Seventy-four percent of respondents flagged networking opportunities as "extremely" or "very" important, and 70% said that the experience level of their fellow attendees really mattered as well. More than four-fifths (83%) felt that the reputation of the conference presenter made a big difference in their decision and satisfaction; a full two-thirds cited "exhibit hall expectations" as important, with 7% citing them as "extremely" important. In contrast, just 14% felt that entertainment mattered.
Yeah, but if the entertainment isn't good, I'm sure the meeting planner would hear about it! (Read Kevin's post about the importance of grabbing people in the first 10 minutes for more.) And, while I doubt they asked in the survey, the food better be pretty good, too.
On to the comments. When asked "What is the one critical element or characteristic that must be present in any conference you attend, that influences your decision on attending the same event next year?" respondents emphasized the importance of being able to walk away with actionable--and preferably cutting-edge--suggestions. To wit:
â€¢ "Pertinent, practical, relevant to my job and my day-to-day challenges."
â€¢ "I must be able to learn one new thing. Usually, this means I have met other professionals from whom I learn. They can be presenters, exhibitors, or other attendees. If I get all three, it's a winner."
â€¢ "Cutting-edge topics and innovative ideas, challenges, solutions--that's what brings me back."