David Chalmers, Cvent’s senior marketing director, Europe looks at the main barriers to using technology
Undoubtedly companies in the US were the early adopters of event technology. Twenty years ago, they were first to understand all the positive benefits of investing in this area.
There are a number of reasons why the event industry in the UK and Europe still feel it’s safer to stick with tried and tested manual processes including fear that technology will let them down, complexity and, of course, the belief that the investment is going to unaffordable.
Yet, at the core I believe event professionals on this side of the Atlantic feel ill-equipped to make a decision to switch from manual because they do not have all the necessary information to hand.
From many discussions I’ve had with event professionals, I know they feel overwhelmed knowing where to start and what technology solution(s) to choose. Even in the last few years, there have been huge advances in event technology and many new suppliers with different point solutions throughout the whole event life cycle. They have a smorgasbord of possibilities – technology which will help with:
- Marketing the event with websites and emails;
- Capturing data and attendee preferences before the event;
- Managing a seamless registration process;
- Processing payments online;
- Check in and on demand badge printing;
- Lead retrieval;
- Facilitating engagement and networking at the event with mobile apps;
- Reporting and analysis of results;
- Right through to the integration of sales and marketing information and leads after the event.
That’s just the start of this exiting technology curve, so it’s no wonder event organisers often don’t know where to start or what to prioritise.
The event tech industry needs to take responsibility and take up the challenge to deliver much clearer and easier to understand information about how the products work so event professionals can make more informed choices about what to use for their events.
Yes, it’s down to education, education and more education. It’s up to technology providers and different communication platforms such as the event trade media to get the word out about the benefits that technology can bring how it can drive efficiency and innovation, and transform the attendee experience. This is happening and I believe we are reaching a level where the mind-set amongst event and meeting planners is gradually changing but there is still more work to be done.