The task to captivate attendees and provide the best attendee experience possible has never been greater. Decreasing attention spans and intensified competition combine with heightened attendee demands for an unforgettable experience; as event organizers, we have our hands full trying to create memorable and seamless experiences. With all these attendee expectations, the pressure is on to make sure our events are educational, meaningful, motivational, interesting, and above all, on budget. Which leads us to event experience design – a New York event planner’s best friend.
Event experience design helps us achieve all of this at once. It provides us with the tools to guide our attendees on a rewarding journey that accomplishes their (and our) goals.
What is Event Experience Design?
Event experience design is about intentionally designing an event experience that addresses the motivations of your key attendee personas. It applies throughout the entire event lifecycle, from pre-event to post-event. The concept is a natural extension to our responsibilities as event planners. We are by our very nature the designers of experiences. We’re architects of experience journeys for our attendees. By understanding the character, needs, and desires of our key attendee personas, we gain powerful knowledge that guides our event creation, from beginning to end.
If we don’t design intentionally, we risk leaving the attendee experience to chance. But if we do design intentionally, we increase the opportunity of success for our events.
Event Tech for a Memorable Experience Design
Event technology is a powerful way to enhance all the touchpoints throughout the attendee journey – everything from the moment of creating awareness through acquiring attendees, engaging them, looking at the results, and building long-term relationships.
According to a CEIR 2016 study, attendees bring an average of 1.5 mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) to an event, along with laptops. Forrester also predicts that 2018 will be the year that mobile becomes core to the digital ecosystem. Devices are evolving to seamlessly work together, which will ultimately influence the demands that consumers (attendees) place on their expected experiences. With this in mind, it’s critical to ensure that our event content is maximized for every and any type of device.
Luckily, there are many mobile event technologies for us to consider. Let’s take a look at how event technology can be incorporated into the design of our events to create an easy, memorable, and valuable experience for our attendees during important touchpoints.
1. Creating an Easy Registration & Ticket Purchasing Process
Registration is one of the first impressions we make on a potential attendee and there is nothing more frustrating than a difficult online registration or ticket purchasing experience.
2. Gathering Data to Understand What Our Attendees Want
When planning, and during an event, it’s important to consider what attendees want and expect in order to provide the content and overall experience that most appeals to their needs. When our events fail to meet attendees’ expectations, they generally never come back.
3. Promoting Attendee Networking Through Gamification Activities
Most of us have probably heard of event gamification, and maybe even participated in games at a recent event. The idea of applying gaming mechanics — like points, badges, and leaderboards — has been growing in popularity with the rise of smartphone usage.
Here’s an example of what a gamification feature could look like on an event app:
4. Using Live Display for Real-time Communications
The first step to keeping attendees engaged is to keep them informed. No one likes being left in the dark, alone and confused.
Here’s an example of what digital signage for an event could look like:
5. Increasing Attendee Engagement During Presentations and Sessions
With so much going on during an event, it can sometimes be difficult for speakers to maintain the attention of attendees. Event technology that enables polls and surveys during sessions encourages attendees to act as participants instead of bystanders.
Today’s event attendee demands and expects a seamless experience at all points throughout their attendee journey. This includes making it easy to register and check-in, allowing for more time to connect and communicate with other attendees, and engaging in fun activities during the event. The event industry is constantly evolving and new technologies that enable us to wow our attendees are introduced every day.