Gone are the days when you had to rely on feedback from participants after the event, to make the next one better. Now, you can adjust things as they happen by implementing crowdshaping at an event.

What is crowdshaping? It starts by collecting real-time big data to measure different aspects of event-goer behavior, from biometric readings through to foot traffic. Then you feed the data into amazing algorithms which translate boring ol’ numbers into insights – insights that allow event planners like you to mold and refine the event so attendees have the best experience possible.

While this can give attendees the sense that they have been given opportunities to shape their surroundings, it also gives you a whole new level of event management control. Excited? I know we are! After all, event planners have been crowdshaping for years, from their gut feelings. Now, it’s based on scientific analysis and we can really make it count. So let’s jump in and look at a few things:

According to a recent report by FutureEvents, only 20 percent of event planning organizations are integrating data effectively, despite 80 percent being aware of just how crucial it is to gather that data. This is like having a grand event strategy that you don’t implement. But as an event planner, you’d be all too aware that without execution, your approach goes to waste.

Crowdshaping is essentially the execution of your data to improve the event-goer experience. Remember that your attendees will never see your strategy. However, noticing how seamless you made the event and their personal experience – that’s what will make your event memorable.

Crowdshaping gives you another way to value-add for event goers. Using event tech and big data, you can find out what brings event goers joy. Make the experience as personalized and inclusive as possible, while planning how you can best deliver the brand message in a way that aligns with those insights.

Crowdshaping at an event by active participation

Just like you, me and everyone else in the world, event goers love to have their voices heard. So, it’s worth tapping into that and finding a way to get them involved. That’s where crowdshaping at an event by active participation comes in.

For instance, you could choose the perfect event app to facilitate getting their feedback in real-time. Worried they wouldn’t use it? Then you can encourage them to take part by using a point system, with some prizes at the end of the day. Alternatively, you can even gamify the survey experience.

Now, to look at when, where and how you can use the data your attendees willingly provide.

Conduct surveys after sessions

Use a phone app or a chatbot to provide brief surveys to participants after each session. That way repeated sessions at the same event can be adjusted to suit. While this isn’t revolutionary, it is one step better than waiting until the entire event is over before you get any useful feedback. It should also allow for gathering very detailed feedback so that each session can be substantially improved from the one before it.

Encourage guest comments in real-time

Use a phone app to allow guests to connect whenever they like throughout an event and give feedback in real time. If there are comments which indicate a speaker’s presentation is dragging you can address them swiftly. Event goers can let you know if the venue temperature is an issue, whether lighting is adequate for note-taking at a conference and if they are dissatisfied with the cleanliness of amenities. This one is a fantastic example of how just one small comment can let you immediately rectify a situation, saving a displeasing experience from affecting many more attendees. Remember – things can change fast at an event, and there’s room for even the most eagle-eyed event staff to miss a dirty bathroom in their rounds.

Allow them to connect directly with staff

Add discussion boards to a phone app so that attendees can ask questions or get in touch easily with on-site staff. This saves them from having to track down a member of the event team in person. They’ll find this particularly useful if the event is large-scale and if the attendee is in the middle of a session. The event team can provide answers promptly, and problems are dealt with on the spot, so the event goer leaves satisfied with the service provided. You can use the queries or issues from each person to adjust aspects of the event and make sure it doesn’t become an issue for any other attendees.

Use scanners to track attendance

Use check-in devices or self-scanning stations to give you real-time data on attendance levels at different event sessions or with exhibitors. Processing the performance data and passing it along means they can know where they are at and whether they need to focus on improving their presence immediately.

Monitor foot traffic to relieve crowding

Like transportation, use geolocation and heat mapping to monitor foot traffic, detect crowd densities and make crowdshaping at an event easy. Monitoring foot traffic helps your event run more efficiently, and provides a better experience for participants in these ways:

Seating adjustments can be made to better accommodate attendees in sessions drawing crowds

Determine if staff should open additional food-serving lines

Determine which doors and how many should be opened

Allow for the escalators to flow in the best ways to ease any potential bottlenecks

You should use this information in real-time, but also record it for future use. You’ll learn more about human behavior, and you can plan future events with this in mind.

This is also incredibly useful information for ensuring safety procedures are adequate. For example, if a venue evacuation was necessary, you could better help attendees in evacuating quickly and safely by monitoring crowd density and flow.

It could change your future choice of speakers

With the big data coming in and event planners trying to execute it, it’s vital that speakers, and other presenters, can adapt to that information on the fly. Trust us – this will be something you’ll look at when you choose speakers for the next event you’re planning. Another example of execution is key.

Key concern: data privacy

It’s easy to get excited about the potential benefits of crowdshaping for us in the event planning world – particularly in terms of improving ROI! But, there is one critical thing you need to be across before you start gathering that big data. That thing is probably no surprise to you in light of Facebook’s recent issues. Yep, it’s data privacy. Your top priority is to make sure that your team is storing data securely.

Some other things to consider:

Full transparency is needed, so attendees understand what data you’re tracking and how you’re using it

You should offer opt-out options

Is there something in it for the attendee? Hint: there should be. Clearly explain what that is to them

Attendees must understand well enough to see that the benefits aren’t just for exhibitors

Integration is a must when planning crowdshaping at an event

Make sure your crowdshaping event data can be integrated with your other platforms to make the marketing and sales relationship more efficient. While the brilliance of crowdshaping lies in implementing solutions that day – the benefits from that data don’t stop there but extend into the future planning of events.

As the popularity of biotechnology grows, using it for crowdshaping purposes must be at the forefront of consideration for brands and event planners in 2019 and onward. Don’t worry – you don’t need to implement all these ideas today. Start looking at one way you can use big data and crowdshaping at an event. When you’re confident it’s working for you, build from there!

Are you excited to try crowdshaping at an event? Let us know which idea you think has the most potential.