Event chatbots: Maximize ROI and enhance attendee experience


AI-powered personal assistants are having a moment in the spotlight. Google Home, Siri, and Amazon Alexa have made it normal to expect personalized information in an instant—indeed, a manual Google search feels increasingly archaic. 

Event managers wanting to tap into this trend need look no further than incorporating an event chatbot into their event app. Here we’ll look at how the event chatbot enhances the event experience, and three key tips for maximizing its ROI.

“Chatbots move the event app beyond being an interactive replacement for the printed guide, it is now an indispensable and intelligent personal concierge that elevates the attendee experience” – Jeff Sinclair, CEO and co-founder at Eventbase 

Education tops the list of reasons people attend events, with the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) finding that 92 percent rank it as priority number one. You want to get content in front of the right audience — but at a multi-day, multi-track event, that can be a real challenge. 

To help attendees navigate your event and get to the right session, the event chatbot is the perfect vehicle for delivering this information. It’s able to take data powered by your recommendation engines and offer these to attendees directly through the chatbot. 

As well as sharing the right sessions with attendees, event chatbots also serve the very practical purpose of scaling support and making it available 24/7. Everything from lunch spots to the wifi password can be given to attendees on-demand and in-app, providing instant and effective customer service. 

Best of all, interactions can be fun with an event chatbot programmed to respond with the personality of your brand. Abby the chatbot made a popular third appearance at South by Southwest (SXSW) in 2019, with an approach that was described as “custom, casual, fun, and immediate”. This conversational aspect is unique to the event chatbot; it’s a digital concierge in the palm of the hand.

Now we’ve looked at some of the advantages of using an event chatbot, how do you maximize your return on investment? 

1. Start by educating users about the event chatbot

We mentioned the proliferation of AI powered devices in our lives at the top of this article. Their impact makes it important that your attendees understand how they interact with your event chatbot, and what it can help them with. 

Research found that registrants start interacting with the chatbot sometimes as early as 8 days before an event. This makes it imperative to include guidance and calls to action to use it in pre-event communications

Provide suggestions for the types of questions the event chatbot can answer, these make it easy for your attendees to start the conversation and see both the personalized responses and FAQ answers they can receive. Also highlight the personal, entertaining nature of the interactions with sample fun questions, such as if an emoji can trigger responses.

2. Deliver value to sponsors 

Your sponsors make your event what it is. And with 29 percent of event managers struggling to secure sponsorships, every measure should be taken to deliver value to the ones you have. With the ability to cut through the noise of advertising, the event chatbot is a useful tool for providing information about booth locations, sponsor workshops, and networking opportunities.

With the ability to cut through the noise of advertising, the event chatbot is a useful tool for providing information about booth locations, sponsor workshops, and networking opportunities.

3. Learn from the data

As attendees interact with the event chatbot, they’re generating masses of useful data. An enterprise-grade event chatbot will have the Natural Language Processing (NLP) and machine learning capabilities to get better at answering questions over time, but event chatbot data can help you improve the overall event, too.

Take the time to analyze interactions post-event. The results will be useful, like a spike in questions about navigating to a conference room showing a need for better wayfinding and signage. It can be fun, too — like this list of the 11 strangest things people asked Abby at SXSW 2017.

With innovative event technology now available, our goal in the events industry should be to serve attendees with the most personalized experience possible. The event chatbot plays a crucial role in this: it’s a personal concierge that elevates the attendee experience through informed recommendations and a fun interaction experience. 

Combine the experience benefits with the right focus on ROI, and event chatbot data will help you improve your event and convince attendees, speakers, and sponsors return in years to come.