The future is now. Technology that once felt like a far-off mystery is here, and it’s here to stay. Artificial intelligence, in particular, is disrupting the event industry in ways we once only imagined were possible. Whether or not you feel like you have a good grasp of AI, it’s clear that it can completely change the event planning process, attendee experience, and your ability to collect post-conference data.
But before we dive into how AI is changing the event industry — and how you can incorporate it at your conference or event — let’s start at the beginning.
What is artificial intelligence?
Artificial intelligence, or AI, can seem pretty ambiguous. And if that’s how it feels to you, know that you’re not alone. AI means different things across different industries. However, in the event industry, it usually refers to technology or machines that can understand and engage in an environment using words, syntax, and smart learning.
Believe it or not, most of us use artificial intelligence on a day-to-day basis. Alexa, what’s the weather today? Siri, call mom. You get the picture. Chatbots are one of the most widely-used AI technology, but there’s obviously much more to it than that.
So, how exactly is AI impacting the event industry?
AI is significantly improving the ways we can connect our attendees. Rather than hoping that random connections lead to mutually beneficial business relationships, we can now use AI technology to more strategically match attendees who share the same interests, experience the same challenges, and have aligning goals within an industry.
Chatbots are being used to conduct conversations with site visitors, event app users, and within event specific communication channels to emulate the way a human would respond.
They can answer questions, keep in contact with attendees, and provide information as requested. Often, chatbots can work through third-party messaging apps that users already have and don’t require another app or extension. So not only are they easy to deploy across multiple platforms, but they also save your staff time and energy by responding to frequent queries, allowing you to focus on other areas of the event planning process.
Interested? Check out Eventbots. Eventbots is an artificial intelligence chatbot that helps participants get information about your specific event over text, anytime, anywhere, without the need to download a new app.
Personalized event experience and deeper attendee understanding:
We can’t mention AI without talking about it’s “deep-learning” abilities. Utilizing AI at your events means deeper attendee insights, allowing you to provide more personal event experiences for individual attendees, based on their unique interests. Whether it’s recommending which sessions to attend or people to network with, AI can help make your event much more personalized.
Removing Language Barriers:
If there’s one thing AI can do well, it’s process and translate languages. If you’re ready to take a nationwide event worldwide, or simply connect people across cultures, AI can accurately and instantly translate web pages, content, and any other event-specific communications.
Now that you know all the ways AI is improving our ability to plan successful events, you might be wondering how to put what you’ve learned into practice.
How can I incorporate AI into my conference, tradeshow, or event?
The first step to incorporating AI into your event is to determine your overall goals. Most often, it revolves around one of these things:
Offer better networking opportunities:
According to a 2018 study by the International Association of Exhibition and Events, 76% of nearly 9,000 participants indicated that networking was a top driver when deciding whether or not to attend a conference or event.
That’s a pretty powerful statistic. So, how can AI be used to improve networking? For starters, it can completely customize recommendations for peer-to-peer networking, buyer/seller networking, and mentoring networking events.
Let’s consider this form an attendee perspective. For example, let’s say you’re an attendee at 2,500 person event. At a traditional networking session, you might find yourself in a room full of strangers at a cocktail mixer or coffee break — with no idea who to approach, what types of people are in the room, and how to find the people who share the same interests as you. Not ideal.
And as an event planner, we get it, planning a session takes time. An unstructured networking session can be easy to put together. But what if we told you there’s a way to increase the quality *and* quantity of connections at your sessions without having to spend any extra administrative planning time?
Matchmaking software can interpret attendee data based on their interests, career experience, geographical location, and pretty much any other way that you want to categorize attendees, all at the touch of a button.
This way, each attendee receives a personalized list of like-minded people to network with. Say goodbye to sessions where attendees don’t meet the right people or get stuck talking to the wrong people.
Improve attendee communication:
Chatbots are not only easy to implement but extremely effective to use. They can communicate with attendees in real-time and answer questions, provide information, and share updates without all of the complexity of an event app. In fact, it’s possible that chatbots could replace the need for event apps in the future, especially for smaller events.
Understand your audience better:
Dive deeper into attendee data with the help of AI. Artificial intelligence can be used to quickly analyze attendee engagement and satisfaction. The best part? You can view and interpret the data as the event is happening.
Improve event planning process:
According to Forbes Magazine, Event Coordinator was the 5th most stressful job in America in 2017. There’s no denying that we’ve all experienced our fair share of long hours and late nights. There are so many moving parts that go into planning a conference, tradeshow, or event, so the more you can streamline the process, the better.
AI can help save you hours — if not days — by automating processes and sorting through complex data.
No matter how much you currently do — or don’t — understand about AI and its ability to impact the event industry, it’s clear that it’s here to stay. So the sooner you stay on top of this trend and start taking advantage of all the ways it can improve the attendee experience, the better.
If you’ve already incorporated AI technology at one of your events, let us know how your experience was! We want to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly. As the technology continues to change and evolve, we anticipate new trends and tools we’ll all need to start learning. Let’s tackle them together and continue to create unforgettable experiences for our attendees.
Happy event planning!