Quick: What’s Happening at Your Event, Right Now? by @gadgetboy

The Data-Driven Event Manager Can See It

You’ve planned for months for your conference/trade show/expo/road show/whatever for months now – heck, maybe a whole year.

Let’s look at part of your checklist:

  • Attendees Registered ✓
  • Speakers Booked ✓
  • Rooms Allocated ✓
  • Sessions Scheduled ✓
  • Keynote Speaker ✓
  • Sponsors/Exhibitors sold ✓
  • Registration Booth ready ✓
  • Volunteers at all your key points of contact ✓
  • Fundraising Gala Planned ✓

You are the master of your universe! You’ve thought of everything! Nothing can stop you now!

Here’s the problem: your plan is perfect but as the saying goes, “No plan survives the first contact with the enemy.” Ok – your attendees are not your enemy. But, they do have a way of blowing up even the best of plans.

This has been how event planning has always worked – make the plan, then spend all your time on-site, cleaning up the exceptions. Technology is changing event planning – with all the data at your fingertips you are now able to adapt your plan in real time. You can see where things might be going wrong and fix them before they become a problem. You can anticipate the pitfalls and traps and let technology keep an eye out for you. You can literally see more than ever before.

Here are the kinds of questions that you use to anticipate, monitor, and correct at your event.

  • What’s the rate of arrival of attendees? Do I need to add extra staff at the registration desk?
  • How many on-site registrations have we processed? Will we have enough space/seating/food for them all?
  • Are my sponsors and exhibitors getting the leads they expect? How many leads have each of them captured?
  • Why are there so many people in that session? Does it meet the fire code?
  • WHO is in that room? Are the sponsors of that track reaching the right people?
  • We just had a room change. Does everyone know that the session will now be at the other end of the conference center?
  • How many people have checked-in to breakfast? Do I need to ask for more food?
  • What do attendees think of my speakers?
  • How many attendees will earn their CEU’s from this event?
  • Have the journalists arrived? How many are here? Does our PR person know that they’re here?
  • Have our biggest customers arrived? Do their account managers know that they’re here? Do the account managers know WHY they’re here? What are they interested in?
  • How many new sales prospects are here? Have they been introduced to a regional sales rep?

These all set up the big question: are you running your event, or is your event running you?

Technology is so abundant and cheap that there’s no reason that you shouldn’t have this information at your fingertips. Having the answers to these questions give you more power than ever before. So, how do we get there?

EventOps: The Heart of your Event, in Your Hand

There’s so many ways to streamline your event operations with the device already in your hand. (Or your pocket.) At EventHero we call your digital nervous system “EventOps” (short for Event Operations). This is where all the data generated from your event is collected, and presented in a usable fashion.

The key to setting up EventOps is to optimize your event data, starting with information about your attendees – your registration data. Don’t just throw up a registration form online and expect to “sort it out later”. Just like your agenda, how you capture and use your data needs to be considered way in advance.

Correctly setting up your data flow is beyond the scope of this post but if you’d like to learn more, we frequently write about it on the EventHero blog.

It’s also important not to think of this post just as a word of caution – this is also a huge  opportunity.

You’ll be able to provide a better experience for your attendees by giving them real-time updates, more opportunity for your sponsors to engage in a relevant manner, and finally, letting you spend less time on brush fires and more time creating a fantastic experience for everyone at your event.

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