If you studied marketing in college, it’s likely that you learned about the four Ps — product, place, price and promotion. As an event marketer, you’ve also likely learned that the promotional P is the only one that normally falls under your domain. Today, it’s time to challenge that reality and consider how you can influence another P that is rising in importance – place – and its potential to maximize attendance and attendee satisfaction at in-person events.
Embrace the growing trend of bleisure travel.
Bleisure, just like it sounds, is the merger of business and leisure travel. Pre-pandemic it was a nice perk, but be prepared, because post-pandemic it’s expected to become a major influence on business travel. Recently, insights firm Global Web Index surveyed decision-makers to share what will motivate them to hit the road when business travel safely resumes. Not surprisingly, respondents said the chance to explore new places, time to themselves to relax and a varied work life. While most people have enjoyed the freedom working from home offers, they’re also ready to break the monotony. It’s likely workers — and your attendees — will crave an escape from their home offices, and bleisure travel will be a way to achieve that. So what does this mean for you?
If you have the flexibility to choose your event location, consider destinations that are the most likely to appeal to the demographic and psychographic profiles of your audience members. If you are limited in choices or if your event is always in the same city, never fear, because nothing has to stand in the way of creating authentic localized experiences. IAEE’s Future Scaping Task Force suggests that organizers capitalize on a trend called “localization” by expanding events into interesting local venues like restaurants & bars, museums, aquariums, zoos, ports, factories, parks, concert halls, stadiums, landmarks, colleges & universities, famous neighborhoods, markets, etc. Consider culinary adventures, wine tours or food tastings, or for even greater authentic integration, provide opportunities for attendees to engage with and volunteer in charitable community activities, like food pantries or animal shelters.
If offsite activities aren’t possible, think about ways of bringing the local flare to you by hiring local entertainment, bringing in food trucks or asking community celebrities to speak at or attend the event.
Rejuvenate. Refresh. Reimagine the event schedule.
While giving your attendees the opportunity to blend business with localized leisure activities can enhance their experience, resist the temptation to over-schedule them. The pandemic has heightened awareness of everything from diet to exercise to mental health, meaning your audiences are likely placing a greater importance on overall wellness – and expecting you to do the same. Offering attendees a chance to unwind and recharge not only supports this healthier lifestyle, but it also improves focus, preparing attendees to actively engage in your event. Consider incorporating meditation, yoga or fitness into the agenda, and consider adding pampering zones (mani-pedi, skincare or massage) on the trade show floor.
Complement, not compete.
Choosing desirable destinations, enhancing the experience with localized fun and adding wellness offerings into your event offers are all great, but without an equally compelling marketing plan, suggestions for enjoying the location can get lost in the shuffle. On the other hand, while you’ll want to incorporate place into your promotion strategy, don’t go overboard. The leisure side shouldn’t overshadow the business side of your event. There is a very fine line between building up the features that make a location conducive to a business event and becoming a travel brochure. Adding a “things to do page” to the event website, similar to the agenda page, is an excellent way for the location to complement the content. By offering attendees the opportunity to explore business and leisure without leaving your event page, they are more likely to hit the “register” button.
Attendee Acquisition Roundtable
July 22, 2021 | 10:45am – 3:30pm (EST)
Discover new ways to find, attract, and retain attendees to grow events in the era of COVID-19. Take-away exclusive attendee marketing research and best practices you can use immediately. Make valuable career connections with a small group of forward-thinking executives, managers, and marketing professionals.