No matter what kind of event you’re throwing — a gala, a seated dinner, a cocktail party — the main goal should always be to give your guests a great experience.
You want them to walk away at the end of the night having had a great time and give them something to tell their friends, colleagues, or spouses about the next day. What’s the best way to do that? With a few creative technological touches. Here are seven of our favorite ways to enliven an event.
1.Social Media Displays
If your audience is active on social media, and you’ve publicized a hashtag for the event, make sure guests can see activity on that hashtag. Especially if you’re encouraging donations or auction bidding via social media, showing that activity in real time will drive even more conversation. To make social media tracking even easier, you can sync your guest list with their social accounts so you can interact with key attendees as soon as they arrive.
When it comes to designing your event space, lighting is one of the ways to get the most bang for your buck — especially for evening events. Not only are they essential for illuminating your space, but they can also create beautiful (and Instagram-worthy) decor. A few of our favorites are Lumio, the lamp shaped like an open book, the Misfit Bolt, which enables you to set colors and lighting patterns, and LumiGram, which is actually interactive light-up fabric.
If you’re unveiling a new app or announcing plans for a new real estate development, give your attendees a chance to do a deep dive while they are attending your party. Even if you don’t have a physical product that can offer hands-on demonstrations, you can set up tablets around your event area to give guests a guided tour. Make sure you have plenty of units available so guests aren’t waiting too long to get an exclusive look. One of our favorite new displays comes from Perch Interactive, they allow you to turn any white surface into a display meaning you won’t have to spend your entire budget renting or buying touchscreen devices. Our other pick is the Cube from GestureTek, which allows you to create interactive displays on the floor of your event, encouraging guests to get up and move around the space to experience the installation.
How could we not suggest drones? They are still going strong in the tech world, and there are plenty of ways to use them. From taking party photos to delivering drinks, adding a few drones will definitely up your cool. The most accessible option for event photos is definitely a GoPro camera mounted to a consumer drone like the Parrot Quadricopter. Want further proof that drones are a must have? Even Martha Stewart is into them. The domestic diva showed off her drone flying skills (and drone photography skills) at Social Media Week New York in February.
What better way to make your presentation interactive than by using your audience as a visual display. The LED wristbands from Xylobands give you the opportunity to display messages, colors and other information directly on your guests wrists. It can be a great way to demonstrate statistics in a speech, choose a raffle winner, or just provide some fun mood lighting on the dance floor.
For an event that has multiple different areas try using beacons that connect via Bluetooth to an app on your attendees’ phones. Not only will you get a better sense of what parts of the event were most popular, but you can communicate to attendees information about each section and what they might want to see next. We love the Estimote Beacons — they are bright and colorful, and add a lot of options for your event. Think of it as a way of giving your guests a guided tour without having to have a staff member or volunteer for everyone who attends.
7.Low Tech Finish
Once you’ve wowed your guests with a wonderfully tech-savvy event, adding in a low-tech touch can play on their love of nostalgia. Who wouldn’t want to leave an event with a personalized fortune cookie, gourmet chocolates, or beautifully designed tote bag. (Never underestimate the power of a tote bag!) We guarantee it will make your guests walk out with a smile.
As the event industry evolves and integrates more technology, we know several of these will become indispensable tools for throwing events along with digital invites, a guest list management app, and dynamic virtual seating charts.
Photo credit: gesturetek.com