Tech-savvy tips on how to differentiate your event. Written by Andrew Kinnear
Whether you’re planning an intimate executive retreat or a conference for thousands, there are a few things you can do to help differentiate your event. During the planning stage, while you’re investigating venues, suppliers and support, think about how technology can support a terrific experience for the entire range of attendees. When it comes time to on-site, day-of-event operations, there are a number of new apps that could help.
Three new apps that can really add some ‘slickness’ to a high-volume event are Eventbrite’s new “At the Door” iPad app, powering on-site sales and entry management; their paperless ticket system, via the Eventbrite Mobile App for attendees; and MailChimp’s “Chimpadeedoo” iPad app, for simple collection of registration and CRM data for better post-event marketing.
Eventbrite’s apps are designed to make the job of the event manager easy and to streamline the process for attendees. One of the slowest parts of a high-volume event is the on-site sales process, so now an army of iPad-equipped salespeople can tackle the job of a single POS ticket booth.
Eventbrite has released a mobile app that allows for unique scanning of a paperless ticket and keeps everything in place. To these apps’ great credit, I haven’t seen any other tools that are this useful for managing both online and on-site events.
When your goal is to collect e-mail addresses or have a simple survey tied to a user in your database, ‘Chimpadeedoo’ works. You can customize the templates and the questionnaire as you like, and avoid the expense of having ‘kiosks’ at your trade-show booth or conference to collect data. You can add names to your database in real-time, securely and using an iPad.
As an option, the data can be stored locally—removing the need for an expensive 3G connection—but can easily archive to the cloud when you get to a WiFi connection in the hotel room or at the office.
Getting into an event is one thing, but how can you differentiate your event for attendees? If you need to wow the CEO for the next executive off-site, where there will be a range of meetings, presentations and social events, why not specialize?
A venue like the Windsor Arms hotel, in Toronto, has one of the most advanced screening rooms in the city.
Outfitted with all the latest in digital sound and projection technology, in a well-appointed, luxurious and intimate screening room, it’s the perfect place to showcase that new product launch to the board of directors or present the latest creative campaign to the executive team.
Sometimes, the AV or technology supplier will help shape your event. With some planning, you can take your meeting to the next level, with social feedback. The simplest is a screen showing real-time tweets from the event. Be sure to keep in mind things like availability of WiFi for attendees, to ensure smooth sailing, as well as publishing the event’s #hashtag. Since this is standard for many events now, the next level is probably interaction. Have a staff member present, live-tweeting, reading everything and reacting. Room too hot? Take a poll–see if everyone wants the head down. Interactivity and real-time communications will enhance the attendee’s experience.
At the Canadian Marketing Association awards, Aimia tested a social engagement tool designed in-house. The ‘app like’ mobile website, available to smart-phone users, allowed attendees to share comments and photos; see who was attending, along with contact info; and make song selections with the DJ. The system relied on digital signage and a special module for the DJ and the registration table, but seamlessly engaged attendees. There were plenty of data points, from comments to photos to song selection, that could enhance future events.