The event planning industry is very competitive, so to stay on top of your game, make sure your services stand out above everybody else’s. The best way to find out which areas of your business you can improve is to keep current with the latest trends in your field, as well as your customers’ evolving expectations. See what’s hot today:
#1 Using Mobile Apps for All Stages of Your Event
Mobile apps invaded the event planning industry long ago, but they continue to improve and give organisers a new competitive edge. Apps can now take care of everything from promotion and user interaction to distributing seating and helping attendees register and check-in faster. You might find these tools useful:
- Explovia. Explovia is an app that offers free messaging services, much like WhatsApp or Viber, but it’s used exclusively to share news about upcoming events in London. Users of the app can browse upcoming events, discuss them with other users and even buy tickets, all via the app.
- Zkipster. This is a user-friendly app that will help you create as many guests lists as you want, with the bonus of having information about each guest at the tip of your fingers. Zkipster also lets you upload seating maps, so you can have them handy and make changes if necessary.
- Bizzabo. An app and a web platform, Bizzabo is all-in-one tool that lets you create and promote your event, as well as analyze its ROI and other metrics. The app is also accessibly by your attendees, and it includes many ways to keep them engaged through push notifications.
Don’t forget that if you’re really looking to impress your clients, you can always order a custom-built mobile app with all the features you need. One of the most popular providers for such apps is QuickMobile.
#2 Integrating Wireless and Contactless Technologies
Event planners are increasingly incorporating indoor positioning systems, such as the iBeacon, which is now poised to revolutionize the industry.
The iBeacon relies on Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology to detect the exact position of iOS and Android users in a building. It’s already being used by grocery stores to send information about special offers and discounts to customers when they approach a particular aisle
For event planners, the iBeacon offers tremendous personalization opportunities. Let’s say a user needs to locate the nearest restroom or refreshment bar. The iBeacon can easily guide them to their destination in real time.
Additionally, you can send attendees push notifications with information about the program, guest speakers, etc while they’re waiting in line. You can even send them a personal QR code to make their check-in totally seamless.
Finally, through the iBeacon you can also receive messages directly from the attendees, themselves. Not only does this feature provide you with valuable feedback, but it also allows you to respond to their needs in a timely manner.
#3 Use Social Media for Smart Seating
Social media provides endless opportunities to optimize your event. One of them is social seating, which is not a new concept, but one you should definitely adopt if you haven’t yet.
Social seating is assigning seats according to guests’ preferences or personality similarities, as expressed on social media profiles such as LinkedIn or Facebook. The guests of your events are not only there to listen and watch, but to network as well. They’ll appreciate it a lot if you seat them in a way that facilitates networking, and of course, discourages awkward encounters.
Social seating is made easy thanks to social graph tools such as Facebook’s graph search, which lets you search profiles for shared topics and interests.
#4 Crowdsource to Increase Engagement
Event attendees are often picky, so planners must always look for new ways to boost their engagement and keep them coming back for more. Crowdsourcing is one of the most efficient ways to do this, and it can help in every stage of the planning.
For starters, you can gather valuable information about event themes straight from your potential attendees pool. Next, you can find people interested in the event theme you’ve chosen and ask them to submit their own content (articles, photos, videos, etc.), which can serve as advocate marketing.
During the actual event, crowdsourcing can both engage your attendees and be useful for you. For example, why hire a professional photographer, when people are now equipped with powerful smartphone cameras and apps? You can ask them to submit their own photos of the event, and that will not only drive down your costs but provide you with more intimate documentation.
Naturally, after the event, ask for their feedback to remind them of you services one more time. Don’t miss a chance to spark conversation around your business or brand.
#5 Adopt These Four Simple Rules to Avoid Mediocre Events
I would like to conclude some advice from Mark Walker, head of content & social media marketing at Eventbrite. In his own words, in order to survive, events should exert the following four qualities: uniqueness, experience, flexibility and stickiness.
Make sure your events are not easily replaceable – that they offer a unique experience attendees will keep coming back for and invest as much as possible in on-site activities. Еvent planners should be flexible and sometimes go out of their way to do events that are out-of-the-box if they want to build and retain customer loyalty. Finally, stickiness is less of a quality, than the outcome of the above three. You get a solid core of customers, which will build a community around your brand and help you grow.
As I said in the beginning, event planning is incredibly competitive and adopting these trends will help your business thrive. As a person immersed in the niche, what else have you observed as an emerging trend? Start a conversation by leaving us a comment in the section below
This guest blog was written by Lachezar Stamatov a recent Psychology graduate with interests spanning across various fields – health, food, technology, sustainable farming, you name it. He loves blogging about event industry trends and practices. He’s also a regular contributor to the Action Days blog.