Experiential Interactive Technology Roundtable

May 3, 2023

Experiential Interactive Technology Roundtable

What was our roundtable about?

Our roundtable discussion at Event Tech live, Las Vegas, highlighted the relationship between experiential interactive technology and its users within the event space. We shined a spotlight on some current concerns surrounding data usage, what the main focal points for the event industry players are, and whether the visitor is getting the most out of their experience.

In addition, we opened the floor to exhibitors, gaining a concrete idea for how experiential interactive tech can benefit their stand and their visitors.

What were the main points covered?

Q1. WHY ARE EXHIBITORS & PLANNERS INCREASING THEIR INVESTMENT IN EXPERIENTIAL & INTERACTIVE EVENT TECH?

Person 1: To meet the growing expectations of visitors wanting a more "modern", "immersive" and "memorable" experience that will improve the "connection" between the visitors and their brand engagement.

Person 2: It's a by-product of modernity. As the outside world evolves, so too does the events industry. The dynamism of the event sector is continuously evolving with new ideas constantly revolving around how technology can better assist the organiser, exhibitor and visitors.

Person 3: Well, exhibitors with almost identical services, like stand builders for example, are automatically going to compete for clients, and if prices are being matched, the only competitive edge left is their ability to offer greater value and experience in their solutions. Having the resources to offer "new" and "practical" interactive technology adds expendable utility to their services, products, and overall brand.

Person 4: With technology being integral to every day modern life and new generations all too familiar with the use of tech in every aspect, it's become customary to have technology everywhere you go. That might sound somewhat "entitled" but the fact of the matter is when people go to these events, they want to see something different, they want to be "blown away" and impressed.

Q2. WHAT ARE CONSIDERED THE MOST INTERACTIVE & ENGAGING ASPECTS WITHIN AN EVENT?

Answers:  

1. Technology

2. Games (contests, trivia, raffles etc)

3. Networking

4. Discussions

5. Photo Booths

6. Food & Drinks

Q3. IS THERE AN OVERUSE OF EVENT APPS & DOES THE DATA SHARE POTENTIALLY DETER USERS FROM SIGNING UP & ATTENDING EVENTS?


Follow up question: What are the benefits of event apps & do they out-weigh the risk of overburdening users with too many intricate technical steps creating too many jobs for the user, which might lead them to remove the app entirely because of unnecessary features in the app?

Top 5 Positives:

  • Sustainability (replacing printed material)
  • Event mapping on the app
  • Updates in realtime
  • Communication networking features (organiser>exhibitor+visitor) (exhibitor>exhibitor) (exhibitor<>visitor)
  • Centralised and personal event management platform

Top 5 Concerns:

  • Data leaks
  • Can seem too complicated
  • Frequent event goers could end up downloading up to 10 event apps a year
  • Not enough incentive to keep the app post show
  • Cost prohibitive for small independent organisers

Q4. Does the idea of "Big data" using events as a channel for capitalising on exhibitor and visitor information reflect the limited incentives that organisers offer for the app users to retain the app on their device post show?

Person 1: This could be because of a lack of marketing resource and imagination from the organiser.

Person 2: Most incentives are not persuading enough for users to retain apps long term. Perhaps a chance to win an all-inclusive luxury cruise would be a better incentive than Amazon vouchers.

Person 3: Most organisers are GDPR compliant, well they all should be, and the risk of a data leak is highly unlikely. App users should take it upon themselves to utilise the full benefits of event apps to get the most out of their event. Because that's what they're designed for.

Person 4: Balance is key. Depending on what type of event you have, your need for experiential interactive tech may vary and this may impact the user's experience. Insomuch as if you feel the event was more data driven than experiential it could be worth understanding the reasons for this as it could be focused on market research to help improve on the next event for example.

Person 1: Surely most organisers would have done pre-show market research through surveys, polls, Q&As? Data is king in today's world and the more you have of it, the more chance of influence you have. In this sense, event apps have shown themselves to be a scapegoat for organisers to create live and digital marketplaces for their paying clients to sell to each other and visitors on a much larger scale. While doing the bare minimum to maximise visitor experience.

Person 4: As with any modern industry working with people, bridging the gap between technology and humans has always been a challenge in the way you tailor experience. There has to be mutual benefit for all. Organisers must see themselves as hospitality with the visitor's needs as a driving factor. Visitors must see themselves as openminded purveyors open to understanding the intricacies of modern events. As with visitors wanting a better experience with technology, organisers need the "know-how" and resources to do so.

Q5. WHAT ARE THE "RISKS" AROUND EXPERIENTIAL TECH WITHIN THE EVENT SPACE AND WHAT INTERACTIVE LIMITATIONS DOES IT HAVE WHEN ACHIEVING ITS PURPOSE?


Person 1: Form should follow function. The intended use of experiential event tech should aspire to achieve
specific aims as to try and not alienate or confuse the user. Being precise should circumvent as many foreseeable "risks" as possible.

Person 3: I suppose there's certain quantifiable limitations on how well you can measure live experience. I've seen some companies try and overcome this with digital poll boxes with a range of emojis you can click on to reflect your experience a visitor.

Person 2: It might be difficult to extract raw data from live experience but I genuinely believe if something is popular than it's evident that it's enjoyable. A good way to research this is through social media platforms like TikTok. Research what's trending and find a way to implement that experience into your event or stand.

Person 4: Also, it depends on the demographic you're trying to engage with. Call me presumptuous, but generally speaking if you're attending an insurance network event as an exhibitor, where from experience most of the attendees and delegates are from a older generation, and on your stand you have a TikTok inspired challenge theme, it might be unlikely you'll get the interactivity intended. However, this type of stand maybe perfect for an event intended for graduates. Knowing your audience is fundamental.

Here are some stats to consider!

82% of B2B event personnel believe that attendee engagement is an important KPI for event success and 89% of businesses using event technology save roughly 200 hours per year (or roughly one hour per day), and 20% see 360+ hours saved per year (Bizzabo). 


51.5% of planners say that the inability to match live engagement is the most frustrating thing when it comes to sourcing event tech, and 25.4% say cost is the biggest challenge (EventMB).


Event personnel say 64% of their brand awareness comes from hosting events (Bizzabo). A recent study showed event technology can increase attendance by 20% and productivity by 27% (VISME).


A study ran in 2019 showed the majority (63%) of respondents believe a mobile app can drive attendee engagement (Bizzabo).


90% of event marketers believe that technology can have a major positive impact on the success of their events (Bizzabo) and that 78% of event marketers believe that in-person events is becoming increasingly important to their company’s success (Bizzabo).


54% of event planners are spending more of their time and attention on the attendee experience rather than logistics (AMEX).


63% of respondents believe tools to engage event attendees will play a key role in their future event strategies (Bizzabo).


85% of leadership (Senior Managers, Executives, and Board Members) believe in-person events are critical to their company’s success. Research also shows that many different types of events are effective, and often underused, methods of generating leads and driving brand awareness (Penguins).

If you're interested in learning more about interactive event technology and how it can help you deliver a better visitor experience and engagement with your stakeholders, we're here to help!

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