Delegates are becoming more tech savvy every year and want to enhance their experience from the moment they decide to attend an event. Dynamic tools are disrupting old methods of planning in order to craft these new experiences and boost efficiency.
In the past, Wi-Fi, mobile phones and apps were considered as stand-alone items, but they are now being used together to also address different workflows and help manage the unpredictability of events. In turn, planners are re-imaging the way event spaces work and finding all kinds of ways to increase participant engagement.
According to industry analysis by CrowdCompass and the Event Marketing Institute, leading meeting planners in North America say the majority of their attendees consider mobile apps to be critical or important to their experience, with a 94 per cent usage rate for some events.
Partnering with the right venues and suppliers who can help integrate the right technology will give planners a competitive edge and focus on what’s most important – the delegates.
Here are some ways technology is coming together to create top-notch experiences.
Smoother communication pre- and post-event
Event performance is often tied to how efficiently planners communicate with their speakers and how well they manage speaker information. When the Palais des congrès de Montréal hosts large-scale, educational conferences, they are able to use technology to manage the massive influx of information.
Alan Mikhail, associate director business solution and events technologies, says this can include setting up different portals where speakers can provide information ahead of time to a third party website. The moderators can log onto the same platform, edit and finalize content to get it ready for the conference.
“When you are on site, speaker management systems are going to allow that information to be filtered and fed to the right rooms at the right times,” he adds. This will help avoid chaotic activity and having someone running around with USB sticks from room to room in order to get the right presentation on-screen.”
By integrating technology, one designated person can centrally manage all the speaker information for seamless seminars and panel talks, leading to seamless experiences.
Communicating with delegates is also easier now with smoother registration and check-in that give planners more time to focus on various face-to-face tasks, and give event-goers the flexibility to add profile information on an ongoing basis. Live polling helps speakers connect with their audience, while apps are helping obtain real-time feedback and data that tracks attendance and revenue metrics.
Digital signage is one feature that is boosting overall engagement. The same screens used in the past to announce shows and directions can now push a variety of different content and messages to attendees.
“For example, you could be waiting in line and get a sneak peek of what’s going to happen in another room or get an announcement for an item you can purchase on site,” says Mikhail. “It’s cutting through the clutter of classic signage to deliver messages that are non-conventional and often unexpected.”
Digital signage was a show-stopping feature at the annual Journées dentaires internationales du Québec (JDIQ) dentistry convention, which has held its event at the Palais for the past 25 years. Association Director Dr. Denis Forest says it enhanced the social aspect of the convention, as close to 60 photos of delegates were projected on the screen in the morning and afternoon, adding an interactive element. People would gather around, happy to recognize themselves and see highlights of the day.
“This is something live, something very human,” says Forest. “One of the fantastic things about a convention is when you have people getting together; it’s something of a friendship. You’re with friends and colleagues.”
Creating individual solutions
Planners often approach a venue as an area that is going to facilitate services. With so many events and different groups coming to the Palais, Mikhail says increasing communication and getting promoters to share their visions, business processes and end-goals helps address different activities using technology.
“When promoters share their visions we can take this precious information and create solutions that will truly help them from event to event,” he says.
The importance of integrators and partners
Launching a successful event isn’t truly possible without the right partners on board. As more technologies are brought together to create unique experiences, planners need to focus on putting the right teams in place-—teams that can work towards bringing it all together and making the event great.
This can clearly be seen with the use of official audio visual (AV) suppliers within convention centres. These organizations, such as Freedom AV at the Palais des congrès de Montréal, possess the personal know-how and equipment to create fully integrated experiences that incorporate the different technological elements available.
A combination of on-stage projections, dynamic content presentations and lighting management can create mood and improve the overall experience for visitors. Behind the scenes, carefully crafted internet networks, presentation management systems and fully managed control-centres, simplify the process for promoters and presenters.
“With integrated technologies, we can create management centres to control many activities with far fewer steps,” says Mikhail. “At the end of the day, we can save promoters time and effort by centralizing recurring activities, while allowing them to focus on other critical elements of their events.
To learn more about the Palais des congrès de Montreal, visit http://congresmtl.com/en/.