I have been to about 5 conventions so far this year with 2-3 more to go before years end. At the end of every convention, someone reaches out to me and asks, “How was the event and what could we do better?”
Any time I let them know why I was not satisfied, it usually is due to what was promised versus what was delivered. Do I feel that I received value for the money I spent.
So what am I looking for in order to say it was a great convention?
Vendors/Sponsors: I love seeing varied vendors at events. I love learning about new products and services out there. If I may give one piece of advice to all event planners. Make sure to thank all of your sponsors in front of your audience. Even the small sponsors. It makes them feel appreciated in the same manner as you do your large sponsors.
Networking: I strongly believe that people judge an event by the contacts they make. I feel the best events have some place for everyone to meet in addition to meeting in the event hall. Maybe a cocktail hour, maybe a fundraising event or golf event. If you have to choose between more networking or less…choose more.
Education: Each event usually has a track of speakers but in the 2 years that I have been attending conventions I am seeing the same speakers multiple times, talking about the same thing (maybe different title). Get new speakers. Make the topics varied because no one wants to be hit over the head with one topic from 5 speakers.
Food: I am happy to say the events I have been at, the food has always been good but remember presentation is important. Make sure it is in a location people can find. At one convention the breakfast was tucked at the end of a hallway. Accessibility is key.
Fun: This is an aspect that some events miss. Everyone is there for business but letting people know what is available in town or in the area for off hours, (recommending restaurants, shows, clubs etc.) shows that you want to make sure your attendee’s total experience was outstanding.
Now this may seem that I don’t think any convention has provided great value but I am heading to 2 of my favorites who do a really good job at giving you a lot for your money.
The American Teleservice Association (ATA) 2010 National Convention is next month in Orlando. CEO Tim Searcy and staff really go out of their way to put on, in my opinion, the best convention in the Teleservices Industry.
The 9th Digital Dealer Conference is this October in Las Vegas. Mike Roscoe really provides an emphasis on education. Last year almost 100 break out sessions. It was great to see so many people moving from session to session and the camaraderie it builds in incredible.
The Driving Sales Executive Summit is this October in Las Vegas. I have heard that Jared Hamilton’s show this year is set to be one of the best. The slate of speakers is a group of industry leaders and this event is growing not only in size but also in stature as one event not to be missed. I am hoping that my calendar allows me to attend.
So I hope all of you conventioneers have a great rest of the year as you cross the country and globe for business. Remember, if asked, to please give event people feedback. It helps events improve for all of us.
Let me know you thoughts.