Event industry, like most of the other businesses, has made a significant online presence. This has helped event organisers in terms of both management and marketing of the event. Although the online space has contributed a lot to enrich attendees’ user experience, the success of an event still relies heavily on the elements of onsite event engagement. Onsite event engagement is an age-old art that is still relevant no matter how effective the online efforts are.
Ideally, organisers make a comprehensive plan for monitoring the onsite event work-flow. In this article, we’ll be discussing this workflow focused around an exhibition. Organiser’s onsite role in an exhibition can broadly be classified into these three categories.
During an exhibition, there are many ongoing operations are needed to be taken care of for the successful execution of the event. So the organiser has this team of operation professionals who take care of every onsite operation related to the event.
This team may or may not be the in-house team of the event organising company. Usually, organisers outsource their onsite operation tasks. This service can be outsourced to-
- Manpower agencies
These vendors and the people hired from the manpower agencies are responsible for the overall operation at the exhibition centre. Be it basic necessities such as light & sound or sophisticated legal obligations, operations may cover a plethora of services. These may be-
- Stall Fabrication
As it is clear from their names, Stall fabrication team takes care of all the operations related to the stalls/booths. Light and sound department makes sure that the sound system, speaker, lighting and other similar services are in place. Catering department manages the operations related to storage, supply and the hygiene of food and beverages to be delivered during the exhibition. Manpower team fulfils the onsite needs of the human resource. The legal team takes care of all the legal obligations that are must to be fulfilled. Sometimes, there are so many legal obligations that a team is specifically allocated the job of seeking permissions. An exhibition, depending on its scale and footfall needs permission from various local authorities. Also, it’s necessary to inform various other departments such as district hospitals, police and fire brigade so that they can plan their actions well in advance. Some exhibitions are of such a large scale that they can create serious traffic issues in the surrounding areas. To avoid such mishappenings, the traffic police department should be made aware of the event.
It is the responsibility of the people involved in operations to ensure the smooth execution of the exhibition.
Some venues do not allow outside vendors and in that case, the organiser needs to deal only with the internal vendors even though the internal vendor may prove to be comparatively expensive.
In some cases, venues allow external vendors but there’s a restriction on the commodities to be used. For instance, in the exhibition of the machinery industry where heavy lifting machine is needed, the Venue may not allow organisers to bring crane from outside. In that case, organisers will need to use the crane provided by the venue. It may be a compromise on efficiency and may even be more expensive, but that’s the only option left.
This is not to be confused with the pre-event marketing campaigns that are launched digitally and on-ground for the promotion of the event. Here, we are discussing the on-site marketing that is needed to be done during or just before the exhibition.
It can be visually done using pamphlets, banners or LED screens. It can also be done through vocal announcements.
Depending on the location, These modes of communication can be established inside or outside of the exhibition centre. To make this marketing campaign effective, Organisers usually come up with a well-thought and well-devised strategy. Some of the points to be considered while devising such a strategy-
1. Organisers should consider what exactly they wish to highlight in their marketing. While some are more concerned about the promotion of the current event, there are also the organisers who try to highlight other events of the same organisation. Some even go one step ahead to promote the next event of the series which is about to happen.
2. The medium of marketing should be decided in advance. This may depend on the cost and the demographics in consideration.
Like any other marketing, on-site event marketing has its own marketing funnel. Marketers try their best to market the exhibition in the neighbouring area. This not only creates the much-needed awareness but also tries to target the potential attendees who might get interested in the exhibition.
Some local factors directly affect the marketing plan. Organisers usually remain aware of the various routes that lead to the exhibition venue. They also estimate the traffic on that route on the day of the event. This estimation may not necessarily be about the Quantity of traffic. The quality of traffic, the age group they belong, whether they’re mostly students or professionals, the conveyance they prefer- these metrics make the marketing a lot more rational and insightful.
From the perspective of the event organisers, users are-
User experience is singularly the most crucial factor that determines the success of the event. It lies in the core of organiser’s overall plan. Much of the onsite planning is strategised in order to enhance user experience.
What organisers can do to enhance the user experience?
- The onsite plan needs to be interactive so that it becomes easier for the attendees to navigate through the event. Interactive maps with exhibitor’s name along with stall numbers can save a lot of time.
- Misleading information outside the event venue can divert attendees away from the event. Care should be taken that the signboards etc near the venue easily guide attendees towards the event venue.
- Although most of the work regarding registration and badge generation is completed over an app, onsite queue management still makes sense. In case the footfall is large enough, the event can get unnecessarily chaotic in the absence of proper management.
- Sufficient registration counters are needed for the smooth functioning of the event.
- For overseas visitors or outsiders from a different city, organisers can partner with nearby hotels. Efficient conveyance from the lodging place till the event venue also adds up to overall event experience.
- In case there’s some additional information regarding parking or other local factors, attendees should be notified about it in advance.
When the focus has entirely shifted to online marketing and online user engagement, the onsite event effectiveness may get ignored. Onsite inefficiency may easily spoil all the efforts and money invested in the online event engagement and promotion.
The event, at the end of the day, is still about personal human connection. A great onsite event experience stays longer with the attendees. It decides the future of further editions to come.