Personalizing the Event Experience

Post authored by Chrisse New

The websites that I frequent seem to know a lot about me these days.  When I visit my favorite news sites, they know which articles are most interesting to me.   My social networking sites always seem to present me with ads that are relevant to me—from Project Management continuing education opportunities to toys my two-year old would like.  My favorite e-commerce websites are like overly-influential girlfriends on a shopping trip:  always trying to get me to buy things I “might” like.  Today, my Pandora station inserted a marketing message between songs for a meeting that I may be interested in attending.  In this era of short attention spans and quick decision making, personalized marketing gets my attention because it’s relevant to me and eliminates the time and effort spent wading through options or information I don’t need.

Like these websites, we hear from our clients that they would like to personalize their audience’s event experience as much as possible.  Through the registration and housing process, we have an opportunity to interact with the attendee and “learn about them” in a way that can make this happen.  The challenge is doing this while keeping the process short, focused, and interesting to the attendee.  Some things to consider are:

  • Pre-selecting sessions of interest based on what the attendee selected last year, similar sessions already selected for the current year, or what attendees with similar profiles are selecting
  • Recommending hotels based on where the attendee has stayed for other meetings, or based on demographic questions answered during the registration process
  • Giving each attendee the ability to tap into a network of other people attending the same event via mainstream social networking sites with just a single click
  • Providing event planners with information on where would-be attendees bail-out of the registration process so adjustments can be made that appeal to that audience
  • Allowing attendees to provide their photo for display on photo badges

There are literally hundreds of directions that you can take when personalizing an attendee’s experience, but there is one thing that’s consistent:  improving an attendee’s personal ROI is not a one-size fits all solution.  Likewise, there is not one solution that fits every event organizer’s needs either.  Each person is attending your event for different reasons, and it’s our job as consultants and organizers to understand what those reasons are and develop creative solutions to create this experience.

Chrisse New is Experient’s Director, Project Management. To learn more about her, click here

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