Event Planning, Featured, Tips

You Don’t Know What Your Event Attendees Want

April 4, 2016
What features are important to event attendees

If I were to ask you (or any other event planner) what the 3 most important features are to event attendees you’d probably respond with the following:

  1. Free WiFi (81% of attendees find this important)
  2. Power Stations (for Recharging Mobile Devices) (71% of attendees find this important)
  3. Downloadable Speaker Presentations (64% of attendees find this important)

If you said those were the 3 most important features to attendees, great! You’re correct, but what if I were to tell you you’re wrong about everything else?

Based on a survey of 420 U.S. based professionals who attend at least one B2B exhibition a year, these statistics provide a valuable insight into which features event attendees find critical to their experience and how those features aren’t being given the same importance by event planners.

What your Attendees Want At Your Event

  • 60% of Attendees Value the Ability to Request Information Via QR Code or by Providing an Email Address. Only 44% of event planners agree.
  • 55% of Attendees Value the Ability to Find Additional Information on Interactive Screens or Tablets. Only 34% of event planners agree.
  • 34% of Attendees Value the Ability to Watch More Than One Session From a Room With Multiple Screens. Only 14% of event planners agree.

What Your Attendees DON’T Want At Your Event

  • 78% of Event Planners use Social Media to Help Attendees Stay on Schedule. Only 12% of attendees find this useful.
  • 54% of Event Planners Use Text Messages to Help Attendees Stay on Schedule. Only 11% of attendees find this useful.

Other Interesting Statistics

The study covered a wide range of topics, and there were some in which event planners and event attendees felt the same. For example, 31% of event attendees report that social media walls are “critical to the experience” and 34% of event planners share those views.

Other interesting event attendee statistics are as follows:

Event Attendee Schedule Preferences

  • 40% of event attendees use a personal calendar to plan out their schedule for an event.
  • 35% of event attendees use exhibition organizer websites.
  • 25% of event attendees use apps provided by the event itself.
  • 24% of event attendees use electronic directories or kiosks with a searchable touch screen.
  • 23% of event attendees refer to text messages from peers to help plan out the sessions they want to attend.

Event Attendee Mobile App Preferences

  • 44% of event attendees will download an event’s app.  87% of event planners offer an app, and another 7% plan on offering one in the future.
  • 23% of event attendees choose not to download the event’s app.
  • 33% of event attendees weren’t aware of the app, didn’t know how to download it, or didn’t have a mobile device capable of running the app.

When asked why they did not choose to download an event’s app, the following reasons were given:

  • 43% dislike downloading an app for one time use.
  • 27% prefer a printed program.
  • 14% don’t trust downloading apps from unknown sources.

Out of those who used the app, these features were most important/most used:

  • The ability to register for sessions and special events
  • Interactive map features.
  • The ability to search for exhibitors, products, or speakers in a directory.

Only 46% of event planners offer the above features, but it is unclear whether this figure is skewed because some events do not require those features. (e.g. no special events or sessions, only a handful of speakers, exhibitors or products, or only one or two rooms.)

One last question asked how comfortable attendees were with being monitored during the event with RFID or a similar technology.

  • 50% of those surveyed said they were comfortable.
  • 31% had no opinion.
  • 21% were uncomfortable or very uncomfortable.

Take these statistics to heart, they are straight from event attendees themselves and show us that we may not always be right about what our event attendees want before, during and after our events. If you’re not sure about your attendees wants and needs, the answer may be as simple as asking them yourself! Create a poll on social media or an email survey asking them what features are most important. After all, every event is different!

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