Whether you are running your first event or gearing up for your 20th annual convention, understanding the technology needs of your attendees can be intimidating. Any misstep could potentially have serious consequences for the success of your event. Don’t worry, we’ve outlined a game plan to help you avoid common pitfalls when assessing the tech needs of your audience.
Does your event need Wi-Fi? The answer is almost certainly yes, but how important is Wi-Fi speed to your programming? Can you get by with the basic Wi-fi offered by the venue? Are you using check-in kiosks, onsite badge printing, or voice assistance devices? Luckily some of these types of tech come with their own plug and play routers. If not, you will need to strongly consider any available options that boost signal strength. Have you surveyed your exhibitors? For example, is one of your top sponsors planning on running some type of gamification to increase attendee engagement? The last thing you want it is long lines or a disgruntled marketing team staring at buffering wheel.
Follow the Hashtags
A great way to keep a pulse of your attendees, is to follow conversations on social media. While twitter is a pioneer of hashtags, don’t forget to check LinkedIn and especially Instagram for hashtags relevant to your industry. Both platforms allow you to subscribe to specific hashtags. Bonus points if you’ve created and are actively using one for your brand. Social listening can be a great barometer for tech adoption. If you search your event hashtag and only hear crickets, you might want to rethink ordering that large social media screen. If you see a high-level activity you should consider increasing your budget for Wi-Fi and investigate an app with a social feed.
Speaking of Apps
An Event app can be a helpful tool to streamline many facets of your event. You can connect all event stakeholders, eliminate the need for binders, and ultimately drive engagement. With that being said, you, might need to consider time for adoption. If your attendees are a group of 20’s something tech bloggers, the chances are you won’t need a lot of instructions to get them to download and use your app. However, if you are hosting a 40th annual meeting for an audience of baby boomers you may need to consider crafting an adoption plan that slowly weens your audience off paper and pen.
The old methods of collected business cards and entering them into a spreadsheet are going the way of the fax machine. That’s not to say people still don’t use fax machines, but more and more business is happening on smartphones. In addition, with more and more concerns over data privacy, event organizers are becoming wearier of sharing full attendee lists. It took a few years, but widespread adoption of QR codes is becoming the norm. With that in mind, if you aren’t using a lead retrieval service, now is the perfect time to introduce one into your exhibitor packages.
You’ve done it. You’ve secured that cool piece of tech that will revolutionize your event and have all the attendees and exhibitors talking. But what happens when you something goes wrong? And if you work in events you know something always goes wrong. Most tech issues are small can be easily resolved, but without a proper support plan in place a small tech issue can derail an event. Does your tech come with a dedicated support team? Will you need onsite tech support to ensure everything runs smoothly? Make sure you plan a support plan, so your attendees and exhibitors aren’t left out in the cold. Don’t forget to ensure all members of your team have some training or on-boarding with your tech. If you find yourself in an all hands-on deck scenario arises, you’ll be ready.
Technology planning needs to be ingrained into every step of the event planning and production stage. When developing an effective set of survey questions, it’s important to have a plan of attack. Start with your overall goals and how you foresee a tech upgrade will achieve those goals. Also, take into account what challenges new tech might introduce. Next consider what tech your audience might already be familiar with and consider how you can integrate their existing preferences into your strategy. From there craft a survey that assess knowledge, needs, wants, and identifies any apprehensions your audience might have. Make sure to include to ask these questions in a survey or poll starting at the pre-event stage, during the registration process, onsite, and post event.
There’s a lot of anxiety that comes with adding new tech to your event. With proper planning you can feel confident with your tech choice and your attendees will appreciate it.