April 4, 2014
When planning events, many association staff members say, “OK, what did we do last year?” and then repeat that. Being consistent is helpful for individuals who attend year after year; they know what to expect and that’s typically a good thing. But when attendance at the Annual Meeting of Kellen Company client the Association for Dressings and Sauces (ADS) began decreasing, the Board of Directors evaluated options to reinvigorate the event, including the shifting the days when the conference takes place.
For years, ADS held its Annual Meeting from Sunday-Tuesday. There was an opening reception and dinner on Sunday night, then speaker presentations on Monday and Tuesday mornings, and a closing dinner on Tuesday night. This pattern required attendees to spend three days out of the office. To address this, ADS shifted the event, beginning on Saturday night and ending on Monday night. That meant one less day out of the office for attendees. The first year might have been an adjustment for our “regulars,” but after ADS made this change, attendance increased the following three years!
As an added bonus, attendees told us that since some of the presentations were now on Sunday, there was not an expectation for them to touch base with the office that day. As such, they were more able to enjoy the speakers and the networking on Sunday and spend less time sneaking glances at their email.