You can bet that the majority (if not all) of event goers are never more than an inch or two from their smartphone. Powerful technology sits in their hands and there’s no question about it: using chatbots and event apps to better a guest experience is a no-brainer. Wondering whether you need a chatbot instead of an event app for your upcoming event?
Let us break it down for you.
What is a chatbot?
By definition, a chatbot is a program designed to simulate conversation with human users. Live dialogue systems are created through text chats, voice commands or a combination of the two. Some chatbots function based on a designed set of rules, thus limiting responses to those that have been programmed. However, bots that use artificial intelligence will get “smarter” as they have conversations. Chatbot programs are mostly used for practical purposes such as customer service and information gathering.
AI and chatbots are an emerging trend in the event space. Given that we’ve all been Alexified, this comes as no surprise. People are accustomed to asking their device a question and receiving an immediate response. This expectation and fulfillment is also present in the meeting space, making chatbots quite popular.
For event purposes, chatbots are great for supplying schedule information and helping attendees navigate the event space. For example: how to find a coffee or restroom.
What are some advantages of a chatbot?
All you need is a phone and basic knowledge of text messaging and you are on your way — no downloads necessary.
♦ Communication via text is efficient and easy, with high open rates.
♦ Immediate answers to any question posed. Chatbots are trained to respond to certain types of questions, and if a request is not clear to the bot, a human can jump in to help answer.
♦ Chatbots are always on, so they can offer 24/7 support directly to your attendees.
Seasoned chatbot providers are well versed in common types of questions as well as the varying ways in which they may be posed. These providers are equipped to set you up for success.
What do event apps offer that chatbots don’t?
Event apps offer more advanced features and functionality. Furthermore, all information is captured in one spot — within the app. With a chatbot, anything beyond a simple chat requires the user to bounce between text messaging and external programs or sites. For example, if your attendee wants to browse a speaker’s profile, the chatbot may be able to provide the link, but in order to access the information, the user must click to a different site. Depending on what the attendee is looking for, this can get messy in no time.
Technology is always evolving, but right now, we haven't found a chatbot that can offer the same advanced features as event apps.
Some of these features include:
♦ Personalization features: while chatbots do offer the opportunity to segment based on group and deliver specific messaging to specific groups of people and can extract attendee data from social media sites, they are not able to provide a personalized experience in the same way event apps can.
♦ Networking: chatbots allow for some forms of networking like information exchange or enhancing profiles through extracting social profile information, but again, they are not able to provide advanced networking capabilities like an event app can.
♦ Social interaction: event apps offer activity feeds that are open to all attendees and function just like your attendees’ favorites social platforms. This allows your guests to share information and connect with one another.
What are the differences in prices and plans?
Pricing is similar between the two options. You can utilize a simple chatbot or event app for under $1k. For a premium/advance chatbot or event app, you should plan to budget $5k+.
In terms of timing, again, there are similarities. A very simple chatbot or event app can go live in as little as a few days. Otherwise, you should plan 45-90 days out, depending on the complexity of your event and product.
Are chatbots going to replace event apps?
Often, event tech trends follow consumer tech trends. Siri launched in 2011, Alexa in 2014 and both are mainstream, but consumers are still using apps to order food, buy merchandise and secure rides. In the same way that Siri/Alexa didn’t replace consumer apps, we don’t expect chatbots to replace event apps.
Apps continue to evolve and keep attendees engaged. Our clients continually ask for new experiences and more functionality, and they love trying new features like augmented reality and facial recognition. It’s safe to say that event apps aren’t going anywhere.
Conclusion: A Chatbot or Event App?
Why choose? Chatbots can work in tandem with event apps, ranging from full integration to allowing the two to run side-by-side. Either way, there is great opportunity between the two.
Want to talk to a MeetingPlay expert and learn more? Schedule a free demo and see the latest event tech for yourself.