Event and Meeting Planning and Marketing Made Easy with AI

Event and Meeting Planning and Marketing Made Easy with AI

This past April, I took the stage at the Northstar Meetings Group Small & Boutique meetings show just outside of Houston. The room was filled with event and meeting planners from all over the country who were eager to learn how AI was going to change the way they plan and market events forever.

I showed them how to embrace their AI fears, build a simple plan, and get started using AI to free up their valuable time to deliver a better experience for attendees. We discussed how planners now have a powerful tool at their disposal to streamline processes and enhance outcomes throughout the event lifecycle and put their focus on making their event or meeting awesome!

One attendee sent this wonderful note to me post-event: “I wanted to share that your AI presentation has been a point of conversation for me! I talk about and ask everyone I encounter now if, when, and how they are using AI. I’m younger and newer in the Meetings/Events world and I’ve never used even an ounce of AI. Thank you for opening the AI world to me, I’m not sure if I would have come around to it any time soon without your presentation.”

What a testimonial! She was clearly motivated and inspired ‒ which are the top goals of any professional speaker. To get other planners feeling the same way about using AI, I wanted to share the three phases that I presented at the show:

Pre-Event Phase

Before the event, AI can assist planners in making data-driven decisions for planning and marketing. By analyzing vast datasets, AI algorithms can recommend optimal venues based on factors such as location, accessibility, and attendee preferences. Wouldn’t it be nice to know the number before you know the numbers? Well, predictive analytics further empower planners to forecast attendee turnout accurately, enabling better resource allocation and budgeting. 

AI tools also allow planners to craft targeted marketing campaigns tailored to individual attendee preferences, maximizing engagement and conversion rates. This can be deployed in promotional social media posts, event websites, and even AI-based chatbots that facilitate questions to increase conversions. But, the #1 thing during the pre-event phase, is how generative AI can free up a ton of time in creating content, like blog posts, to market the event or create detailed agendas or even speaker summaries.

On-Site Phase

Planners can focus more on the attendee experience during the event with AI-powered tools that radically increase operational efficiencies. Automated registration and check-in processes powered by AI reduce wait times and minimize errors, enhancing the overall attendee experience. Real-time data analytics provide valuable insights into attendee behavior and session attendance, allowing planners to make informed decisions on the fly to optimize event dynamics. There will be less of a need to rely on volunteers when chatbots and virtual assistants can offer instant support to attendees, answering inquiries and providing directions seamlessly.

One of the creepiest use cases I have seen is using AI-powered facial recognition software to know who is on-site and who is not supposed to be there. This would require the use of a venue’s camera infrastructure, but it sure would be a great way to keep attendees safe while also thwarting badge swappers.

Post Event Phase

Now that event high is over, wouldn’t it be nice to kick back instead of being inundated with post-event tasks? AI can help with that! AI analysis can enable planners to measure success metrics accurately and identify areas for improvement. AI-driven analytics platforms aggregate and analyze post-event data, including attendee feedback and social media mentions, providing valuable insights for future event planning, all of which can easily be compiled into a report, and you and your team can debrief on and use for next year’s planning.

It gets even more fun with personalized follow-up strategies based on AI segmentation and targeting that can further nurture attendee relationships, fostering long-term loyalty. You can use tools like ChatGPT once again to help you create post-event surveys for attendees, sponsors, and vendors instead of staring blankly at a Google Form guessing what questions to ask.

The Sum

AI is a game-changer for event and meeting planners, they just need to try it out and start small By leveraging AI throughout the event lifecycle, planners can innovate, iterate, and excel in delivering memorable and impactful events for attendees. Soon, I will be releasing a guide on the exact steps to take and AI tools to try when planning and marketing your next event. Stay tuned!

3 Ways Gen Z is Changing the Meetings & Events Industry in 2024

3 Ways Gen Z is Changing the Meetings & Events Industry in 2024

I’ve been speaking (and posting) about Gen Z for a long time and continue to be fascinated with their habits, especially their obsession with the 90’s style – that one I will never quite understand. These kiddos continue to have a limitless impact on literally everything, and the target of understanding them seems to always be moving. However, I believe that as meetings and events (and travel) are bouncing back after the pandemic, there are a few ways we can adapt to their desires.

1. Build Towards Hybrid & Virtual Experiences

The traditional 4-wall event boundaries have been obliterated thanks to new technology and hybrid and virtual events forced by the pandemic. Gen Z can now expect that events blend physical and online participation as their inherent comfort with technology has driven a significant shift towards making events more accessible, inclusive, and globally connected. That means Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are being increasingly utilized by event producers to create immersive environments, allowing attendees to engage from anywhere in the world.

2. Emphasis on Authenticity and Social Responsibility

Gen Z seeks genuine connections and experiences, pushing event organizers to prioritize authenticity in the way the event looks, feels, and is communicated (BizBash has a great article on how to bring authenticity to an event). Also, Gen Z is very committed to social causes which is influencing events to incorporate sustainability practices, diversity, and inclusivity wherever they can. They are after all the most diverse generation ever and have expectations of your event mirroring who they are at their core.

3. Influence of Social Media and Influencer Culture

The power of social media over Gen Z has forever changed the way events are marketed and experienced. Events are increasingly using social media geared toward the younger generations (i.e. TikTok) to amplify their reach and make events more interactive. Also, the rise of influencer culture has become a powerful tool. If events can engage with social media influencers in the right way, it will not only promote the event but lead to that desired authenticity mentioned in point 2.

The Sum

Gen Z is driving some serious transformative changes in the meetings and events industry.  Though technology and digital seem to be at the core, they are after all only human and desire a more meaningful and educational experience when attending your next event. The bar may seem high, however, the most minor tweaks will knock it out of the park for this generation.