Eight Ways to Boost Delegate Numbers

You’ve developed a top-notch programme, but what good is a great event without an audience? We’ve compiled eight suggestions to help boost delegate numbers at your event:
 
Form partnerships with affiliate chapters and organisations
Tap into the global network of association chapters. These chapters and organisations provide a ready market for an event, and having common objectives makes their members more receptive to attending the event. Also, make sure to advertise the event with affiliate organisations as they will be interested in similar issues and subjects of discussions. 
Take advantage of traditional and social media
Learn who are the various trade media specialising in the event’s industry across the globe, and involve them in the event’s publicity programme from the beginning. Social media can also be useful and should be included in the communications plan, but make sure to take into account the level of social media understanding of the event’s audience in different markets before investing time and money in it.

Minimise travel cost
Travel costs can be restrictive for some delegates, especially those from developing markets with tight spending budgets. Grants and sponsorships could be provided to selected overseas delegates who satisfy specific criteria or a hosted programme could be developed with the help of relevant sponsors who wish to penetrate a young market.
Promote the destination
While the conference content is the paramount draw, delegates would definitely try to achieve a work and life balance. Highlight the destination’s unique experiences and attractions to draw delegates interest and help convince them to consider investing in the trip for both business and leisure purposes.

Go virtual
Make the event’s content available online – either through live streaming during the event or downloadable podcasts series post-event – as not everyone will be able to travel to the event for various reasons. Having the content available to those who were unable to be present serves also as a marketing tool to demonstrate the quality of the event and entice them to attend the next edition. 
Engage the host destination’s bureau
Most bureaus in established destinations are able to offer delegate-boosting support to important events headed for their shores. They may do it through their in-market offices across the world, or as part of their destination marketing campaign. They may even link the event with the national economic or trade development agency and overseas affiliates to help create awareness.
Encourage trade media partners to participate
Have the event’s media representative bring in a guaranteed number of quality attendees from their market in exchange for fully hosted status at the event.
Word of mouth
Those who accept speaking opportunities at the event will share information regarding the event with colleagues, thus spreading the word and attracting more attendees from their circle and organisation.