Events in a digital world: How technology is changing event planning

On Forbes’ list of “The Most Stressful Jobs of 2012”, the event coordinator was given spot #6, right after police officer and military general. Wow! Yet any event planner who has been in the game for a while will know that the logistics, complications, and crisis management involved in event planning do in fact warrant this ranking.

Just as technology is always changing and developing (and doing it a pace these days), so too are the expectations of event attendees, and consequently the event coordinator has to choose to modernise or become outdated.

The successful event coordinator is aware of, and capable of, navigating his or her way around the ever-changing technology in the eventing world, and is quick to adopt new tools that will aid in the event planning process.

Event planning technology

While new technology can help alleviate the stress of an event by streamlining and speeding up the invite and registration process, for example, so too can it add to the stress of event coordination if you can’t keep up with the increased pace. Either way, event coordinators of the 21st century need to be comfortable in this high-tech, increasingly virtual world so that they can remain relevant, utilise the advantages, and sidestep any pitfalls.

So what are the primary changes to the event landscape that have been brought about by new technology?

Not all event attendees will be in the same geographic location

Today, with the ease of webinars and advanced video conferencing, it’s not necessary to be present at an event or a meeting. Event planners consequently need to have a high level of technological competence, or to hire someone who does, and that person will need to be onsite during the event to assist with any technical issues.

Time zone differences, language differences, multiple-location registration, broadband capacity are all aspects that the event coordinator has to think about.

Guests want to be wowed

Guests have a penchant for the novel and the unexpected. It’s hard to wow people when they seem to have seen or heard everything before, even if it’s just on YouTube or via a blog, but event coordinators are sought out if they have a reputation for organising events that stand out.

From smart lighting and light effects to audio-visual wizardry, it’s necessary for coordinators to embrace new technologies where appropriate to make an event more memorable.

Electronics are changing the look and mechanics of events

The development of multipurpose kiosks, flat-panel screens, and wireless broadband have automated the concierge service, streamlining and speeding up processes at large events. From event registration, to pre-flight check-ins, advanced electronic equipment means less person-to-person management for the event coordinators, but also greater research and knowledge of the technology.

Electronic signage is also helping to de-clutter venues by integrating adverts and notices in one place. Technology is therefore helping to make operations and presentation sleeker in every way.

Social media is monopolising communications

Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms are increasingly becoming popular mediums for the event organiser. However, this depends on whether the demand requires its use.

Event coordinators will benefit from using social media to promote an event, increase awareness, encourage RSVPs, and to create general hype around the event.

The scope of social media for free marketing and gathering information is constantly growing. Targeted marketing and research will assist in assessing the demographics of your audience and hence selecting the appropriate social media platforms. Event coordinators can also conduct pre and post event polls and surveys to help guide their efforts.

Mobile technology is rampant

Smartphones are dominating the market in terms of the number of web users, and so are a critical component in event management. Most information that your guests will need for an event, need to be accessed on a smartphone, so it is critical for an event co-ordinator to ensure that all event collateral is mobile-friendly.

Apps are very popular and if there is one that would suit the event, then this would be a strategic move.

The development of online event management systems

Companies like The RSVP Agency have developed strategic software that integrates various components of the coordinator-attendee interaction. From online invitations and custom registration forms to call downs and on-site registration – this professional system unites all aspects of event RSVP management in one place, thereby simplifying the coordinator’s task.

This technology supports the event co-ordinator by streamlining and speeding up the invite and registration process, which means that your RSVP management is simplified and your online accessibility facilitated.