For an industry centered on relationships and in-person experiences, event planners are taking things to the next level thanks to today’s hottest technologies. These softwares aren’t about replacing one-on-one interactions, but about making them more powerful - while simultaneously making them more efficient. We spoke with a few members in this space for their take on what technologies are helping event planners today.
Let’s take it from touchpoint number one: the invitation. “The rise of the experience economy has led to a more integrated approach to event branding, which has an impact on technology and how it is being used,” says David Becker, co-founder & CEO at zkipster. “Invitations are now in line with other touchpoints, from the check-in area to the gift bag at the exit. Brands are starting to acknowledge the influencer journey as a branding opportunity.”
As we well know, branding goes beyond visuals, and is actually something deeply personal. As event staffing company Outfit Talent puts it: “People make the party.” As such, their time-saving technology directly connects brands and event planners with talent, which in turn enhances event guests’ IRL experience.
“Each Talent has a unique personality, a personal brand of their own, and our platform lets brands see that during the booking process,” explains the Outfit team. “And by selecting the right talent personality for an event, be it a brand ambassador or bartender, you can significantly impact the experience for your guests.”
This takes us to the on-site experience, where many technologies work harmoniously to ensure a successful event. The Outfit team has a few favorites, noting that, “Other technologies such as zkipster and Fashion GPS improve both event planning and on-site event experience. “These apps streamline everything from guest list management to seating arrangements to on-site check-in, all reinforcing the notion that the goal of event technologies is not to replace or simulate human interaction, rather it is to enhance the IRL experience.”
The standard, of course, should not just be to execute a seamless event, but to also deliver an engaging and memorable experience. Daphne Hoppenot, founder of The Vendry – a platform for the world's leading experiential professionals – points to Instagram stories as a good gauge. “Instagram stories has changed the game for event planners as they build their personal and company brand by sharing authentic behind-the-scenes moments with the world,” she says. “Of course, this can also double as a burden since there’s an expectation of continual content - from celebrating team member birthdays to location scouting trips, to the actual events themselves.”
On that note, post-event metrics are as important as ever. How do you measure the success of your marketing spend? It’s not always straightforward, but Hoppenot counts on “startups like AnyRoad that are building Experience Relationship Management software, creating a holistic online to offline view of the customer journey and helping to better calculate that ROI.”
This data is empowering to all parties involved, from event planners to the brands themselves. But with so much controversy surrounding consumer privacy (or lack thereof), the safekeeping of this information must remain a priority.
“Data privacy has become an important topic across the marketing world and affects the event industry substantially,” says Becker. “Database integrations to third party platforms is now a priority for corporate governance and IT. Integrations to event management platforms ensure a seamless and secure flow of data between systems and empowers marketers with insights like attendee records that would have otherwise been lost or incomplete.”
Today’s tech is pulling through for planners, who are now armed with many tools for streamlining as many moving parts as possible. We can only assume that future developments will not only help the industry plan events, but also provide the insights necessary for building better experiences.
Hoppenot points to AI as the future of event tech. “Today, people often discover event professionals via word of mouth when they ask a trusted source for a referral. Tomorrow, instead of asking a friend you’ll ask your voice assistant who will use AI to best answer questions like: ‘Who planned Facebook’s holiday party?’ or ‘What is a highly rated event production company who has organized large conferences in Dallas?’ Google, Apple, and Amazon are invested in building a database that can answer those questions with perfect information, producing a better answer than a person ever could.”