Five ways to harness technology for smarter events
Words like digital technology and innovation are bandied about in the business events and meetings industry. But what do they really mean for event organisers, and how do they translate to better audience engagement and satisfaction? Daniel Seal, CEO and founder of global tech festival organiser unbound, shares his tips on tapping technology to enhance your events at every stage of the planning process.
Don’t overlook your point-of-sales
According to Seal, events often see users dropping off at the online registration stage.This could be due to several factors, such as implementing additional steps like requiring customers to create an account in order to complete their purchase or having a website that’s not mobile optimised.
To address this, unbound streamlined its online ticket registration experience for participants to innovfest unbound “by showing users how far along the process they are, auto-populating fields where possible and investing in an efficient, satisfying design”. That way, he added, users would be more likely to complete their online ticket registration on their first attempt.
For the event in 2018, the team is conducting trials on registration and payment via chatbot with integrated e-commerce platform Jumper.ai to further enhance the registration process. There will also be check-ins via iPad to shorten the queues for badge pick-up on event day.
Create a roaring pre-event buzz
Apart from its investments in traditional email, social media marketing and digital advertising, what made innovfest unbound’s 2017 edition a huge success was its Twitter Chat function to drive engagement among attendees ahead of the event itself.
“Having prepared a number of questions and lined up influential speakers and partners to take part in the half-hour chat, unbound moderated the conversation online. The online panel focused on common issues for start-up/corporate integration, and attracted involvement from influencers from Adweek to SGInnovate,” said Seal.
The lively online discussions generated was a golden opportunity for building valuable new connections among those in the community, and helped unbound create awareness for its festival and engage with audiences in a meaningful way.
Develop networks to facilitate communication among event attendees
While participants of innovfest unbound 2017 came in droves for its impressive line-up of speakers and the chance to discover emerging technologies at the show, many also quoted abundant networking opportunities as a priority, observed Seal.
“We’re constantly working to make the festival more valuable from this point of view, launching a streamlined app last year that allowed attendees to message one another. Now, we’re also investing in enabling networking via our website to facilitate face-to-face connections.”
In a bid to design more relevant future collaborations, exhibitors, investors and partners at innovfest unbound also took part in “speed-dating” for potential business contacts.
Give the audience what they want
Making efforts to understand your attendees – especially returning ones – and shaping event content to cater for their needs will enable event organisers to ramp up audience engagement over time.
Seal said: “Through careful audience segmentation, we’re able to target people based on their previous relationship with innovfest unbound, as well as their market, location, job role, and more. This means our conversations are more relevant and personalised – we can give them the content that’s most likely to ensure they buy a ticket and attend.
“In 2017, the number of people registering for innovfest unbound almost doubled. By listening to our audience and reacting to their behaviours, we’re able to tailor the speaker line-up and event experiences to exceed the previous year’s successes.”