Leveraging Technology for a Meaningful Event
The landscape of event planning is shifting. Event creators are challenged with heightened expectations from attendees as well as increased competition for people’s attention and time. Successful event planners understand that their main goal is to deliver value for their attendees—and that value is what keeps people coming back. To make sure you deliver for your guests, there are four principles you need to keep in mind:
4 Principles of a Successful Event:
1. Strategy: As an event creator, you are significant part of creating and growing long-lasting relationships with your donors. By thinking through who your audience is, what they have enjoyed in the past, and what they expect, you can better anticipate how to deliver value through your event.
2. Theme: What helps an event stand out? A memorable theme that draws all elements of the event together sets it apart and allows you to freshen an annual event for years to come. Relating the theme to your organization, a culture event, or a significant milestone can go a long way.
3. Outcomes (the right ones): Sometimes event planners can focus so much on what goes into an event that we fail to measure what our goals are. Making sure that each decision is filtered through an outcome-focused lens streamlines the event to be even more effective.
4. Reflective: After the event, it’s important to look back and see what worked and what didn’t—and especially to analyze what reflected your theme or drove your outcomes, and areas that you need to add in order to communicate those better in the future.
Planning a successful event can be challenging. However, the increasing availability of helpful software solutions makes creating a dynamic event for your attendees a whole lot easier.
According to the 2019 Event Marketing Report Benchmark and Trends:
- 57% of event organizers use event management software.
- Those who use event management software save 18.6 hours a month on planning
- Businesses are 20% more likely to prove event ROI compared to those who don’t utilize event management software.
- 62% of marketers use event management software to promote their events.
- 60% of smartphone users are using their devices at social gatherings and events.
And that’s just current reports. The future will demonstrate increasing impact from technology, with several specific technical trends expected to impact events:
- 30% of marketers believe that live streaming will impact events the most
- 24% of marketers believe that social networks impact events the most
- 35% of event planners think wearable devices are the most significant trend in maximizing your attendees' event experience
Make Technology Work for You
Here are some ways you can leverage technology to make your planning process easier and your attendees’ experience better.
1. Create an easy registration and ticketing purchasing process. Provide a quick check-in and ticket sale technology to help ease common frustrations from things like long lines or difficult purchasing processes.
2. Use lighting to set the mood. Light may not be the most technical thing in the book, but plays a vital role in setting the tone of your event. Lighting can quickly engage and welcome attendees while creating an ambiance to remember. Think through how different levels of brightness or uses of color might make your attendees feel more connected to the people around them or more emotionally invested.
3. Use a live display for real-time communications to engage attendees on information. Increase attendee engagement through presentations and sessions by using an event app for polls and surveys during sessions.This also invites participation and lets the speaker know which topics are most engaging.
4. Use touch screen kiosks. Self-serve kiosks can be an excellent way for attendees to check themselves in and gain entry to the event. While some argue that you lose the human interaction at check-in with this route, many people prefer the ease and speed of self check-in. Touch screen kiosks also provide a great way to share research and add branding elements such as video and photographs.
5. Supply Charging Tables and Stations. For longer events, charging stations can power up multiple devices at the same time while making this an excellent opportunity for branding and advertising. Low battery levels mean distracted and less engaged attendees who may refrain from taking photos, sharing on social media, and participating in other ways—so keep your guests powered up!
6. Provide attendees with social photo booths. Provide photo selfie booths to make it easy for people to take branded stills, videos, or GIFs, and share the images straight to their social media accounts. People will be more likely to share these, and you can brand the area for your event to further spread the word!
7. Give out free stuff with customizable clothing station. Giveaway things that your attendees will want—rather than a large order that gets thrown away before guests even leave, provide a customizable station where attendees can select their gear and create it how they want. Custom live printed merchandise also adds to the guests’ experience, making it a special memory!
8. Implement a networking photo challenge. Set tent cards around your networking event with different photo challenges and your event hashtag prominently featured, encouraging networking and social media buzz. Have attendees connect with others to snag photos like:
- “Take a photo with someone new you’ve just met.”
- “Take a photo with someone who shares the same favorite color as you.”
- “Take a photo with someone who shares the same birthday as you.”
9. Use geotags. Use a geotag to create digital markers that assign a geographical location to a photograph or video, allowing attendees to post on social media and concentrated their impact.
10. Have your dedicated social media coordinator live stream the event. This includes those who couldn’t attend, builds buzz for next year, and helps attendees feel like they are part of an exclusive event.
11. Utilize Cashless Transactions. Cashless transactions use various items or codes to allow participants to make purchase during the event without pulling out their credit card each time. Events using cashless payments should require their attendees to activate them in advance of the event—which streamlines the event and increases the level of security.
Events require a lot of thought and planning. With these technical solutions, you can be well on your way to a successful event that will leave a lasting impression in the minds of your guests!