We’ve all been there. Poring over lists of different industry events, passing over a nice sum to attend, packing, and networking for days on end. It’s an exercise that we go through every year, sometimes multiple times, because it is the norm. “Can’t miss” and “event of the year” are thrown around in the promotion of these conferences, but is this true for 2019 and beyond?
So far this year, members of 121 were present at multiple conferences, and have noted a downward trend in attendance. This came as something of a shock to us, as each event was well organized with engaging speakers sharing valuable insights. Is this a trend in the event planning industry? Let’s look at possible factors and what could be done to reverse course.
Location, Location, Location
Arguably the most important factor in conference attendance, where an event is located can often be a deciding factor. Location encapsules more than just the venue. Everyone that has attended multiple conferences is nodding their heads in agreement with that last sentence. Event planners should consider transportation, access to accommodation, entertainment and other factors when selecting a location. Potential attendees that see that the venue is difficult to reach and without much to do outside of the conference will choose to pass.
These observations on location are more than anecdotal. A 2013 study on international events published in Science Direct confirms these views. Of the participating scientists that have attended at least two international events, 74% stated that the infrastructure of the event location is important to them.
It is not unlikely that conferences related to different fields would yield the same results. Academia, marketing, mathematics, packaging and more all hold multiple conferences throughout the year. With more than 30,000 conferences held worldwide each year, it is important to get location right.
Combine poor location with the ubiquity of the internet, and you have a perfect storm that can cause the downfall of the conference. With over 1.94 billion websites online as of January 2019, information is everywhere and accessible with just a few taps. Industry e-magazines, websites and blogs all offer worthwhile insights. Learning information that is similar to what is discussed at a conference or industry event without leaving the office is an appealing option to many people. With the average business traveler taking 14 trips a year, it is no wonder why some may elect to stay close to home.
Education and information are not the only value conferences hold. Doing something out of the routine of office, home, office can be beneficial, as well as the opportunities to make new connections through networking. Organizers that can show the extra value offered by their conferences outside of learning can create a better experience for attendees. As a result, attendance will likely increase.
Both of these factors combine and manifest themselves as a third, new factor: conference fatigue. Here is a fun little office poll you can do, starting with yourself. What words and feelings come to your mind when you hear the word conference? Think about it. Would you say insightful, inspiring and useful? Do you lean towards descriptions of dry, boring and uninformative? The latter group is symptomatic of conference fatigue.
Attending multiple conferences a year and sitting in on too many speeches and discussions during conferences can increase this feeling. As much as we would like to avoid this truth in the name of productivity, there is a limit to our focus. Combine the mental fatigue of too many conferences and the physical fatigue of traveling (and all that it entails). Skipping conferences becomes very appealing in this light.
With all this being said, conferences are not going anywhere anytime soon. Gathering industry professionals in one place to discuss the latest happenings and network with one another is still valuable. The event planning industry remains strong and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics foresees its growth in the coming 6 years. However, this does not mean that it is not without threats. Falling attendance is a real issue to be dealt with, and event planners should take note.
What personal information do we collect from the people that visit our blog, website or app?
When ordering or registering on our site, as appropriate, you may be asked to enter your name, email address, phone number or other details to help you with your experience.
When do we collect information?
We collect information from you when you subscribe to a newsletter, fill out a form or enter information on our site.
How do we use your information?
We may use the information we collect from you when you register, make a purchase, sign up for our newsletter, respond to a survey or marketing communication, surf the website, or use certain other site features in the following ways:
• To send periodic emails regarding your order or other products and services.
We’ll ask for your consent before requesting any type of information, it’ll also be optional to do so. You can also easily withdraw it or change it at any time. However, failure to provide that consent will prevent us from delivering content and other experiences to you.
Where do we storage your data?
We store all your data exclusively on our servers for at least a year, and we are the only ones that have access to them.
How can you access to your data?
You can exercise, at any time, the rights of access, rectification, cancellation and opposition of your personal data via email, addressed to email@example.com indicating your name, surnames, telephone number, attaching a photocopy of your ID or official document that proves your identity and clearly indicating the right you wish to exercise.
How to ask us to delete your data?
If you would like to unsubscribe from any of our communications you may do so by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Otherwise, by continuing to interact with our emails, you provide us with permission to manage and use your data as described above.
How do we protect visitor information?
We do not use vulnerability scanning and/or scanning to PCI standards.
We use regular Malware Scanning.
Your personal information is contained behind secured networks and is only accessible by a limited number of persons who have special access rights to such systems, and are required to keep the information confidential. In addition, all sensitive/credit information you supply is encrypted via Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology.
We implement a variety of security measures when a user enters, submits, or accesses their information to maintain the safety of your personal information.
All transactions are processed through a gateway provider and are not stored or processed on our servers.
What happens if there’s a data breach?
We will inform all of our users within the first 72 hours.
Do we use 'cookies'?
You can choose to have your computer warn you each time a cookie is being sent, or you can choose to turn off all cookies.
You do this through your browser (like Internet Explorer) settings. Each browser is a little different, so look at your browser's Help menu to learn the correct way to modify your cookies.
If you disable cookies off, some features will be disabled that make your site experience more efficient and some of our services will not function properly.
Third Party Disclosure
We do not sell, trade, or otherwise transfer to outside parties your personally identifiable information.
Third party links
We do not include or offer third party products or services on our website.
Google's advertising requirements can be summed up by Google's Advertising Principles. They are put in place to provide a positive experience for users.
We use Google AdSense Advertising on our website.
We have implemented the following:
• Google Display Network Impression Reporting
• Demographics and Interests Reporting
We along with third-party vendors, such as Google use first-party cookies (such as the Google Analytics cookies) and third-party cookies (such as the DoubleClick cookie) or other third-party identifiers together to compile data regarding user interactions with ad impressions, and other ad service functions as they relate to our website.
Opting out: Users can set preferences for how Google advertises to you using the Google Ad Settings page. Alternatively, you can opt out by visiting the Network Advertising initiative opt out page or permanently using the Google Analytics Opt Out Browser add on.
California Online Privacy Protection Act
According to CalOPPA we agree to the following:
Users can visit our site anonymously
How does our site handle do not track signals?
We honor do not track signals and do not track, plant cookies, or use advertising when a Do Not Track (DNT) browser mechanism is in place.
Does our site allow third party behavioral tracking?
It's also important to note that we allow third party behavioral tracking
COPPA (Children Online Privacy Protection Act)
When it comes to the collection of personal information from children under 13, the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) puts parents in control. The Federal Trade Commission, the nation's consumer protection agency, enforces the COPPA Rule, which spells out what operators of websites and online services must do to protect children's privacy and safety online.
We do not specifically market to children under 13.
CAN SPAM Act
The CAN-SPAM Act is a law that sets the rules for commercial email, establishes requirements for commercial messages, gives recipients the right to have emails stopped from being sent to them, and spells out tough penalties for violations.
We collect your email address in order to:
To be in accordance with CANSPAM we agree to the following:
If at any time you would like to unsubscribe from receiving future emails, you can email us at
• Follow the instructions at the bottom of each email. and we will promptly remove you from ALL correspondence.
7315 Winsconsin Avenue, Suite 400 W
Bethesda, MD 20814
Last Edited on May 25, 2018