Social media-savvy, budget-friendly tips to attract young attendees
Millennials are now the biggest generation in the Canadian workforce, and a successful event should keep them feeling engaged and “in the know.” Events can also help associations woo skeptical young professionals into joining their ranks, giving them something exclusive outside of LinkedIn Groups.
But events should also be worth telling others about. Unique, picture-worthy and accessible destinations like Québec City are an ideal locale for attracting experience-hungry millennials who want to share their everyday life with their social networks. From gaming apps to budget-friendly options, here are four ways planners can connect to this cohort in Québec City— recently rated first among Canadian destinations according to Travel + Leisure World Best Awards 2016.
Events are conduits for information and should, therefore, be worthy enough to share. Young event goers want an experience they can tell others about. An event, and all the trimmings that come with its host city, should help them to share meaningful moments on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Reliable Wi-Fi is now expected, and cities, hotels and venues are investing heavily to meet the increasing demand for bandwidth. Québec City is becoming a wireless city, thanks to local businesses’ commitment to offering free Wi-Fi to customers, and the Québec City Convention Centre offers wall-to-wall free Wi-Fi access, including in their meeting rooms and public areas.
Right from the start, create crystal-clear ways for attendees to connect the event with social networks. For example, promote hashtags everywhere as soon as an event is booked, and then increase its visibility two months in advance. Hashtags are like the open bar in a room full of strangers. They provide something immediate to attendees, a way for them to start communicating with others before the party really gets going. Hashtags are also go-to ways for people to read news and opinions from other seminars, share what they’ve learned and, ultimately, bond with other attendees and expand their brand. Hashtags bring like-minded people together and help millennials do what they do well—share information.
Recently, Twitter also opened its Moments to everyone, allowing people to create a narrative that strings all tweets together. This is great way to top off an event. Create a final social media story and bind the attendee community together with their various perspectives and photos.
Event goers are also using social media to evaluate what events to attend based on their social networks. For planners, social media is an affordable means to communicate with exhibitors, attendees and staff. Studies show that the more planners create stories around their event, the more engaged attendees are.
Creating an engaging experience may even have your attendees sharing Throwback Thursday (#TBT) posts through their social networks, keeping the event alive long after it’s ended.
A recent BMO Wealth Management survey on millennials found that the majority of respondents consider saving money their most important financial priority. Staging a successful event should, therefore, be budget-friendly and help keep young attendees’ pockets from running dry.
At the same time, millennials want to experience more for less. When scoping out hotels, look for luxurious and amenity-rich options that are also cost-effective. The Hôtel Château Laurier Québec, for instance, is steps from the historic district of Old Québec and major landmarks. It costs nothing to walk back through time and experience free sightseeing. The Québec City Business Destination says there are also various eclectic restaurants to choose from that fit all budgets.
Provide attendees with a list of affordable (or even better, free) things to do in between seminars or after hours. Also, consider offering prizes, giveaways or discount certificates to local bars and restaurants throughout the duration of an event.
Location, location, location
Millennials are most likely to thrive in and around a downtown core. This generation, according to a survey by Nielsen, likes having “the world at their fingertips” and prefers mixed-use communities where they can be close to shops, restaurants and offices. Keep this “mixed-use” principle in mind when planning an event. For example, the Québec City Convention Centre is right in the heart of downtown, in a convenient and walkable location near various hotels like the Delta Hôtel, and surrounded by all kinds of amenities, parks and transportation. This generation loves to live, work and play all in the same neighbourhood, so look for locations that give them the chance to balance these needs.
A new global survey from The World Economic Forum found that millennials report the smartphone as the number one device for social media activities. As more meeting planners implement event-specific apps to replace paper programs, maps and signage, these apps facilitate social media engagement and networking, send targeted alerts and enhance gamification opportunities.
Quebec City Business Destination suggests that if you’re looking to apply gamification techniques to your next event, think about trends like Pokémon Go, which is creating a fun way for attendees to discover Québec City—after hours.
While Niantic, the company that developed Pokémon Go, is looking for better ways to monetize the game, most planners cannot fully incorporate it directly into an event. However, there are ways to implement the game principles into a similar system. For example, offer a giveaway every half hour or so. Attendees would have some sort of notification, showing them where they have to go to get the prize, like a specific booth number. This will lure them to areas of your trade show or venue, or help promote particular aspects of your program, sponsors or vendors. Or incorporate a point system with random codes hidden around the event. Attendees have to scan them to earn points which they can cash in for a prize.
Also, reward them for getting their peers onboard. As with Pokémon Go, you want your website or app to be as fun as possible, to get people talking about it and sharing their experiences.
To learn more about engaging young event goers amongst Quebec City’s vibrant culture, experienced representatives are on hand to help you plan your next event. Visit Québec City Business Destination Blog.