Why do people participate in festivals and events? What stimulates their participation, and how can event planners entice and manage participant expectations?
Event managers focus on many of the management issues and strategies that surround the design and staging of events. However, far too often, the expectations of the audience are not well understood or are left out of the plans and designs.
Audience expectations can be built over a lifetime, or over a few short hours, and can have a marked impact on the satisfaction of the audience with the event. It is, therefore, up to the event manager to ensure that expectations are fully understood and met. Despite the fact that each event audience has different expectations based on the event type, there is still a list of common expectations. Here are some of them:
1. Satisfactory, true, and continuous information flow
Before deciding on participation, each potential participant is required to understand the event details. This includes a value proposition for the event at the very beginning so that participants understand what they are actually going to buy if they attend your event.
If anybody considers attending your event, then he will need to know the details of the event program, including services and sometimes even the names or brands of service providers such as hotels, event venues, transportation, etc. All this information should be true, satisfactory enough, and reliable. Planners should always avoid providing vague and tricky information about their events.
Participants always wish to receive timely and decent information until the event begins. If some changes occur until your event, you should inform your participants immediately. This requires event planners to establish at least one information-sharing channel between themselves and their participants, such as an email connection system or a social media channel.
2. Decent, polite, and swift services during the event
Even if an event is a non-profit one, each participant expects a decent event environment with swift and good-quality service. This issue becomes more sensitive if your event is a paid one. Because every participant will be looking forward to receiving something for what they've paid. Waiting for a long time for registration in a long queue with stale food, bad speaker systems, bad organization, etc. will only create a bad reputation for your event or your company, and most probably you won't see your participants at your next event.
3. Quality and accessibility of the content
Each event has content, and this content is only meaningful when your participants are able to reach and enjoy it. For example, if you are at a concert but can't see the stage clearly, you won't feel happy about it, or if you are attending an exhibition but can't visit a stand because of the crowd, it's the same feeling again.
Accessibility is one thing, but not all. Because the quality of the content is also very important. Let's consider the concert example again. This time you are sitting at the front line in a comfortable chair in the concert hall, but the singer is awfully bad. So, quality and accessibility only work if both exist together. This is the hardest part of an event. Because producing quality is already challenging work, making it accessible to all requires very careful planning.
4. Having fun
Adding a piece of fun to an event is like adding a piece of spice to food. Whatever the type, each and every participant also seeks fun in every event. This is something about human nature. Event planners should always consider the enjoyment of participants. If your participants are happy, then your event can be accepted as successful.
5. Networking, self-improvement or business
Most of the time, it's not only the fun that attracts participants to an event. Events are huge social gatherings where participants find incredibly rich networking opportunities. Based on the type of event, participants can improve their knowledge, and experience or widen their visions at events. On the other hand, some events provide a unique environment for marketing or selling something while allowing cooperation opportunities for those who seek partners. If event planners can manage to create a win-win environment at events, that will definitely mark their success.