We’re seeing a 2019 event trend for creating a personalized event experience. That means understanding what the individual (or attendee profile) wants and tailoring aspects of the event to suit them, rather than the general crowd.
Why this trend? Today, we have more choice than ever when it comes to finding products and services to satisfy our needs and wants. And having the ability to tailor products to our personal requirements, means people expect the event world to follow suit. But, this isn’t just about creating personalized invitations and marketing; instead, it’s about customizing the actual event experience so that attendees are more engaged and find your event memorable.
Use audience responses to inspire new “event paths”
It’s more important than ever to pinpoint the interests of attendees by collecting data throughout the registration process and up to when they arrive at your event. Don’t be afraid to ask specific questions about their needs and interests, or business if it’s a corporate event. A pre-event survey is a thorough way of gathering particular data, and you could also leverage past attendee data if you have it.
Then, it’s time to put that data to work. Use it to create different “event paths” which make it possible to run similar events that provide different experiences for the attendees in each one. Let’s take a look at a few ways of doing this:
An event app guides the attendee journey based on their interests
Once you have the information about individual event goers, you can set up your event app to guide them to sessions or locations in the event venue that will be of most interest to them. This is extremely useful if you have multiple sessions running at once, to ensure attendees don’t miss the ones they would get the most value from. After all, if you’re holding a mega-event, it can be near impossible to get a taste of everything. Sending push notifications before sessions of interest start gives event-goers the most personalized experience possible.
A flexible program can cater to attendee profiles
If you’re trying to create a more personalized event experience for attendees, but don’t have the budget or team to implement individual customization, we’ve got an excellent alternative for you! You see, you’ve probably created attendee profiles before, but now, we’re going to use them to personalize your event on a mass scale. While it might sound like a contradiction, it does work to group your event guests into categories and ensure your event provides activities that cater to each of the groups.
For example, a corporate event may invite entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, exhibitors and small business owners to attend. You should plan for each of the four groups to be made to feel like their needs and expectations are being met at your event. You can also market to these different groups before the event with multiple mailing lists, so no matter which category they fall into, they see great value in attending.
Add breakout sessions to give the impression of a tailored event path
Nothing is stopping you from using the same principles as the previous idea at a more singular-style event, like a conference that only has one session at a time in the central space. Instead of crafting different activities that are targeted to your attendee profiles throughout the entire event, try creating smaller breakout sessions around your main event feature.
For instance, at a medical conference, craft sessions with different specialties in mind. Even though the conference might be centered around a new treatment for one disease, it’s likely that medical practitioners in various fields will be attending. Surgeons, GPs and pediatricians, for example, might all be involved in a different stage of the disease management, so despite the same end goal, you can create a personalized event experience with smaller sessions to facilitate further discussion. Consider personal qualifications, the area of business and interests when trying to develop appropriate breakout sessions.
Create an interactive space that attendees can influence
Incorporating elements of interactive technology is a great way to drive participation. Although getting involved can often be daunting in person, using an online presence helps people feel more at ease. You’ll find them more likely to share their personal opinions and even photos. The easiest way to incorporate this is using event hashtags. But, you can look at building up to:
Find out what social media channel best fits with your attendees. Then create a wall displaying user-generated content from that channel related to the event experience. Event goers love to see what others are posting, and this inspires them to create their own content. Moreover, if their content is shown on the wall, they feel like their opinions and experiences are valued.
Give attendees free reign over what they post or have speakers pose targeted questions for audiences to respond to. Take it a step further and turn tweets into a work of art – like Samsung did with projected Tweets that looked as though they were sitting on individual wall-mounted shelves.
Another way to create a personalized event experience is to give some control to your attendees. You can do this by giving them the right interactive tools. That’s right; we’re talking about touchscreens. You see, touch screens placed strategically around the event venue can provide multiple functions for event-goers:
Accessing event schedules to plan their time
Looking at maps to ensure they don’t miss sessions of interest
Looking up speaker information to determine the best fit
Booking times with speakers for Q&A’s
Giving these interactive tools to event goers ensures they can be where they need to be, at the right time. But, it does more than that too. It allows them to feel like they have the power to navigate their own path at your event. Essentially, you’re allowing them to customize their time for a personalized event experience.
There’s no doubt touchscreens were once a thing of novelty! Today, they’re a part of our everyday life. If you want to add some novelty to your interactive tools, consider using touchscreens like the Giant iTab Once again, use your event data to make an informed decision. An iTab is the ideal choice if the majority of your event goers are iPhone users. In a sea of Android fans – perhaps not so much!
When deciding how you will customize an event for a personalized event experience, start by considering the type of event you’re holding, as well as the data you have on potential attendees. The aspects of customization you choose need to be appropriate to both, for it to be worthwhile. If you aren’t using event customization already, it’s worth starting out slowly. You might create event paths or introduce an interactive element and then build from there as you organize more events in this way. Not only will it help you do it well, but you will also be better able to analyze the results of your personalization efforts.
Do you see a future in personalizing events even further? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.