This is a sponsored post written by Kristen Carvalho, Sr. Content and Social Media Manager at etouches. More information about Event Manager Blog’s sponsored posts.
You don’t have a second chance to make a first impression. Keep this in mind when thinking how you should welcome attendees to your event.
When hosting your event, you want your attendees to feel welcomed and right at home. You don’t want to waste their time by waiting in a registration line or have them feel like their needs are not met during your event. Show your attendees that you care, so that the other 364 days of the year when your event isn’t happening, they remember the experience that you gave them!
By taking certain steps to provide your attendees with optimal service before and during your event, you are collecting invaluable insights on your attendees. It starts with using event technology like barcodes on badges, event apps, Beacons or NFC to help you gather data on your visitor in order to provide them with a welcoming experience from the start.
Before Your Event
In order to provide your attendees with an unforgettable experience, you need to have the technology and processes in place way before your event starts. The technology that you use at your event is not only going to provide attendees with a welcoming environment, but the information and data that you receive will help to drive your business forward.
In order to make sure that both are met, you need to set your objectives first as an organization and for the event. Once you do, you then have to relay them to your onsite team. What good is it to have a plan in place if you can not delegate to your team their tasks and ultimate goals!
Today, we are focusing on the goal to provide all attendees with a VIP experience that will turn them into return attendees and event advocates. You need to show your attendees that you care about their needs before they arrive and until they leave!
The majority of your attendees are probably not local to where you are holding your event. As a result, they will have to find public transportation or take a flight to your location. This is your first step to giving your attendees a first class welcome!
Before your event, encourage your attendees to download your mobile app. Ensure them that in doing so they will be provided with transportation services from their arrival point to the hotel or the event location. You can gather their transportation information during the registration process.
Once they arrive, a simple check-in within the app can trigger a notification to a shuttle service that a new attendee has arrived, their name and where they will be heading. Just like Uber, except the attendee won’t have to wait for the driver to be in their area, they will already be waiting at the location!
If you have any VIP attendees, like a keynote speaker, consider opting for mobile beacons or NFC bands that you would ship to them pre-event. It would work the same way as the app, except the process would be automated and include special requests.
The worst thing that you could do is have your attendees waiting in line after you provided them with first class service to your event. What is the solution? Adding both onsite technology and a knowledgeable staff to welcome attendees as they arrive.
Now, most people will tell you get rid of paper registrations, go digital and absolutely never print your badges beforehand. All of that is true and should happen, however you should not get rid of your staff completely and solely rely on technology to man your registration area.
Consider adding a staffer or two to help attendees who want to register using a barcode on their phone. At a large industry trade show a few years ago, I was one of the people who had my registration on my phone when it came time for check in. Of course, I had an issue bringing it up on my phone and then it wouldn’t work and I had to manually input it. Without a staff member available to help me it probably took me 30% longer to check in than it should’ve, and as an exhibitor that is precious time wasted! That is why it is important to have a staffer or two ready to incept people before they get in line to check in and make sure that their screen resolution is the right size and the phone’s luminosity is high enough in order for them to get their registration scanned on the first try!
By giving your attendees the power to check themselves in when they arrive onsite with a kiosk or app, you are putting them in charge. Your attendees like to feel like they are a part of the event and that starts with the registration. Make this process simple and easy for them. And, if you have attendees arrive that didn’t register yet set up a simplified process only with the essential questions asked. You can always follow up post event because you don’t want to hold attendees back from starting their event!
Once you pass the registration it is on to the cloakroom. Giving attendees a small ticket with a number to hold onto in order to get back their jacket or luggage just isn’t reasonable today. Make it easier on them by scanning the barcode on their badge and allocate a hanger or number to that profile. Making the annoying ticket obsolete. One less thing for attendees to remember!
During the Event
A main concern today with events is attendees’ food requirements and allergies. While many events have done a great job at taking the necessary steps to have options for a variety of people, there hasn’t been a great way to get technology involved.
The answer can be found in your mobile app and Beacons. If you provide your attendees with mobile beacons, catering staff will be able to track which attendees have specific allergies based on what they provided during the registration process. This helps when you have one menu for sit down dinners so that you staff do not have to go person to person asking what they want or what they can not have.
Another interesting way to add value to your attendees during the event is through an exhibitor NFC touch wall. By providing your attendees with an NFC badge, wristband or token they can simply touch it to the wall with exhibitor information and have whatever the exhibitor provided (collateral material, whitepaper, ebook, etc.) be immediately added to their attendee profile online or sent to their email. This is a nice one stop shop for attendees who might not have time to hit all the exhibitors they want to see. Also, a nice upsell for a trade show organizer! This can also be used at smaller events to help send attendees session presentations, contact information, etc.
Technology is essential at your events to provide your attendees with what they need. It is more than just making a good first impression, it is making a great experience. Proving your attendees with personalized experiences and making it easy for them to collect information is key! From the moment they step off the plane, until they sit down for dinner let your attendees know that you are there to cater to their needs. Make sure that you give them an experience that they will not forget!