By Lynda Browne, Client Loyalty Manager
Potential event delegates no longer feel restricted by borders and time zones and are increasingly happy to travel much further afield than ever before in the search for the perfect event. They’re fuelled not only by cheap flights and budget accommodation, but by a real desire to cross borders in search of cutting-edge technologies, best practice guidelines and effective international networking.
As event professionals, are we reacting quickly enough to this? Did you know that only 35% of all internet users have English as their first or second language? If you want the other 65% at your events should you not talk to them in a language they feel comfortable with? And as most people now research events online, can your event websites afford not to be multilingual? Read on to find out the 6 top reasons why your events and event delegates need the multilingual boost:
1 – Don’t fall at the first hurdle: A study by the European Commission in 2011 revealed that 9 in 10 internet users in the EU, said that, when given a choice of languages, they always visited a website in their own language. 42% also said they would ‘never’ and 38% would only ‘occasionally’ search or make purchases from a site not in their native language. So we expect them to come to our events, but design our event websites and email invitations in a language they find challenging. Bill Gates said, “The internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow”. Multilingual event websites make this village a welcoming place to begin a successful event lifecycle.
2 – Show you care: It doesn’t take much effort to create a multilingual website, especially in Eventsforce, but that extra effort shows the potential delegate that you care about them and are considerate of their needs, meaning they are more likely to book onto your event. We all know that personalisation is important to our delegates and what could be more personal that talking to them in their own language?
3 – Build trust: Trust is an important part of doing business. No trust creates a barrier to purchase, increases apprehension and threatens the perceived legitimacy of your event. Trust in the event and the event organiser is even more important if the potential delegate is travelling from abroad, often investing significant time and money into attending. Robert C. Solomon, American professor of philosophy, said, “Trust opens up new and unimagined possibilities”. Communicating with potential delegates in their native language helps them feel secure, understand what they are buying, and who they are buying it from.
4 – Stay ahead of your competitors: Make no mistake, your event has competition! Whether it’s from other events, alternative uses for budget or demands on time, your delegate needs to make some difficult choices. If they only go to a few events a years you need to make yours stand out. Offering a multilingual website will give your event the competitive edge and put your competitors in the shade.
5 – Promote your brand globally: Whether it’s a conference promoting an association or an awards night promoting a corporate organisation, most events are an excellent opportunity to promote the larger brand. A multilingual website is probably one of the most cost effective ways of marketing your company internationally, building relationships with potential new clients and giving your brand an international outlook. As Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of General Electric, said, “Globalisation has changed us into a company that searches the world, not just to sell or to source, but to find intellectual capital, the world’s best talent and its greatest ideas.” Your multilingual website is a key component of this.
6 – Appease the search engines: Whilst it’s tempting to view Google as the only search engine that matters, in reality, this isn’t the case and in many countries such as France, Japan and China, Google is not the default search engine. Baidu is popular in China, Acara in Japan and Voila in France. Offering a multilingual event website is the key to engaging and attracting these search engines and being ranked well. Not doing this means missing out on potentially profitable markets and new delegates.
So if you want to attract international delegates and grow your brand on a global scale, you need to be able to offer multilingual event websites. Eventsforce can help you achieve this, providing you with the tools to enable your client facing website, registration process and communications to be displayed and sent in an alternative language to English. We currently support English, French, German and Spanish in multilingual active accounts. These stored files translate all website headings, non-editable button text and warning messages. If you need any other languages our team are happy to work with you to make this possible.