Article source: DMAI /

It goes without saying that attendees are the lifeblood of meetings and events. Strong attendance means more business gets accomplished, exhibitors are happier, educational sessions are well attended, hotel room blocks are filled and you maximize your ROI. But when it comes to promoting the most robust attendance possible, why go it alone when Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) are there to help you? From pre-promotion and website building to social media assistance and destination collateral, many DMOs offer a comprehensive range of attendee promotion services to help you build excitement and encourage event participation, either for free or at low cost. Here’s a look at some attendee-boosting services many DMOs are providing to help make your meetings bigger, better and busier!

Pre-Event Buzz

Promoting attendance is one thing, but encouraging and inciting attendance is another. After all, if you don’t make your meeting sound interesting and exciting, you may miss a big chunk of your potential audience! That’s where the DMO can bolster your pre-promotional efforts by creating buzz for your event well in advance.

Visit Bellevue Washington can provide groups with Bellevue materials to to assist with pre-event promotion.

Once your business is booked in their destination, many DMOs will make a point of attending your annual event the year before so they can engage with attendees, hand out visitor’s guides and brochures, answer questions about their destination and build  excitement about next year’s meeting. In addition, many DMOs will provide customized video presentations at opening or closing sessions to inspire future attendance.

“One year before the conference we’ll go to the annual meeting and talk about what’s coming up next in Minneapolis,” says Leslie Wright, senior vice president of destination sales and services at Meet Minneapolis. “We set up a booth, provide brochures and try to encourage engagement by showing a promotional video and downtown images on an iPad. That way attendees can ask questions, find out what’s going on at that time of year and get excited about attending in Minneapolis.”

 The Visit Bellevue Washington destination video is available for use by meeting planners.

Tech Assistance

As the meetings and events industry moves into the digital age, more and more DMOs are honing their technological skills and services in the form of website building, social media and mobile applications. Many DMOs can create customized event landing pages that not only promote the upcoming meeting but also provide attendees with helpful information about what to see and do while in the destination, including restaurants, events and attractions.

“We can create a microsite that has their housing link, things to do pre- and post-event, things to do while they’re in the city during the conference and maps and links for activities around the city,” says Kate Kurkjian, director of convention services for Seattle’s Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We’ll actually build the page for them along with their logo or any other information they want to include. We can also push the word out (about the event) with our Facebook page or Twitter feeds.”

And as more organizations and companies venture into social media to promote their meetings, many DMOs are staying in lock step with that trend. Case in point is the Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau, which offers a range of social media attendee promotion services from basic to advanced and free to low-cost, depending on the needs of each event.

“We offer the very basic kinds of things to a more strategic approach to boosting attendance through social media,” says Steve Genovesi, ACVB vice president of sales. “For example, we can post on their Facebook page about what’s happening in Austin over the specific times of the convention.”

All the world loves a bargain and that’s why more DMOs, including Austin, are turning from paper and emailed coupons to mobile apps offering attendees a fun variety of discounts and special offers they can access on-the-go and take advantage of while in the destination.

Onsite Excitement

Besides providing brochures, visitors guides and maps to help attendees get around and plan fun things to see and do, DMOs can also assist with additional onsite promotion efforts that can make a big splash with very little effort, says Kurkjian.

“We can provide banners around the city, signage at the airport and more onsite stuff and link them with members that can provide additional advertising and messages while they’re here for the conference.” says Kurkjian. “For some meeting planners (attendee promotion) can be really tough because they’re going year over year over year and it’s a lot of work, so many may never have the opportunity to think about the extras that can really add to a meeting or conference.”

Bellevue-Banners-BrandingBanners for a convention in downtown Bellevue.

Everybody likes getting a little something for free, so DMOs can also provide groups withfun, destination-specific logo promotional items for attendee welcome bags or as special give-aways at the event.

Good Promotion Makes Good Cents

Although many of these services are complimentary, it doesn’t hurt to take advantage of those attendee promotion services that might cost you a little bit more, as long as it makes sense for your group. After all, when your event is well attended and successful, everybody wins: your organization, your participants, the destination and you!

“DMOs really capture the destination and if destination appeal is part of your marketing plan or part of what drives your attendees then it makes absolute sense to have the DMO help you with (attendee promotion),” says Lisa Dyson, director of conference services for TESOL International Association. “They allow you to do more marketing than you might otherwise be able to do on your own, particularly if you don’t have a full-time marketing staff.”

To learn more about how Visit Bellevue Washington can help you plan and promote your event in Bellevue, view our convention services information here.