We quizzed Chela Evans, director of sales at Cvent Australia, on the latest technology trends shaping the event industry.
What are the biggest technology trends to shake up the events industry in recent years?
We are in the midst of the Fourth Industrial Revolution where technology is at the core of every business and the events industry is no exception. For example, the move from paper tickets and manual door scanning to integrated mobile and social tools has transformed the way delegates register, interact and engage at events.
Similarly, event professionals once had to plan face-to-face site visits in order to put together their venue shortlist. Now, most of that process has gone digital.
According to our recent research, venues’ corporate websites are now tied with peer recommendations as the most influential resource for planners during the sourcing process. Search engines are close behind and social media has doubled its influence from last year.
Digital sourcing tools such as the Cvent Supplier Network have transformed the way planners and event professionals search for a venue and how hoteliers respond to incoming meeting requests – streamlining the process on both sides.
Do you believe there are more opportunities for event organisers to embrace technology?
Yes, absolutely. The best way to improve the return on investment for your events is to take advantage of technology that captures important data points at each stage of the event lifecycle. We often say that meetings and events are ‘data goldmines’ and many professionals are not capitalising on the opportunity that all of that data provides.
One of the biggest missed opportunities is understanding how attendees engage with the event onsite. After check-in, what do your attendees do? What sessions do they attend? If you aren’t able to answer these questions, not only are you missing out on an opportunity to improve your event each year, but also missing the opportunity to better personalise the content you provide to your attendees post-event. Onsite solutions like attendee tracking, badge session scanning and feedback surveys can provide detailed insight into these data points.
What are your trend predictions for 2019?
Virtual reality – soon you will be able take virtual tours and immersive walk-throughs of venues halfway around the world. Imagine being able to truly immerse yourself into a destination or venue without ever having to leave your office.
Augmented reality – gamification at events is going to get a major interactive boost with augmented reality (AR). AR gaming within mobile event apps will engage delegates and connect them with exhibitors, sponsors and speakers, offering both attendees and suppliers maximum impact and increasing your brand exposure.
Data protection – incredible amounts of personal data is collected at events, meaning extra responsibility for event organisers. You can expect to see international and local tightening of data protection and privacy laws. The global movement has started with the EU enacting the General Data Protection Regulation.
Biometrics and facial feedback – biometrics will provide a faster, safer and more secure check-in when confirming delegate identities onsite. Facial feedback and recognition offer a truly unique opportunity to gain real-time insights into how delegates respond to your event.
This article originally appeared in the February edition of Spice Magazine. Subscribe here.