With the advent of technology, the event planning and management has seen enormous shifts over the past two decades. As technology continues to automate monotonous time-consuming work and connect the world like never before, many event planners are scrambling to keep up by incorporating the latest and greatest technology into their events. There have been quite a few game-changing technologies introduced, but we consider digital administration and mobile engagement to be the 2 primary technologies that have changed the event planning world in the last 5 years.
Digital administration is now key when planning a new meeting. For large events, it’s not enough to just sell a ticket online, print them an agenda, and check IDs at the door. Each attendee may have a specific breakout track they are enrolled for, dietary needs the caterer should be aware of, vip perks they need to receive at registration, or a host of other unique specializations. How is an event planner supposed to keep track of it all when multiplying this by the hundreds? Thousands? Having the right digital administration system in place is essential.
At Sonburst, we developed an online event administration tool for our planners that allows them to manage each event, breakout, and attendee in real time from anywhere on the globe. Events and their breakouts are built in advance. All details are added including guidelines for which attendees can register or which session, audiovisual equipment needed in the space, rehearsal times, BEOs, and etc. Then, all relevant content is served up to our registration page where attendees securely input and answer all of our registration criteria. Once this is done, we can see an organic picture of how the event is shaping up and make adjustments to meal counts, seating charts, and etc up until the last minute.
Without a tool like this, it would require constantly manually inputting and changing spreadsheets which have no contact with the outside world. Gone are the days of running into the office on a Saturday to email the right file to a planner in desperate need. Now, content dynamically interacts with the registration site, admin tool, mobile app and is available anywhere. Speaking of availability anywhere, let talk about mobile engagement.
If you are not utilizing the smart phone every attendee has in their pocket at your event, you are missing out on a great opportunity and even neglecting attendee expectations. Today, attendees expect to have event data accessible to them in a mobile friendly format. This could be via an email, website, or app. They want to see their unique schedule, read event descriptions, find session locations on a map, and engage with other attendees.
At Sonburst, we chose an app to accomplish digital engagement. When our event begins, content is pulled from our digital administration tool and instantly displays all events and registration information for each unique user via their confirmation number. Then, we are able to add daily updates along with digital surveys for each session. Combine that with out build in social module that allows attendees to post images and comments to each other during the event and you have bridged the gap between printed information and the mobile digital age!