Classics are classics for a reason. Sure, nothing can beat the joy of good catering, a handshake, free merchandise, or the excitement of a lanyard with your name on it.
But event technology is pretty cool, too! It can make your event planning less stressful, your operations smoother, improve your ROI, and make your post-event research more effective. Even better, it can make your attendees' experience better: from streamlined registration to a more immersive, tailored, and accessible experience in the event.
Here’s the secret, there is more than one good answer to the complex question: Which tech provider should I choose? We’d love you to choose us, of course, but whomever you choose, make sure it’s right for you. This guide will hopefully empower you in this essential decision.
Confusion in the Marketplace
Event technology is exactly what it says on the tin. It’s the technology for corporate events. But to be more precise, event technology is any tool - hardware or software - that helps you plan and produce an event.
And now the market for this technology is booming, much to the excitement of event planners and attendees. A whopping 90% of event planners believe that event technology can positively impact the success of their events. But there is, in fact, so much great tech out there that it’s hard to know where to begin. Where to start, what you need, and who to choose... it can all feel like a bit of a blur.
Not to mention the world of events is constantly changing. Every day is a school day for those of us in this industry. The beauty of event technology is that it’s there to assist your events, not take over. Nobody will force you to use tools you don’t want to; you’re in control.
Below we’re going to guide you in what’s out there, how to determine what you need, and provide you with examples of providers. Easy peasy.
Budgeting & Needs
Yes, it can be daunting trying to figure out what and how much event tech you need. And more daunting still when you have to consider how much the tech is going to cost you. Well, we’re here to tell you that there is nuance in this industry. You can buy a little, you can buy a lot, and, luckily for those on a tight budget, some tools are available for free, too!
So, where to start? Well, there are two lines of action when figuring out what event tech you need: you can take your lead from the event type, or by your event goals.
Typical event types are conferences, virtual events, hybrid events, meetings, trade shows, exhibitions, sales kick-offs, and job fairs. As for your event goals, they are typically one or more of the following: event management, monetization, and/or event analyses.
To break that down just a little further, let’s look at the example of event analyses:
To analyze your event successfully, you’ll need real-time reporting, allowing you to make adjustments on the ground. Which means you’ll need to increase survey completion. You can do this by incentivizing your attendees to complete surveys with gamification to prompt reviews, feedback, and ratings. Finally, you’ll need a provider to empower you to make insightful directions from these findings, boosting your future sales.
That seems like a lot to do on your own, right? So yes, event tech is vital, and knowing your event’s goals is a great place to start when figuring out what event tech you need!
Live, Virtual, or Hybrid Events
As for event type, the realm - live, virtual, or hybrid - in which your event exists will go a long way to determine what your event tech needs are, too. Each comes with its unique challenges, as you’re about to see.
Take hybrid events. They’re still very much in their infancy and are full of possibilities. They signal something new. Did you know, more people now attend virtual events than they attend in-person events? The hybrid boom started due to the outbreak of Covid-19, and now that society is looking to escape the pandemic, it’s taking hybrid events with it. A staggering 73% of event planners agree that these events will become even more common in the future.
Suitable hybrid event technology is essential to battle some of its early issues. For example, the no-show rate for virtual attendees is 35%, and as much as 71.1% of event organizers say connecting the in-person and virtual audience is their biggest challenge.
It’s essential to have a quality event tech suite for events that move online. Nobody wants to be one square among many on a zoom call.
Thought experiment: If you’re planning a physical event space, you would never dump out a plastic table in an empty hall, scatter your leaflets on it, and leave your guests to it.
No, you want to build something beautiful. Why do your virtual attendees deserve any different? That’s why it’s paramount to create a stunning virtual event space for them, too! But what does this tech look like?
Let’s go through a couple of examples, starting with gamification.
Gamification is a tangible way to engage virtual attendees. Put simply, it is the method of adopting game design elements and principles in corporate events to create a more immersive and engaging experience for guests.
Another example of tech for hybrid events is live streaming. It’s essential for hybrid events and anyone can do this with a camera and a social media account, but without a professional event tech service, just how streamlined and integrated can it be?
Moving on to an in-person example, an excellent service to have would be event diagraming. Event diagramming is the layout of your event committed to 3 dimensions. It ensures effective floor plans, seating, flow, foot traffic, lighting, cabling, and other room elements.
We’re just scratching the surface here, but let’s keep moving forward. Now that we have an idea of some examples, let’s talk about some concrete providers. From here on, there are two paths to go down: a full-service provider or a self-customized solution.
If you’re on a tight budget or want to have a more hands-on approach to dealing with your event goals, then customization can be a solid strategy for you. Event tech providers like to be versatile, offering diversity and range in their products.
What’s more, the best event tech providers don’t want to impose goods on you that you don’t need. Here we’ve shortlisted some event planning apps that focus on particular tasks, allowing you to customize and hand-curate your event planning systems. After all, one size doesn’t fit all.
For Event Planning
- Zapier automates repetitive tasks for you. For example, when you get an email from a new lead, it will automatically notify your sales team with a text.
- Guidebook is great for building to-do lists, schedules, maps, private messages, social media functions.
- Whova effectively builds complex attendee profiles, improves their user experience, and creates connections between guests.
For User Experience
- MeetingPlay Event App is a handy and easy-to-use tool for event-goers. It offers streamlined registration and event check-in, attendee matchmaking & networking, a personalized schedule, social feeds, gamification tools, audience response system, meetup scheduling tool, unique branding opportunities for sponsors, and an on-demand session library.
For Conferences and Networking
- Entegy Suite promises a seamless experience for users. It will impress them with branded kiosks, badges, two-way networking, and more. It yields rich event data, too.
- Boomset is an intuitive system for networking applicable to virtual, in-person, and hybrid events.
For Ticket Sales
- Tixel is a solid choice for preventing fraud with a 100% buyer protection guarantee!
Working across different services can be confusing, however. And if not made fully efficient, it can lead to critical mistakes in your event.
The safest and most effective option is a full-service tech provider for peace of mind and ease. Yes, they can be significant investments. However, most companies - including MeetingPlay - offer free demos of their services.
- Design a unique dashboard, virtual platform, and mobile app with ease.
- Keep attendees and presenters informed with synced agendas, notifications, alerts.
- Attendees can use an intuitive, customized agenda builder to pick, choose and discover great new content.
- Present your content live and virtually in your preferred method, including live stream, pre-recordings, simu-live, and zoom integration.
- Provide your sponsors and exhibitors high-quality leads through opportunities such as 3D exhibit halls, advanced lead retrieval, AI-powered matchmaking, and more.
- And finally, you can build lasting engagement with on-demand content, live chats, integrated live Q&As, live polling, social walls, gamification, digital currency, and swag store.
- Custom dashboard for easy event management
- User-friendly, intuitive branded interface available in 2D or 3D
- Live engagement tools to capture and keep your audience’s attention
- Flexible content delivery options
- Intelligent virtual networking and AI-powered matchmaking
- Live exhibit hall for virtual sponsor and exhibitor booths
- Unlimited audience sizes
- Secure login to simple sign-on, to SSO via SAML 2.0
- Integrates with hundreds of 3rd-party platforms and APIs
So, there you have it - the big wide world of event tech. We hope we’ve made everything simple for you. If you have any more burning questions, we’d love to hear from you!
If you want to chat more about the dynamic world of events, we’re just a click away.