Today, we can communicate directly with customers, suppliers, and industry experts using social media; and we can talk and share information using VoIP and webinars.
With options like these, why should we go to the effort and expense of hosting a customer event or conference? Live events might seem old-fashioned in an increasingly-virtual world.
In fact, live events and conferences more than ever provide a powerful and effective way to improve customer relationships, build personal loyalty, strengthen your reputation, and create a buzz around your products or services.
In this article, we’ll look at the benefits of hosting a conference. We’ll also deliver some top tips for conference venue operators to pass on to clients organising events at their venues.
The Benefits of Live Conferences
In light of an increasing reliance on communications via mobile and social media, conferences, with the focus on face-to-face networking, provides an excellent way of fostering personal relationships with customers and suppliers.
Well-organised conferences utilising latest technology can run seamlessly and work to strengthen your brand and build loyalty, increase sales, and generate referrals.
They also give you the opportunity to connect personally with customers or suppliers, and build community awareness, whilst storing information that can be relevant to your future working relationship.
These conferences can also help you network with customers or industry experts, work on your own professional development, and share ideas; plus, the connections can be maintained and lead to innovation, opportunities, and important partnerships.
Planning and Execution of A Top Conference
To run a successful conference relies on meticulous planning, from venue choice to speakers, from travel details to the equipment needed, from catering to accommodation – all wrapped up in one neat, cost effective package.
Consider the following to plan and execute a successful conference or customer event.
- Think of a different way to present points. Make the environment attractive and distinctive. Give your delegates something to think about and take away with them.
- Define your audience and design the programme to meet their needs. Canvas potential delegates and ask for suggestions about content.
- Choose a convenient venue. Consider travelling arrangements, the nearest station, motorway proximity, ease of parking.
- Start at a time convenient to those travelling long distances. Avoid school holidays.
- Visit the venue in advance. Check its size, facilities for AV, wi-fi, broadband connection, accommodation and catering.
- Ensure the venue is cost-effective. Don’t forget to include speakers’ fees in your costs. Consider sponsorship to offset expenses.
- Give speakers plenty of time to prepare an effective presentation. Check that their presentation does not deviate from the conference theme.
- Give delegates notice in advance with a mailshot. Detail the conference content, how to get to there, time of registration, what they need to bring. Ask about accommodation and dietary needs.
- Arrive well before registration to check details and that all facilities are in place. Before the start, ensure each speaker has what he or she needs.
- At the end of the conference, personally thank the speakers, the chairperson and, of course, the delegates for attending.