In recent years, the world of event technology has seen an evolution and that’s largely because event planners’ needs have gone through an evolution of their own. Their expectations are higher and their knowledge about technology is especially greater. Along with wanting a product that makes event planning more efficient, event planners are asking about data security, privacy regulations and integrations; things that we weren’t even having conversations even three years ago. Additionally, planners want their event attendees to have a truly an amazing experience, one that includes the latest and greatest technologies so planners can more clearly demonstrate the value of their events. Additionally, planners want their event attendees to have a truly an amazing experience, one that includes the latest and greatest technologies so planners can more clearly demonstrate the value of their events. Today, these topics are in every single conversation we have with clients.
Overall, event planners are adopting more technology and they want all of these systems to work together to yield the best results for them and their attendees. While their goals and needs may be different depending on the industry, there are some noticeable requirements today’s event planners want from there event technology providers.
Ease to use for all
Planners today expect their event technology to be easy to use and quick to adopt, not only for their sake for the sake of their attendees as well. The simpler the tool is to adopt at their organization the better, as more users can become proficient in the technology, and therefore make event planning more efficient. For their attendees, ease of use brings with it a seamless experience. For example, not only do event planners want to build engaging event websites for their attendees, but they want that experience to carry into the registration process and the level of engagement at the event through mobile and wearable technology. If attendees receive an event invitation email on their phone, they want people to be able to register for it right then and there, rather than having wait to log on to their computers or another device.
The ability to prove event ROI
Meeting and event planners have a tough job, especially when it comes to having to prove their ROI to attendees, sponsors and stakeholders; they must prove to their attendees that their event was worth their time, they must prove it to their exhibitors and sponsors that their event was worth investing in, and then they must prove it to their organizations why their event was successful.
With event technology like digital badges, event planners can show an attendee a snapshot of their event journey — who they networked with, what sessions they attended and the information they collected along the way. With sponsors, smart badges paired with iBeacon technology can provide them with a list of the people that stopped by their booth or who even spent time around their booth; this is critical information that helps justify their sponsorship. Finally, proving ROI to internal stakeholders is probably the hardest job of all, because they are the ones making the greatest investment with events. They need to be able to see success through a variety of channels to get a complete picture of their ROI; attendee satisfaction, engagement, marketing, social media and so much more. What’s becoming even more expected is not only do internal stakeholders want to collect and review this data, but they want to use it to predict the future of their events and event success.
There’s the technology itself and then there’s other services it provides to help meet customer expectations. Something like professional services is a big one for today’s event planners. They want access to a team that’s ready to step in when a meeting planner feels like they have a bottleneck on their end and they can’t move as fast as they want. Whether it’s getting people up to speed with training or jumping in and building their event websites for them, it’s these extra services that can make or break the client experience.
Security is also such a big area of focus for event planners, especially for those working at large companies requiring a high level of privacy and protection. They expect a significant security structure from their event technology providers, one that can handle the size and scope of their data needs, as well as a company that is committed to keeping up with new regulations and their potential liabilities.
A partner, not just a vendor
Above all, event planners want a partner, not just a vendor when it comes to working and integrating event technology. They want support that’s not just technical, rather something more personalized and consultative. Event planners expect that their providers take the time to learn about their respective industry and environment to gain a true understanding of what’s best for them, even before they do. It’s all about building relationships and helping them fulfill their goals.
Kathleen Roberge is chief revenue officer at etouches. She is responsible for driving top revenue-generating activities globally and overseeing direct sales, account management, solutions consulting and the channel partner portfolio.