For years, brands have been striving to provide consumers with a personal experience. According to a recent report from Deloitte, the new buzzword "mass personalisation" may finally become a reality as the market for personalised goods and services continues to grow, along with the technology that makes it possible.
Yet how many event organisers are factoring this in with their event planning and using it as a point of difference to shake up traditional event formats? There are a number of ways that technology can be used to get up close and personal at events.
Firstly, get your registration process right. Does your electronic ticketing system provide guests or delegates with the details of what they’ve signed up for? What about letting them know who the other attendees are? You can take this a step further by sending them reminders about where they should be when sessions are beginning, for example, and letting them know who else is going.
Use the "crowd" systems people will recognise from social media. That might be a rating system for speakers, voting buttons on an app or even recommendation engines. At a recent food and drink show I saw a great use of "crowd favourites", which let all those attending check out what others had liked the most so they could savour it too. At the same event organisers had created specific codes at each wine booth so those attending could scan and pull up relevant information about the wine before applying their own rating to it.
Get people to tell you what they like. Let’s say you are organising a car show. Why not offer all those coming along the opportunity to use a wristband app, which they can swipe each time they like a car. It’s easy and it’s fun, and it provides an automatic digital list of leads while removing the need to collect hard copy contact details and other information.
Create even more of a buzz at the event by promoting exclusive content. Some organisers are now also offering the gold star in personalisation by using apps to give select groups or individuals access to VIP information, offers and updates.
Finally, don’t forget to make the experience interactive and entertaining as well as personal: think fun and games. An element of informal competition can help hugely with networking. One cruise ship organiser is now regularly devising scavenger hunts when they promote a new ship to create a buzz. They post QR codes around different areas of the ship and create a scavenger hunt so that attendees can check-in to each area and win prizes. Be imaginative; variations on this theme can be used at any event.
It’s a new era for events, and it’s up to organisers to make sure that we’re using all the best developments from the online world to make live experiences even better.
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