David Chapple, Group Event Director of The Meetings Show offers some top tips to ensure you capitalise on your next conference.
"As organisers of the biggest event for the inbound and outbound meetings and events industry in the UK, we understand the time pressures that everyone attending a conference, no matter what the reason, are under. These time constraints, along with targets and tight budgets, often mean exhibitors and delegates are pressured to maximise opportunities at the event they've travelled so far to attend and do little else.
However, if you host an event in an exciting city like London, it can be disheartening for delegates to only see the insides of a conference centre and hotel room, particularly if they have travelled half-way around the world to get there.
The good news is that with some clever planning it's not impossible to make more of your event and capitalise on hosting in cities like London. Here are our top tips to enhance your delegate experience at your next conference.
1. Rock the reception
Most events will have a pre-show reception, either held the night before, or in the morning of the event itself. While these events can sometimes be overlooked, hosting cocktails and canapés can be anything but a waste of time, when the person you've been trying to pin down for a meeting is there too. Change perceptions and seek out unique venues to wow guests and draw in the crowds. This year our hosted buyer welcome reception is being held in London's renowned Science Museum. 300 qualified buyers will get the chance to experience the Wonderlab: The Statoil Gallery, while networking in an interactive environment; adding value to the overall delegate experience.
2. Networking needn't be nerve-racking
The main conference might end at 5pm, but sponsors and collaborators often host their own associated events after hours. They can prove a great way to not only network, but experience other areas of the city. Working with exhibitors and sponsors to promote after show events ensures your visitors are not only entertained during the day but are also maximising their time outside of the conference in a relaxed atmosphere.
3. See the sights
'Bleisure' trips, those that combine business with leisure, are growing in popularity. So why not tap into the trend by extending your visitors' trip by an extra day? Even a half day would give enough time to check out that hot new restaurant, amble round a museum, or, to make the most of their time, choose sights close to the conference venue. If your delegates are international and culture is top of the agenda, look for destinations such as Olympia London, which is just a short tube or bus ride away from three of London's most popular and iconic museums: The V&A, the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum."
Take a look at our conference offering today