How to Balance Budget and Attendee Experience

Planning a conference in today’s technology-saturated climate presents event planners with new and mounting challenges. Because would-be conference audiences have virtually instant access to brands and information online, their expectations continue to grow. This means that in-person conference experiences need to adapt to improve the attendee experience, elevating it above the experience a potential guest could have by participating in the event in an online format like a webinar or live-stream.

Planners are often asked to provide a better attendee experience without a significant budget increase. If you’re in a similar position, it can seem impossible to find the right balance to create the ultimate bang for your buck. As you plan your next event, consider re-evaluating the following areas to determine whether your guest experience makes the grade.

Sponsorships: The days of traditional conference sponsors are coming to an end. Brands that sponsor your event, whether by volunteering speakers, products, or services, expect to be labeled as thought leaders rather than bank-rollers. While there’s nothing wrong with recruiting sponsors to add wiggle room to your budget, organizations today typically respond more positively to being positioned in this light. Look for opportunities to highlight your sponsors by allowing them to better connect with your audience.

Audience Interaction: Most modern conferences, small and large, are now expected to include at least some level of audience interaction. Small discussion groups, team-building conversations, and breakaway sessions are just a few ideas that can help spark a more engaging audience attendee experience without breaking the bank. If you’re planning to rely heavily on audience discussion, be sure you have strategically placed facilitators who can help keep conversations moving along.

Technology: It’s typically the area where conference planners choose to reallocate additional budget dollars today, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. If your event is solely to show off your organization’s new tech capabilities, it’s probably important to have plenty of cutting-edge devices around. Otherwise, leveraging technology strategically can be an affordable way to balance your budget against attendee expectations.

Virtually every conference guest has access to at least one form of mobile tech like a smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Using an app, website, or other digital interface can be a great way to engage your audience in the best your brand has to offer. It’s also important to note that audience acquisition is more robust for brands that have more digital channels to communicate with potential attendees.

Now that you have a few basic ideas to look for ways to meet budget requirements while exceeding your audience’s expectations, you’ll be able to find the right ways to adjust your conference-planning playbook now and in the future.

When you’re ready to discuss innovative ways to balance your budget and attendee experience, give us a call today. Our experienced team of event planners are prepared to help you get the most from your budget by planning an unforgettable conference customized for your needs.