We’re reflecting on the highlights of 2018 event technology so far and the innovative approaches big brands are taking to provide attendees personalized experiences at their largest events.
Chat bots provide information to event attendees in a way that is faster, easier and more natural than before. Attendees can find event information, source sessions, pull up maps and find answers to common event queries. They can boost session engagement and allow event planners to interact with attendees.
In a recent study conducted by the Experience Institute, over 75% of attendees stated that the destination city factored into their decision of attending an event or conference. Events bring people to new cities and provide a great opportunity for them to explore.
Once your attendees leave the conference floor they’re in a new city, possibly one they’ve never visited before, and left to their own devices for sourcing food and entertainment. When attending busy all-day conferences, this can be a source of stress rather than excitement. There are many ways you can improve your attendees’ event and travel experience while highlighting sponsors and partnerships via an event app.
Here are some ways we’ve seen event apps leverage event technology to explore new places.
Highlight sponsors and partnerships
Whether it’s around the convention center or around the city, drop pins onto the locations of your sponsors, making it easy for attendees to notice and find them around the city. In 2015, the Pan Am Games app did this by placing pins on their lead sponsor CIBC’s bank machines setup at different venues and sites.
Another option for event organizers is to form partnerships with local businesses to offer attendees discounts at restaurants, bars, entertainment and tourism venues around the city. Many conference goers will extend their trip by a day or two to take in the sights of the city, and there are numerous tourism opportunities and deals you can extend to your attendees.
Use a chatbot
One of the coolest ways we’ve seen an event app highlight their city is SXSW and their bot Abby within their SXSW Go app. Abby not only helped attendees find relevant events and networking opportunities, but the Bot provided attendees with a fun, engaging way to explore dining options around them. Send Abby a taco emoji, and the bot would return you the location of nearby food trucks. (Eventbase won “Best Event App” at this year’s Event Technology Awards for building the SXSW Bot!)
Chatbots are getting smarter with every year, and soon they’ll be able to act as a personal concierge for all attendee event planning. Planning to attend an outdoor session in Vegas? Chatbots can remind you to pack some sunscreen and a pair of shades. Raining in Austin? Your chatbot might be able to call you a taxi to your next session. SXSW’s Abby has gone back to school and is working to learn how to further improve SXSW attendees’ ability to explore and keep Austin weird.
Engage people with gamification
Gamification can work differently to engage your event attendees depending on your end goal. We’ve seen events create scavenger hunts within their app where attendees visit sponsor booths or city locations to collect stamps and be entered into prize draws. Ultimately the purpose of gamification should be to enhance your attendees’ experience, but the ability to drive attendee traffic to desired locations and the added benefits of improved event data are undeniable. With gamification you’ll be able to improve your understanding of your guests and boost your ROI on sponsorship opportunities.
Encourage your attendees to share
Attendees look to each other for inspiration on what to do next. In addition to encouraging the use of your event hashtag on social media channels, your event app should have its own channel for posting photos and comments so attendees can share their experiences exploring your event city.
Customize their experience
As event apps’ artificial intelligence grows stronger, customizing attendee experiences will become easier and more seamless. Event planners will have the ability to customize attendee profiles to highlight new VIP experiences, similar to the Cannes Lions Beach Rosé Time app which gave VIP attendees notifications of when rosé was being served nearby. This app, developed by Eventbase partners Intergalactic and Urban Airship, showed how the future of beacons can help customize VIP experiences. Tap the app on a watch or phone and staff would use beacons to bring a chilled glass right to you—free. The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) event app customized their attendee experience with a guided audio tour of the event, giving attendees an overview of the layout and helping them maximize their time.
The future of event apps will see improved artificial intelligence, the introduction of augmented reality and a seamless integration of technology and real-world experiences. Partnering with an enterprise event app can offer your guests a wholly immersive experience extending far beyond your event’s walls and help your event attendees experience the best of the event city.
Every year there's a big focus on innovation at SXSW, and this year was no exception. Eventbase was excited about the launch of Abby - the official bot in the SXSW Go mobile app. Abby delivered a conversational-style user experience to help attendees navigate SXSW, find out what was happening around them and get answers to frequently asked questions.