Event management is far from a stagnant space.
In just the past year, we’ve seen the event space go cashless, distribute digital swag bags, and invest in crowd streaming. I’m sure 2017 will have many more new trends that will continue to change the industry.
Yet in spite of reputation, event managers aren’t immune to the fear of change. While all these new technologies and leaps forward in guest experience are shuffling the industry along, some event managers remain stuck making the same mistakes of the past.
Consider this is an intervention. If you’re still sticking to these tried-and-failed practices, I’m here to stop you from alienating guests and throwing away money.
These are the worst four things that need to stop at events (and how to fix them).
I am declaring an all-out vendetta against using paper when and if technology is readily available.
The ban on paper includes sign-in sheets, name tags, flyers, and anything else that hasn’t already been created for event management software. At the risk of sounding like John Oliver, it’s 2017!
We have smartphones, self-driving cars, virtual reality, 3-D printers, and you can even have alcohol delivered right to your door if you live in an area that allows such a thing. So why are we still depending on paper like we do?
Instead of check-in sheets and name tags, RFID technology allows event attendees to wirelessly check-in and electronically carry their information around with them everywhere they go. Not only will you save money in the long run by ditching the paper, this technology will save you and your attendees time through automation of the check-in processes.
2. Lack of Signs
There are few things more annoying than wandering through the many conference halls of fancy hotels looking for the breakout session you are supposed to attend.
Your guests aren’t omniscient (as far as I know), so it is your job as an event manager to guide them to their designated seats, breakout sessions, and meal rooms accordingly. If event attendees are paying money to attend, make each of their dollars count. Don’t let them waste their time (and thus money) roaming around looking for where they should be.
Instead, signs should be displayed at the entrance of the venue and set to guide attendees to the event and to their designated areas throughout their time at the event. It also doesn’t hurt to place personnel at different key areas of the venue to help guide attendees to their respective destinations, saving you and your guests time.
3. Useless swag
It’s a good thing I’ve purged all of my collected useless swag out of my house. Elsewise, I would qualify as a candidate for the next season of hoarders.
That’s not to say all swag is useless. I’ve kept and worn t-shirts, worn complimentary sunglasses, and I keep every thumb drive I get my hands on.
However, it’s hard to keep track of all of the useless swag that is regurgitated onto event attendees, from portable fans to packages of Post-It notes.
Simply slapping your logo on any old common item is no promise that you will see any benefit unless the item has actual staying power, such as t-shirts. Even t-shirts aren’t a sure thing if the logo placement is obnoxious (looking at you “all-over print” t-shirts). No one likes being a billboard for your product if the advertisement is tacky.
A great rubric to grade your swag is to ask others or even yourself whether or not you would use the items you are giving away. It’s important that you answer this question truthfully instead of making excuses for your swag simply because it is yours. Otherwise, all of the money you invested in these materials will first land in someone’s closet—and ultimately in a landfill.
4. Using Excel spreadsheets
While it’s true, Excel spreadsheets are definitely an upgrade from any kind of paper spreadsheet you could use to organize event attendees, equipment, and time slots, it’s not an efficient organization tool.
Most event management software options are already preloaded with spreadsheet features which integrate with all other uses of your event data. It’s time to leave the outdated software behind and embrace the future of event management software.
Is there anything you’ve seen or experienced at events that you feel has gone on long enough? Let me know of your worst event experiences in the comment section below!
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