5 Tips to attract Millennials to events and keep them coming back

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5 Tips to attract Millennials to events and keep them coming back

According to a recent issue of Smart Meetings, millennials are the largest subset of the workforce are shaping the meetings industry. This generation spends money previous generations used to save for cars, homes and retirement accounts on personal experiences, events, conferences, travel and lifestyle activities.

This suggests that millennials are an increasingly lucrative market for the meetings industry, it also means that the old rules of planning a successful corporate event no longer apply to this generation. The last thing millennials want is to go to a random hotel ballroom or eat a hotel buffet with unhealthy, processed food. Here are a few ways Smart Meetings suggests to attract millennials to your next event.


Make Events Purposeful

A Deloitte survey found that 75% of millennials believe businesses are too focused on their own agendas, rather than improving society, and only 28% believe their current organisation is making full use of their skills.


How can you tie your event to a social mission?

Do your sponsors reflect your purpose, or are they companies with social and environmental practices that are at odds with your own values?  Millennials can sense if you’re faking it from a mile away, so make sure your purpose is authentic. Sponsors became key players in the conference theme. Website platform Squarespace provided Moleskine notebooks for each participant and led a session on how to make your own portfolio website. Local food vendors spoke on panels about how they turned their own passion into a profitable business, while attendees sampled the fruits of their labor.


Deliver In-Person Connections

Yes, millennials are digital natives who consume most of their information online. But this doesn’t mean they want to go to your event and spend their time tweeting. The number of conferences for which organizers spend thousands of dollars building fancy digital networking platforms and apps is staggering. Why would anyone want to invest time and resources to attend an event with amazing people, and then get on their phone for three days?

Instead, offer the opportunity for participants to connect authentically, face to face. Focus on attendees, not hashtags. Sure, you can advertise your event online, but make sure you deliver a powerful offline experience: more small groups, more time for one-on-one interactions, more interactive workshops, less keynotes and PowerPoints, and more time for people to build supportive communities and accountability structures.


Provide Personal Transformation

Creating opportunities for self-improvement will likely help meeting planners attract more millennials to events. Self-improvement can mean opportunities for learning and professional development, career growth, networking,
self-discovery, self-care, creative and artistic expression, and health and wellness (yoga, meditation and outdoor activities).
Camp Grounded, a summer camp for adults in Mendocino, California, doesn’t allow participants to use technology or their real names. The experience is transformational because it makes participants focus on the present moment and channel their inner child.

Make Events Memorable
If you want to attract millennials to your meeting, create a unique experience. Focus on experience design: Create opportunities for “firsts,” for people to overcome their fears, grow and have fun. In other words, make your event Instagram- worthy. Make it the opposite of your average happy hour or your average boring event in a huge hotel ballroom. Who wants to eat at a terrible hotel buffet?  Think creatively about your venue choice.  Sure, some large events are going to be at conference centers or hotels due to cost or convenience. That’s fine, but try to identify ways to enhance the space through art, design and participatory activities. At Daybreaker, participants gather for sober morning dance parties at 7 a.m. They wear silly costumes, do yoga together, dance for two hours and eat healthy snacks—all before they go to work.

Sometimes the event is on a boat, sometimes it’s at a dance club, sometimes it’s even at the mall. One of the reasons the event is so popular is because it is memorable.

Event Marketing is about Storytelling, Not Spreadsheets

If you want to market effectively to millennials, share your story authentically. Millennials want to know why you are hosting an event and why they should be there. How will attending change their lives? Consider hiring a millennial, not to be your intern or your unpaid volunteer, but to corun your event. Don’t just hire an event planner to keep track of all the logistics and budget spreadsheets; hire an experience designer to make sure your event is going to be purposeful, community-driven, transformative and memorable.

The millennial generation is transforming how, where and why people congregate, and it’s time for the meetings industry to create the type of purpose-driven