Lets close our laptops and acknowledge: 2016 was an amazing year for events! Business is back in a bigger way and the event industry is doing better because there has been a new focus – event experience.
The past few years in the events industry has been a wild ride – businesses are working hard to bring in clients, new technology is sprouting and dramatically changing the way an event is planned and executed, and things are changing very rapidly. In many ways, it’s felt like chaos. But as planners get more steady streams of new business and technology becomes more familiar, the focus has shifted towards creating an amazing event experience for our attendees, sponsors, speakers and other participants. Here are a few big wins we’ve had in regards to event experience in 2016.
Seamless Event Planning Process
In order for us to spend more time caring about our attendee’s experience, and catering to our sponsors, we have to streamline the work that we do in our everyday lives logistically. From task management systems to seamless event software management, we’re all looking for better ways to do the work that is required of us on the day-to-day basis. This is one area where technology has played an important role and every tired event planner is very thankful for that! 2016 was a big year for planners moving away from multiple excel files, importing and exporting, cleaning data manually and faxing documents back and forth to vendors. While these things haven’t disappeared altogether, we’re certainly seeing a trend towards more efficient event management software platforms that save us these headaches.
Seamless Event Experience
As we focus on a great experience for all stakeholders at our events, we turn towards technology and solutions that create a seamless event experience. Streamlining things like registration at the door, access to PowerPoint slides from speakers, and tracking impact for sponsors is now possible through the use of many different types of tools and technologies. Focusing on streamlining these experiences is the base level of a great overall attendee/sponsor/speaker experience. We find that it’s very important for a guest to walk in, know where to go to register, register without a long line and get into the event seamlessly. While that’s only the first five minutes of their event experience, it helps shape their overall experience that sticks with them throughout the entire event.
Enhanced Event Experience
Since technology helped us streamline the process portion of our events in 2016, we can then think about the many things that impact a great event experience. From smarter signage to personalizing information and gifts for attendees, we can think about how an attendee experiences an event, how a sponsor reaches those attendees meaningfully, and how speakers play a critical role in that process as well. Creativity takes over and event planners can really start thinking about what impact they can make on a single life through a winsome event experience.
Focusing on event experience is a win all around. The planner has a more creative and stress free environment to work in, the attendees receive an experience that is like none other, your sponsors will have access to very meaningful engagement with their target audience, and speakers will feel that their content is valued and received well. I’m excited to see what this shift towards event experience will do for our industry in 2017.
WRITTEN BY LIZ KING
Liz King is founder of TechsyTalk, a platform for event professionals to explore technology. Liz is one of the industry’s acclaimed social media experts and a regular guest author on zkipster’s blog.