20 Event Engagement Ideas to Wow Your Attendees.
Facilitating meaningful engagement among attendees is the top priority for any event professional. After two years of primarily virtual interactions, in-person connections and experiences hold even greater value than before. However, with shortening attention spans and a flood of competing priorities, keeping people fully invested throughout your program is more challenging than ever.
Research shows the average attention span has dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2021 due to smartphones and an overstimulating digital environment (Microsoft, 2021).
As an event organizer, this poses new engagement challenges – how can you ensure each attendee gains real value and walks away feeling positive about your brand? The key is strategically designing an experience focused first on interactive content, facilitating quality networking, and incorporating fun elements at every turn.
According to Bizzabo’s take on audience engagement, 80% of event professionals report measuring event success based on attendee engagement and satisfaction
In this blog, we’ll explore 20 tactics for dialing up attendee participation backed by research and actual event data. From virtual polling to wellness breaks to gamification, these strategies will take your events to the next level of engagement.
Attendee Engagement Ideas.
1. Gamify Your Event Experience.
Why not add an element of fun and friendly competition to your event? Incorporate gamification by creating challenges, quizzes, and scavenger hunts that attendees can participate in throughout the event. Offer exciting prizes and incentives to keep them engaged and motivated. It’s a surefire way to make your event more interactive and enjoyable. Julius Solaris shared some jaw-dropping recap from the Money 20/20 2023 event.
2. Interactive Sessions that Spark Conversation.
Make your sessions more interactive by incorporating live polls, Q&A, and interactive presentations. Encourage attendees to participate and share their thoughts and opinions actively. This will not only keep them engaged but also create a dynamic and collaborative atmosphere.
3. Foster Meaningful Networking Opportunities.
Networking is a crucial aspect of any event. Facilitate networking opportunities by providing dedicated networking sessions, virtual networking lounges, and matchmaking tools. Help attendees connect with like-minded individuals and nurture valuable relationships. After all, networking is not just about exchanging business cards – it’s about building connections that can last long after the event ends.
4. Bring Learning to Life with Live Demonstrations and Workshops.
Learning doesn’t have to be dull and passive. Organize live demonstrations and workshops where attendees can learn new skills and engage with industry experts. Provide hands-on experiences that allow attendees to interact and learn in a practical and immersive way. By making learning exciting and interactive, you’ll not only boost attendee engagement, but you will leave a lasting impact on your attendees.
5. Wellness and Relaxation Areas.
The world has seen more conversations about mental health and wellness this year than previous ones. Events this year were not left out. At your next event, you can offer wellness and relaxation areas where attendees can recharge and rejuvenate during the event. This could include meditation spaces, massage stations, or quiet lounges. Providing spaces for self-care shows that you prioritize your attendees’ well-being and mental health and encourage them to engage with your event holistically.
6. Surprise and Delight with Guest Speakers.
Surprise your attendees with guest speakers who are experts in their field and can provide valuable insights and inspiration. Surprise appearances can create excitement and anticipation among attendees, making your event all the more memorable. Ensure that the guest speakers are relevant to your event’s theme and can offer unique perspectives.
7. Harness the Power of Social Media.
In today’s digital age, social media is a powerful tool for attendee engagement. Leverage it to enhance your event experience. Create event hashtags, encourage attendees to share their experiences on social media, and run contests and giveaways to boost engagement. By leveraging the power of social media, you can extend the reach of your event and generate buzz among a wider audience.
8. Dive into the World of Virtual Reality.
If you’re hosting a virtual or hybrid event, consider incorporating virtual reality experiences. Allow attendees to explore virtual environments, visit virtual booths, and engage with immersive content. Virtual reality can transport attendees to a new world and provide an unforgettable experience.
9. Blend Live Streaming and On-Demand Content.
Offer live streaming options for attendees who cannot attend the event in person. Additionally, provide on-demand content so attendees can access sessions and presentations conveniently. This flexibility ensures attendees don’t miss out on valuable content and can engage with your event on their own terms.
10. Create Interactive Exhibitor Booths.
Make your exhibitor booths stand out by making them interactive and engaging. Encourage exhibitors to create interactive demos, virtual tours, games such as arcade games, carnival-style games (spin the wheel, toss a ring, and win a prize), and interactive product showcases to capture attendees’ attention. By offering interactive experiences, exhibitors can connect with attendees on a deeper level and effectively showcase their products or services.
11. Personalize the Event Experience.
Tailor the event experience to each attendee by offering personalized recommendations, session suggestions, and content based on their interests and preferences. Use data and analytics collated during the registration process to understand attendee preferences and create a customized event journey. Personalization adds a personal touch and makes attendees feel valued and engaged.
12. Make Feedback Fun with Gamified Surveys.
Gathering feedback is essential for improving future events. Instead of traditional surveys, create gamified surveys and feedback forms. Make it fun and interactive for attendees to provide feedback and opinions about the event. By turning feedback into a game, you’ll increase response rates and gather valuable insights to enhance future events.
13. Bring the Fun of Photo Booths to Virtual Events.
Who says virtual events can’t have photo booths? Set up virtual photo booths where attendees can take fun pictures, add filters and stickers, and share them on social media. It’s a great way to add a touch of fun and create memorable moments, even in a virtual setting.
14. Engage Sponsors with Interactive Opportunities.
Sponsors play a vital role in events, and engaging them is crucial. Offer interactive sponsorship opportunities that allow sponsors to showcase their products or services in an interactive and engaging way. This can include virtual product demos or interactive branded experiences that leave a lasting impression on attendees.
15. Infuse Live Entertainment for a Memorable in-person event Experience.
When you can host an in-person event, infusing live entertainment is a great way to create an immersive experience. Incorporate entertainers that interact with the audience and engage attendees through music, comedy, or storytelling. This type of engagement creates memorable moments that will last long after the event has ended. Plus, it’s also a great way to get sponsors involved.
16. Offer Unique Food and beverage Experiences
Food and drinks are essential to any event – in-person, hybrid, or virtual. For instance, when planning a virtual event, try adding unique food experiences for guests, like special snacks inspired by your theme or extravagant charcuterie boards. You could even provide DIY cocktail kits with recipes customized for each guest. That way, everyone can follow along and make their own drinks while hearing you speak. It’s a great way to add an element of fun and create a more interactive experience for attendees.
17. Surprise Guest Speakers
Bring in surprise guest speakers or influencers who are experts in their field to provide valuable insights and inspiration. You can also organize a virtual session ahead of the event with top industry players like we did with Irina Graf, Founder of The MICE Blog, and Adam Parry, Founder of Event Tech Live.
Here’s a pro tip: Surprise appearances generate excitement and anticipation among attendees, ensuring they have a memorable experience.
18. Virtual Swag Bags
Send virtual swag bags to attendees before the event or provide them with access to a virtual swag bag during the event. You can include exclusive discounts, digital resources, and interactive content to make them feel appreciated and valued.
19. Photo Booths and Selfie Stations
Set up photo booths or selfie stations with props and backdrops that align with your event theme. If your event is in-person, even better as you can set up multiple picturesque locations all over the show floor. Encourage attendees to take photos and share them on social media. This not only creates fun and memorable moments but also promotes your event organically. Now, smile for the camera.
For in-person events, consider incorporating augmented reality experiences. Use AR technology to provide interactive and immersive experiences that blend the physical and digital worlds. This adds an element of excitement and engagement to your event.
21. Personalized Thank You Messages.
After the event, keep the engagement going by sending personalized follow-up communications to attendees. This could include thank-you emails, exclusive content, or special offers related to the event. By maintaining a connection with your attendees, you’ll continue to foster engagement and build a loyal community. This is always the icing on the cake.
To wrap this post up:
The most successful events don’t happen by chance – they require intentional design with engagement top of the mind. Keeping attendees engaged should be a top priority for any live, virtual, or hybrid event in 2024. As this article outlined, there are many tactics planners can implement within their programming, activations, use of mobile apps, and surveys to immerse people in valuable content and quality connections. From interactive sessions to gamification to wellness breaks, thoughtfully incorporating various engagement elements is vital.
If you want to take your attendee experience to the next level and validate your strategy with data insights, explore how InEvent’s platforms can help. Our all-in-one solution combines event management, session delivery, networking functionality, and post-event analytics.
Contact an InEvent expert today to see how our solutions support any format – from small meetings to global conferences – with features tailored for boosting participation that drives real business value. Our team is eager to work with you.