People gathering inside Parliment for the progressive dinner.

Whether you’re hosting an inaugural event, a one-off occasion, or an annual conference, getting bums-on-seats is integral to its success for you, your client, and your stakeholders.

Callaghan Innovation event manager Raewyn Tse shares her ideas about attracting more delegates to an event.

How to attract more delegates

A good turnout is imperative to the success of your conference. Consider these three areas to attract more delegates to your event.

Location, location, location

Attracting attendees to your event needs to start early in the planning. When choosing where to host your event, think beyond the agenda. Consider hotels close to the venue, unique eateries, and bespoke experiences.

By selecting accommodation and venue options close to eateries and experiences, your attendees can be out enjoying the city within minutes of sessions ending. In Wellington, for example, the options are endless — take in the fresh air and harbour views along the waterfront or get the heart pumping by walking the Southern Walkway from the end of Oriental Parade. Meet a friend for a cheeky beverage at the local gin or craft beer establishment or indulge in a spot of retail therapy.

What’s on?

Use events to drive excitement and anticipation about the conference destination. Work with the destination to find out what else is happening around the proposed time of your event, not only to avoid a clash but also to see what you could leverage to entice delegates to attend.

As the cultural capital of Aotearoa and home to the Royal New Zealand Ballet, Visa Wellington on a Plate, and major sporting events and theatre, there are often performances, exhibitions and activations around Wellington that give delegates another reason to say yes to an event.

Where are the decision-makers?

Consider where the association’s head offices and key stakeholder representatives are based. If you aim to involve the government or industry more heavily, consider where they are based to ensure you have the most opportunity for impact.

Not only can hosting an event near key industry influencers give you greater access to speakers, but it also gives attendees the chance to tie in other meetings and opportunities to connect with business contacts and friends.

Find resources to promote your event, including maps of Wellington, sample itineraries, promotional videos and more:

Planning toolkit