The gig economy is a growing and thriving part of our nation’s economic fiber and becoming a major concern for events.

First, what is the gig economy?

The gig economy refers to the many people that have chosen to leave the comfort of a job within a company to instead take short-term contracts or freelance work as a solo entrepreneur. That’s where the term “gig” comes from: These workers tend to go from gig to gig to piece together their income.

And when we say this workforce is growing, we’re not kidding. Intuit says that currently the gig economy accounts for 34% of the workforce and is expected to grow to 43% by 2020. That could possibly mean that a lot of your event attendees could be transitioning to this kind of work and take a serious bite out of how many people register for your event.

Why could it become a problem in the events industry?

Your traditional company attendees rely on their employers to fund their attendance, whearas your gig economy attendee is completely self-funded. For that reason, they are much more frugal and require a greater level of proof of a return on investment. 

So what can you do to attract this attendee?

With this growing aspect of our economy, it is extremely likely that they make up some of your potential attendees, so here is how you can turn them into an actual attendee:

Create Marketing Materials for the Gig Economy
You are likely already taking the wants and needs of the traditional worker into your marketing materials. But does your marketing really strike a chord with those that are paying out of their own pocket?

Sit down with some of your potential gig economy attendees and ask them what they are looking to get out of your conference. And then take that knowledge back to your conference materials.

Are you proving the kind of return on investment they are looking for? Are you showing the valuable connections that can be made that can lead to another gig? How can your education apply to this workforce?

Really get into the shoes of these potential attendees and provide marketing materials that answers why your event will satisfy their need to grow their own income. 

Provide Flexibility for the Gig Economy

What this workforce loves most is flexibility. That is why most choose to be a part of this economy. So that flexibility must enter into your conference.

Start with the registration fees. You can begin with offering one day event ticket, since being away from the office for multiple days may be too much for this kind of attendee. Then get creative. We have seen some conference offer event tickets without meals as a way to attract these attendees. And then you can choose to help these attendees to gather for dine-arounds while everyone else is gathered together or leave them on their own. You could even provide ways for them to possibly register at a discounted rate through one of their clients that is also attending. Or perhaps they could “work off” part of their registration fees by volunteering. The sky is the limit when it comes to ideas here.

Next, take a look at your hotel options. Your corporate attendees are looking for more luxurious hotels, while your gig economy attendees are more likely to look for budget-friendly options. That’s where a city like Cincinnati comes in handy. With a compact downtown, you can do hotel blocks at hotels with different price points and yet still have your attendees very close to each other. So everyone can satisfy their own budget needs and still get everything out of your conference.

The economy is changing rapidly and that means your meeting needs to change as rapidly. By understanding the needs of your attendees and getting creative, your meeting will easily be ahead of the pack. 
How is your event changing due to the gig economy?