Meetings and events are one of the most effective ways to communicate and collaborate with the masses. The challenge for meeting planners isn’t coordinating all the moving parts associated with a big meeting or convention – they’ve been doing that for years. It is predicting, and then handling, the needs each and every attendee may experience before, during and after the event. The ultimate goal is to help ensure that everyone has a smooth experience and returns to their home happy and feeling that their time and money spent was worth it.
As a salesperson for meeting and convention space, it is your job to attract these meeting planners to your area and help them execute a successful event for all participants. Since there are salespeople with the same job title (and goal) in every market, how do you stand out and provide “added value”? We’re not talking about securing free homemade cookies for attendees with their morning coffee break, or even an upgrade from boxed lunches to a buffet with all the fixin’s. More and more meeting planners are looking beyond the basic upgrades and are searching to find the hotel, meeting space AND the destination with the most value. Don’t you want the most bang for your buck?
One “added value” tool you should offer a meeting planner is the development of a custom landing page or template for their event. If you choose to do this, be sure your landing page includes the following:
- Key Event Details – Information is critical. Be sure to include all of the details, but most importantly, have the date, time and location clearly spelled out for both the meeting schedule as well as what to do in their spare time around town. Be sure these are events happening while they are in town. In addition, include events that are happening a few days before their visit and a few days after to help lengthen their stay and/or encourage them to bring others with them. Both of these results can exponentially increase the value of this type of visitor.
- Provide Maps and Directions – Assume this is an area unknown to your meeting goers and provide maps and directions with all location addresses and parking if applicable. Make space for phone numbers, contact person, and travel time if anything is outside of the conference rooms. Take it one step further and provide a CMS (content management system) for the meeting planner. If this is like any other real world situation, information changes and by providing the meeting planner with a way to update their own custom page, you are already leading the pack in providing “added value.”
- Social Sharing Options – Share, share, share! Create a hashtag – and post it everywhere so the attendees don’t have to worry about getting it right. Consider integrating a slideshow with all the social photos using that hashtag that can be shared on screens while people wait for a session to begin. If this is a public event, providing social sharing options can help get the word out.
- A Signup Form – Collect RSVPs and attendee contact information. Not only can you use this as another tool to provide your meeting planner so that they may notify everyone about updates, but you can then contact these attendees in the future with a return trip incentive.
- Help or Contact Information – Try to answer all possible questions, and create a searchable Q&A page for the questions you get asked the most. Ensure that you are reachable for questions, registration troubleshooting or any other assistance people may need – with an alternate way to reach you during off hours as well.
- A Customized Call To Action Button – This is the heart of most event landing pages. Put it near the top and make this stand out, allowing all other information to become secondary in the hierarchy of content on the page. Some examples of a call to action button would be: to register, enter an email for a promotion, submit questions for a speaker before the event, plan the itinerary, or more.
- A Value Proposition – Work with the meeting planner to spell out what attendees gain from the event. Working through this step will aid in finding a single marketing voice to convey event details.
- Experience – e.g. Concert, Gallery Opening, Behind the Scenes tours
- Knowledge – e.g. Guest Speaker, Product/Service Demonstration
- Community – e.g. Non-profit Fundraising, Reunion, Convention
- Competition – e.g. Cook-off, Pageant, Cheering squad
- Make It Mobile Optimized – More and more users are accessing websites via mobile devices and that number is only going to grow so this is a must. In fact, the latest data shows that we are now well past the tipping point – time spent on mobile digital media in the US is now at 65% compared to desktop usage of 35%. Remember that you are working with less screen space, so be sure to place must-have information at the top!
Once the landing page is created, the meeting planner now has a tool to help promote, educate and update their target audience about the upcoming event or meeting.
By understanding how you can add value to their event, you will be able to attract more meeting planners while helping them create a successful event.
Just as you provide a helping hand to meeting planners using your expertise, Stamp is here to help you and your destination if you need help setting up an “added value” landing page for clients. We have experience providing landing pages and custom interactive event planning tools to destination clients. One example is this custom meeting/conference landing page template we built for the Montgomery Convention and Visitor Bureau. Built within the CMS the CVB already uses for their website, we were able to integrate databased information to allow an easier setup of custom pages for various events catered uniquely to each demographic.
This post is part of a series of articles about providing “added value.” We will dive into the world of meeting and event planning and how DMOs can create added value for potential meeting planners’ events by using industry tools like landing pages, meeting proposal request forms, itinerary builders, message boards, pre and post event emails and blogs and also how to use social media before, during and after their event.