When hosting an event, the goal is never to have an attendee just for one night. You want to foster a long-standing relationship with everyone who walks through the door. At Vision Matrix, we understand how meaningful our clients' relationships with their attendees are, which is why we devised these tips for event planners, designers, and the like:
Guests have RSVP'd and prepared for your event. Yet there still may be plenty of concerns before an event that attendees want to address. Making it easy for them to get answers to their questions is one of the best things you can do. Capitalize on this by sending out emails, reminders, or a link to a comprehensive FAQ section on your website; those coming to your event will have less to prepare for.
Things to include in an FAQ:
Weather expectations (if the event is outdoors)
Acknowledging returning attendees
As stated above, guests aren't meant to feel important for just one night; they seek an enduring connection. Remembering and rewarding returning attendees can help facilitate a growing community. Here are some ideas for acknowledging those returning:
Offer discounted admission to future events
Sending out thank you cards
Swag bags/VIP package
Be accessible after the event
Feedback is always valuable, especially when there is a chance to implement it at the next gathering—offer opportunities after the event to showcase your guest’s voices. One way to show that you truly care about their attendance is to request feedback whenever possible.
Follow up with your guests after the event via survey, email, or general question-response communication. An essential step in this process, though, is to follow through after you receive the feedback.
Make the event more sociable
Making events more social is another excellent way to strengthen relationships with attendees. A sense of community can make or break an event for guests, not just with one another, but their connection with the event itself matters! Having an opportunity for guests to connect with the company that hosts the event is a way to form a deeper connection. Some of our favorite examples of this from events we produced and participated in are:
Host a speed networking hour
Host an interactive dinner like The Gourmet Games by Milken Institute
Host an interactive overnight murder mystery
Be transparent and accountable
As an event planner, your goal is to plan the perfect event and for the attendees to walk away 100% satisfied. However, sometimes things don’t go as planned and that’s where you need to be transparent and accountable. For example:
If you promise your guests Beyonce at your event, deliver Beyonce at your event, or come forth and explain why she couldn’t attend.
If you’ve had a few complaints at your event, offer coupons or ensure a refund to those who weren’t completely satisfied.
If there are art pieces up for auction, ensure that those art pieces arrive at your guests’ homes safely and provide art mounting services.
Facilitating deep connections with attendees is one of the markers of a great sustainable event. At Vision Matrix, we do not take for granted our long-standing relationships. Some of the clients on our roster have been working with us for over twenty years. If there is one thing we are proud of, it's the strong relationships we've built and continue to maintain. These tips above will ensure closer and long-lasting relationships with your attendees and will likely have guests eagerly returning year after year, event after event.