What makes a great corporate event? Smooth organisation and publicity are absolutely essential; but what are the other ways organisers win delegates over? Here are ten ideas and event planning tips to liven up any occasion, from ways to boost attendance to making sure your visitors listen when they actually get there.
- Choose your venue with care
Whether your conference venue is in North Devon or North London, you should pick with care. Is it large enough for your needs? Does it have the right conference facilities? Can your delegates get there relatively easily? Are you looking for maximum capacity on a budget, or might a more beautiful, aspirational venue be more in keeping with your clientele? Do check user reviews or, better still, visit in person.
- Time it right
As important as where is the question of when to hold a business event. Are there any competing events on at that time of year? Is it a particularly busy month for your industry? Some periods of the year are an immediate no-no for a major business event (for example, the summer holidays or just before Christmas).
- Promote early and widely
The promotion of your event is every bit as important as the logistics, so be sure to get into gear early when it comes to spreading the word. From industry publications and print media to Facebook ads, you should be looking at a strategy that covers several key bases. Diaries fill up very early these days, and busy delegates will often find it hard to commit to things at short notice.
- Offer added value or perks to the guests
Try looking at your event purely through the eyes of a punter and you will arrive at just one question: Why should I turn up to this event? If you can nail this down clearly and offer something worthwhile, your attendee numbers are sure to grow. Perhaps the event is inspirational and can help them learn and develop? Perhaps it is a chance to mingle with key contacts or meet a famous face? Perhaps you could even provide a special offer or show-only benefits of some kind? If you can get them asking “can I afford to miss this?” you’ve won.
- Create a theme and generate engagement.
Nothing creates apathy quicker than an event with no sharp focus or a lack of inspiration. Why not inject more spark with a special theme? Festivals and arts events do this all the time; business could learn a lot! Current news items and hot topics are always welcome. You could even stage a friendly debate at the actual event. Incorporate this into your build-up too; Social media users so often want to react to something rather than just look at it and think "that looks nice.” Provoke a response!
- Target movers and shakers
In any industry there are individuals who are well known and respected. Whether this is due to their knowledge, charm or character, just a handful of these people at your event can make a huge difference. Of course, they will also help publicise your event (big personalities love telling others what they’re up to!). Guest speakers are a great example of this; a little star quality is a great way to make your event stand out.
- Make it sociable and encourage networking
Even within the same modest sized company, people tend to form cliques and groupings. The best events encourage guests to mingle, whether they work in different offices or different countries. Granted, so you cannot force people to network. But you can provide sociable areas and encourage folks to mingle through other means, whether that means a game or activity, seating plans or simply providing name badges to make new faces less daunting to talk to
- Make an offer or give something away
For an extra incentive, a special bonus to attendees can be very useful for getting backsides on seats. Perhaps you could run a competition or set an amusing challenge for visitors? If the event is to promote your organization in particular, maybe you could run a special discount for people who sign up on the day?
- Keep talks short and incorporate activities
The days are largely gone when an audience will just sit there and listen for hours. It takes even patient listeners an effort to stay glued for more than 30 minutes, so be sure to keep talks short and engaging. Better still, break them up with activities and challenges. The more you can get visitors to provide the ideas and answers themselves, the more they will feel included and remember your message. Questions and activities need to be pitched right too, though, taking the age, gender and specifics of your audience into account. Unexpected and challenging are almost always good qualities!
- Get feedback from your guests
If you organise events regularly or even every year, how do you improve each time? The simple answer is to get feedback from your visitors. The classic feedback slip and anonymous box is one way to do this, although if you're not careful these can be fairly dull and unappealing. You could always incentivise with a prize draw or challenge of some kind? Set at least a couple of questions that are nice and open, too, such as “what did you enjoy most?” or “what would you have loved to see at the event that wasn’t included?”
Woolacombe Bay Hotel: The perfect North Devon venue for corporate events of all sizes
With an inspirational location just footsteps from the beach, yet with excellent facilities and flexible meeting spaces for hire, Woolacombe Bay is among the best conference venues in North Devon. From small, intimate meetings and dinners, to the biggest conventions and celebrations such as our annual Christmas parties, we host a huge range of events. Our team have all the experience needed to help make your day a success, alongside award-winning food and special rates on accommodation for group bookings and business users
See our business events section for further details, or contact us directly for further details today.