In today’s smartphone-centric world, we expect our experience of the world to be personalized. And your events should meet that expectation.
A one-size-fits-all approach to your event won’t help you stand out in this experience-driven economy. With 9 out of 10 millennials having attended at least one event in the last year, you have to craft a truly unique experience to make your event the one they remember — and come back to.
Luckily, technology can satisfy event-goers’ desires. Here are five ways to use tech to give attendees the personalized event experience they demand.
1. Customize the attendee experience with event apps
“An event app is becoming a necessity,” says Tommy Goodwin, the director of global field services at Eventbrite. “You can use it to communicate to attendees about real-time changes on the ground, problems you’re addressing, and awesome activities that are going on that attendees may not know about.”
Once attendees have downloaded your app, you can use it to share critical information — everything from safety info to helpful tips about traffic flow (i.e., “Waiting in line for a drink? Lines are way shorter at the west side of the site!”).
Let attendees mark their favorite acts and activities to create a personal schedule for their day. Once they’ve indicated this information, you can serve them personalized notifications when their favorite band is about to go on, or when a food vendor they were interested in is almost sold out. You can also monitor this data to see which elements of the festival people were most excited about.
2. Customize attendee communication with artificial intelligence
Some festivals have taken apps one step further, using AI (artificial intelligence) in their own app or others. Sound on Sound Fest is a three-day music, camping, and adventure festival at a Renaissance fair in Texas. In 2016, they created a customer service plugin through Facebook Messenger to answer fans queries.
“It was automated, and able to answer a lot of customer questions with a great success rate,” says Morgan Howard, a freelance customer experience manager for festivals who worked on the bot. “Fans got the instant gratification of receiving a response.”
Artificial intelligence may seem futuristic, but it’s already having an impact on events in 2017. Now, it’s an impressive perk for attendees, but soon it will be an expected part of the attendee experience.
3. Make payments personal with RFID wristbands
RFID (radio-frequency identification) wristbands seriously speed up event entrance, but they also help make payments within the event as fast as possible. By syncing their credit card with their RFID wristband, attendees can spend less time in line and pay with cashless payments.
This way, attendees can pay for food, drinks, or merch with a simple tap of their wrist. They can add their payment information to their RFID wristband before the festival, making it easier than ever to buy.
4. Help attendees share their unique experiences on social media
Nearly half of millennials say they attend live events specifically so they have something to share on social channels. And 73% believe that attending a live event is the best way to show other people what they’re interested in.
So make it easy for attendees to share their experience. Give them unique or exciting content to share by renting a smart photo booth so fans can take photos, looping videos, and GIFs to post directly from the booth itself. Let them show off where they are in photos by creating Snapchat geofilters that reflect different elements of the festival experience. And use a social media display like Everwall to broadcast fan posts on the big screen so they can share their experience with as broad an audience as possible.
5. Expand the event experience with video
These technologies improve the experience for attendees as well. For example, Coachella’s organizers sent out free Google Cardboard VR headsets in every welcome package. A free app lets ticket-buyers view exclusive musical content before, during, and after the festival itself.
Plus, attendees want to share the experience with friends who aren’t there. “Attendees could send a link or post to someone who’s not at the show, so their whole personal community of friends feel like they are participating in the event as well,” says Mathew Thomas, the founder of ConcertPass, a mobile rewards and loyalty app for concerts.