Engaging attendees. If you’re like most planners, it’s a top strategic goal for any event you run. After all, you boost your chances of drawing attendees back to future events if you make it easy for them to register, network and meet one-on-one with each other, attend the right sessions, and stay connected after the event is over. Engaging attendees also motivates them to visit with sponsors and vendors. Plus, staying connected throughout the event lifecycle makes it easy to monitor how well you’re running the event – and what value attendees are getting out of your conference.
Here are some cool ways you can enrich and engage attendees experience:
It used to be a major hassle for attendees to figure out how to find and schedule one-on-one meetings with each other and exhibitors. The process involved lots of manual emailing or texting, waiting for replies and confirmations, and then setting up appointments. Those days are over. As an event planner, you can make attendees’ lives easier by leveraging “interest matching” technology offered through your mobile event app. Here’s how it works: At registration, your attendees indicate which sessions they want to attend, which exhibitors they want to visit, and who they want to connect with. Zerista’s interest- matching technology curates all that data. Then, we propose appointments, send out requests to other attendees and exhibitors, process confirmations, build a schedule and then deliver it to attendees. Also, where most solutions require attendees to either manage two schedules or add events one-by-one, Zerista enables easy, one-click syncing with all the most common calendar applications. Users can now plan their experience in Zerista and manage it in their Outlook, iCal or Google Calendars. If you can remove the drudgery that attendees go through trying to set up and manage appointments, they’ll be very grateful.
2. Simplify profile creation.
Help attendees, speakers, sponsors and exhibitors create rich, interest-based profiles. The simplest way is to have them build their profiles via the event app, including easy uploading of pictures, videos and slides. Why are profiles so important? Attendees use them to gain information on speakers, as well as for networking. Exhibitors and sponsors rely on them to attract customers with detailed organization and product information. Plus, if you have journalists attending your event, they’ll access digital profiles to get more information on speakers. Information is good. Make it easy for everyone at your event to communicate with their profiles.
3. Brighten attendees’ day with beacons.
Your attendees will smile with appreciation if you employ beacons, tiny computers that broadcast signals used by mobile event apps to communicate based on someone’s location – and to unlock data about where people are spending time. Your beacon-enabled event app can transform:
- Registration and session check-in. Beacons allow event planners to identify attendees as they walk in the venue door and automatically send them onsite check-in forms. Attendees can either scan an in-app QR code at a check-in kiosk or check in on the app and simply pick up a badge. Similarly, beacons can automatically sense when someone enters a room, and through your event app, attendees can check in for each session in real time and without a scanner. Attendees also gain an easy way to track continuing education credits.
- Eating and drinking. You can use beacons to identify who’s on line for the London broil and who is instead, choosing the kale salad. With that information, you can optimize menus on the fly to please your audience and minimize waste (and cost). And, when attendees’ dietary choices are integrated into an event app, beacons can serve up messages to attendees with food allergies, pointing them to foods they can safely eat and alerting them to stay clear of dangerous ingredients.
- Networking. Your attendees no longer have to hunt for names on badges. Beacon technology on event apps can identify who’s in the room. All attendees need to do is look at their phones to see who’s nearby, glance at a photo for reference, and start up a conversation.
- Surveys and polling. There’s no need to bombard attendees with texts messages and web links to get them to give feedback on sessions or participate in surveys. With beacons, speakers can pull people directly into the polls for the session when they enter a room and automatically push from poll to poll in unison on everyone’s phone.
4. Play a game.
Launch a game at your event to motivate attendees to visit exhibitors, attend sessions, answer polls and participate in surveys – even post about the event and individual educational sessions to social media. Your app – loaded onto attendees’ smart phones – is the perfect tool for participating in a game. You can offer points, recognition and prizes. To foster a spirit of competition, display game results on an online leaderboard.
5. Engage attendees and make it easy for them to figure out where they belong.
Your Zerista app enables you to invite different groups of attendees to sign up only for sessions and special events that are appropriate for them. For example, you can customize agendas for association board members so that only they know about a special luncheon they’re invited to attend. Another benefit: You can boost privacy for VIPs by hiding their contact information from general event attendees.
If you give attendees enhanced tools to network with each other and patronize sponsors and exhibitors, chances are they’ll have a great event experience. That means they’re more likely to return to your next event – and that means you’re a success!