Event technology is coming to the forefront in today’s hospitality industry with the surge of virtual and hybrid events. From live webinars and meetings to hybrid conferences and trade shows, technology is behind what makes it all possible. With most events going online or having a digital component now, what do we need to consider for our hotel event technology tools? The planning of events is tremendous, from driving registration, to creating engaging content, to ensuring a seamless experience for participants – continue reading to find out what hotel event technology you need behind creating your successful event.
1 – Virtual Event Website
Like your typical live-attendance events, having a dedicated website for your event will provide a one-stop shop for your virtual events. There may be many different channels of communication when it comes to your virtual event like an email list or social media, but a website will house everything you’d want to know in one place and keep everyone on the same page. Essential elements to a good virtual event site include:
-The logistics: when + where + what time.
-What online platform will be used for the event?
-A clear description of the event and why people should register and attend. (Ex. Are there key speakers? Entertainment? -Industry connections to be made?)
-Clear branding and sponsor representation – it should be very obvious whose event it is.
-Clear and simple event title. Make a coinciding hashtag for the event at the same time.
-CTA for registration – make it easy for people to register for your event.
-Responses from previous events. If this a recurring event, add in quotes from happy attendees giving prospective guests an idea of what they can expect to gain from your event.
2 – Event Registration Technology
We touched upon registration in our last point but event registration combines your event with event marketing and gives you an idea of the size and interest in your event. Optimizing this is essential in hotel event technology and bridging this gap will create a seamless, secure, and user friendly experience for your participants. Your virtual event website should be set up and designed with one goal in mind – drive registrations! There are many different ways to do this, so consult your website designer. We recommend having CTA for registration on each page of your website to make it extremely easy for potential guests to sign up. Ensure that registration and payment processes are simple and secure.
Registration should include the following:
-Registration items (tiered access levels, VIP tickets etc.)
-Summary of what the attendees have input and selected
To give you more data and information to plan future events, you may want to include questions for your registrants. For example, where did they learn about the event or what specific portion of the event are they most looking forward to. These answers can help you improve your future programs and marketing strategies.
3 – Event Apps
With people being glued to their mobile devices, make it easy for them to access event information through their devices. Creating a mobile event app is a hotel event technology tool that can help make your event more interactive and experiential. It should have the essentials like your website and be mainly used as a participant engagement tool.
Apps can help foster:
-Knowledge building and education resources
-Sustained interest through gamifications and Q+As
-Data collection through attendee surveys before, during and after the event
An app can also attract sponsorship revenue through featured sponsored ads for and within the app.
4 – Live-streaming Software
A live streaming software is a key component in hotel event technology when it comes to virtual events or hybrid events that have a digital component. We’ve all been there before: tuning into a live-streamed event and the presenter gets frozen on screen and the awkward silence ensues. Ensure that you have a streaming service that can support the size of your event and that participants are aware of what platform you’re using before the event so they have time to download it.
Some of our favourite live-streaming platforms for events include:
5 – Digital video equipment
Your virtual event may be full live-streamed or be a mix of live and recorded video, but regardless, you’ll need digital video equipment as a part of your hotel event technology stack to capture the event. This could look like recording the panel discussion in a studio, or capturing a performance on a stage. Whether you’re hiring an event videographer or having someone from your team do it, here are the tools you’ll need:
-Digital video camera (can be a professional camera or smartphone with stabilizer)
-Microphones if in a big space
6 – Webinar Platforms
If the digital component of your event is more of an interactive session such as Q&A, training or networking event then certain video streaming software will be better suited for your event. These platforms allow participants to interact with each other, and allow the host to share screens and hold back and forth conversations with attendees.
These software also allow you to record and distribute the content as well, creating more reference material and marketing collateral for your teams. The platforms can track all your virtual engagement and give you insight on your attendee’s event activity history. This helps you to better plan your future programs and events with the data you’re currently gathering.
7 – Reliable Wifi
We can’t stress this one enough. Don’t let spotty wifi ruin your virtual experience! Wifi is required for all of the above to work with one another. Triple check that your wifi has enough bandwidth to support your event and ensure that the event command center, whether that be at the studio, head office, or the speaker’s home, is strong.
8 – Event Planning Software
Virtual and hybrid event planning is just as intricate and complicated as planning live events. An event or venue management software will ensure you hit everything on your to-do list before, during and after your event. You’ll be able to manage all the tasks in one place and delegate specific tasks to your team members and track performance – after all, it is a team effort.
Other features an event management software can help you with are:
-Manage communications in one command center
-Manage vendor and venue contracts
-Reporting and data analysis
-Workflows and automations
An event management software is the brain of the event and integral to your hotel event technology stack.
9 – Event Marketing Software
Marketing your event effectively will heavily contribute to the success of the event. An event marketing software will help develop your promotion strategy and schedule/automate your marketing communications, paid advertising, and social media. Other helpful features include reminder emails to invitees who have yet to register and reminders to registered attendees as the date approaches, tracking open rates for emails, social media engagement tracking and A/B testing capabilities.
As the world continues to navigate its way through the pandemic, most events are going full or partially virtual. With this increasingly growing segment within events, your hotel needs the right event technology to be able to support these event types. By having these tools, your hotel will rank among the top for RFPs because event planners are now requiring these tools more and more. If you’re on a tight budget, most of these tools come at a low cost so review what you have, see what you can make happen and what you’re missing and start there. COVID-19 or not, virtual events are here to stay.