Do you have an annually recurring conference? Then you know you will meet those people who have always attended your conference each and every time. The faces and personalities of those loyal delegates can give you and other attendees an almost familiar, comforting feeling.
Should you treat these loyal attendees any different from other attendees? And if your answer is yes: How could you do this?
There are several ways you can show appreciation to loyal attendees, of which badge ribbons and pins are the most well known. These can indicate how many years or times that person has attended your conference or has been a member of the association. Some attendees even like to collect pins and wear them all during each new conference!
But there are other ways to honour loyal attendees, like a social reward at the conference diner (e.g. special seating), an award, a hotel upgrade or even a special social program, similar to a first-timer program.
A less used option is a financial benefit such as a discount for each year you have attended or a discount for a specific part of the program.
Whatever way you choose to treat your loyal attendees, it should be a win-win situation for the attendee and your conference.
So what can be the benefit of you treating this loyal group of attendees differently. First of all you will see it as an incentive for them to return again next time. This will ensure you of future attendees, but also give other attendees a comfortable feeling of recognition and credibility of your conference. But loyal attendees have much more to offer for you.
Their experience of each conference can give you a good comparison, which can result in valuable knowledge on how to improve or develop your conference. Another important benefit can be their enthusiasm, making them your marketeer in their field of expertise to attract new attendees or sponsors.
Off course keeping your conferences interesting for your loyal attendees is the first criteria for them to return each time, but by treating your loyal attendees in a special way and rewarding them, you can turn them into true ambassadors of your conference all year long.