We've been working on our travel schedules for 2007 with particular study of conferences and trade shows. We've found that some of these programs are fairly guarded of their attendee list. One show in particular wouldn't even release last year's list.
Considering that the primary reason most of us go to these conferences (especially B2B's) is to meet people, i.e., turn strangers into friends, and hopefully into customers, what's the point of going if I don't know who's going to be there? I understand that some companies have been around long enough to have loads of contacts and that some go just for the social aspects. But, what about the rest of us...the ones who choose the event based on the probability to build our business?
If you're putting on one of these events, why not have a website with real-time information about who's registered? Don't just show us a description of the work sessions and sponsor logo's...that's old school and frankly not that important. Why not show prospective attendees the best reason to come...the chance to hold a conversation with someone with similar interests and perhaps someone that they would have a hard time meeting otherwise?
When you go to a trade show, especially for the first time, you look over the list of who's on the floor...presumably to see if there's anything that interests you. You might even make a list of the "must see's". Why would it be any different for a trade conference?