Thursday, January 22, 2015

What does technology mean for meetings?

I moderated the MPISCC Tech Panel on January 14, 2015. The full audio recording resides on the Meetings Podcast, thanks to Jon Trask, one of our panelists. As a follow-up, I thought I’d answer a few of my own questions since we didn’t get to all of them during the meeting.

Q: At what point do you “rip off the band-aid”? For example, when do you get rid of the printed program in favor of the mobile app or take away access to old technology (microphone) in favor of new (audience response app)

A: There are different strategies for customer events vs. employee events. You need to think about demographics as well. However, your technology will get better adoption rates if you take away the old way of providing the information or engaging with the audience.

Q: Audience interaction or attendee experience is the future of events. How would you define this, how do you use technology, and how is this different from putting on a logistically seamless event?

A: Walking in the attendees’ shoes through a successful and pleasant experience would be the traditional definition of the attendee experience. The difference is the expectations of the attendee of today vs. the attendee of yesterday. Today’s attendee expect more than a seamless event. They want to feel welcome and be given an easy way to find their tribe. They want to tweet feedback and then they expect a response. The customer service element of your event needs to be front and center.

Q: When working with technology vendors, what are the questions that event organizers and clients should be asking?

A: Ask them if they charge for customer service on nights, weekends and holidays. This is how you know you are working with an event company vs. a technology company.

Q: How can hotel and other non-technology suppliers help planners facilitate new technologies in their meetings?

A: As always, understanding the goals and objectives of the event will help you assist your clients. Do your research on the types of technologies your clients are using. Some new technologies might require different types of room setups and layouts. Some planners are getting more creative with different types of meeting design and will need much more flexibility from their venues.

Q: What’s your favorite event technology right now?  Why?

A: I love the idea of gamification but I don’t like most applications that simply reward check-ins as they aren’t always supporting the goals and objectives for the attendee or the organizer. A learning based game like SocialPoint’s Challenge Bar can be used by event organizers and by exhibitors at trade shows.

Let me know if you agree with my answers. What questions do you have about event technology?