We keep our most important documents, phone numbers, and travel information at our fingertips. We check-in for our flights from our phone and often can’t recall our next meeting time without looking down at a device. Because virtually anything you may need is now delivered through an app or virtual environment, it only makes sense that the tools we use for our meetings and events moves into the mobile realm as well.
In Part 1 of this series on meetings planning and technology, I discussed ways to promote your event. In this article, I look at how tech tools can make the meeting process easier, add engagement, and create interactive moments on site.
Optimize your check-in and registration process with apps such as OnArrival, Boomset, Social Table, or the others that are out there. These days, standing in line at a six-foot draped table, waiting for someone to check your name off an Excel spreadsheet and hand you a name badge is definitely old school.
With mobile check-in technology, planners can search through their attendee lists by name or email, filter by registration type, or even scan a barcode. It’s easy to add and remove participants as needed. For paid events, these tools collect payments via credit card and still keep the line moving. And once you make the technology leap, there are additional features to make the check-in process smoother, like kiosks and on-demand badge printing.
Worried about Wi-Fi? Some systems, including Cvent’s OnArrival, allow you to work offline and once you've returned to the comfort of your connection, open the app and your data will sync automatically.
Ever wondered what your attendees were thinking? Are they interested in the meeting content? Do you wonder what you could have improved or done differently, or what booths got the most traffic? Most professional event organizers understand the importance of mapping the attendee journey to learn customer preferences and behaviors and deliver a better event experience, and technology can play a key role. Here’s how:
• Scanning attendees’ name badges at the door
• Using RFID technology in overhead readers to passively watch the attendee journey
• Tracking attendance for things like continuing education or certification
• Controlling session access based on enrollment or attendee type
• Monitoring individual booth traffic without putting business cards in a fish bowl
Viva Stream is one company that delivers a comprehensive view of customer engagement. Insights are available through the Vivastream Audience Intelligence dashboard. If you’re on a tight budget, consider ScanTrakk, which positions itself as an easy-to-use system for any event, including continuing education sessions, meetings and conferences, trade shows, sporting events, religious events, and more. Both these companies offer reports for event organizers, with insights on their audiences’ behaviors.
Why should you use a social wall to showcase the social media posts connected to your event? Think of it as a conversation piece. Plus, it’s an excellent icebreaker. People will gather around your wall and start talking to each other, which helps makes your event more interactive and talked about. The added bonus is that social walls offer advertisers, sponsors, and brands extra exposure (and you extra event revenue). If you want to try out a social wall for free, check out Walls.io, which has both a free trial and enhanced pricing options on more than 15 social platforms.
No one enjoys passively sitting through a presentation of PowerPoint slides. After 20 minutes, the speaker starts to sound like the teacher from Charlie Brown (whaa, whaa, wa, wa), and any takeaway is lost. An interactive session engages the audiences and encourages conversation. Today’s technology allows for real-time polling of your audience and invites them into the conversation. With polling, you can get feedback from your attendees and gain some insightful data in the process. Another idea, use polling to add some some excitement with a live trivia contest or, even better, a friendly competition among the attendee audience.
Poll Everywhere or Direct Poll are two great options to try, but there are many out there to fit your needs and budget. These apps offer a variety of packages for businesses and non-profits. When your audience responds on their devices, a visual leaderboard shows real-time results on screen to display who is in the lead… Voila! instant audience engagement.
Technology allows the meeting process—from beginning to end—to be easier for the event planner and more engaging for the user while also providing tracking and reporting in real time. Try incorporating one or a few of these tech tools into your next event and you’ll be amazed at how simple it is to boost your onsite engagement.