Posted by Barry Siskind

UFI’s Community Manager

Much has been written about the “attendee experience,” recently I read a blog post on the My Industry tracker recently that described it as the “attendee journey.”

Blogger Robin Gallegos describes the attendee journey as a careful examination of each step the attendees takes as they interact with an event or exhibition.  That’s everything from registration to the follow-up surveys.

The first step is registration and according to the author if that goes smoothly it sets the tone for the rest of the journey. The author offered eight steps to make the journey less cumbersome. They include:

Get rid of paper

Most organizers have opted for on-line registration but the process isn’t always fool-proof. Some registration systems were designed for the organizers’ need for information rather than the attendees need for simplicity.

Encourage groups

Organizers used to provide group discounts all the time. Yet, in some cases this practice has fallen by the way side. If you can entice multiple registrations and encourage attendees to register all at once, it is cost effective for you and saves them lots of time.

Put the attendees in the driver’s seat

Have you included allowances for attendees to customize their experience? This can include personal preferences for hotels, meals and entertainment as well as the products they wish to see and the educational sessions they wish to attend.

Do the work for the registrants

The author suggest using “auto-recall options,” whenever possible. For your returning attendees this allows them to quickly see what they had done in the past and focus on what they wish to accomplish in the future.

Re-confirm and reduce no-shows

Whether they have paid or not, people change their minds. You want to eliminate these no-shows as much as possible with constant reminders.

Make networking easier

The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) has identified networking as one of the primary motivators for attendees. You can complement this need by organizing networking activities that starts the minute they register.

Build better badges

Badges need to tell more than a name, position and company. QR codes allow the availability of a richer cache of information that the attendees can share with exhibitors as well as other visitors.

Make every question relevant

Are the questions you are asking on the registration form relevant? Do you need all of it  or can it be streamlined?


If you engage the attendee from the get-go, you greatly enhance their “journey” and ultimately make for a more rewarding time and investment for everyone.