By Warwick H. Davies
As most event organizers know, the top three problems in the business are (in order): attracting attendees, attracting the right attendees and making a profit. It behooves the event organizer, therefore, to understand why attendees do and don’t attend their events.
CEIR has just published a report covering the outcome of not managing these top three event objectives entitled How to Stop Attendee Loss, written by Jeff Tanner and Nancy Drapeau. The report specifies the reasons why attendees no longer attend some of the events they previously did. What is interesting to me is that the common thread through all the reasons was the lack of perceived value and relevance of the particular event to the former participant; and what is particularly worrying to me is the increasing number of senior executives and decision makers who are actively cutting down the number of events they attend annually. The research included 421 responding active conference attendees across 14 industries, so it sounds as if Jeff and Nancy have nailed a phenomenon to which all of us should be paying more attention.
What is the remedy for re-attracting past attendees? In my experience, the event organizer having issues with attendee loss has almost always lost touch with the key buyers of their events – especially not knowing what is “keeping these attendees up at night.” If the organizer is aware, it is not either actively programming or designing events around these issues, i.e., the event has not stayed relevant in the marketplace.
In any case, awareness of the problem is the first step in improvement, and this report does a good job of highlighting the likely causes. The next step is rolling up your sleeves and reconnecting with your targeted audiences, and that is as easy as picking up the phone…
Warwick H. Davies
The Event Mechanic!
11 Wyman Road
Lexington MA 02420