Pro Tips for Increasing Event Attendance & Saving Money

Posted by Matt Milloway on Jul 05, 2016

Event logistics are numerous and constantly evolving. Whether planning an internal meeting, global conference, or industry trade show, the ability to simultaneously boost attendance numbers and save money in the budget represents a huge win for event planners and organizers. Learn how various factors from location and venue considerations to reducing session times and going paperless can make a big impact on an event host's bottom line. 

Location Matters

Events occur during a limited time frame—often no more than a long weekend or two to three days of a work week. Choosing an event destination outside of a metropolitan area or away from an airport is automatically disadvantageous for a significant number of potential attendees. So too are expensive locales like Hawaii requiring long travel times and expensive airfare.

Exceptions exist and rules might not apply to instances where the event spans an entire week, but a good rule of thumb is to consider the makeup of an ideal attendee list and make the locale an easily accessible and inexpensive choice. Also consider locations with unique attractions to incentivize more attendees on the fence; attendees often talk themselves into the trip as part of a family vacation or to check off another must-see locale from a bucket list.

Venue Selection

Large convention centers and fancy resorts offer a lot of perks and name brand appeal. Popular venues, however, almost always come at a premium and might not make sense for all but the largest of conferences and trade shows. For small to medium-sized events, consider suburban locales located closer to airports, boutique hotels, or even facilities primarily used during certain seasons that might offer big discounts to rent vacant space during other parts of the year like camps and sporting venues. 

Another commonly used trick is to share event space with another organization in a complementary or entirely unrelated industry to save on facility and marketing costs.

Go Paperless

From marketing material and signage to costly event programs, printing costs make up a significant portion of any event planner’s budget. Consider using available TV monitors at the facility for branding and providing basic information. More importantly, going mobile for the majority of event content not only provides a more engaging experience to attendees, but cuts costs and enables event planners to easily make updates to the schedule without reprinting.

Potential attendees are also able to download the app months in advance and create a custom schedule, bookmark exhibitors, view updates on social media, and generally get excited about the event—leading to an increase in registrations.

Reduce Program Length

Paring a three-day event down to two days saves significant money for the event host. The event also becomes an easier justification for attendees who might use the added flexibility to enjoy a day off or get back to work if pressed for time. Are breaks really necessary between every session? Time slots for longer sessions can be trimmed as well by challenging keynote speakers and other presenters to overcome the short attention spans of attendees with a renewed emphasis on efficiency and willingness to sharing bios, contact info, and relevant session documents (i.e. abstracts) in the mobile event app.

In Conclusion

Making a handful of practical tweaks to event logistics can serve to both save money and boost attendance. Bottom lines represent an increasingly important event metric and conferences need to justify expenditures while proving their effectiveness. A more nimble and creating approach for attendees is a great way to stay ahead of the game.