Event Technology: Benefitting Venues and Planners

February 16, 2018 by Tim Wiedeman

Event technology is evolving at an extremely fast pace, leaving meeting and event planners searching for the easiest, most hassle-free solutions to their shared event planning issues. According to Greg Oates from Skift, nearly half of all meeting planners are unhappy with their event technology – so clearly there’s a lot of room for improvement.

Event management is often broken down into three stages: pre-event planning, real-time event execution, and post-event analysis. Successful event technology will cater to all three stages and eliminate the various problems within each stage, but finding the right technology is the challenge.

Pre-Event Planning and the RFP Process

Typically, one of the first steps in the event planning is choosing the right location. When it comes to venue selection, a recent report from Cvent stated that major pain-points include unclear/poorly structured pricing policies and untimely or low response rates.

The Cvent study also revealed that a huge problem for meeting planners is the amount of time that it takes to hear back from venues regarding their requests for proposals (RFP). And when the hotels or event sites finally respond, they are often missing key costs or have inexact numbers.

According to Brian Ludwig, SVP of sales at Cvent, hotels are challenged with excess amounts of proposals, and their response rate often determines whether or not they will be awarded with business. The venues need to determine a way to process and prioritize the lead in an efficient and time-sensitive manner. The value of each RFP needs to be calculated and all of the data needs to be organized and presented in a way that it can be used.

Once a location has been secured, the focus most commonly transitions to retaining and increasing the amount of event attendees, in other words, increasing potential revenue. Lauren Mumford from etouches said, “it’s concerning to hear that half of event planners say that managing attendee registration is one of their top pre-event pain points. On top of that, even more event planners, 56%, say that targeting the right people with the right event content is another common struggle.”

According to Mumford, in order to solve this common problem, planners must find an event software platform that can automate and collect useful attendee data during the registration process. This allows planners to get to know their attendees and communicate with them in a more relevant manner and provide them with helpful information.

During-Event Logistics and Guest Communication

A recent survey from etouches uncovered two major pain points that nearly half of all respondents shared. These included communication with attendees and registration/check-in. Mumford’s first solution that came to mind is having a mobile event app. Creating an app is known to be time consuming and expensive, however, it can save a lot of time for both attendees and planners in the long-run.

A mobile event app can allow for mobile check-in, real-time schedule updates, and answers to FAQs. Taking it a step further, Greg Oates from Cvent stated that today’s event tech needs to be used in a way that allows attendees to be engaged with on a level much higher than just content receival. etouches has acquired the Loopd platform, which provides on-site solutions to high-level attendee engagement.

Loopd integrates smart badges, an event app, and a cloud-based analytics engine to track attendees and provide info to attendees based on what booths they visited and people they met. Mike Mason, VP, sourcing and hospitality solutions with etouches stated, “If the device understands that you’re talking to me and we’re sharing information, and it looks at what is important to me and what’s important to you, it can begin to build a profile of who you might be interested in talking to.”

Mason continued on to express that in order for this technology to be useful, tech companies need to have a stronger focus on ensuring that planners know exactly how to implement and use it in order to benefit from it and see the ROI.  

Post-Event Analysis and ROI Calculation

According to the etouches survey, attendee satisfaction was the key indicator as to whether an event is successful or not. However, ROI remains to be a crucial measurement. Several event management software tools exist, which can help measure both attendee satisfaction and ROI.

Mumford from etouches mentioned that one area that is lacking attention in post-event analysis is attendee happiness. A lot of what makes an event-goer happy is the venue and its location, thus several event sourcing tools are crucial for finding a venue that suits your audience best.

Mike Mason from etouches reiterated the importance of having event tech firms physically sit down with their customers to help them better understand how the tech is benefitting them and what their ROI looks like for each event. Without this understanding, customers won’t be able to see where they are meeting goals and where they can make improvements. The event data must be used in a way that it can easily help planners resolve issues and better prepare for future events.

The event technology exists, the challenge is finding the right tech and understanding exactly how to use and benefit from it.

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