The event technology industry is evolving exponentially, and for a good reason. Increasingly, event organizers are realizing that the right event technology solutions can help them improve their event offerings and ROI.
New event technologies such as the metaverse, virtual events, hybrid events, drone views, and self-navigation features have widened the scope of the event industry. Additionally, event technology has allowed event organizers to break free from the old, monotonous ways of hosting traditional events and take them to the next level.
Considering the rapid advancements in event technology, the event industry is expected to become much more experiential while planning and creating out-of-this-box experiences for attendees. Planners will likely move away from the run-of-the-mill format and enter a new world with a sense of both challenging and exciting reality.
As part of the event experts series, 10times asked Marie-Élaine Lemire, Event Tech Expert & Event Strategy Specialist, to share her viewpoints on the event technology trends that are shaping the events industry.
Marie-Élaine began working in the event industry in 2018 while assisting companies with exhibitions at international trade shows. She joined the Event Tech industry in 2020 in an attempt to assist Event Organizers with integrating technology.
Marie-Élaine quickly evolved into positions in sales and marketing because of her strategic thinking and expertise. With strong business development skills, she views technology as the ultimate lever for unlimited networking and endless strategic opportunities
* Could you please walk us through your professional journey?
When I was younger, I had a hard time finding my professional calling. After trying different fields without feeling that I was at the right place, I decided to study career counseling with the goal of helping other “lost souls,” as I was one myself.
After a couple of years of working for a global recruitment firm and fighting more than 3 hours of traffic and commuting every day, I randomly found a role in a stand-building company that was closer to my house. This is where I finally found my professional path: Events and tradeshows.
With Covid, I then had no choice but to pivot and enter the world of Event technology, which made me learn so much about the overall industry.
* What attracted you to events industry in the first place?
I never expected to be part of this industry but what I know is that once you step into it, it is really hard to think or imagine stepping out. I remember the first time I had a call with international partners.
I felt so privileged to be able to connect with people from all around the world who share the same passion and interests as me and from whom I could learn. I instantly understood how powerful our industry is and that we can make the world smaller by bringing people together. And we know that when everybody becomes allies, we can create changes and amazing things!
* What are some pain points event organizers are currently experiencing and how can technology help address them?
Inflation starts having a real impact on the cost of organizing a complete event but also attending an event for attendees and exhibitors, thus leading to uncertainty when it comes to in-person attendance and ROI.
Technology, as we know it since the pandemic, will offer alternatives for the audience that won’t be able to afford the cost of traveling and exhibiting-attending the next in-person event.
Call it Online or hybrid events, Community or on-demand, any sort of available event-related content, streaming or networking opportunities become options to ensure maintaining the existing audience but can also help growing the audience and ensuring revenue generation on a 365 year-round basis.
Offering a curated experience to the audience while limiting overspent and thinking of sustainability is also a pain point for organizers. As mentioned with the inflation impact, Organizers have to see ROI on their spending with suppliers while offering a seamless experience to their customers.
Technology such as mobile apps for in-person events, web platforms or touchless registration processes helps leverage the attendees and exhibitor experience by providing solutions that simplify the information search and become a companion during the whole event.
Not to mention that technology and automated systems help overcome the labor shortage and rising wages caused by inflation and are contributing to more sustainability in events.
If we think of all the printing that can be eliminated by keeping the event information in a platform (mobile app, for example), it’s already a step toward more environmental consciousness. Imagine now if all physical goodies from exhibitors could shift to virtual giveaways accessible on that same platform!
Technology also helps to better measure, benchmark and forecast event success. The pandemic and the explosion of tech platforms and tools showed us that we could use technology to retrieve way more data.
Whether it’s to know which content of your event is the most popular, which topics are the most trendy, where is the traffic on your tradeshow floor, who attended conferences and which of your exhibitors or sponsors is the most attractive to your audience, there is almost no limitation when it comes to data and understanding your audience.
Those analytics are keys for organizers to build their next event editions and create more monetization opportunities, meaning better business.
Demonstrating value for first-time exhibitors seems to be tricky for many organizers and it then becomes hard to ensure retention or expansion. Technology, including mobile apps and web platforms allow and facilitates more relevant networking opportunities by offering matchmaking features, meeting schedulers, lead retrieval solutions, directories of exhibitors and attendees, chats and AI recommendations.
By providing high-quality lead generation opportunities and lead capture, it becomes easier to show the ROI for attendees and exhibitors and everyone wins by becoming more effective during the event. Also, tech platforms offer additional monetization opportunities for sponsors and exhibitors (advertising, virtual banners, automated communications, company pages, etc.).
Those opportunities often retrieve data (clicks, views, traffic analytics, etc.) which are, of course, useful for the organizer, but also a great ROI indicator to provide to Exhibitors.
* What do you see as the biggest game-changing event tech in the next few years?
I believe that 365 year-round engagement platforms combined with marketplace and eCommerce solutions will become more and more popular in the next few years.
Why would we limitate the creation of business opportunities to a 3-day tradeshow if we can build and nurture those business relationships on a continuous journey? Of course, in-person trade shows will remain a key gathering for the industry but won’t be the only way to take part in a community around an event brand.
Nevertheless, building a 365 year-round engagement platform is a process and requires a lot of resources such as strategic experts. That’s why I think it will take some time before we get fully up and running and really get the most out of these platforms that allow endless possibilities.
* Any additional advice you would like to give to our event planners?
In a perspective where events will be part of a 365 year-round engagement strategy, I would say that we must constantly continue to innovate and think outside the box. Despite all the creativity and opportunities that event technologies unleashed in the past few years, the tech world is constantly evolving and audiences increasingly have access to information from a variety of sources.
Every day, we all are targeted by marketing strategies to engage us within different communities and brands (look at your email inbox or everytime you shop online, scroll social media or walk into a store).
We all get used and therefore insensitive to marketing tactics and it will be the same when it comes to technology implementations in events. We have to keep in mind that we can’t expect any magical strategy and secret recipe to make an event or a 365 year-round engagement platform work.
The monetization, communication, engagement, and other strategies we know today won’t be the ones working tomorrow. For more in the Events Industry Experts series, check out our interview with Jen Salerno, CMP, DES, Harris Schanhaut, CME, Janice Cardinale, Courtney Stanley, Helen Moon, Danica Tormohlen, Ashley Brown, Jason Allan Scott, Brandt Krueger, Corbin Ball, Will Curran, and Stephan Murtagh today!
Are you interested in sharing your insights or viewpoints with the events industry? Join the Eva Talk.