“An engaged attendee is a happy attendee. But with all the other challenges of putting a conference or exhibition together, from food and beverage details to attendee registration, how do you focus on improving engagement as well?

Intuit’s QuickBooks Connect Conference offers some insight. Held November 13 to 15 at California’s San Jose McEnery Convention Center, the conference deployed a number of engagement strategies, from cutting-edge technology to a program designed for first-time attendees. AgencyEA produced the event with Intuit, and Kristin Barbour of the Chicago-based agency shared four key strategies they used to engage the conference’s 4,200 attendees.

1. Design dynamic networking spaces.
When it comes to spurring engagement, promoting attendee-to-attendee give-and-take is critical. Barbour said that QuickBooks Connect created designated areas—and programming—for attendee networking, including designing inviting atmospheres that made connecting fun.

“Themed lounges and ancillary networking events provided opportunities for attendees to connect outside of conference programming,” Barbour said. “The meet-up lounges designed to look like a music lounge and quaint park replicated common places where people meet, allowing attendees to connect organically with their peers in a less-structured atmosphere. The atmosphere was made complete with live local musicians serenading attendees in the music lounge and a fun swing table in the park that provided a unique spot for conversations.”

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