I have been thinking about the elements that would, if all were present, make up a perfect event. Such speculation recognizes that only 5% of all events would ever fit within this category. So perhaps these events are more elusive ghosts than reality for most of us.
Here are what come to mind:
1) The amount of money you make is far greater than your opportunity cost
Your return far surpasses what you could attain by pursuing other projects. Thus, you’re glad to put in the effort (regardless of the amount) for this event, because it is profitable and successful enough to want to do it again.
2) It’s not hard to attract attendees
Examples are TED, SXSW, perhaps CES or NAB. Despite the many hassles (hotels, travel, crowds, and costs), registrations pour in as soon as these events are announced. For me, Macworld fit this model. Regardless of obstacles, everyone wants to be at these events because they are magical.
3)People line up to speak
When you issue the call for presentations, you receive proposals that overwhelm the available slots, perhaps by many multiples. Your event has a ‘Good Housekeeping Sign of Approval’ and a spot at the podium is recognized as delivering business to the speaker.
4) Your exhibit sales staff operate as order takers
Perhaps controversially, in a talk once given to folks in the industry, I said that only one of every ten members of a sales staff was truly a sales person, with the rest serving as order takers and account service reps. I think my comment even prompted boos from the audience. But I stand by my estimate. The good news for these events is that the orders roll in and your numbers can be achieved, regardless of the composition of your sales staff.
5) You can run the event in another region and not detract from the original
You can clone the event and not affect the original event’s attendee, delegate, or sales numbers. This sounds easy, but many a clone has damaged the primary event. Have you done your homework on this one?
You might consider other attributes that I’ve not mentioned as key to a successful event. So, let me know if you think I’ve missed anything important. But if you have all five of the above, I salute you!