5 Steps to a Successful International Event
August 15th, 2018
“Globalization” is the buzzword of the day, and with good reason. Regardless of where you are, be it a grocery store with imported products or an economic conference on international trade, it’s as if the world is all in one place. The effects of globalization have seeped into every corner of our lives, and the event industry is especially aware of this fact. Nowadays, no matter the type or the location of an event, there will almost always be attendees from a foreign country. For members of the industry, this trend means that the old ways of catering to mono-national attendees will no longer work. Then, a question arises: how can event organizers plan and manage a successful event with international attendees?
As a multinational company committed to bringing people together and embracing all backgrounds, we at EventBank are passionate about this issue and would like to share some insights that we have accumulated over the years. We believe that making your international attendees feel at home is important not only because it is the event organizer’s job to do so, but also because it can help your business grow. Here are five steps to make sure that your event leaves a pleasant impression on everyone:
1. Be Culturally Sensitive
First and foremost, make sure you have a basic understanding of the cultures that the attendees are coming from. You don’t want to do anything culturally inappropriate or, even worse, send the wrong message to your attendees and have them feel disrespected. In particular, be on the lookout for dietary needs; you wouldn’t want to be serving a pig feast when your attendees can’t eat pork. Also, though your attendees may speak your language, do try to prepare event materials in their language—it is a nice gesture that can be easily done via digital platforms.
2. Personalize Your Invitations
Perhaps you are used to sending one mass email invitation to all your attendees. However, a simple email blast will not suffice in relationship-based cultures like India or Italy. For attendees from these places, your invitations have to make them feel special and wanted. That said, personalizing your invitations doesn’t have to be an arduous, time-consuming task. You can use software that allows you to easily manage your email lists and customize your invitations with graphics and other media.
3. Communicate Regularly with Your Attendees
Communication shouldn’t stop after the invitation. Not only should you continue to send your attendees reminders about the event, but you should also keep them updated on any event changes or travel alerts. Imagine how an already-disoriented-from-traveling attendee would feel if he or she were to show up to an event session that had been canceled! Moreover, you can also prepare a travel checklist for your attendees, so that they can adjust as quickly as possible upon arrival and have the energy to fully enjoy your event later.
4. Plan the Agenda Accordingly
Different cultures view punctuality differently. For example, an American may aim to arrive five minutes early to an event, whereas a Brazilian may find it acceptable to arrive half an hour late to the same event. Plan your agenda accordingly with these cultural differences in mind. More specifically, leave enough downtime between sessions so that no one feels the need to rush to the next one. This way, you will maximize attendance for all your sessions and avoid the “empty seats” situation.
5. Consider Hosting a Virtual Event
Needless to say, hosting an international event requires a lot of manpower and coordination. If such an event feels impossible to organize at the moment, perhaps consider making it virtual. Virtual events eliminate many of the hurdles that come with physical events, namely the lack of time and accessibility. Moreover, not only are they easy on the budget, but they also contribute to the environmental cause of going green. You may also get a greater turnout because you will also be saving your attendees a plane ticket! For inspiration, you can check out this virtual conference for APAC chambers that we hosted earlier this year.
Now, you are ready to invite the world to your events!