September 10, 2019

Providing a Memorable Experience for Event Attendees

Providing a Memorable Experience for Event Attendees

How do attendees choose which events to attend each year? It’s not only the information they take back to work that matters. It’s the connections, knowledge, relaxation, fun, inspiration, and that intangible something—the experience.

The event experience begins before your attendees arrive on site, which is why last week’s post about preparing attendees for your event is required reading. Now, let’s look at the event itself, and see how event engagement technology can help your organization exceed attendee expectations.

Make a Memorable First Impression

ASAE Annual Meeting attendees arriving in Columbus, Ohio received VIP treatment as soon as they got off the plane: coffee and cookies, welcoming and helpful volunteers, and get-ready-to-party music from a DJ in the baggage claim area. They might have stepped on the plane thinking about all the work they left behind, and still feeling the stress of their hectic job. But now, in Columbus, they feel a million miles away—and they feel special.

That’s how you want attendees to feel at your event. Once they arrive, they no longer have to stress, worry, or think too hard. They can just show up and put themselves in your hands.

You can start making an excellent impression at registration. Attendees might expect long lines as they wait for staff to find their packet and badge. Here’s where you start delighting them with different check-in options. For example, let them speed up the process at a self-check-in kiosk.

Or, for a quick and hassle-free experience, give your registration staff a check-in app. You can automatically sync attendee registration data to the app so staff have all the information they need to make each attendee feel recognized and welcome.

For example, staff can see in the app’s notes that you have a special gift bag set aside for Attendee Alice who is attending her 20th show (a real VIP). They can also spot first-time attendees and make a big fuss about them too. The notes for Attendee Alberto, a premier sponsor, tell you to text the CEO as soon as Alberto arrives. A colleague on the exhibits team checks the app and sees that Alberto is here. She makes her way over to his booth so she can welcome him in person.

With a check-in app, attendee badges print automatically and any wearable technology or QR code is activated—more on that in a minute. There’s no excuse for long waits when you can have technology that’s designed to make attendee check-in a quick, personal experience.

Capture Attendee Engagement Data Throughout the Event

With the right data, you can enhance your attendees’ event experience. That concept might have sounded outlandish several years ago, but data represents knowledge about what’s happening in the event venue. For example, you can:

  • See which rooms are filling up so you can respond with extra chairs right away.
  • Identify the most popular sessions so you can schedule encore sessions for those who couldn’t get into the room.
  • Analyze show floor traffic patterns so you can adjust the location of lounge seating and coffee stations to encourage traffic in less-visited areas.

All this is possible with scanning technology, such as NFC-powered wristbands or badges with QR codes, that tracks attendance at sessions, keynotes, and other event locations. NFC stands for near field communication, a wireless, close-proximity communication between a device and an NFC-powered wearable technology.

Use these badges or wristbands to control access to exclusive events, for example, paid pre-conference workshops, VIP or members-only events, or first-time attendee breakfasts.

You can also find out what scan-required activities an attendee experienced. For example, you can arrange for a roaming photographer to take photos of attendees. To get those photos delivered, attendees have to get their badge or wristband scanned. Later, you can remind attendees to share and hashtag their photos on social media—spreading the buzz about your event.

Modernize CAE credit tracking too. You can see who is eligible for CAE credit by tracking who went to a session and how long they stayed there. Even better, you no longer have to go through hundreds of pages of session sign-in sheets and manually enter all that data into your AMS or LMS. Instead, you only have to upload a file.

Help Your Exhibitors Follow Up With Leads

Companies are casting a critical eye on their marketing budgets. They won’t spend money on exhibiting unless they know it’s going to bring in a good return on their investment. Don’t take the exhibitor experience for granted. Help your revenue partners capture and follow up on valuable leads.

Provide a lead capture/retrieval app that exhibitors can access from their own devices. Allow them to simply scan an attendee’s NFC-powered wristband or QR code on their badge to capture their information. Give exhibitors the ability to prioritize their post-event follow-up by scoring new leads and adding notes directly in the app.

Surprise and delight your event attendees and exhibitors by leveraging event engagement technology to enhance their experience. Learn more about the new Event Farm solutions that are part of the MemberSuite portfolio.