard, time-consuming work. But do you know that the Convention and Visitors Bureau can be your best ally and partner when it comes to attendance building? From pre-event promotion and website building to social media assistance and destination collateral, CVBs offer a comprehensive range of free or low cost attendee promotion services that allow you to do a lot more attendee marketing than you’d ever be able to do on your own. Intrigued? Here are some great services you’ll definitely want to take advantage of!
Encouraging and getting people excited is crucial to grow your attendance numbers. After all, if your meeting or event doesn’t sound interesting and exciting, who will want to come? The destination is not just a flat unresponsive backdrop for a meeting, but a full-stage production center to give meetings 3D power The chosen destination has a tremendous influence on the “state of the meeting” and the perception of attendees. Your ability to easily tap into all the destination has to offer in terms of meeting support and attendee experience options will directly influence your capacity to enhance, impact, and differentiate your meeting, ultimately driving the desire to attend.
That’s where the CVB can help you generate more buzz and excitement around your event well in advance. For example, once your business is booked in their destination, many CVBs attend your annual event the year before so they can engage with attendees, hand out visitor guides and brochures, provide customized video presentations, answer questions and build enthusiasm about next year’s meeting in their destination.
As our industry continues to embrace technology to promote meetings and events, more and more CVBs are offering digital help in the form of website building, social media assistance and mobile applications. From the creation of customized landing pages that promote the event and provide destination information, to assistance with social media for creating buzz before and during the meeting, to mobile apps that allow attendees to access special discounts and offers while in the destination, more CVBs are harnessing the digital world to help planners boost attendance at their events. Their destination websites also make it easy to “grab and go.” CVBs are great curators of key destination information you can access and repurpose. Images, maps, videos, along with information on dining, entertainment, transportation and more can be found.
Don’t Forget to Maximize Your Contracted Room Block
You spend a great deal of time contracting for the best available accommodations and rates for your attendees, ensuring both good value and a good destination experience. Don’t lose all this time and hard work when your attendees choose to book rooms outside your block. Work with your CVB to establish best practices that will substantially increase the likelihood your attendees will choose to stay within the designated room block.
Work with your CVB partner to secure the appropriate number of sleeping rooms at the right hotels at the right price; monitor reservations closely, tweaking by either adding or reducing rooms as the meeting draws closer; offer incentives to keep attendees within the block; and make an effort to find the “rogue” sleeping rooms after the meeting to include them in the final numbers.
Good Promotion Pays for Itself
Although many of these services can be complimentary, depending on the size, scope and type of group, taking advantage of attendee promotion services offered by the CVB always makes good business sense, even if some of them cost you a little bit more. Not only can they help you build a bigger, stronger and busier event, they can also save you time, money and energy while allowing you to do more marketing than you’d otherwise be able to do on your own. And when your event is well attended and successful, everybody wins: your organization, your participants, the destination and you!