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Elevate your 2024 events with these key strategies!

By: Kim Harwood | Dec, 22 2023
SponsorshipTechnology Meeting/Event Design & Management

This guest post is by Kim Harwood, President of Results at Hand Software

Revitalize your events for a surge in attendance and sponsor buzz in 2024! In an era where technology seamlessly intertwines with every aspect of our lives, it’s time to give your events a major glow-up for maximum attendance and sponsor shoutouts. In this article, we will explore key elements that promise to elevate your event to new heights!

An Event for Everybody
The best way to increase event attendance is to make sure everyone is invited and feels included, especially those needing extra assistance. On your event website and in your event app include a section on your Accessibility and Inclusion offering at the event. The section can include details about mobility, hearing and vision, childcare, and neuro-inclusion. Additionally, encourage attendees to submit requests for specific accommodations on the registration site well in advance. This allows ample time for the association to make all necessary preparations and ensure a seamless experience for everyone. Additional inclusive elements to consider for your registration site and event app would be: 

  • AGENDA: Include location and room capacity on the agenda.  Add session materials on the app as well as transcripts post-event.  Identify sessions with periods of loud noise and strobe light on the agenda as well. 
  • VENUE MAP: On the venue map indicate exits, quite space/s, help desk, bathrooms (designate single-person or gender neutral if/where available), and areas of high traffic.  Include a link to a video tour of the event space (if available).  
  • FEEDBACK: Include an opportunity for neurodivergent attendees to share inclusion-specific feedback in the event evaluation as well as in the app support form. For more helpful information on creating neuro-inclusive events, check out https://www.theneuproject.com/download.

It's not just about being inclusive; it's about creating a vibe where everyone feels like they're at the center of the action. 
Innovative Sponsorship Strategy
Conference sponsorships should deliver value to the sponsors, attendees and the association. Sponsorship packages with high ROI potential play a crucial role in sealing the deal when companies consider where to spend their marketing budget.  Events with personalized and flexible opportunities amp up participation for everyone, according to the Association Now article, Develop a Winning Sponsorship Strategy.  Here are some great examples of innovative and personal opportunities:

  • Offer sponsorship of pop up or surprise activities such as local celebrity meet and greets or special offering for the first 50 to visit the booth (free headshots, dance lessons, etc.).  Include a mystery time slot on the agenda, but don’t include the activity details in the app initially – the anticipation is part of the fun.  Send a push notification via the app and announce from center stage the BIG surprise activity.
  • Sponsors want access to VIP members or specific targets.  Apps offer the ability to segment or target key members.  Include an in- app invitation to targeted members for a special event/opportunity, allowing them to opt-in or out.  Those opting in will have an opportunity to attend/win, be included on the sponsor’s lead list, and to connect further via the event app.  
  • Be open to new sponsorship suggestions. On your event registration website collect suggestions for new sponsorship opportunities from prospective sponsors and attendees. 
  • Offer exhibitors varying booth sizes and configurations on the tradeshow floor and allow specific location selection during registration. 

It’s not just adapting to the times; it’s setting the trend.   

Engagement Year-Round 
Nothing beats the hype and engagement of a massive annual event; but the key is to keep this excitement and engagement going year-round. To continue the excitement, offer smaller, focused meetups for more in-depth discussions of annual event topics. Schedule secondary smaller events which provide the continuation of highly attended annual event sessions. These regular gatherings create opportunities for lasting connections, further engagement and additional education and accreditation. Directly advertise and support your year-round engagement activities from your membership or events app so members can transition easily from the annual event to future events, continued discussions with connections, and additional related materials, etc. 

In essence, 2024 is the perfect time for a meaningful event transformation to invite and include everyone and provide innovative sponsorship opportunities to spur partner ROI and delight attendees!  This transformation facilitates growing event momentum with year-round engagement opportunities to continue the excitement for networking and learning that was sparked at the annual conference.  So, let the adventure commence—where each conference becomes a chapter in the book of unforgettable experiences!  

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