4 Technology Trends That Are Changing The Event Landscape
Contributed by Rebecca Kennedy
Technology has become an integral and inescapable part of almost all areas of daily life, from pop culture trends like Pokémon Go to more advanced projects like the first self-driving cars. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that modern technology is making an appearance in the world of event organization too. From multi-channel customer communications to virtual “swag bags,” these are the top technology trends that are changing the landscape of event planning and event marketing.
#1 Omni-Channel Attendee Experiences
Eventgoers from all generations and demographics are more connected to the internet and their devices than ever before - in fact, 66% of Americans own at least 2 digital devices (a combination of smartphones, computers, and tablets) and 36% own all of the above.
That means that it’s no longer enough to prioritize creating an optimal user experience through just one channel, such as web. Today’s event marketers need to offer superb experiences through ALL possible channels that their audience may be using, including web, mobile, social media, apps, phone, and in-person.
“Omni-channel” is a type of marketing strategy that aims to smooth the lines between the various channels of customer interaction, in turn creating a more cohesive user experience. Make sure your event’s target audience can get in touch with you, register for events, purchase tickets, and ask questions through as many channels as possible. Check out these omni-channel retail statistics you can’t ignore for more insights into this growing trend.
#2 Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)
When it comes to creating an attendee experience that’s seamless and easy (and gets attendees talking) radio frequency identification is the solution that’s taking the world of events planning by storm.
Here’s how it works: radio waves read information stored on a tag, which can be read even if the tag is located on an object several feet away or if the tag is hidden under other materials. And unlike barcodes, RFID can read the information stored on hundreds of tags at a time, rather than just one at a time.
This technology offers major opportunities for event organizers who want to simplify the attendee experience, or communicate with and interact with attendees on a large scale. Some ideas to get you started include:
● Allowing event attendees to pay for food, drinks, and other goods with their RFID tag, creating a cashless event
● Speeding up event entrance by replacing paper tickets
● Tracking real-time foot traffic, allowing you to gain insights about crowded areas that may need more support, or empty areas that may need more promotion
● Integrating RFID tags with attendee’s social media profiles to encourage social sharing
#3 Artificial Intelligence
It may seem like we’re still a long way off from artificial intelligence that feels truly...well, intelligent, but there’s no denying that we’re well on our way. Voice-activated personal concierge services like Amazon’s Echo can respond to user questions, read messages, provide traffic updates and weather reports, and control lights, thermostats, and other linked technologies.
While most current concierge technologies are targeted towards individual consumers, as AI technologies continue to advance, it’s only a matter of time before events organizers have access to AI services that can help attendees check in, organize their transportation to and from the event, and achieve tailored personal experiences.
#4 Digital Swag
Say goodbye to event swag bags filled with keychains, pens, and paperweights, and hello to tech savvy digital swag. Digital swag “bags” can be sent to attendees via text or email, and can contain items such as discount codes, coupons, premium content, downloadable music or video clips, and more.
If you’d rather take the more traditional physical approach to event swag, consider giving your goodie bag a modern twist by including valuable mobile charging devices. Event attendees are almost constantly glued to their phones, sharing updates on social media, catching up on emails, and sending texts to co-workers. Even though most attendees will have a charger waiting at home or in the hotel room, they’ll appreciate having an extra one on-hand throughout the day.