Meeting Mentor Magazine

October 2017

Making the Most of Event Technology:
Five Key Takeaways

Technologies for business events are evolving at such a rapid pace it’s hard to stay abreast let alone map a long-range plan for using technology strategically to enhance business objectives at meetings. A new study by Association Laboratory Inc. provides some help.

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Released in June, “Planning for the Meetings of Tomorrow: The Present and Future of Technology in Business Events” was conducted on behalf of the Education Foundation of the Professional Convention Management Association. The complimentary 44-page report covers a wide terrain, delving into how technologies as varied as attendee-tracking and augmented reality are currently used and are likely to be deployed in the future.

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Here’s a look at five key takeaways from the study:

1. Improving attendee experience should be your top goal in adopting new technologies. By focusing on the attendee experience, the business outcomes sought by organizations, such as increased attendance and revenue, are easier to achieve. To accomplish this, a market-centric approach that does the following is essential: defines the different attendee markets; assesses what each audience considers engaging; and develops specific strategies to link these two factors to the content, location and cost of the event.

2. To mitigate the cost-risks of trying something new, learn from innovators. Respondents identified development or purchase costs as the most substantial barrier to adopting new technologies at events. To help with this, look at the technology strategies of innovator and early adopter organizations. Their experimentation with new technology provides critical lessons for all organizations. Another strategy: try pilot programs at smaller events.

3. Emerging technologies to focus on are those that expand the scope and life of your event. For example, virtual or augmented reality and gamification can create a deeper, more involved onsite experience, in addition to allowing for new kinds of offsite and post-event engagement. Remote participation and second-screen technology are other examples of technologies that are expected to increase substantially in the coming years.

4. Look for artificial intelligence to emerge as a way to automate routine transactional interactions, such as registration. This will become increasingly important in coming years, as event organizers face being buried under an avalanche of data.

5. Expect to expand your skill set. The job of a convention management will require professional competencies well beyond event marketing, space and logistical planning and post-meeting evaluation. Competencies will need to include content archiving and organization; technology identification, selection, and integration; and multichannel content provision. — Regina McGee

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ConferenceDirect is a global meetings solutions company offering site selection/contract negotiation, conference management, housing & registration services, mobile app technology and strategic meetings management solutions. It provides expertise to 2,500 corporations and associations through our 325 Associates globally. www.conferencedirect.com

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