''Keep up with the times and time won't pass you by.''
New market trends are something that every successful manager needs to have an eye on in order not to be outpaced by competitors. Digitization certainly is the hot topic in almost every industry nowadays. Obviously, the event sector is no exception here. Not just that 76% of event organizers are already using digital event solutions, it is also requested by a majority of 81% of attendees (Xing Events 2016, online source). While several industries might be replaced by digitization there is no need to fear for your job as an event manager. Digitization is no danger for the event sector but will rather support it - if it is implemented in the right way.
Event organizers using digital solutions (Xing 2016)
While the topic's relevance keeps on rising, studies have shown that participants rather visit an event that offers digital services than one that doesn't. Especially simplified processes like e.g. online-ticketing are implementations that event visitors do not want to miss out on (Xing Events 2016, online source). To keep up with the wishes of your attendees it is important to know about the benefits that digitization can bring to your event.
There are several benefits you can draw out of digital event solutions. First of all, it can help you in generating additional participants. By spreading the word about your event online more people will get aware of it and potentially take part. Additionally, you can sell tickets way easier and faster by using e-ticket shops. Participants do not have to visit stores but can simply order tickets online. Additionally, they can print their tickets at home instead of paying for shipping costs. Digital ticket scanners at your entrance point can simplify the inlet and speed it up significantly. Moreover, digital event apps can help you in improving the communication with and in between your attendees on-site. While you can share important information (like e.g. changes in the time schedules) via push-messages you can also offer your visitors a platform to connect one another. Besides of all these benefits during the event you can also profit from an improved visitor experience after the event. Satisfied visitors will not just be bound to your event and come again but are also likely to recommend the conference to their colleagues and friends.
Benefits for organizers (Xing 2016)
As already described, there are several benefits that digitization can bring to your event. But as always, there are two sides to the coin and digitization does not just come with positive aspects. Still, the advantages clearly outweigh the disadvantages.
''The opportunities offered by digital solutions outweigh their issues for organizers and attendees.''
When it comes to the positive aspects of digitization there is no way around its influence on the environment. Many digital solutions offer alternatives to plastic bags, flyers or print materials or replace them completely. In that way a big step towards a greener future can be taken by renouncing on paper, plastic and other ecologically damaging resources. By leaving out just 1 piece of paper 4 liters of water can be saved. Try to imagine how much difference this can make at a large conference with thousands of flyers and posters ending up in the trash. In the same way going digital can be an important step in improving an event's image. Especially events that cover topics considering sustainability cannot allow themselves to contradict their motto by neglecting more environmentally friendly alternatives.
One thing needs to be clarified: digitizing your conference will not be done overnight. It takes a lot of time planning, evaluating and implementing before decisions can be made. And even if you are convinced of an innovation it does not mean that the rest of your team is. Convincing others - especially long-established employees that are not open to change - may be the most exhausting task to fulfill. Be sure to authentically demonstrate the advantages you see for your company, the event itself and its visitors in order to show your colleagues why your idea could be worth an investment. Even if it may take some time it will definitely be worth the wait.
In a first step it is important to monitor the processes that you or your visitors are not satisfied with at the moment. This could be the complexity of purchasing tickets, an everlasting queue at the inlet or irrelevant goodie bags that end up in the trash minutes after being handed out.
After determining, where the pain point is located you need to do some research on the possible solutions available on the market. Helpful resources are expert blogs like Eventbrite or Event Manager Blog.
Now, that you are aware of the solutions on the market be sure to evaluate between alternatives. Especially if there is a free trial period you should definitely try out more than one provider in order to determine the best fit for your conference. It may take some time for your audience to get used to the changes so be sure to inform them and advertise the advantages that come with it. As soon as they will profit from the implementation they will be aware of the benefits and appreciate it.
Let's examine one of these processes in detail. Many conferences still give out physical goodie bags filled with flyers, discounts and product samples. Participants have to carry these bags around the whole conference which results in more than 80% ending up in the trash. On the one hand, this is a waste of money for the organizers and sponsors who have no possibility to monitor whether their content has been received by the participants or not. On the other hand, the environment is polluted by the waste of paper and plastic that is used to produce these goodie bags.
By digitizing this process with innovative solutions like eventbaxx all parties can profit. The sponsor's content can be displayed on a micro-site and shared with the attendees. In that way, no materials need to be printed and every interaction with the content can be analyzed to deliver a clear ROI. Participants can profit from exclusive information, on-site giveaways and discounts from an appealing platform without having to carry around a bag.