Why You Should Know Your Attendees Before You Begin Sourcing

Finding and contracting with the perfect hotel or venue for your offsite event is no small task. Before you even begin the sourcing process, it’s critical to know your attendees; therefore many items must be taken into consideration. Choosing a destination, deciding on dates and determining your budget are all great starting points. There are, however, other aspects that can prove advantageous to you as a planner.

One item that is often overlooked is your attendee base. Knowing who will be attending your event can help narrow the scope of the properties you send your RFP to and can save hours of headaches down the road. Here are a few ways to use your attendee demographics to your advantage:

Destination
Consider which destinations will be a draw for your group. Do your attendees work and live in a city? Maybe they would like a getaway to a tropical island or enjoy a snowy mountain excursion. Do they prefer adventure? Finding a destination that offers outdoor activities might be a good idea. Is the event a conference or training relating to a particular industry? Choosing a region that has historical or cultural elements that relate to the industry may increase attendee interest.

The destination you choose can have a big impact on attendee interest which can in turn help with registration numbers. If this event is a mandatory internal meeting, it can boost excitement and anticipation within the team, as well.

Hotel or Venue
The hotel or venue you select can have the same sway on attendees as the destination. Does your group appreciate historical venues or do they prefer something a bit more modern? Do they prefer to be within walking distance to shopping and dining or would they appreciate being closer to nature? Asking these questions can help you gain a better understanding of what type of property your attendees will appreciate the most.

Examining your attendee preferences can aid in the success of your program for a number of reasons. For example, if you often find that attendees fall off as the event date nears, choosing a hotel that is more aligned with the group’s interests can help with retention. Sending friendly reminders about the unique aspects of the property can keep their interest piqued as they await their upcoming stay.

RFP Wishlist
Reflect upon what your attendee base will require of their accommodations. Some groups require as little as complimentary in-room wifi, while others would like turndown service, amenity room drops and a glass of cucumber water upon their arrival for check in. Every group is different. Knowing the expectations of your group can help make them feel taken care of and give your program that wow factor.

We suggest including your room amenities and upgrade requests in your RFP. This will allow the hotels to understand what kind of experience you want to give your guests and will help make negotiating these additions easier once  you arrive at the contract stage. Prioritize your wishlist according to which amenities are must-haves and which are just nice-to-haves. Again, this will help make contract negotiations a breeze.

Pro Tip
If this event has been done in the past, see if you can find any feedback from previous attendees. Were they happy with the destinations chosen in the past? Do they have any suggestions on what might make their stay more comfortable in the future? Looking to your past attendees will help give you an idea of what your future attendees will be looking for.

Shelley Griffin

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