Getting bums on seats! - Tailormade Conferences

Whether it’s your first ever seminar or the annual conference/exhibition, knowing that you’ll have a great turn out is crucial to the success of your event. In a fast changing, inter-connected world, there are always new and innovative ways of attracting delegates. From our experience of coordinating 100’s of events, here are our “Top 10 Tips” to get those all important bums and seats!

1. Location, location, location

Never underestimate the power of choosing the right location for your event. Direct, hassle-free transport links are crucial in delivering eager and open delegates. Choosing a venue that is close to entertainment and cultural activities can give further incentives for delegates to attend.

2. Timing’s the key

The timing of your event is crucial – does it clash with other events within your industry (nationally or internationally)? Will it clash with a large event in the area around your conference venue, adding pressure on transport networks and accommodation providers? Publish your date well in advance; send “Save the Dates” so delegates can confirm it in their diaries.

3. Previous attendees

Never presume that last year’s delegates will register again automatically – you need to win them back year on year. If you have run an event for a number of years, it is a good idea to target previous delegates with a personalised message or postal mailing that talks about “returning” as opposed to the general invite. This adds the personal touch and demonstrates your value to them as returning delegates.

4. Keynote Speakers and Topics

The right speakers and content add substance to a conference that will be talked about in years to come. Spend time talking to potential delegates and stakeholders about topics and speakers that they want to hear from – it will pay dividends when it comes to delegate attendance figures.

5. Registration: keep it simple, and reward the early-birds!

Make it (almost) fool-proof for your delegates to register attendance. Keep it simple by using online registration tools (preferably one that is optimised for use on mobile devices). Test it before you launch it! Offering an early-bird registration discount can be a great way to encourage sales and provide early revenue.

6. Social Media – opening infinite possibilities

Social media offers almost limitless insight into potential delegates. Identifying groups of potential delegates using LinkedIn or Twitter can help you market directly to the type of delegate you want to attend. Reaching out to bloggers within the industry that your event is associated with can help gain increased social media activity and may even do wonders for your ticket sales!

7. A bigger net catches more fish – targeting associated industries and groups

Building a niche conference programme may gather the core of delegates you want to attend, but may actively put off potential delegates with associated interests. Make sure you have cast your net wide enough by providing extra speaking slots or exhibition space to associated industries and groups– if cleverly done, their contribution can be relevant to all delegates.

8. Choosing the right media partner

Do your research – know which media outlets (journals/websites/blogs) your delegates engage with. Endorsements from these are hugely valuable in marketing your brand – be prepared to build a relationship for the long term; it will pay dividends.

9. PPC – the ads just appear!

Pay-per-Click advertising enables you to target potential delegates to inform them of your event. Whether you use Google AdWords, LinkedIn or other providers, there are almost limitless ways of reaching the right audience at the right time using pay-per-click.

10. Once caught, don’t let them off the hook – chase RSVP’s

Whether a direct e-mail shot, your personalised letter to a previous years’ delegate, information gathered by Pay-per-Click or from social media, chase up your RSVP’s with a phone call a few weeks before the deadline so no one misses out – the personal touch really does make the difference.

Once your event is ready to take place, the best way to get delegates to attend is to deliver a faultless event.  Tailormade Conferences have experience in supporting and delivering conferences throughout the UK and Europe. Our team work tirelessly to enable our clients to deliver outstanding meetings and conferences, providing organiser and delegates with what they need before they ask for it! To speak to us about your next conference, meeting or workshop, contact us on 01904 540920 or by email on