Throughout the last 2 years, when we haven’t been able to deliver our usual registration services in conference venues around the world, it's provided our teams time to reflect on what areas within our process can be in improved to be as inclusive as possible. Respecting the individuality of all our attendees and making minor changes can have a huge impact on the experience a participant has. A happy and content participant will add value to your event, so here we spoke with Alex Wright to understand how meetings and events can get it right.
Cultivating inclusivity for your next event
Prefix / Title
It is not enough to include the basic Mr, Mrs, Miss, and Ms when trying to capture prefix titles during registration. Including an Mx and or ‘Other’ with an additional space to specify is simply a must-have. Addressing your attendees, the way they want is a simple and respectful thing to do.
Pronouns on badges
Capture your attendees’ preferred pronouns during registration and in turn, ask your attendees if they’d like their pronouns printed on the badge. No more misgendering on initial introductions. Everyone is informed and no one must feel uncomfortable.
Ensure you have an accessible-height check-in and badge collection desks/ self-serve kiosks at your venue. Whether you are using a venue’s existing desk space or creating your own in a blank space, it is without question that an accessible-height desk is included. It’s often easy to overlook but is always my first reminder to clients when discussing registration.
Please also consider if you have any attendees with other disabilities, including hidden ones, or those requiring additional support. Whilst not all attendees wish to disclose their disability or need additional assistance, it’s important to let them know in advance that help is at hand at the venue if required.
A quiet place to take a breather, an assistance desk to help with badge collection/check-in for those that are deaf (think T loop), a multi-faith prayer space for your religious attendees, there are so many opportunities for you to be inclusive and to do better.
Great coffee for everyone!
We all know that when our delegates arrive onsite, the first destination is always the coffee station. With a rise in vegan dietary preferences, dairy-free or those with intolerances and allergies, it’s important to cater for all. This means providing options for everyone.
Decaf for those sensitive to caffeine, Oat, Soy, Coconut and Almond milk alternatives for those that wish not to consume dairy and of course, this should flow into any catering onsite too. Make it easy for your attendees and make the options readily available. Don’t let anyone feel awkward by forcing them to have ask for an alternative.
It’s time to have a think about the small changes you can make which will have a greater impact on the attendee’s perception of your event. Lanyards made from biodegradable bamboo? Yes please! Badge holders that biodegrade within a few years? Absolutely! Badges made from recycled materials, or paper than can be recycled post-event? 100%. Ditch the pouch and ditch anything without eco-credentials. Don’t forget to move those printed materials and venue maps to your mobile app too and go paper-free where possible. Your attendees and planet earth will thank you. Is that a little CSR tick? I think so!
Download our Sustainability Guide for meetings and events
We are human
If, as an attendee, you think the conference organizers care about you and respect you as a human being, then you're more likely to engage with the event, return for future events and look on the brand with favor. It is about creating a more inclusive, personal experience, which is what we value here at BCD, rather than a one size fits all approach.
If you want to discuss how to do better with Registration, DE&I, and Sustainability at your events, feel free to reach out.