Digitisation. The future for more successful, more sustainable events

Published on 28 February 2023

Innovation and the rapid development of technology has driven industry transformation in recent times.

The digitisation of events, accelerated as a result of the Pandemic, has led to significant investment flooding into new technologies and new initiatives that will change the sector forever.

But what does it mean for Association planners and what are some of the principle benefits of digitisation?

The Digital event. The future.

Multi-format events programmes are the future for most organisations, who will see them engage with their audiences across multiple in-person, virtual, and hybrid events year-round. Successful event programmes will connect these experiences by using integrated technology that powers them and leveraging all the benefits of more digitised events.

Digitised In-person events provide the most effective opportunities for delegates wanting to connect with peers and sponsors wanting to connect with delegates. 

However, expectations of how those connections can be made has changed and digital solutions hold the key to meeting expectations on-site with RFID technology, social media strategies and more. The focus for organisers will be to connect the technology better to leverage the opportunities for streamlining, increasing efficiencies and achieving other operational and financial event goals.

Digitisation makes multi-format events more relevant as planners recognise the ability of digital formats to provide increased opportunities to lengthen the event life cycle and enable attendees to engage with the event (and other attendees) not just at the event but over an extended time-frame pre and post event in the form of professional communities, workshops and online ‘masterclasses’.

The Value of Virtual. While the in-person format may be the natural choice in terms of delivering the most value for networking and connecting, virtual and hybrid channels will offer hugely valuable opportunities to add value in a number of ways including increased reach, achievement of event sustainability goals and reducing cost of travel and accommodation. 

With these new engagement opportunities are an even more valuable marketing tool and, in particular, multi-format event delivery means planners have more options to meet the needs of delegates, exhibitors, speakers and other attendees that might not be able to attend an event in person.

In one example, a client was able to increase attendees to their annual congress from 450 attendees to 1300 attendees and then leverage this engagement to drive increases in membership and revenues.

Virtual channels are relatively low cost and low risk compared to their in-person counterparts so they can be executed more frequently and cost effectively, with the resultant continuous engagement of the audience around a range of topics and can be used as an effective tool for promoting the in-person event programme while the audience is already engaged through the use of video, panel discussions and so on.

Running a virtual programme gives the opportunity to add future events to prospects calendars months in advance and begin the engagement process at the same time.

The goal is to bring the audience together more often and provide a connected ‘community’ experience rather than having them just turn up and then not engage for another 12 months.

Additionally, making full use of all channels enables the life cycle of the event to be extended and also offers new ways to create revenue streams. We’ve seen clients record sessions and then create a series of short, targeted, masterclasses post-event to keep the audience engaged and generate new revenue.

Event apps give attendees the opportunity to engage with the event and other attendees in many ways. A feature-rich event app enables attendees to review agenda’s sign up for sessions, connect with peers, make table reservations, receive alerts, review content and so much more. Gamification tools can push the engagement even further and give attendees even more value from the on-site experience.

With the app working hand in hand with your event website, you can streamline the content so that attendees can better plan an experience that is uniquely built for them. At MICE Concierge, we have experience of working with a variety of different platforms and can advise on the one most suitable for any given situation. The key thing is integration – in other words, all elements working together as this improve the attendee experience, increases efficiency and ensures compliance with GDPR requirements.

Digitisation and Extended Engagement

Focus on extended engagement. We know. You attract attendees, they turn up, everyone takes notes, says goodbye and starts planning for next year. Digitisation can change all that by extending the life cycle of the event to increase engagement over a longer period of time. It’s about the methods planners use to keep their audience engaged between events and devise strategies to enable your attendees to engage continuously.

Connecting with peers before the event. Why not give your attendees the chance to review content prior to the event; pre recorded videos, highlights from past conferences, sponsor hosted round-table discussions to break the ice with other attendees are all great ways to get attendees ready and feel prepared to get the most out of the event when they arrive on-site.

Next generation onsite check-in and attendee data. Using RFID technology is one of the most significant ways digitisation can improve the delegate experience. The next generation of onsite check-in systems will include contactless arrivals for improved efficiency and delegate flow, delegate tracking can be used for monitoring room capacity and there are multiple ways technology can be used to add value to sponsors and improve the event experience.

Build your professional community. By offering more frequent and varied opportunities for your attendees to connect, you’re building a more engaged and connected community that promotes continuous participation in your events.

If you’re a prospective attendee and you see that several people in your network are attending an event, you’re probably more likely to go – not just to meet with them but because if this event is relevant to them, it’s likely relevant to you, as well.

Using digital content for marketing. Just as your attendees can take advantage of your content year-round with on-demand viewing, you can be creating opportunities to repackage and repurpose the content you spend months creating for your in-person events.

Recordings of in-person sessions, provide high value video content that could be used to extend engagement, but it also provides opportunities for countless marketing materials. Think blogs built from session transcripts, snackable video snippets, and ad campaigns from one great insight from one of your sessions.

If you are looking at making better use of technology to digitise your events, MICE Concierge and digitisation go hand in hand. Our business is trusted by over 40 Associations and Societies to deliver a variety of services. We are Digitisation specialists that put the technology and knowhow at the centre of what we do. Click here to get in touch.