Event strategists know the healthiest shows are the ones that keep guests coming back year after year. But how do you achieve this?
Experient recently released it’s inaugural IDEA report, a bi-annual publication that shares how insightful data equals action.
First on the list was this: What correlations are there between how a guest (or registrant) behaves and how they’re retained?
To answer these questions, researchers behind the IDEA Report looked at the data points across four key areas:
- Registration timing
- Amount of money guests spend on event
- Distance traveled to the event
- Location of the event
Time is On My Side
You might think that having your registration site up and running well in advance of your show would make a major difference in your registration.
It turns out, that’s not the case.
According to research, only two percent of people are registered for a show by 18 weeks out.
Even with over a month until the doors open, only 55 percent are registered.
Finally, by one week out, registration spikes to 85 percent.
Unless certain factors dictate otherwise, it may actually be more effective to open registration around 18 weeks before the show or after.
It Pays to Be Loyal
First-time guests typically make up two-thirds of total attendance at an event.
So why is it important to keep them coming back?
Studies show that new attendees who are satisfied and plan to return, spend 14% more than those who don’t.
It’s also important to realize that when those first-timers become loyal returners, they spend an average of $35 more than first-timers.
Understanding this can help event strategists plan incentives to encourage loyal attendees such as discounts, expanded access or upgrades.
Going the Distance
Just like two-thirds of attendees are first-timers, two-thirds of people at your show live 250 miles away or more.
That means, a majority of your guests—66.7 percent of them to be precise—took a plane to attend your event.
So why should that matter?
The average flyer outspends a driver on event purchases by $76. In fact, flyers commit to attending events much earlier than drivers.
This also means that while distance may be a factor, it doesn’t have much influence on whether guests return or not.
Should I Stay or Should I Go?
While many events land in a new destination each year, some like to remain stationary. Is there an advantage to doing either?
Your first-timers are five percent more likely to travel to a rotating event, but your returning guests are more apt to register for an event that is stationary.
While there isn’t any evidence in the study that suggests one is better than the other, it’s interesting to see the differences in travel between the two.
At stationary events, 42 percent of people registered are drivers, compared to 25 percent who drive to rotating events.