That’s a wrap! You’ve just run an awesome meeting and killed it. It went so great that attendees and exhibitors alike are already asking if you’ll host another one soon. What do you do? Should you plan a “sequel”? While movie sequels tend receives mixed reviews, it can be overwhelmingly beneficial for meeting organizers to plan another event within a close time frame under the right circumstances. There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding whether or not to plan an addition event, and we will review the top considerations below.
Hot topics, emerging trends and breaking developments in event themes will fully support having more than one event. New industry focused updates and guidance will further support the necessity for a semi-annual program and add additional content and discussion points for meeting programs. Promote the follow-up event with a sense of urgency using persuasive techniques such as “breaking news” and “hear it here first”, which will increase interest and draw greater registration. Meeting organizers can further marketing and promotional efforts by using supporting news articles and blog posts to solidify the importance of the topic area.
Coast to Coast
Large companies and organizations will often have multiple offices across the nation, with primary headquarters and major hubs regularly on the east and/or west coast. Cross country travel can be long, tedious and costly. Scheduling an event on one coast with another located on the opposite coast will allow attendees from all locations to travel with some convenience. Factors to consider regarding locations include the number of local rapid transit options available, daily direct service from other major cities, the overall allure of the location, and finally, venue considerations and costs. Let’s face it, no one wants to fly to Buffalo in January to be stuck in a hotel for two days straight. Think of the ideal environment and feel you want to set for your meeting and attendees to increase interest and motivation.
Timing is Everything
Hosting the same event more than once will provide attendees, speakers and exhibitors with an alternative date and time should their schedules not align with the original time frame. No matter how detailed your planning might be, unintended consequences from external factors such as corporate meetings and internal obligations, celebratory events and religious holidays, and severe weather and transportation interruptions can and will arise. Plan your events during time frames that are appropriate for your target audiences and vendors, and try to space the meetings out if possible. Utilize buzz and feedback from your first meeting to promote registration to the second. Encourage and incentivize previous attendees to register their team members and colleagues. Appropriate timing will also allow your exhibitors to attend both events and extend their networking and engagement opportunities.
Capitalizing on the success of a timely event can lead to accelerated and improved outcomes when planning a follow-up or follow-on event. Consider factors such as topic relevance, coastal locations and overall timing to help you decide whether it’s the best option for you. When in doubt, give the people what they want. If attendees and exhibitors are asking for another event and you have the budget and the means to do it, then go for it. Incorporate post-event feedback for areas of improvement and make it the best it can be.