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The Inside Scoop: What Planners Are Saying About Augmented Reality


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Have you ever wondered how other successful meeting planners use the newest event tech? This series takes you behind the scenes to see how your peers use features like gamification, augmented reality and facial recognition to take their events to the next level.

If you're an event professional, chances are you've heard about augmented reality — it’s been an emerging technology in the event space for the past few years. If you’re not sure exactly how it works, or feel out of the loop, don't worry. Most of your peers are in the same position, wondering if or how they should be using augmented reality at events. Let’s take a look inside some of the conversations we’ve been having with planners about AR, and see some augmented reality events in action.Emerging Technology

Augmented Reality is still new to most planners

In a recent MeetingPlay/BizBash survey (May 2018), we asked meeting planners if they were using augmented reality apps for events (see full white paper here). Only 6% responded yes (granted, this was a general planner survey — a much higher percentage of our MeetingPlay clients have implemented AR). At this point in time, most planners are curious about AR, but they don’t know where to start. As with most new and emerging technologies, most planners are all on the same learning curve together.

Augmented reality is trendy and cool, yes, but more importantly, it can serve your event strategy. To get acquainted, ask your app provider how it can be useful, and whether it’s a good fit. Even if you don’t have a big budget, or your planning committee hasn’t expressed interest, it’s always good to understand your options.

Our conversations with top planners

When our clients ask us about AR, we typically run through three basic points:

1. We give a high-level overview on AR and provide ideas on how it can be used, so they have a general understanding.Augmented Reality Event

2. We refer back to the meeting goals to see if AR will serve the goals, or if another feature might be a better fit.

3. We share specific examples of how we’ve used AR to accomplish the same goals for other clients. The reality is that AR is not the right solution for all meetings. But it’s good to understand how to best use it so you’ll know if it can be a solution for you.  

How have we used Augmented Reality in our apps?

As part of our overview, we discuss how to incorporate AR into gamification. It can be a part of a scavenger hunt or bingo, for instance, but instead of just scanning something, you can create a unique AR experience. We also talk about using it in a more informative way, like having a narrator speak to attendees as they enter certain zones of the event space.

For example, at a recent corporate event, posters of senior leaders were placed throughout the venue. The client incorporated AR to “bring the posters to life,” by having what looked like a video of that leader welcoming the attendee to the event or sharing other pertinent company or event information.

Example: Creating brand recognition with AR

When Marriott, one of MeetingPlay’s clients, underwent a merger with Starwood, they were looking for ways to educate customers on their full scope of 30 brands. So we connected each of the brands to everyday objects that appeared through AR at the event, and gamified it to educate attendees on the brands.

Brand Recognition with ARAR tokens were distributed throughout the conference, and they could be activated with the app. The first image to pop up was a pair of running shoes; attendees connected this brand to athletics or wellness. Later, a second image appeared: a beautiful white bed with flowing sheets, making a connection to a heavenly night’s sleep. Then, a quiz appeared on screen, showing a few different logos and prompting the attendee to choose which brand they thought the two images represented.

Get the ball rolling with your app provider

Meeting planners tend to be comfortable with features that incorporate agendas or attendee lists, because they’ve been doing that for a while. AR is something totally new, so it really helps to have someone to bounce ideas off of. That’s where we (or a premier app provider) come in. We love to partner with our clients and help craft unique ideas. Usually, our team pitches thoughts on how to use AR, but sometimes we’ll go through the examples and offer suggestions, then the client comes back with their own way to do it. Either way works, but they both start with a discussion and brainstorm session. To talk about ways to integrate augmented reality into your next event, contact us. Or download our one page document with an overview on Augmented Reality by clicking here.

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