Putting on large-scale events can take up a great deal of time, energy, and money. The last thing you want to do is fail to maximize your event’s potential. You’ll have crowds of people coming to you, with the chance to engage them and invite them into a business relationship with your company. So how can you make the most of that crucial opportunity? And more specifically, how can you leverage new technology to do so?
There’s been no shortage of technological advancements in the events industry over the last decade. The problem is figuring out which ones are actually worth using (and which ones are simply a waste of your time). Below is a quick rundown of some event technology you can use to significantly improve attendee experience:
1. Embrace Mobile Devices
Smartphones have penetrated more than 50% of the US and UK market, and you can (pretty) safely assume that everyone who attends your event will be using one. Here are some ways to take advantage of mobile proliferation:
- Make your event website ‘responsive.’ If you have an event website, develop it in a responsive (i.e. mobile-friendly) way, so that it’s easy to read on any device.
- Use an event app to help your attendees navigate the event location, learn more about the speakers, figure out which sessions to attend, and even connect with other attendees. Some event apps will also allow for lead capture, so that you can do things like scan an attendee’s name-badge and get their information on the spot.
- Push content messages to your attendees during the event, to help foster a connection and keep the lines of communication open. A quick Google search will bring up a bunch of different apps (some paid and some free) that you can use.
Don’t discourage the use of mobile devices during your event. Instead, encourage it. It used to be that attendees were asked to turn off their phones during an event. To do that now would almost be blasphemy. Find ways to integrate mobile usage into your event – not shut it down.
2. Integrate Social Media
Take advantage of social media, especially how often people use it on their mobile devices. Create hashtags for the event; promote the event beforehand on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.; post photos & videos of the event afterwards; encourage people to share and publish information during the event. As one blogger put it:
‘A strong online presence can help spread the word about your event, attract attendees, build anticipation, and it allows you to document and share the event as it unfolds.’
There’s no shortage of ways to incorporate social media, but you’ll want to do it in a way that helps people, as opposed to overwhelming or confusing them.
3. Create a Virtual Experience
The runaway success of apps like Pokemon Go have proven the public’s interest in virtual and augmented reality (VR & AR). There is a huge opportunity for VR in meetings and events, and it has the potential to completely overhaul the events industry and up the fun factor for attendees.
A few great examples of VR at events include virtual product demonstrations, augmented reality scavenger hunts, fully immersive site surveys and even virtual event attendees! The sky really is the limit here and event technology like Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR rentals already provide incredible options.
4. Simplify Lead Capture
iPad kiosk rentals are great tools for registration and lead capture.
You may have hundreds (or potentially thousands) of people coming to your event. Those folks are valuable leads that you don’t want to lose. (And yes, for the record, we don’t advocate treating people as just ‘leads’ — they are real human beings, not simply entries in a database!) So please shake their hands and smile and have real conversations with them. But from a purely marketing perspective, a number of apps and web technologies will allow you to easily capture your attendees’ information on the spot.
You could allow them to check-in with their mobile device, use an iPad or touchscreen to enter their information, scan their name-badges with an app, or any number of quick and easy methods. The key is to make the experience as painless as possible for those in attendance.
5. Make the Most of Polls and Surveys
Technology will also allow you to query your attendees in real-time, and receive immediate feedback. You could utilize this in many ways:
- Ask questions during a presentation and get instant results. Then share those answers with the audience.
- Set up a poll at your booth on a tablet or touchscreen, and reveal the results as soon as people answer (or perhaps later in a follow-up email, as a way to keep their interest).
- Send out surveys after the event to gain important feedback, so that you can make your next event even better.
6. Use Lighting to Set the Mood
This may not seem as ‘techy’ as some of the other ideas, but lighting can actually play a significant role in the success of your event. Lighting can engage and welcome your attendees, set the mood, create ambiance, and generally make your event feel more professional. It also provides a classier touch without costing you a fortune. Depending on the type of event, you can tailor the colors and brightness to match the content and overall environment.
Why Live Events?
So with all this technology available to use, is there still a place for live events? Couldn’t we all just hop on a webinar or do a video conference? Well, not really.
The importance of real, face-to-face connections cannot be understated. Technology is incredibly useful, but it will never replace personal human interaction. Think about all your best friends and closest relatives. More than likely, these aren’t simply people you see on the Internet from time to time. They’re people you meet with and visit regularly. The same is true for business relationships. Having an in-person meeting and conversation goes a long way towards creating and deepening a bond – and can usually generate far more customer loyalty than a few interactions over the web.
Meeting Tomorrow provides event technology rentals & services to businesses, organizations, agencies and meeting planners nationwide. Click on the button below to learn more or call 1-877-633-8866 to speak to a technology expert now.