4 Ways to Attract Repeat Event Attendees

2015 Phoenix Comicon Fan Fest, Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore
2015 Phoenix Comicon Fan Fest, Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

For corporate event planners, there’s a fine line between hosting an event that leaves attendees satisfied while also creating enough intrigue for attendees to want more from the next one. The benefit to attracting repeat event attendees not only helps build customer loyalty, but it can be six to seven times more costly to gain a new customer than to retain one, according to data curated by Salesforce. Here are four ways that make attendees want to come back year after year.

  1. Send a Follow-Up Survey: Attendee feedback from a post-event survey will help you learn straight from the source what made the event worthwhile and what could be improved. Not only do you want to incorporate this feedback into planning your next event, but you also want to promote these changes to past attendees when you send out promotional items or invites to the next event. Attendees will appreciate being heard and knowing that any issues they had were addressed.
  2. Provide Incentives: Providing a discount code or letting former attendees register first shows that you value their support, and it guarantees that your best customers will be signing up first. Even better, create exclusive offers for repeat attendees at the event by offering drink tickets or an exclusive dinner for returning attendees. More often than not, an attendee’s company will be footing the bill, so offer them something that’s exclusive to them.
  3. Stay in Touch: Throughout the year, engage with attendees by asking questions instead of simply blasting out your message. The more of a personal connection they feel to the event, the more likely they will return and share their experience with colleagues. Leading up to the event, make sure you communicate key information such as the location, important times and contact information as well as speaker or educational schedules. Attendee engagement is always key to making them feel appreciated and welcomed back.
  4. Keep your Event Fresh: While consistency is key at certain events—if the opening-night gala includes an awards ceremony, don’t change it to the closing night, for instance—you always need a new angle to prove why it’s important to come each year. Whether it’s a new speaker, new entertainment act or new destination, the sense of newness or timeliness will give attendees a very specific reason for returning.