Six Must-Haves for Meeting and Convention WebsitesAugust 5, 2021 | By: Daniella Middleton
Meeting and convention websites are going to be receiving more and more clicks sooner than we think as the U.S. eases up restrictions on the ailing business events industry. While conventions came to a grinding halt in 2020, their comeback is highly anticipated looking forward through 2021 and into 2022.
Of course, things will be different, but one thing remains the same: planners need clear and accurate information. With that in mind, it’s time to assess if your meeting and convention websites are prepared to deliver.
Whether it’s just a part of a destination’s overall website or its own dedicated website, our analysis and experience with clients around the world has revealed a few key missteps that we want to nip in the bud. Organizers are looking at you now. Are you looking your best?
1. Virtual Venue Visits
When you buy tickets for a show on Broadway or even at the local opera, many ticket vendor sites show you exactly what your view will look like before purchasing. It’s a tiny virtual experience that guides your choice and helps you click “book.”
Meetings and convention spaces need to channel that same energy. Your site must have clear floorplans and 3D walk-throughs for planners to access. They want to know what it’s going to be like inside your venue, what the layout is, how high the ceilings are, and sometimes a simple schematic won’t do the trick.
Instead, use all of that video technology we have mastered during 2020 and create something more than a floorplan. Show, don’t just tell. Give us a virtual walkthrough so that organizers know exactly what they’re getting into when booking with you.
Showing the venue is great, but telling its story is also a wise idea for the meetings and conventions sector. Your convention site needs easily findable testimonials and case studies from past events to help guide planners.
Create a short survey or call up a few satisfied organizers to assemble something unique and engaging for future organizers to read – or view, if you can make it a video! This type of content acts as a confirmation for those looking to book your venue. There’s no Yelp for the business events industry, so it’s up to you to create your own reviews.
3. Press Room
Another often overlooked element is some sort of media resource. Having a newsroom with press about the destination, and not just the convention center, is key to providing organizers with everything they need. A convention website that doesn’t do this shortchanges potential clients by forcing them to do more work and look elsewhere.
Instead, aggregate it for them! Include any relevant news on hotel openings, new shopping districts, health updates, safety news, or events in town that may help planners during their process. Internal convention center news can also be interesting, but do more than just celebrate a new hire or promotion. It needs to be more news you can use.
4. Clear Contact
No one ever wants to fill out a nameless form asking for more information. Nowhere. Never. Include clear contact information for organizers on who to contact as well as any appropriate social handles, LinkedIn pages, or newsletters signups.
Give us a name, a face even, and show us exactly who we are doing business with when planners are choosing your destination. Take it one step further and consider including a little video introduction. Your point of contact is the first real face potential organizers will meet, so it’s a clever idea to include a voice with that face.
5. Safety Protocols
For the foreseeable future, make sure to have a clear section of the site dedicated to safety and “new reality” updates. If there is something notable related to vaccines or testing, or if there are video conferencing capabilities to underscore, this would be the place to do it.
As international COVID rates continue to be worrisome, it doesn’t hurt to let organizers – even if they are working within the U.S. where hope is plentiful – know that you are on top of the situation. We won’t be quick to shake the fear that COVID-19 instilled in all of us, even if we are prepared to get back to work and meetings.
In the future, once the new normal settles upon us and the ravages of COVID-19 are a distant memory, we’ll be able to revisit this page. No organizer, however, will balk at seeing your convention website nod to the global experience we all shared over this past year.
While the majority of your meeting and convention website is B2B, organizers are bringing visitors to your destination. Don’t leave them hanging when it comes to finding worthwhile information to share with their attendees, who are the consumers coming to your destination. It’s a mix of B2B and B2C, so keep that in mind.
Include itineraries and destination information so that planners have everything at their fingertips. Prepare guides or shareable brochures to make their lives easier. We’re not suggesting you write a Lonely Planet guide to your convention center, but suggest what to do or where to eat within a short walk of the event.
Tailor it specifically to convention goers to give it that personal touch. While convention centers work mostly with planners, giving the planners something to trickle down to their participants is an effective, if not essential way to stand out from the crowd.
These six suggestions are just some of the ways to make your meeting and convention website pop during this rebuilding process. However you approach it, do it soon. Meeting planners are already back to work looking to the future, so there’s no time to waste.
Feeling like you need a refresher on how to attract business events and the MICE industry to your destination? A website revamp is a great way to incorporate this new normal with some effective SEO planning to drive bookings at your convention center. Get in touch with Daniella.Middleton[email protected] to learn how we can get started in achieving your new goals.