Have you tried to boost attendance by choosing places that will attract guests?
When a meeting is held in a desirable
destination, many attendees opt to bring along a companion. To find
out how often guests are accompanying meeting-goers, M&C and
NTM Research conducted an online survey in late October.
Of the 453 respondents, 89 percent plan meetings to which
attendees may bring guests, and more than one third (36 percent)
have seen the number of attendee guests increase over the past two
years. A plurality of those polled (39 percent) believe the number
of attendee guests has increased because more people are combining
business trips with vacation time for economic reasons.
Almost two thirds of the association planners polled
(63 percent) say their organizations have actively tried to bolster
meeting attendance by choosing destinations that are deemed
attractive to guests. Seventy-three percent claim this strategy
successfully increased overall attendance.
Most association planners (78 percent) say the involvement of
guests hasn’t created any problems at meetings. Of those
respondents who do cite a downside, 16 percent report exhibitors
have griped about nonbuyers on the trade show floor.
The increase in attendee guests has created more
work for most meeting planners. Over the past two years, 58 percent
have had to plan more spouse/guest activities, and 52 percent
needed to arrange larger food and beverage functions.
Bringing along a companion makes for happier employees,
apparently. A distinct majority of corporate meeting planners say
guest participation at corporate events improves morale, and a
quarter of respondents plan to encourage more guest participation
in the coming year.