Most conferences are focused on one thing: putting together the best agenda possible – and some of them do a pretty great job. But even when the programming is on point, most of these conferences overlook some very important elements that make for a better attendee experience.
What are they missing?
1 – Carefully Vetted Attendees
Most conferences want to simply sell out as quickly as possible. In essence, they don’t really care who’s coming as long as they buy a ticket.
Very few conferences vet attendees to guarantee a certain level of quality. Without an application process, these conferences end up with a lot of riff-raff.
These conferences are missing out on an opportunity to make the attendees an active part of the experience (more on that later).
2 – Solicitation-Free Experience
Part of the riff-raff I mentioned earlier are vendors and job-seekers that flock to conferences to hand out business cards and resumes. I’m not sure about you, but when I go to a conference, I’m looking to learn and grow, not be cornered by someone trying to get a job or sell me something I don’t need
Trade shows and job fairs are more appropriate places for these types of attendees – not enough conferences focus on weeding them out.
3 – Peer Interaction & Community-Building
Don’t get me wrong, a great keynote is hard to beat, but even conferences with top-tier programming can feel one-dimensional.
When conferences don’t encourage attendees to interact with and learn from each other as part of the event, they are missing out on an opportunity to turn a passive experience into a collaborative one that builds a community of peers.
4 – Immersive Entertainment
Another thing far too many conferences neglect is entertainment. A slew of impressive speakers is only beneficial to attendees if they can keep their attention up without burning out.
Conference planners should spice things up with immersive, team-building entertainment like collaborative splatter painting, dance lessons, juggling workshops… anything that gets attendees moving together and thinking differently to break the monotony and keep energy levels high!
5 – Gourmet Food & Drink
This one’s pretty simple. Almost every conference you’ll go to will either serve you a rubber chicken lunch or, worse, nothing at all. If you’re lucky, there might be a few food trucks outside, but lines are almost always a mile long!
The fastest way to a conference attendee’s heart is through their stomach. Feed them like you love them!
6 – Appealing Venue
To keep costs down, conferences usually try to find a big expo hall where they can cram as many booths and stages as possible.
It would be a nice change of pace for a conference to find a venue with character, where the venue was as much a part of the experience as anything else!
It was for all these reasons that I came up with Hawkefest. We call Hawkefest the Anti-Conference because we prioritize peer collaboration and overall guest experience above all else.
By bringing together only the best of the best in ecommerce to collaborate with and learn from each other, and delighting guests with world-class entertainment and gourmet food and drink, Hawkefest hopes to provide what’s missing from other conferences.