Event technology is rapidly growing its capacity in an increasingly competitive landscape, providing new solutions for both planners and marketing professionals. It took only a few years to digitize the event logistics and communication. We moved from manually executed processes and analog interactions to digital tools that instantly solve a wide range of planning challenges. Along with this, a drastic change occurred in the way professionals can design and automatize the attendee journey.
What the attendee journey is and how it works
According to the CPG Agency, setting up an attendee journey map refers to “a timeline that details every aspect of the experience your people will meet leading up to, during, and after your event.”
Whether you are planning a congress or a trade show, it’s crucial to identify all the engagement stages attendees will experience when interacting with the event environment. From acknowledging the upcoming event and registering to traveling and walking through the check-in doors, the entire range of actions a guest must take to attend the event defines the attendee journey.
As event professional and author Julia Silvers Rutherford specifies, “From the moment the decision is made to attend the event, the journey begins.”
That’s why, apart from ensuring a flawless planning strategy, your responsibility is to facilitate and maximize the interaction experience the guests will have with the logistics and the event itself.
To make this happen, you must focus on providing a strong accompaniment system. This will guarantee a gratifying journey for your attendees. Thanks to the quick development of event technology, there are multiple ways in which you can design a flawless experience. Yet, all of them revolve around one imperative element: to automatize the attendee journey.
Why should you automatize the attendee journey?
If you are not there yet, here are reasons why you should consider automatizing the attendee journey:
Reason #1. You’ll get back valuable time
Setting up and maintaining an efficient attendee journey requires time and effort. Apart from struggling with multiple manual tasks, you’ll have to always be aware of your attendees’ journey. Also, you may want to consider all the flaws and the unpleasant surprises you’ll have to face.
If you decide to automatize the attendee journey instead, you’ll be able to delegate the entire process to a powerful system that will take care of everything for you.
You’ll gain back time (always a precious commodity when planning an event) and have the space and tranquility to focus on other tasks or on exploring your creativity and innovation spirit as an event professional.
Reason #2. You’ll give your attendees a stress-free experience
Let’s face it: the more difficult the logistic process is (such as registering, paying the attendance fees, etc.), the more likely potential attendees will fail to register or take further steps to engage with the event environment.
That’s why it’s your responsibility to assist your potential guests by providing them with a user-friendly and stress-free experience. Don’t hesitate to automatize the attendee journey completely and ensure a high-quality interaction for your audience with the event itself.
Reason #3. It’s your ticket into the professional league
True professionals are quick in correctly adopting and adapting to new technologies. This helps them keep the pace and differentiate themselves from the competition. One way to do that is to automatize the attendee journey. By digitizing the guest experience, you’ll show a higher level of professionalism. Also, you'll highlight the strong commitment to providing the best for your attendees.
Reason #4. It’ll help you avoid repetition and scale up your efforts
It’s no secret that good event management software and apps ensure a wide range of digital tools that can maximize your efforts. Moreover, software guarantees an easy transition from the repetitive tasks to quickly configuring a system that works for you. If you decide to automatize the attendee journey, you’ll gain the same freedom, easily scaling up your efforts and spending zero time on boring, tedious tasks.
Reason #5. Automatization improves accountability
By choosing to automatize the attendee journey, you’ll have access to real-time updates about the guests’ interactions with the system. Attendee journey digitization and automation will provide you with a clear picture about the each stage of your guests’ experience. Additionally, it will improve your ability to act quickly when you spot improvement areas within the journey.
How to automatize the attendee journey
If you want to improve the planning process, and also maximize your efforts and increase the quality of your events, there’s no other way around that to fully automatize the attendee journey.
Here’s how you can do it:
PRE-EVENT ATTENDEE JOURNEY AUTOMATION
Step 1. Set up a friendly online registration
When it comes to running events without the help of a professional planner, building online event registration forms is one of the most underestimated steps. An online registration form can give you so much more than just a headcount and names, and not thoroughly understanding a form’s true capabilities can lead to mistakes and missed opportunities.
First, you run the risk of fewer people registering for your events. When an online event registration form isn’t user-friendly and people have to spend a lot of time filling it out, most won’t even bother, even if they were interested in attending the event.
Second, you may overlook a great possibility of customizing these forms to your needs. This way, you'll extract meaningful data about your attendees that will allow you to design a better event experience.
To automatize the attendee journey, you must start by designing a user-friendly and easy-to-understand registration form. This will ensure a pleasant first experience with the event logistics.
Step 2. Offer discount coupons and early bird tickets
One way to automatize the attendee journey is to generate attractive coupon codes and early bird discounts. This strategy is the surest way to your audience’s hearts. You can offer these discounts as an expression of your loyalty to certain types of attendees. Also, you can provide it as an incentive for those attendees who’ll spread the word about your event. You can also use these incentives as an experimentation tool for different pricing strategies.
Step 3. Facilitate the payment process
Alleviate the payment procedure by giving your attendees the option to register first and pay later. Have your guests pay with one click as the invoice document redirects them to the payment interface. Set up an electronic guarantee that guests will automatically receive a payment confirmation when they pay the invoice. This is only possible if you automatize the attendee journey by using advanced event management software.
Step 4. Provide real-time updates
Whether you’re about to plan a business conference, a small workshop, or a medical congress, an attractive event website can help you communicate your value proposition and attract more attendees. However, apart from the all the numerous other logistic tasks you must take care of, building, updating, and maintaining an attractive event website can become a nightmare.
Luckily, powerful event management software can help you create an attractive event site and communicate your identity. In addition, this option will help you automatize the attendee journey by keeping attendees up-to-date with every event-related change.
Step 5. Ensure marketing automation
If you want to automatize the attendee journey, efficiently promote your event, and improve your communication with the attendees, be ready to send lots of emails.
Powerful event management platforms usually integrate an efficient mailing engine that should allow you to import and manage mailing lists, compose rich emails, send targeted emails, and review your analytics. They can also save you some time by using predefined filters and target the right recipients with the right information.
THE AUTOMATION OF THE ATTENDEE JOURNEY DURING THE EVENT
Step 1. Create and distribute attendee badges
By using an unfriendly system to create and print custom event badges, you face multiple risks. One of those risks is wasting valuable time on something that should take no longer than a few clicks. Not to mention that you’re limiting your options, such as the ability to send the e-badges to your attendees via email, or print the badges onsite.
Powerful event management software, instead, will provide you with an efficient tool to design and print custom event badges fully tailored to your needs. And why print custom event badges in the first place, when you can just have the attendees print their own before the event?
Good event technology will allow you to design a badge blueprint. Then you can generate a specific code that you can email to your attendees. Having this code (in form of a download button), the future attendees can open the badge as a PDF and print it. During the check-in, validate their identity by scanning the QR code from the badge. Subsequently, you can offer them a plastic holder for their badge.
Step 2. Simplify the onsite check-in procedure
To automatize the attendee journey, you must not forget about event access. That’s why you should find a way to simplify the onsite check-in process and attendee tracking. By using a friendly check-in mobile app, for example, you’ll help your attendees avoid long lines at the entrance of your event and keep flawless control of the access flow.
Step 3. Allow your guests to create their own networking agenda
A B2B matchmaking system, for example, will let attendees schedule short meetings during the event with those people who are important for their businesses or careers. They have absolute control over the networking dynamic. Not only can they scroll through the list of guests, but they can also decide with whom they want to connect.
Step 4. Set up live polls and digital Q&A sessions
Make your events more interactive by allowing attendees to ask live questions to the speakers directly through a web app on their phones. Also, ensure better attendee engagement by offering attendees the possibility to actively participate during the sessions and see the poll results in real time.
POST-EVENT ATTENDEE JOURNEY AUTOMATION
Step 1. Design attractive post-event surveys
The attendee journey continues after the event, too. To guarantee that journey continues to be smooth and easy, choose to automatize future communication with your guests. Set up a series of post-event surveys and collect the feedback through an interactive system. Make your attendees understand that their opinion and evaluation matters!
Step 2. Provide a content platform for your attendees
Post-event content will help keep your attendees interested in the topics they discussed during the event, and will also help you achieve post-event engagement with your audience. You can also use this valuable information to grow your event community and successfully promote your next edition.
Provide a post-event content platform for your attendees and gain more followers. Increase the loyalty of previous attendees, and strengthen the community around the values your event is promoting.
To automatize the attendee journey, you must consider all the details that can facilitate your guests’ interaction with the event environment. Start with the premise of helping your attendees easily navigate their experience. Scale up your efforts by correctly using the event technology and making the most of its features. Experiment with the digital tools you have and make sure to provide the best journey ever for your guests.