Nowadays, planners spend so much time emphasizing the digital and technological components of an event that they often forget about the human element of the experience.
Luckily, numerous studies highlight the changing characteristics of attendees and how event professionals must reconsider how they manage logistics, content, and engagement.
According to the 2018 Global Meetings and Events Forecast, published by American Express, “The success of any event hinges on the attendee experience. You want attendees to be enthusiastic about coming, to be engaged while they’re there, and to leave feeling that their experience was worthwhile.”
To create meaningful engagement and generate value, you must align the event and the experiences with the behavioral and emotional drivers your guests will exhibit.
But how can you do that, especially if you know the basics only about your audience?
The same study presented a series of attendee profiles event professionals must consider in 2018. As the authors argue, “Attendees come in a variety of personas, each with varying expectations and motivations that affect how they experience an event. How do you make sure that events you create have a positive impact on the people who come to them? Success begins with getting to know your audience members - what motivates them, what makes them engage or disengage.”
To help you with that, here’s the list of attendee types you must take into account if you want to plan for success:
Attendee type #1: The knowledge seeker
This guest’s interests revolve around searching for learning opportunities. Knowledge seekers want to upgrade their professional skills and build better careers or business cases. Their intention is to gain a wider understanding of their industry.
Knowledge seekers usually decide whether or not to attend an event or based on the speakers or the knowledge agenda. To increase the event attractiveness for these attendees, you must design a powerful program that will give them new insights and valuable information. Apart from that, you might want to design your event’s marketing campaign around the knowledge quality this experience will provide.
Attendee type #2: The tech-savvy networker
The main reason these attendees will come to your event is to build meaningful relationships. They have a very specific agenda and will actively search for the right people at your event. They enjoy face-to-face conversations, but can also appreciate the value of event technology in helping them to achieve their goals (for example, continuing the conversation online via an app).
To attract this type of attendee to your event, think about setting up a B2B matchmaking dynamic, which will give these networkers full control over their personal meeting agenda. They’ll choose with whom they want to schedule a conversation. Subsequently, during the event, tech-savvy networkers will have a meeting agenda that will allow them to make the most of their time.
Attendee type #3: The inspiration seeker
These guests are looking for purpose in their personal or business endeavors. They mostly value emotional connections and prefer quality conversations. While attending an event, inspiration seekers expect to gain a new perspective and a changed outlook. To plan an event that will meet their expectations, you must design immersive experiences, multiple co-creation sessions, and highly motivational content.
Attendee type #4: The social butterfly
These people are extremely energetic and enthusiastic. They love meeting new people and connecting with other attendees who share their common interests. They don’t need a structured networking experience, and they have a natural drive for casual social opportunities, such as cocktail hours or entertainment shows. To make your event appealing for the social butterflies, you must consider multiple breakout sessions that involve interaction opportunities, informal meal settings, and leisure activities.
Attendee type #5: The reluctant attendee
These guests don’t enjoy attending events and are quite reluctant when experiencing social demands, such as networking or socializing. The reluctant attendees feel awkward when they have to make small talk and will attend your event only because they have to do so for personal or professional reasons.
To make your event as comfortable as possible for them, think about giving them absolute control over the event experience. For example, you could offer them a structured networking session or engage them via the event app, and encourage them to choose the things they like most based on their interests.
Attendee type #6: The brand fanatic
These people enjoy their status and are always looking for the next big thing. When attending an event, they are expecting to encounter the “wow” effect. Brand fanatics also are active on social media and usually will identify with a certain brand. To transform your event into an attractive experience for these people, you must ensure enough opportunities for them to manifest their brand loyalty. Also, offer them the chance to win exclusive brand merchandise or provide exciting product demonstrations.
Thanks to the insights provided by American Express, we are able to better understand the attendee typology, and align our event-planning decisions with their needs or interests. Know the possible types of guests that may attend your event, and design the best experience ever for them. Good luck!