An “Aloha Spirit” is based around several key attributes including hospitality, friendliness, and patience—all of which are attributes needed to excel during conference season at MCI USA.
The Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) recently held its 24th Annual IRF Education Invitational in Maui, Hawaii. While the destination resulted in our biggest attendance in the meeting’s history, it also presented a new set of challenges and successes that were handled with an Aloha Spirit.
Here are five things I’ve learned from this experience:
- Connect with your attendees. Many of us spend months interacting with our attendees. I know I have spoken to some people almost every week for the nine long months leading up to opening registration day. Expressing interest in your attendee’s needs and engaging with them by name offers an increased level of customer service and displays a genuine commitment to their enjoyment of your event.
- Keep people “in the know.” Push notifications, clearly posted daily agendas, and fun facts about your location can immerse your attendees in both your program and the destination. For example, “did you know that Maui has 30 miles of white, red, and black sand beaches, 80 beaches in total and has more miles of accessible beach than any of the other Hawaiian Islands?” Snap pictures of activities that attendees can look forward to or prepare some destination themed swag they can expect to receive while at the conference. Leave your attendees excited for what’s to come.
- You don’t have to have all of the answers. It’s happened to everyone. Your phone rings and you have no idea what to tell the person on the other line. Don’t be afraid to respond that you don’t have the answer they’re looking for at the moment. Taking the time to consult with your team, and knowing the information you’re providing is correct helps you and your attendees have the best experience possible.
- Nothing’s impossible. Fumbles happen. Whether you are trying to accommodate another 20 rooms in a sold out hotel, or you have an unexpected surge in registrations, nothing is impossible to fix. Think about alternative solutions that you can offer to your attendees. Create a hotel block at a nearby property or strategize an alternative attendance plan with limited event access for those who only want/need to attend certain days or sections.
- Trust in your team. Have confidence in your fellow talents. Trusting your team provides a strong foundation to overcome the small and large obstacles. Acknowledging everyone’s unique strengths and problem solving as a group can lead to great ideas and phenomenal achievements. Teamwork really does make the dream work!
Hosting a conference in Maui was a one of a kind experience, but we make sure to always apply these tips and Aloha Spirit wherever we put on a conference, from Dallas to Denmark, from Seattle to Spain.