Implementing new technology at your conferences, exhibitions, and other events can be a great way to better engage with your attendees and keep up with ever-changing event trends. In recent years, a number of new and innovative types of event technology have changed the way event planners think about efficiency and engagement. Some of the most common examples of popular conference technology in use these days include event apps, augmented reality, live streaming, wearable technology, and interactive gaming. And only time will tell which new trends lurk just around the corner!
Of course, the process of implementing new event tech can be a bit daunting for even the most seasoned of event planners. Not only can implementation and training be time-consuming and costly, but there’s another important hurdle to overcome: getting attendees to adopt the latest in event technology. This is a task that can be easier said than done, but the good news is that there are several steps event planners can take to improve adoption of new event technology—whether it be use of a basic mobile event app or something a little more complex, such as the use of virtual/augmented reality.
Focus on Clear Communication
The months, weeks, and days leading up to an event provide event planners with ample opportunity to communicate new technology to event attendees. Once you’ve decided on a specific type of event technology to incorporate, you should begin focusing on the different ways you’ll communicate with and prepare your attendees to utilize this technology at your event.
In general, your communication should focus on accomplishing a few key things. It should clearly establish the exact technology you plan on using at your event and why you’ll be using it. From there, you should go on to provide attendees with as much information as possible on how the technology is used so they can prepare appropriately to adopt the technology at your event.
For example, perhaps you’re thinking about implementing an event application that will handle your on-site registration in lieu of a traditional registration table. While this technology can certainly help streamline the registration process (for both your attendees and your event staff), this will only be the case if you have prepared your attendees to use this new technology. By advertising on your registration page, as well as on social media and other platforms, well in advance that on-site registration will be done exclusively through the app—as well as walking attendees through the process of using the app for registration—you can minimize confusion and prepare attendees to adopt your new conference application seamlessly.
Even if your new event tech will not be a mandatory feature that every attendee needs to adopt, communicating clearly about any new event technology in advance will help to improve adoption.
Help Them Understand the Benefits
Another important aspect of communicating about new tech to event attendees (and getting them to successfully adopt the technology) is to make sure the benefits of the technology are as clear as possible. Going off the previous example: while the benefits of implementing on-site mobile registration may seem obvious to you (no more making your attendees wait in line, less staffing required to handle check-ins, etc.), you should never assume that your attendees will automatically see the advantages as clearly as you do. This is especially true if you have an audience of attendees that are less familiar with certain types of technology and therefore may be predispositioned against using it.
There are many ways to go about helping your attendees see the benefits of your new event technology. The best way is to demonstrate the advantages to them explicitly, though this is not possible with every form of technology. Sometimes, a simple e-mail blast or information on your event website or social media page outlining the specific benefits to them is enough to help encourage seamless adoption.
Give Them Time to Feel Comfortable
Even with all the preparation in the world, it’s important to understand that new technologies can take some time to adjust to and accept. Therefore, you should be prepared for there to be a bit (or maybe even a lot) of a learning curve with any new technology at your event. Give your attendees some time to warm up to new technologies, and then even more time for them to feel comfortable. Know your audience and go out of your way to make them feel more comfortable using a new event technology. For example, if you’ll be implementing VR technology for the first time at this year’s event, consider setting up scheduled demonstrations every few hours; have a few knowledgeable staff members available to demonstrate the use of this technology in real-time, answer questions from the audience, and allow attendees to try it out for themselves. In other words, don’t just expect your attendees to figure it out for themselves; if they feel this is their only option, they may forego adopting the event tech altogether.
Set Attendees Up for Success
Aside from tech demonstrations and communication prior to your event, make sure you’re also accepting feedback from your attendees about new technology as you go. For example, if you’re implementing a conference mobile app, make sure to send out an in-app or other survey asking attendees for their honest feedback. You’ll gather plenty of useful information this way that you can use to improve adoption of the technology at future events. You might event discover a few tech glitches that you may not have otherwise known about. And of course, asking for feedback (and actually listening to it) is a great way to show attendees that you value their thoughts and opinions.
Setting your event up for successful adoption of a new technology can seem like a daunting task, but with some careful planning, it can be done! And if you’re looking for help in implementing new technologies, such as event mobile apps, our team at Expo Pass is here to help!