New Study Reveals Time and Lack of Resources Are Limiting Personalisation Efforts in Events Industry

82% of event planners say delivering personalised attendee experiences is a top priority for 2016; only 27% are doing it consistently

Personalisation (1)A new industry study has found that personalisation is a key priority for 82% of event planners, yet only 27% are consistently using it as part of the marketing efforts around their events. The survey – which investigates the current uptake of personalisation in the industry – was conducted with more than 160 senior event planners representing corporates, government and educational institutions, associations, PCOs and event management agencies in the U.S. and the UK.

“Personalisation is seen as one of the hottest trends in our industry this year with delegates increasingly expecting both the communication about an event and the live experience to be tailored to them in some way.  Sophisticated data capture tools – from event registration systems and RFID to online surveys and event apps – are helping organisations collect and analyse valuable delegate information to create more powerful and customised event experiences,” said George Sirius, CEO of Eventsforce.  “The study reveals how important the issue has become in the industry, what event planners are doing and some of the most common barriers to personalisation”

According to the results, an overwhelming 97% of event planners believe personalisation can change a delegate’s perception of their brand or event but 60% feel the biggest obstacles are time and lack of resources.  Almost half of the respondents feel creating personalised attendee experiences is too costly, while 38% believe a lack in technology that enables personalisation is also an issue.  Another 31% also think that the data they have on their delegates isn’t accurate enough to effectively personalise the event experience.

Successful personalisation entails delivering content, offers, experiences and networking opportunities based on what event planners already know about their delegates.  The study found that a majority of 75% of event planners break down their delegates into categories (event goals, job titles, previous session selections and company size) when deciding on marketing activities around their events.  Almost 70% have used delegate data from their CRM or marketing systems to create more personalised content around their events, while 62% use crowdsourcing tools to determine things like agendas and session topics (44%), speakers (24%) and dining preferences (18%).

When asked about the different marketing tools used to tailor delegate experiences, personalised links within email communications came up at top at 68%, followed by unique registration paths for different attendee categories at 57% and creating personalised educational content as part of their general outreach campaign prior to an event.  The survey, however, found that less than 20% of event planners tailor their event apps to different audiences (sponsors, attendees, exhibitors) and more than 80% don’t offer delegate networking tools to their attendees.

Another area that the Eventsforce survey investigated was the kind of data capture tools organisations are using at their events to collect valuable delegate information. Online surveys were the most popular at 65%, followed by event apps at 44% and social media tools at 42%.  Registration tools such as barcode scanning and RFID were used by 36% of respondents, followed by voting buttons on apps and speaker rating systems at 24% and 21%, respectively.  Only 12% are said to be using interactive screens, tables and kiosks and a mere 3% are using new tools such as iBeacons and wearable technology.

“It is interesting to see that with all the data collection tools that are available now, event planners are still unable to use this data to its full potential to create truly unique experiences for their delegates. When asked if they are able to turn this data into actionable insight for their future events, only 18% were confident enough to say yes.  This goes back to the issue of how time and resources are critical to the success of any personalisation strategy around your events,” concluded Sirius.

For a more comprehensive look at the results of the Eventsforce ‘Personalization: Creating Tailored Event Experiences’ study, please download the infographic here.

About Eventsforce

Eventsforce provides event management software that helps results-driven professionals deliver thousands of successful events each year. With offices in London (UK) and Denver, Colorado (US), our customers span 14 different countries and represent some of the leading names in finance, education, government, associations, PCOs and publishing. Our unique partnership approach and our highly customisable, modular software provides a complete end-to-end management solution that addresses every aspect of the event lifecycle: from event planning, marketing and registration, to abstracts and awards management, as well as post-event analysis and reporting.

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