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Give your audience the experience they expect

Tanya Pinchuk, MD at ExpoPlatform, urges conference organisers to get digital

A good conference director will ensure their audience leaves the auditorium with enough food for thought to warrant them running the event for another year. The presence of digital media and new channels for disseminating information that it enables has enriched the experience in myriad ways.

The thing about introducing event technology, to improve the experience for attendees and organisers, is that it should not be invasive. Good event technology facilitates business without introducing an unwanted hurdle.

Caroline Bosman is event director at international management consultancy firm Accenture. She says that if applied intelligently, conference and event technology can provide a more fluid experience. 

“The first impression that you want is to be perfect. A seamless registration experience, both online and onsite, is key. After entering the event we want to give our visitors the red carpet treatment by providing the opportunity to build their own personal programme, or even by offering a pre-set personal programme. We are confident that today's technology makes this a seamless experience,” she said.

Beyond ensuring a frictionless journey, educating the delegates and sponsors about what technology is deployed and the benefits it brings and how it should be used is key. We have experimented with different types of personalisation, such as suggesting relevant sessions, sponsors and other interesting delegates to meet, and have seen some encouraging results. What your stakeholders expect comes down to the value that your event is providing for them. Everything you do, including technology, should strive to compound on that value.

In terms of the key objectives that technology can achieve, there is much to be gained from improved digital exploitation of the content, according to Event Tech Live director Adam Parry.

“Digital collection of content for events and conferences is something that I use and see on the rise; it makes it easy for attendees to share knowledge with their teams and companies,” he said. “It's very easy for speakers to go into sales mode even though their submission on paper looks great,” he added. “It is also important that the content offers valuable insight rather than just being sold.”

When it comes to the time that a company wishes to embrace a digital strategy or rolling out complementary technology, Parry said the technology itself can't help unless the organiser has the adequate resource “to educate the attendees on the value of that technology, and how to get the best out of it”.

Few things are more frustrating for a delegate than trying to work around whatever tech has been deployed at the event, especially when the solutions are not seamlessly integrated. Surprisingly, proper integration with single sign-on and data flows centred around delegate and sponsor experience are still not commonplace. Integration can easily be achieved by making your suppliers aware of this requirement before you start working with them.

It's one thing to have the means, but it takes time and resource investment to make sure you get the best out of the technology. But if you get that right, then you are also well on your way to ensuring the audience gets the best out of your event.