With restrictions lifted, the possibility of live travel conferences and events is back on the agenda. And combining a workshop with your conference is a great way to engage attendees and supercharge any travel event. It can help build relationships while adding an extra dynamic, livening up the conference and ensuring that those in attendance stay energised the entire time.
But just how do you incorporate a workshop into your conference? In this guide, we’re looking at ways to maximise workshops at your events, from finding the right structure to picking a five-star event space.
Read on for our handy tips!
Think about the structure 📏
You will need to think about the structure of the workshop and how it integrates with your event before delving into the finer details. Workshops can be successful at multiple conference types, from large-scale ones with hundreds of attendees to smaller, more intimate gatherings.
Start by outlining your plan and defining what the workshop entails. Think about how participants will engage throughout the session and what they can expect from a networking perspective.
Try keeping the workshop numbers down while the rest of the conference carries on in the background. By limiting each one to between 10 and 15 participants, you should help add a layer of personalisation and ensure that everyone attending feels more involved.
Select the right venue 🏢
It goes without saying that a venue can make or break your travel conference. But when it comes to hosting a workshop, there are even more factors worth taking into consideration in regards to the event space.
How will the workshop fit into the grander scheme of things? Will it act as a fundamental component that is a requirement for attendees? Or will it be an optional extra that compliments the overall conference?
If, for example, the workshop supplements the conference, you don’t want it to consume the whole space. There should be a separate section where attendees can participate while the rest of the conference continues.
Of course, there is still the option of a digital workshop. Online versions of events can be just as successful and have become a necessity during the Covid pandemic. Therefore, a digital workshop can be a strong option and a great addition to a virtual event.
Who will lead the workshop? 🎤
The person leading the workshop needs to be someone who can hold an audience. They will possess charisma and energy; otherwise, attendees can quickly tire and become disengaged – especially if there’s a conference still taking place.
You might strike it lucky and get a group full of energy from the start and eager to participate. But you shouldn’t bank on this being the case, and it’s more likely they will need to be coerced out of their shell and made to feel comfortable engaging.
A workshop host with previous experience will know how to energise everyone and ensure a high level of interaction. The result will be a lively workshop that sees people participating, asking questions and generally having fun.
Factor in the length of the workshop ⏰
The ideal workshop doesn’t have a set length. Yet, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be time conscious. The goal is to run something that engages with attendees, encourages participation and provides digestible insights, be it how your travel brand operates or showing data related to the industry.
Think about attendees and other commitments they may have. Overly long sessions may deter them from joining in. If the primary goal is to get people attending the workshop as well as the conference, take a deeper dive into the profile of those attending and what they might expect from a workshop timewise.
Look to run a session with easily digestible information and interactions that happen from the get-go. If the workshop forms part of a broader event, a shorter running length can be a real winner. Short workshops that provide key takeaways and encourage plenty of interaction will be more appealing if other activities are still going on throughout the day.
Show the value of your workshop 💷
What are the primary reasons for people attending the event? You want attendees to come away feeling like they have gained knowledge, confidence and have been given an opportunity to network. This also applies to the workshop aspect of the conference.
How does the workshop fit into the broader spectrum of the event? What is the key piece of information that you want to get across? Explore current trends in the travel industry and how they will fit into the workshop. Also, examine how you can link the core aspects of the workshop to the rest of the event.
Provide attendees with high-level resources that offer genuine insight. If, for example, you’re exploring the current travel landscape, make sure you provide in-depth information about what has come and what you think the future holds. By providing usable materials and in-depth analysis, attendees will feel like they’re getting a high-value service.
Go big on promotion 🪧
For a conference to stand the best chance of success, it needs a watertight marketing campaign. Use all your available resources for promoting the event and workshop, from social media marketing to contacting leads in your network.
Implement a social media strategy, focusing on the key platforms that you believe will yield the best results. You should also look to utilise your own website, creating blog content, email campaigns and landing pages that generate interest and promote the conference, as well as what people can expect from the workshop.
Event discovery sites like Eventbrite can also help you promote the event and expand your reach. Finally, if the budget allows, explore using paid advertising campaigns on Google and across social media.
Create a community 🧑👩 🧑👩 🧑👩
It’s worth looking at ways to enhance the experience of event-goers further. One way to do this is with a Facebook Group on social media, where people who have signalled their intent to attend the workshop can interact with each other.
Having a space where everyone can communicate beforehand will help foster a feeling of familiarity and community while also giving them the chance to ask questions. A social media community is also a great place to get direct feedback when the workshop has finished.
You can use this as research to help you refine and improve – and it will be easier to get insights, as you already have a space where attendees have previously communicated. Consequently, you can use suggestions to create even better experiences in the future and become a real pro at incorporating workshops into conferences.
A winning workshop at your travel event
Workshops help keep attendees engaged, offer valuable insight and act as the ideal opportunity for more intimate networking. Whether they are the primary draw or complement your travel event, workshops add high-value content and will help the event be a roaring success.