Whilst they may vary in size, events today can mean anything from small business meetings to large-scale exhibitions.
The expectation of savvy visitors to events has changed significantly. As a result, event organisers need to step up and adapt to new demands quickly to avoid missing out.
A significant element of this is the evolution in the use of technology both by the audience attending events, causing event managers to ensure their event can cater for the demand, with all available facilities and resources.
One of the most significant trends we have seen in the last five years is the increasing use of mobile technology by visitors in the form of tablet and smart phone across the spectrum of meeting venue attendees, for both social and business events.
This is right from the initial booking process – with all options from number of visitors through to food and beverage requirements – alongside video conferencing and marketing materials all available to easily schedule for the conference. This needs to be available on a 24 / 7/ 365 basis.
Even during an event, increasingly today, centres have introduced apps to offer all the details in one place, but these must be carefully created to be easy to navigate and manage for the benefit of the user and the event management.
Reception Meet and Greet
Right from the entrance, visitors expect to be formally greeted in the most efficient way possible, to ensure there is no impact on their visit.
Events must have the right staff management on the door, alongside the right technology to ensure visitors can be seamlessly welcomed, presented with an ID badge where appropriate and directed to the right location for their event – whether it be a meeting, conference, or even a wedding.
On site Wi-Fi
With the reliance on tablet and mobile technology, during a visitor’s experience of an event there is now an expectation of quality WI-Fi to be available at no extra cost to the user – it simply cannot be a premium service offering.
This is also particularly prevalent with increasing numbers of events offering apps which can be downloaded and used for latest literature of the event itself, exhibitors and also offering live q&a sessions for conference alongside opportunities for visitors to communicate with each other.
Visitors must also have facilities to charge mobile and tablet devices and there must be an allowance for the meeting community to engage effectively using their mobile devices, as a clear driver for the future.
Finally, the trend blurring networking and socialising in business is well established and this means event managers need to examine the meeting spaces made available for informal collaboration and discussion.
Increasingly, events need to provide their audience with the digital experience people expect to receive. This is in terms of communication and to engage with fellow participants and the facility event coordinators.
Firstly, visitors need to be met with digital panels and signage so that they can easily identify their meeting and where it is being held.
Increasingly commonplace in events now are also social walls with real time and live interaction and leaderboards to embrace social collaboration and the sharing nature of social media.
AV and video conferencing is another aspect for events of today to adopt, with the flexibility to offer facilities at short notice and often in informal settings. Again these require high bandwidth and compatibility with tablets and mobile phone technology.
Food and Beverage
Event organisers must be the first to acknowledge that the days when guests would arrive and queue up for the average lunch in a meeting experience is well past its sell by date and any venue chosen must be able to accommodate.
Today’s event, meeting or social gathering has a high expectation in terms of food and beverage, with a much greater sensitivity to healthy eating, better information on food additives etc. as well as the right portion sizes. And they are the first to use social media if expectations are not catered for!
Another aspect of today’s event management is the acceptance of different dietary requirements, including vegan and vegetarian, but also increasingly lactose, gluten and nut intolerances, and ensuring allowances are made to guarantee to the visitor a great dining experience.
So if you are looking at events, in terms of attracting and retaining the right clients, here is a checklist that you should consider:
Is your reception / meet and greet facility using right technology for meet and greet secure visitor check in, visitor badging where appropriate and increasingly today, an app to provide the visitor with all meeting information in interactive digital format
Do you provide high quality wifi access from all locations in building on a complimentary basis?
Are you providing meeting information as well as path finding and room level meeting details in digital format using latest AV / signage technologies.
Do you have live social media walls comments on your event?
Do you offer an event app?
Is your food and beverage offering up to the mark, catering for the expectations of the conference attendee as well as giving the choice and flexibility to cater for dietary requirements
How is your event laid out? Does it cater for meeting space and informal flexible space for social engagement and collaboration which meeting attendees require during significant parts of the day?
NFS is a leading provider of innovative technology solutions for events. The Rendezvous suite of software delivers fully integrated veunue management and combines the operational efficiency with the integration with the key components required in today’s digital age.
For example room panels, reception signage, visitor management online registrations, room layout planning and a comprehensive food and beverage epos management solution.
Just as a final thought, if you really want to look forward, where is this technology going to fit into your event management?
For the answer, alongside any further information on event management solutions, please visit www.nfs-hospitality.com