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AI changing the world of events

How AI is changing the world of events

Posted on February 10th, 2020 in AI for Events, Blog

Artificial intelligence (AI) has moved from sci-fi to an everyday tool. Event organisers are now using AI across the event chain, from pre-event marketing to increase demand for registration, to at the events themselves to streamline the guest experience. We spoke with Felippe Diaz, business director at George P Johnson, about the use of AI in events in Australia.

Using AI to attract your target market

There are many aspects to an event organiser’s role, but perhaps one of the most important is getting people in the door. There’s no point putting on the perfect show if there’s no one there to see it. Finding the right audience for your marketing efforts is key to this and, with the right data, AI can help find that ideal attendee base.

Felippe explained how it works. “For the event organiser, we can use AI to help target an audience that is most likely to attend,” he said.

“We can do that if we have enough data that tells us what delegates have done previously and how they’ve interacted with the brand – not only at past events but online as well.”

“We can take that data and use AI to drive propensity to attend a future event. It can help the event organiser be more sharply focussed on the type of person they’re inviting to the event and give themselves the best chance of a good turnout and solid registration numbers.”

Don’t use AI for AI’s sake

While organisers sometimes feel pressure to use the latest technology simply to keep up with other events, Felippe says unless you have a clear strategy, using AI – or any form of technology – can be a waste of money.

“From an AI and technology viewpoint, I always ask, ‘Is it seamlessly integrated into the overall event – or is it getting in the way and slowing things down?’”

State of play: How is AI being used?

AI is often used as a way to take a lot of information and give it to the right people at the right time. Generally, this is done through a chatbot. Many companies use these on Facebook. You’ve likely experienced it online. The chatbot pops up to ask visitors a few common questions, trying to pre-empt their intentions and get them the help they need.

This same style of chatbot is useful at events, where it can be used to help give guests a better experience.

Felippe said, “We’ve seen chatbots acting as a virtual concierge in event apps. It means delegates have an app right there in the palm of their hand that’s going to direct them through the event.”

“That becomes even more important when you’re talking about events at scale: across multiple days, large spaces, and with loads of content. Having a virtual concierge, a chatbot driven by AI, providing real-time information is invaluable.”

“It’s a great way to positively enhance the delegate experience. Without AI support, if a delegate had a question, they’d have to find a registration desk, which, in a big convention centre could be in a different hall and difficult to get to. With an AI-enabled solution, they can get the information they need from their app quickly and easily.”

The future of AI at events

As the industry gets to grips with incorporating AI into events, we’re going to find bigger and better ways to implement it.

One application that Felippe has seen utilised overseas, particularly in the US, but not in Australia yet, is facial recognition to identify guests and speed up long lines at registration.

He said, “Using AI for facial recognition can greatly smooth and streamline the registration process. One of the big friction points in events is getting through registration, especially when you have large numbers of people arriving at the same time.”

“I’ve seen facial recognition smooth out that registration process. When you use AI in that way, you know who the delegate is, what they look like and their name badge is ready when they arrive.”

Avoiding AI mistakes

As with any kind of marketing – whether it’s social media or an email campaign – there can be too much of a good thing.

Just because you have information to share, the means to deliver, and think you’re being helpful, doesn’t mean your recipients see it the same way.

Push too hard with notifications and you may find yourself on the wrong side of the spam line.

Felippe describes it as a balancing act: “Finding the balance between sharing information and oversharing is critical. Through tracking technology, we have the ability to give delegates real-time information – push notifications. On paper, they look really good, but in some real-time scenarios it means people are getting content pushed onto them beyond their comfort level.”

“I’ve experienced that at events as an attendee – constantly being given information through an app to the point of being annoyed or overwhelmed. Sometimes, less is more.”

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*Image by [George P. Johnson] via [gpj.com].

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