Why people participate in festivals and events, what stimulate their participation and how event managers can entice and manage participant expectations

Event managers focus on many of the management issues and strategies which surround the design and staging of events. However, far too often the expectations of audience is not well understood, or is 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 upon 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 upon the event type, there is still a list of common expectations. Here are some of them;

1. Satisfactory, true and continuous information flow

Before making a decision about participation, each potential participant require to understand the event details first. This includes value proposal of the event at the very beginning, so that, participants understand what they are actually going to buy if they attend your event. 

If anybody consider attending your event, then he will need to know the details of event program, included services and sometimes even the names or brands of service providers such as hotels, event venue, transportation etc. All these 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 free one, each participant expect a decent event environment with a swift and good quality service. This issue becomes more sensitive if your event is a paid one. Because every participant will be look for receiving something for what they've paid. Waiting for a long time for registration at a long queue, stale food, bad speaker systems, bad organization etc will only create a bad reputation about your event or your company and most probably you won't see your participants in your next event. 

3. Quality & accessibility of the content

Each event has a content and this content is only meaningful when your participants are able to reach and enjoy it. For example, if you are in a concert but can't see the stage clearly, then 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 the all. Because the quality of the content is also very important. Let's consider concert example again; this time you are sitting at the front line in a comfortable chair in concert hall but the singer is awfully bad. So, quality and accessibility only works if both exist together. This is the hardest part of an event. Because producing quality is already a challenging work and 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 a food. Whatever the type, each and every participant also seek for fun in every event.This is something about human nature. Event planners should always consider 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 which attracts participants to an event. Events are huge social gatherings where participants find incredibly rich networking opportunity. Based upon the event type, participants can improve their knowledge, experience or widen their visions at events. On the other hand some events provide unique environment for marketing or selling something while allowing cooperation opportunities for those who seek for partners. If event planners can manage to create a win-win environment at events that will definitely mark their event success.