Events industry is growing, and event technology is trying to keep up with the demand and provide new features to satisfy the needs of event organizers and audiences. Or, at least, that is what we keep hearing.
But what is on the flip side of that coin? Typically, it’s event organizers who are not ready, willing or able to adopt new technologies that would help them manage their events more easily, and audiences that are under-using or not using at all the available solutions.
The growth of the event tech industry depends not only on the ability of the event tech providers to build solutions that will work well and be easy to implement, but also on their ability to convince, educate and train event organizers on how to effectively use those solutions.
Now, let’s look at some of the common barriers to adopting and implementing new event technology solutions and how to overcome them.
Constant lack of time
Event organizers typically have overbooked schedules, looming deadlines, things that come up and problems they need to solve. They rarely have some extra time to analyze the event tech market and find the best possible solution.
They usually do research in those rare moments when they have the time to think about their technology needs - during breaks between the events. This is, first and foremost, the problem of prioritization.
Adoption of a new event tech solution demands more time, short term, since you have to see at least a couple of demos and have some tryouts before deciding on a specific vendor. Not to mention the time it takes to train your team on how to use the new solution and get accustomed to the interface.
However, it is not always easy to invest that time and put an additional burden on yourself and your team right now. The perspective of investing time now to save it later must always be kept in mind and is a key part of the event tech adoption.
Event management tools are ‘nice to have’
Despite all the hype around event technologies, they still don’t have the status of ‘essential tools’ for most event organizers and are still in the nice-to-have category.
This perception is typical for much of the emerging technology that tends to disrupt the usual way of doing business. You know this line of thinking - ‘As long as sheets work, why replace them?’
Or…“as long as I can use a microphone for Q&A, why use an app?”
“People can see the agenda on the website or printouts, why go mobile?”
“The audience can write emails to the organizing team or look for the event staff on the floor, why use chatbots?”
Convincing event organizers that a “nice to have” becomes essential if it can bring new value and free up their time for more creative tasks is one of the most important tasks of event technology providers.
Until then, the cost of implementing a new event management solution will be considered optional, even wasteful at times. And this is despite the fact that event technology brings good ROI and even better ROE (Return on Experience).
No dedicated ‘event technologist’
As their role clearly suggests, event organizers primarily do the work around event organization. We shouldn’t expect them to deal with technology problems with everything else that comes across their desk daily.
Along comes the event technologist, project manager, or another role within the organization that can dedicate more of their time to technology implementation.
That goes hand in hand with a deeper understanding of technology and the way it can be implemented to transform events. This person will be responsible for figuring out the following:
Who is the best supplier, how does the team take responsibility of the new event tech, who should take the lead, and how to divide responsibilities regarding the implementation of the new technology.
Streamlining the process of event tech adoption within the events team vs. the ad hoc approach will guarantee better results and more precision in the whole process.
Attendees don’t know about the event app/chatbot
Many events face the same problem with their tech - the lack of usage by attendees. This can be really frustrating after the arduous process of budgeting, research, selecting and implementing the event tech solution.
Sometimes, it’s because event organizers simply don’t communicate the value of the event tech to attendees. Increasing the usage of your event app or chatbot comes down to the good old promotion tactics.
Simply announcing to your audience that there is a piece of event tech that can enhance their event experience will make a difference.
In the run-up to the event, part of the email and social networks campaign should be dedicated to announcing your chosen solution, with a short tutorial and download links.
If you have an event chatbot, you should activate it prior to the event and train it properly so it can support your team, give details about the agenda and speakers, answer FAQs, etc.
The best opportunity to get your audience to use your event app/chatbot is during the event kickoff. Take a couple of minutes from your welcome speech to announce your tech to everyone, with a couple of tutorial slides and a clear statement of benefit to attendees’ event experience.
App fatigue is taking its toll
App fatigue is real: 80-90% of all downloaded apps are used only once and eventually deleted. No one needs another icon on their phone to just sit there and be discarded eventually. You need to provide something really useful!
If an app holds a promise of elevated event experience (and delivers on it), event participants will use it. This means insight into agenda and speakers, but also Q&A, speaker rating, push notifications, networking, floor plans, and other cool features.
Of course, there will always be a part of your audience that you simply won’t be able to convince to download yet another app.
This is where events chatbots like Savabot come in. Chatbots are accessed through the messaging apps people already use, like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp. The interaction is intuitive and you can completely replace the app and website experience.
Chat interface changes the way attendees access event information and enhances their experience.
There are many obstacles to successful event technology implementation: lack of awareness and time, passive approach to implementation and the fact that people are reluctant to use new technology, especially mobile apps.
With the right attitude by the event organizers, some initial investment, right allocation of resources and a good promotion strategy, events can really be turned around thanks to the elevated experience that innovative technology solutions can provide.