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Behind Every Empowered Planner Lies Self-Service Tech

Not enough time, not enough money and the need to navigate a constantly-evolving array of technology: According to a recent survey of planners and hoteliers, those were the top three frustrations for event pros in 2019. To add insult to injury, not only are event organizers under-resourced and overwhelmed, they’re getting their gears ground by the inevitable last-minute changes that are inevitable in their line of work.

But let’s move on from the problem and round out a solution! While industry influencers agree that event organizers have historically been slow to adopt technology, they point to self-service event tech as a panacea for some of the woes listed above. That’s because — at least when it comes to highly-regarded event tech vendors — these solutions are often extremely cost effective, easy to learn and simple to use. Best of all, they allow event pros to address concerns and communicate updates to attendees on the fly, all without the help of an IT pro.

Read on for three scenarios that cover common challenges faced by planners. A la Sliding Doors, I’ll show you how the situation could be resolved using self-service event tech vs. how things might progress without it.

How Self-Service Event Tech Empowers Event Pros

Updating attendees about event content

Your event website is live. You’ve published your registration page and event app. You’ve sent out your first promotional email blast. But that was V1. Now the planning process is really hopping, and you need to collect registration for sessions and change speaker details, exhibitor lists, networking functions — the sky’s the limit. This isn’t work that can be wrapped up into a neat weekly bundle. Daily event tech updates are required to keep your content fresh and potential attendees engaged.

WITHOUT self-service event tech:

  1. Your schedule has changed every day for the last two weeks. Your event tech isn’t self-service, so you’ve been working with your vendor to make updates, and the back and forth has been non-stop and time-consuming. 
  2. After all the communications with your event tech provider, you check your website, registration page and app. Why aren’t the session schedules matching up? Everything is different and not all of your changes were applied. Some of your emails must have been missed. 
  3. As a result, attendees are now registering for sessions that no longer exist, and calling to ask about the differences between your website and registration. You’re drowning in emails.
  4. Now you have to spend hours (that you don’t have) identifying new fixes across your website, registration and app. Not to mention the fact that you need to manually reach out to attendees to reschedule their session choices. It’s not a great look, and foretells a long event season.
Attendify Session Registration Attendee View
Look for an event experience platform that lets you set up Session Registration in minutes, even after your registration page and event app have launched. If the feature seamlessly syncs, you’ve hit the jackpot.

WITH self-service event tech:

  1. Hurray! You’ve got self-service event tech, so you can make the never-ending onslaught of scheduling changes yourself in minutes. What’s more, your website, registration tool and event app all sync together, so you don’t have to worry about mismatched information. You simply make your updates in one place and the changes apply to all of your tools.
  2. What? Your session schedule changed for the third time this week? No problem! Just pop into your event app and make the updates with the click of a button. Need to add 15 new sessions? You can do so in a snap if you have a system with bulk content import abilities.  
  3. Of course, you still need to let attendees know. Luckily, your event tech solution notifies those already registered about the changes in real time, so they have the opportunity to go in and update their preferred schedule. No manual work on your part! 
  4. The takeaway? You’ve saved hours this week alone, which allowed you to put together a special surprise for your event VIPs. Fast forward four months: The VIP event was a hit; you wowed this group. In fact, 75 percent have increased their contract commitment. 
How Self-Service Event Tech Empowers Event Pros

Communicating session room changes

It’s 15 minutes until one of your most popular sessions starts, and the room has become unavailable. You need to let attendees know the new location ASAP.

WITHOUT self-service event tech:

  1. If you’re using an event app that requires IT chops to set-up, you could call or email your tech vendor or internal support team to make the change in-app. However, the likelihood of it happening in time to update attendees is slim.
  2. No event app? Looks like the event team will be standing in hallways and doorways shuffling attendees to the new location.
  3. In either case, your session is going to start late.
  4. A late session start can throw off your entire day’s event agenda. It’s also incredibly frustrating to attendees, speakers and any associated sponsor.
Scheduling push notifications — or creating one last minute — is a great way to inform attendees changes or promote specific items in the event agenda.

WITH self-service event tech:

  1. Simply update the session location within the event app yourself in a few clicks. Within three minutes the room change will be reflected on the event agenda and session description.
  2. Give attendees an extra head’s up about the change by sending out a push notification in-app.
  3. Overkill? Maybe. But it wouldn’t hurt to private message your speaker(s) and other VIPs in-app to make sure they’re headed in the right direction and are free of concerns. Or set up a Group Chat and notify them all at once!
  4. Your session starts on time; crisis averted.
How Self-Service Event Tech Empowers Event Pros

Soothing upset sponsors or exhibitors

A highly lucrative exhibitor stops by the event operations desk to let you know they’re not pleased. They feel that the foot traffic to their booth has been terrible because it’s blocked by a neighboring display. You’re already halfway through your tradeshow, exhibit space is completely sold out, and the offending booth told you adjustments weren’t possible.

WITHOUT self-service event tech:

  1. If you’re using an event app that requires a lot of coding or design work, you could ask your event tech provider to to adjust your push notification schedule and add a shout-out to drive booth traffic. But delivery could take hours. Meanwhile, your exhibitor sits and steams.
  2. No event app at all? You could try posting signs promoting the exhibitor at major intersections of the show floor, giving the exhibitor a verbal promo before sessions or putting complimentary attendee snacks in their booth. Unfortunately, each of these options draws attention to the fact that you’re dealing with some exhibitor angst.
  3. Neither of the solutions above is likely to help you quickly and efficiently promote the exhibitor.
  4. The result? You’re at risk for churning an important line of revenue and industry relationship.
Attendify real-time polling feature
Running an in-app poll question in real time should be easy to do and offer instant feedback. It’s also a great way to draw attention to an exhibitor, sponsor or speaker!

WITH self-service event tech:

If you’re able to independently manage your own event tech, there are lots of options for showing your disgruntled exhibitor some love. You could:

  1. Whip up a push notification to drive traffic to the booth in minutes.
  2. Set up a poll question in your private social network that focuses on the exhibitors’ line of business. Mention their booth number when you give out the correct answer!
  3. Leverage gamification by setting up a leaderboard and awarding attendees for their social interactions. Ask them to stop by the exhibitor’s booth, take a picture and post it to the activity stream for points.
  4. The methods above aren’t guaranteed to tame your exhibitor tantrum. But they will show the exhibitor you’re prepared to listen and actively work to solve their concern in a timely manner. Which, come re-sign time, is more likely to pack a serious punch than if you had let the situation malinger.

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Has a self-service solution helped you power through event challenges? We want to hear about it! Reach out to us via our social feeds on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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