Sched surveyed over 500 recent event attendees and asked them about the criteria they use to decide whether to attend a conference, meeting, or event. Over two-thirds of respondents ranked Session Topics as one of their top two determining factors. By contrast, the Speaker lineup was relatively unimportant as an incentive to attend an event.

Survey Summary 

Attendees were offered seven options that might motivate them to attend an event. None of the options came close to the impedance of Session Topics. This suggests that event planners should craft and develop the session details as part of their promotional materials and promote event content with messaging like “Here’s what you will learn.”

What Incentivizes Attendees To Attend An Event?

While Attendees were unified in the importance of Session Topics, they found that specific Speakers ranked 6th out of 7 options when it came to who delivers that content. While it’s common to promote the speakers as part of an event’s marketing effort, this new data suggests that it’s less important than the content itself. It’s important to keep in mind that speakers help shape and inform session content. To provide high quality content, ensure you have a robust speaker selection process in place.  

Dates, Location, and Price ranked 2nd, 3rd, and 4th respectively as key factors in deciding on whether to attend a professional conference or event.

Few seemed to make event attendance decisions about the Length of the conference.

The clear last place choice was Reviews, suggesting that event satisfaction from past attendees was not a significant factor in determining attendance for this year’s event.


It’s not enough to simply have great speakers and a great reputation. Event attendees want to know what they will learn, indicating that event planners should put more emphasis into the Session topics as opposed to the session speakers.

About Sched

Sched has hosted over 25,000 events and more than 10 million event attendees since its founding in 2008. Sched’s event scheduling software platform is easy to use, easy to buy, and easy to justify. Sched aids with event planners’ communication, organization, and scheduling, providing online and in-app access to everything an event planner and event attendee need for a great event experience.