Category: Event Planning

Personalised event registration: barriers, pitfalls, and solutions

 

When it comes to events, first impressions matter. As the kind of “opening act” to any occasion, registration sets the feel and tone for things to come. While personalisation is now inherent throughout many elements of any given event, it’s not necessarily always easy or straightforward to include an element of personalisation in your registration process. But be they delegates, potential delegates, exhibitors, or sponsors, everyone deserves the warm welcome that only personalisation can offer. And you, as a planner, certainly deserve to reap the benefits of a thoughtfully personalised registration process.

Barriers and Pitfalls of Personalised Registration

There is no getting around it: personalisation takes time and demands substantial effort from planners. This is especially true ahead of the event registration process, when planners need to ensure that they kick off their event by targeting the right audience with the right message. But before they can even begin to work on messaging, planners need to analyse the personal data they’ve gathered — whether this information has been collected via past events, emails, or surveys — in order to carefully and correctly segment their target audiences. With so much information to hand, it’s easy to get bogged down in the minutiae of segmentation and even — as Sitecore references — to in effect become paralysed by your data.

Likewise, with time and resources finite — and with so many other details to attend to in the run up to an event — it’s also understandable for a planner to perhaps not give personalised registration the attention it fully deserves. This is also a mistake; indeed, by neglecting to give considered thought to the element of personalisation at the point of registration, you’ve also missed an opportunity to more fully connect with your target audience.

The Simple Solution

A sense of perspective is a powerful tool when it comes to considering the importance of personalised registration. After all, registration is not the main event, but it is a key element of almost any and every event (and certainly, of those done well). To that end — and especially when it comes to considering both the personal data you’ve gathered and your target audience — it’s worth zooming out to identify broad demographic categories within the details you have to hand. Once you’ve done this, consider the elements of registration that will resonate the most with your audience. Isolate and identify the strategies that will have both the greatest positive impact in terms of successfully opening your event along with the ones that will help serve your overall goal of engaging with those you really want to target. And here, it’s important to implement strategies that not only serve your audience, but also to choose the ones that slot seamlessly into your existing time and resources.

A final key point on personalisation — and this concerns both the registration process as well as your event at-large — is that there is no single way to ‘do’ personalisation. Whether you opt for segmented and personalised invites and e-mails or distinct registration paths or have dug deep to welcome delegates to your event with their favourite coffee, only you truly know the registration techniques that will resonate best with your core audience. As an event planner, your time and resources are precious, but with careful consideration and perspective, you can efficiently create the kind of welcome that benefits both your attendees — and yourself — now and in the future.

 


 

Want to learn more about how to personalise your events?

Get answers to the fundamental questions, as well as insight on the current state of personalisation in the events industry from a recent research study with 150+ event planners with our eBook, ‘The Event Planner’s Guide to Personalisation’.

How to use the subtle power of video to enhance your event marketing strategy

From pre-show advertising to post-show highlights and client testimonials, event industry professionals acknowledge the power and reach of video marketing. But there are times and tasks that call for a more delicate hand; when you want to go beyond the basics of video marketing for your event yet still fly well under the radar, here are three ideas on how to softly shift the perspective of your strategy for a more subtle — yet equally effective — impact.

Find and Embrace Emotion

Whether you actively acknowledge it or not, as a planner — and perhaps, by extension, a marketing professional — the events you organise are largely built upon your ability to effectively trigger human emotion to get the results you seek. Whether you’re aiming to drum up a sense of anticipation ahead of your event, offering up a heartfelt compliment to your speakers, or reminiscing over the event that was, the sensory power of video is unparalleled in conveying an emotion or vibe — be it excitement, nostalgia, or even a sense of FOMO.

As an event planner, it’s key to know both precisely the kind of feeling you want to tap into and how you can best create content to trigger the reaction you want. Regardless of the type, length, or purpose of your video, this is a medium that enables you to wield the emotional power of a script or story, a moving soundtrack, striking cinematography, and precise editing to influence your target audience. Don’t be afraid to lean into and embrace that emotion; it can be woven into your video content strategy to subtly yet powerfully influence the overall outcome of your event.

Get Personal Before and After

Virtual, hybrid, or in-person — no matter the format of your event, the customisable power of video makes it the perfect vehicle for personalisation. This means that different kinds of video content can be created with a view to fostering a deeper and more meaningful connection with your delegates, your speakers, or anyone connected to your event. It’s one thing to capture video during the course of your gathering, but as a planner, you can seize upon the element of personalisation inherent in the medium of video to create thoughtful content both before and after your event.

For example, rather than simply sending a nondescript email, consider creating a personalised video to invite your delegates to your event or — as in this example from Vidyard — flipping the concept around to use the power of video as an outreach tool to speak directly to individual delegates and bring about a feeling of excited anticipation ahead of your gathering. Post-event, you can likewise create personalised videos to offer up your thanks to your speakers and delegates for their time and attendance, perhaps even weaving footage captured during your gathering back into your video to subtly remind attendees just how good your event was. In addition to fostering a deeper emotional rapport with your audience, the judicious creation of video before and after an event can help to increase ROI and conversion rates and boost the efficiency of your sales cycle.

Mine Your B-Roll Footage for Video Gold

When it comes to making the most of your video footage, you may have had a set strategy in place and known in advance exactly who or what you wanted to film. But that doesn’t mean that any B-roll or alternative footage captured during the course of your event should be discarded; on the contrary, B-roll can offer up a veritable gold mine of content that can be used to continuously connect with your audience well into the future. Whether you want to create a post-event highlights video, send a heartfelt thank you, or even incorporate some footage of this year’s event into your personalised invites for next year, your B-roll footage can be cleverly re-purposed to suit your aims. Think: the use of B-roll means that you film just once, but have the opportunity to create multiple pieces of video content from just one single effort — a true return on ROI.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that this kind of alternative footage adds visual interest and an authentic feel to any video content you’ve created; in a sense, it offers up another avenue for building a rapport with your audience long after your event is over. Delve into your B-roll with an eye for any interesting moments and use them to your advantage. Humour is always a great tool for engagement and if, for example, you’ve been lucky enough to capture lots of funny moments during your event, you might even consider creating your very own blooper or outtake reel using your B-roll footage. But from a technical standpoint, it’s worth knowing that your B-roll can also be edited into your main footage in order to enhance or extend it, as needed.

For event planners, the sheer power and reach of video is undeniable. Yet when used as a tool for engagement, it can be subtly deployed for maximum impact before, during, and long after an event.


 

Want to learn more about Eventsforce? Whether hybrid, virtual or in-person, see how Eventsforce is exactly the right solution to help you meet all your event objectives. Book your demo now.

Industry Survey: The View of the 2023 Planner

We can’t predict the future, but with your participation, we can all get a better idea of the plans and considerations event planners have as we move towards 2023.

Here’s your chance to get your voice heard. Our new survey is targeted at marketing, meeting and event planners and is an opportunity for you to tell us your views and — most importantly — our chance to listen.

Your contribution will be part of a whitepaper which will be shared at the end of the year. And as a thank you for your time, for each response received, we’ll plant a tree via Ecologi, our carbon-offsetting project.

 

JOMO not FOMO

By Andrea Papini, Marketing Manager, Eventsforce

As he stood bathed in twilight and dust, Kevin Costner’s Ray, ‘Field of Dreams’ 1989, hears a voice in the wind, ‘If you build it, they will come’. The fact that this is a misquote of W. P. Kinsella who actually said, ‘If you build it, he will come’ is not important. 

Costner built his dream, and it was a success. But real life is often far removed from Hollywood. In a commercial setting we need more than just voices in the wind to justify expenditure, demonstrate ROI and pragmatically prove that we can do our jobs. 

How does this relate to event planning? Well, for many months now you will have seen the events industry talking above all else about the return of in-person, pivoting back to in-person, the adoption of hybrid, and moving forward with renewed optimism. Event tech suppliers are certainly optimistic, as are those managing trade shows, conferences and exhibitions. If you prick us, we will bleed optimism. Another misquote, this time William Shakespeare’s ‘Merchant of Venice’. 

There’s no lack of advice about the return to in-person. What tech to use. How to manage your events. Health and safety. The list goes on. Occasionally there is a nod to the changing world we live in post-covid. ‘We must give people a reason to turn up.’ And the answer to this is a few words about engaging content, appealing to their inner FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). 

And in 4 letters we encapsulate the problem. FOMO. We assume that people are afraid of missing out, and this alone will bring them to our events. Is this right? Even before covid, event planners were never short of information; websites, webinars, eBooks, demos, peer reviews, case studies, testimonials. Great, your events offer ‘educational sessions’ but are these sessions offering anything that can’t be found by a quick google search? Are they actually helping people do their jobs, offering detailed advice, and engaging them in conversation? Or is the speaking slot now seen as an opportunity to raise extra revenue for the organiser and to sell tickets, not to ultimately provide benefit for the delegate? Once the slot is sold, is there really any sort of quality control on what is delivered? Or am I being cynical? 

At a recent event I attended, there were many theatres, a full programme of speakers, but many only offering the most basic of advice. Apparently, you really can teach a grandmother to suck eggs. Where is the differentiation, and where is the added value? And here’s a bonus tip for event planners; the art of Stand Management isn’t dead. You’ve done the clever marketing, paid for the expensive stand and committed a considerable amount of time to the exhibition. Don’t ruin it all with staff who clearly don’t want to be there. It’s never a good look to talk to delegates sitting down whilst they stand, and even worse, to outright ignore them, talk to each other or spend the whole day on smartphones or laptops! I come to network and communicate – please don’t ignore me!

As event planners our second sin, after our over-inflated belief in the quality of our content, is failing to recognise we now live in a different world. Pre-covid, the odd working from home day was seen as a treat, but the rest of the week you could bet that nearly everyone was on that hot, packed tube, delayed train, or in their car stuck in traffic, all making their way to the office. Now, it’s all changed. Alarms go off at 8:45 to start work at 9am. There are no more 2-hour commutes. Business dress stays in the cupboard gathering dust. Life is very different. 

So, in 2022, if you want people to leave their homes, stress about what to wear and how to get to your event, and then consume information they can’t readily find online, event planners really need to think about their content, sessions and event promotion. Attendees need to fully understand how they will benefit from attending, and this messaging needs to be consistent across all your communication channels. Pay attention to the speaking programme and what is being delivered. 

Your responsibility for the session doesn’t end when it is sold. Work with your speakers to ensure your delegates get value for money, and value for time. And most importantly, don’t assume everyone has FOMO. These days it’s most likely to be JOMO; and if you don’t know what this is, a quick Google will enlighten you…


 

Want to know how Eventsforce can help you with your 2022 event planning?

Eventsforce can support you with a platform that puts the planner at the centre of the strategy.   We transform experiences for virtual, hybrid and in-person events and enable you to launch and adapt your events quickly and seamlessly. 

Whether you’re looking for a quick chat or a detailed discussion on your event tech requirements, our team of event professionals are on hand to assist you.

Click here to get in touch or why not request a demo?

CVBs and DMOs: A Hidden Resource for Meeting and Event Professionals

As a meeting and event planner, do you ever feel a little stuck? Maybe you can’t find the perfect spot for your next unforgettable event. Or perhaps you did find a location but you are overwhelmed by all the details to create a great experience for your attendees. It might be time to take advantage of a hidden gem of a resource, one that is sure to feel like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow — and it’s closer than you may think.

Turn to the local convention and visitors bureau (CVB) and destination marketing organisation (DMO) to hit an event planning jackpot. These organisations can provide you with the following information and more:

  • Suggestions and help facilitating event activities, entertainment, and speakers
  • Offer a wealth of knowledge on convention centre specifics, including floor plans and tours, to dining choices and lodging options
  • Specifics on accessibility throughout the destination
  • Itineraries and suggestions for attendees extending their visit beyond the convention
  • With ever-changing COVID-19 restrictions and mandates, CVB and DMO websites are a good source of the latest information

Sounds great, doesn’t it? Let’s dive a little deeper by learning from Cara Frank, chief of staff at Simpleview and former director of convention services at Destination Madison.

Q: How should meeting and event professionals utilise CVBs and DMOs to enhance their planning capabilities?

A: If a planner is just starting a search, the CVB and DMO can provide support when looking for a venue or hotel by consolidating and bridging communication with these properties. If they already have a site selected but want to make the event extra memorable, the DMO and CVB can help create an amazing experience for the attendees beyond the parameters of the actual event and bring the local feel to the attendees. CVBs and DMOs can provide the best recommendations for every event type.

Q: What resources do CVBs and DMOs have to help planners with their events?

A: Every destination has something unique to offer meeting and convention attendees — something that will make the event memorable so attendees will share with friends, family, and co-workers. Sometimes, these top locations are very well known but often they are hidden gems known only to people intimately tied to the destinations. This is where CVBs and DMOs come in, which can help planners with their events by:

  • Finding offsite locations for parties, dinners, etc. Everyone is looking for a unique venue to fit their audience
  • Referrals to members and businesses for transportation, local gifts, etc.
  • Informing local restaurants and shops nearby about the event so they can prepare their staff to provide exceptional service
  • Offering attendance marketing tools on the DMO and CVB website, like toolkits for venue searching and booking, to make sure planners have resources to help their event thrive

Also, CVBs and DMOs publish the most relevant mapping tools for event planning, giving a better idea of the destination and how to prepare their attendees for seamless transportation. Punta Gorda Englewood Beach’s meetings microsite is one example; Pisgah National Forest uses Map Publisher on its microsite to help visitors navigate the destinations.

Q: How can meeting and event planners and CVBs and DMOs work together more effectively?

A: Making connections to the destination should be a top priority. While many planners visit the destination during the sales process, that could have been years before their actual event and many things could have changed. Event planners should check in periodically with the CVB or DMO as a local partner, aligning goals, and sharing event and attendee details will help create the best experience for the attendee and event planner.

“The DMO or CVB is a concierge of sorts; from steering meeting planners to the transportation companies they need for an offsite event, to navigating the best group dining options, they can match your attendees to the attractions that will resonate the best with them.”

— Cara Frank, Chief of Staff, Simpleview


 

Want to know how Eventsforce can help you with your 2022 event planning?

Eventsforce can support you with a platform that puts the planner at the centre of the strategy.   We transform experiences for virtual, hybrid and in-person events and enable you to launch and adapt your events quickly and seamlessly. 

Whether you’re looking for a quick chat or a detailed discussion on your event tech requirements, our team of event professionals are on hand to assist you.

Click here to get in touch or why not request a demo?

Eventsforce and EVENTIT partner to shape the future of the MICE Community

At a time when many industry professionals are planning their event portfolios for the year ahead, and navigating a challenging and unpredictable global event environment, Eventsforce is delighted to announce the continued partnership with EVENTIT — helping them connect, inspire, and educate event professionals across the UK and beyond.

EVENTIT is dedicated to providing event professionals with the opportunity to acquire information, ideas, education, and networking opportunities throughout the year. With a commitment to powering the future of events, Eventsforce is ideally placed to help them achieve this, offering a comprehensive suite of next-generation event management solutions for live, virtual, and hybrid experiences.

Choosing the Right Event-tech Partner

We are delighted that EVENTIT chose to extend and strengthen its partnership with Eventsforce. Having already embraced “Eventsforce Awards” to simplify the management of award evenings, making the submission and judging process simpler and quicker, EVENTIT will now rely on additional Eventsforce solutions to help them meet their organisational and event goals.

Eventsforce Registration” will allow the streamlining of the registration experience for in-person events. EVENTIT will have access to tailored experiences with personalised agendas, pricing, packages, and branded websites, as well as automation of event communications, improved agenda management, and contactless check-in using “Eventsforce Kiosk.”

EVENTIT will also benefit from Eventsforce’s latest registration and ticketing platform, “Eventsforce Groups & Ticketing”, which will allow them to promote events, sell tickets, and manage all their attendees in one place.

Positive Partnerships Driving the Events Industry Forward

Ian Webb, head of business development for Eventsforce adds, “I am incredibly proud that the partnership with EVENTIT will be continuing in 2022. As the industry continues to recover, we’re delighted to provide EVENTIT with our full range of tools, allowing them to take a flexible approach to their in-person and virtual events as they stand firmly behind the events industry.”

Judith Wilson, Director of EVENTIT said ‘Having worked with Ian and the Eventsforce team over a number of years we are delighted that they have come on board to support our full programme of events over the next 12 months. Eventsforce are continually developing their technology, keeping abreast of the growing demands of their clients but never losing sight of the need to keep things simple and intuitive for the end user and maintaining their amazing customer training and service. They really are an extension of our team!’

5 Ways to Encourage Attendees to Return to In-Person Events

5 Ways to Encourage Attendees to Return to In-Person Events

The choice of additional event formats such as virtual and hybrid, creates an interesting challenge for planners. The big question is what impact do they have on the in-person event?

In-person events have dominated for years and will continue to play a huge part. Some events should only ever be in-person. But with many planners offering a virtual component, they will have to work that much smarter to attract attendees to make the trip to a physical event.

In this post we highlight 5 ways in which your in-person event can stand out. Let’s take a look.

1) Make Clear There Is No Virtual Audience

Your in-person event is going to appeal to those attendees that are looking for an in-person experience that is not impacted by virtual attendees. This means that in your marketing messaging, you make it crystal clear that the only audience you have is the in-person one.

Potential delegates could be put off from coming if they believe you will be serving another audience. If they know that your attention will be on them and them only, you are likely to increase your sign ups.

It is easy with a hybrid event for there to be audience envy between attendees. Both in-person and virtual attendees can feel left out unless you manage their expectations. But for your in-person event, you only have the ones you can see in the room to worry about. That can be a strong incentive for people to come. They know your focus is 100% on them.

2) Demonstrate It Will Be Covid Safe

Showing that you have comprehensive Covid safety measures in place will give peace of mind for your more nervous delegates. They are interested in coming but want to be sure that no harm will come to them.

Covid safety is top of mind right now for attendees. And as you know, holding in-person events means you will be enabling people of different genders, generations, and cultures to mix. Some people will be less worried (if at all) than others. Your job is to reassure even the most nervous person. In doing so you will increase your chances of them attending.

You need to decide on admittance criteria. This will help attendees make decisions on whether to attend or not. Creating a covid safe environment is a good idea. Demonstrating that you will use contactless self-service check-in and similar measures help reinforce this. You can also offer tips and advice on safe travel to the venue etc.

Related: Top considerations for the safe return to in-person events

3) Talk, exclusivity

What can you offer in terms of exclusivity for your attendees? Exclusivity is always a big draw. You are basically saying “come to our event and get something that no one else does.” The question remains, what can you do?

Let’s explore some examples. You could have a VIP dinner that only has the best of the best (however you define that) in attendance. Attendees could sign up for the opportunity of being ‘in’ with the other VIPs. Or you could bring in a celebrity speaker and have a round table discussion with them. Think of inviting a film producer and for your attendees to glimpse what it’s like to create a block buster. Or you could go for curated networking, where attendees have been carefully matched before they arrive at the event. Imagine if your attendees could meet exactly the right people they need to.

There are many more ideas you can come up with. But the big point of exclusivity is that it is just that, exclusive. Whatever you are offering isn’t available in the same form anywhere else.

4) Highlight That It is New

Every event is new. Your in-person event is new. It’s certainly bound to be different from your pre-Covid ones, isn’t it? If it is no different you may run into problems maybe not at first, but they will appear.

If there is one thing that needs reinforcing, it is simply this, Covid has changed people. You cannot simply serve up the same versions of what you were doing before. Expectations have changed. Attendees want more. They are exercising more choice than previously, and organisations are questioning whether their staff need to go to events. In other words, the in-person events landscape has changed.

And therein lies the challenge and the opportunity. Why not use the in-person format to accentuate the senses of sight, touch, and smell. If your conference is about outdoor safety, you could lower the room temperatures and you could bring in fog machines to give a realistic experience of what it feels like being on a mountain. You could ask your delegates to come in outdoor wear to make it more realistic. That’s just one example of thinking about enhancing your in-person experience. You may not need to go so extreme, but you need to highlight what is new.

Related: 7 ways events will change in a post-Covid world

5) Be real when using FOMO

Any savvy event planner is going to be using FOMO as a means of encouraging take up at events. It’s a widely used marketing technique and it works. If something looks special, it makes an emotional tug. Limited places selling fast, is a well-used technique. People sign up to avoid being left out. It’s that simple.

If you have ever tried to get tickets to see your favourite popstar or band, you will have been through this FOMO experience. Long before the tickets are available to buy, the marketing machine whirls into life, and it makes you anxious. How can you book tickets when you are at work? Where will you be when they go on sale? Can you give money to a friend to buy for you? All these questions and more run through your mind. One thing is clear, you need to have a ticket. The FOMO is super strong.

However, use FOMO with realism. Just how good is your event going to be? Have you really worked on it to make sure that it delivers beyond attendee expectations? Use it but be mindful that attendees expect more, and they will be very unhappy if they could have missed it and not been any worse off for not attending.

Conclusion – People Are Smart

There is no doubt that unless you work on your offering for in-person events, your competitors will take advantage. This is no different to events, pre-Covid. But the impact of a global pandemic has made people think about why they go to events.

Even the hardened event attendees, now question the individual value they will get from an in-person event. Any assumptions you work on, should be re-evaluated. It is true that a lot of people want to reconnect. They want to meet again, and networking is very important to them. However, as reconnections are made, you will need to offer more than networking to attract attendees. The euphoria of meeting people will move from being super strong as a reason for attending to becoming normalised in future months.

Think smart as you work on your in-person offering. And remember, your attandees have changed. They will make the smart choices and follow what’s beneficial for them. And you should do the same. Learn from the past but understand that the future has great opportunities for those planners that look at the key ways in which to attract attendees once more to in-person events.

 


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