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Planners, Suppliers Weigh In on Engagement Strategies

Personalization is the name of the game, but the challenges in doing that are formidable, say survey respondents.

A recent survey by Ovation DMC of 463 business-event planners and suppliers finds that most respondents know that personalization is key for driving attendee interest and engagement. However, respondents also reveal that there’s more work to do through technology and other means to achieve a level of personalization that truly moves the needle on attendee engagement.

The two most important elements for engagement, say respondents, are relevant content and interactive opportunities. These can be personalized by the event host though pre- and post-event surveying, event apps and other on-site technology tools, and the use of artificial intelligence during session planning.

Respondents note that the interactive elements they are using the most to deliver personalized experiences are dedicated Q&A sessions, social-media integrations, and small-group workshops. Live polling and gamification are also used by a notable percentage of these planners and suppliers.

Even so, 42 percent say that creating personalized experiences is the greatest challenge for them as they build out content and interactive experiences, with 25 percent saying that balancing attendees’ privacy is a major concern as they conduct those tasks. One other challenge noted by respondents is also related to privacy: collecting and analyzing enough data for effective personalization. While artificial intelligence can be used to crunch copious amounts of data, the security of the information gathered from attendees must be a primary consideration.

Looking to the future, respondents say that engagement opportunities will also come from artificial intelligence and sustainability. Ovation’s report states that “advances in technology, such as A.I. and machine learning, can help event organizers to better understand their target audience and create more personalized experience. [And] the growing focus on events that prioritize sustainability and social responsibility will likely attract a more engaged and loyal audience” for event hosts.

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