AI for Events: The Future is Here

We predicted that Artificial Intelligence (AI) would show its potential in 2018, and now we expect it to dominate in the coming years. Especially in the form of chatbots as well as integrated into full-fledged event apps.

Both have their benefits for event professionals and event-goers alike. We’ll be considering how we can further develop the features you may already know in future events.

Now is the time to ensure your attendees have the best possible experience and receive an unprecedented level of support – using AI for events.

We will take a closer look and uncover the benefits of using AI for events:

  • What are chatbots and their benefits?
  • What are event apps and their benefits?
  • How AI on-demand can be everything from a registration assistant to a comprehensive virtual concierge.
  • How to chat AI and event apps can be linked to your social media strategy.
  • The potential of chatbots to win the day
  • The ever-increasing need for data protection

Understanding chatbots

What are chatbots?

Chatbots are a conversation tool that is a variation of a chat-driven process. Their primary function is to provide consistent answers to questions through programming.

You may know them best as the friendly little pop-ups in the bottom corner of a website offering help. It is this ability to help that makes chatbots a new wave of communication in event support.

Are chatbots truly AI?

The level of AI utilized in chatbots can vary from one to another. Currently, there is a push for more AI-based chatbots, so they can start to understand the feelings of the people they are communicating with and then take appropriate action, such as offering enhanced services.

On the other hand, chatbots can additionally be very human-driven, but you don’t see this type of chatbot’s learning and ongoing benefits.

Currently, the most successful chatbots use natural language processing, i.e., AI tools with human-driven training. To offer you an idea of this type of chatbot in action, think of how many methods there are to ask, “where is the toilet.”

A chatbot would be programmed to understand this question in all possible phrases and give a helpful answer.

Perks of chatbots for event planners

There are several benefits for event planners using chatbots as a form of AI for events. Some of these benefits show that they can be a more suitable option than event apps.

Others show that chatbots are a great asset for taking the pressure off an event team in the immediate preparation and during an event. We are delighted to see what this means for the event industry, and we think you will be too by the end of this section!

Low-cost entry and suitability for all event types

Chatbots have a low-cost entry point, which means that using AI for events is not a distant future – it’s already here.

Because of their implementation method (more on that in a moment), chatbots are particularly suitable for smaller events and offer a method of communication without the complexity of a full-fledged event app. However, what makes them so valuable is that chatbots work for any event in any industry.

Every event-goer needs communication channels, and because chatbots are explicitly tailored to your event, they can answer any related questions. This means that there is no restriction to using chatbots for a specific type of event but that you can make chatbots an integral part of your event planning.

Speedy implementation

Chatbots can be implemented faster than event apps. What does this mean for you? If you didn’t get as much of a message from your client as you would have liked, or you were busy planning another event, you don’t have to panic.

Ideally, it would be best to get in touch with your chatbot designer as early as possible to develop an initial strategy and arrange a meeting. But you only need six to eight weeks to set it up. And then launch the chatbot only one week before the event starts.

An app needs a much longer lead time due to its complexity.

Real-time insights

Chatbots also give event professionals real-time insight into attendee engagement and satisfaction. They look at data during the event – what questions are asked most often, are there any recurring issues that attendees have, for example. In addition, post-event surveys can be quickly conducted via a chatbot.

This use of AI for events also increases the likelihood that event attendees will complete your survey – after all, it’s easy for them to do so spontaneously when done via a chatbot.

Event team support

The most significant advantage we see for event planners using chatbots is the support they provide to the team. As you know, event teams are often large enough to handle event planning well and cover all aspects. But when it comes time to handle the volume of requests in the immediate run-up and at the event itself, it can become overwhelming for the event team.

A chatbot takes the pressure off the team and prevents them from spending their time answering the same queries repeatedly to focus on the more critical issues and aspects of an event opening.

Perks of chatbots for event-goers

So now you know the benefits of using AI for events, especially chatbots. But more importantly, how chatbots enhance the event experience for event-goers. We break it down:

Immediate 24/7 support

When it comes to participant support, I don’t know what’s better than 24/7, real-time support that’s always on hand (or in your pocket, as the case may be!). Chatbots also help attendees faster than humans can handle requests.

Instead of looking through an event app, emails, or paper documents, or even picking up the phone to make a call, event-goers can type in the dreaded question “What’s the Wi-Fi password?” and get an instant answer. A simple query gets a timely, simple answer – the first time, every time.

Easy interface

Event-goers don’t have to download a new app to use a chatbot or sacrifice valuable storage space on their phone. Instead, a chatbot is integrated into commonly used and popular apps such as Facebook Messenger.

Therefore, this makes it much more accessible and a more attractive way to use AI for events. As attendees are already familiar with using chatbots, it also removes a potential barrier to learning. This is a big selling point that event attendees will be willing to use.

A favorite among introverts

For all the extroverts out there, asking someone for help may seem like a small thing. But for introverts, it can detract from the event experience.

A chatbot offers the perfect alternative for introverted attendees who prefer not to approach an event staff member to ask them a question.

Understanding event apps

In a survey, we found that over 80% of participants said they used an event app. So there’s a good chance you’re familiar with them. But just in case you’re not, here’s a quick overview.

What are event apps?

An event app can be developed from scratch or based on a template specifically for your event to boost the event experience for attendees. It provides information and functionality for scheduling, access to speakers, networking, and support.

Perks of event apps with integrated AI for event planners

Event apps have some practical advantages in common with chatbots: they give you a better insight into the engagement of the participants and relieve the event team.

But they also make it easier for event professionals to provide participants with all the event materials they need.

Some similar perks to chatbots:

Just like chatbots, event apps can provide real-time snapshots of data while your event is taking place.

They can also be used to conduct post-event surveys and even surveys during an event efficiently.

Event apps with built-in AI support the resources of an event team to a similar or possibly even greater extent. An event app will free up your team’s time with large amounts of event information and an AI support function.

Launching the event will be easier to manage while providing a high level of support for event attendees.

What sets event apps apart from chatbots?

At this point, event apps with integrated AI offer much more functionality than chatbots. Therefore, they are ideal for more significant events to present a lot of material and ensure that participants can take advantage of everything on offer. However, they also require a significantly higher investment.

We like event apps with built-in AI because they collect data on common questions from attendees, identify their problems, and then offer solutions.

Perks of event apps with integrated AI for event-goers

Event apps that incorporate chat AI offer the same support to event-goers but can be done more personalized.

Some similar perks to chatbots:

Similar to chatbots, event apps are accessible 24/7 and provide an instant response to event-goers’ questions. This makes them more accessible for supporting event-goers than expecting an event team to cover all queries. We understand you’ll get a lot out of it!

Event apps with built-in AI also provide support without the barriers that would make introverted attendees uncomfortable asking for help, such as face-to-face communication.

What sets event apps apart from chatbots?

Despite their similarities, there are two things; specifically, event apps currently offer more comprehensively than chatbots.

Event apps can inherently contain a whole range of information about the event so that every event visitor always has it at hand. They can use it as a reference tool, sign up for sessions and turn to the built-in chat function when needed.

This also means that event apps offer a higher level of personalization for event-goers. Because an event app can track and feel for an attendee’s interests, it can make spot-on recommendations.

Using AI for events is a win for the environment

It’s easy to obtain carried away with the possibilities of Artificial Intelligence for events and what it means for event-goers – after all, and you are event professionals!

But what about the primary benefits it has for the environment? After all, you use chatbots and event apps exclusively online.

We’re delighted that this technology is a much greener and more sustainable choice than printed materials for attendees – replacing things like schedules, maps, survey cards, and more.

Using on-demand AI as a virtual concierge

AI on-demand solves real problems for participants, which means it also solves problems for you. Using AI at events can remind people about the sessions at the event and suggest what to do next.

This reduces the time attendees spend browsing and researching sessions and the time wasted at events, such as queuing for the toilet. No one can manage to waste time at events.

Ultimately, AI can improve the quality of services and enable personalized experiences. Let’s take a look at some examples:

  • Chatbots could be simple registration assistants that help potential visitors buy a ticket or register for a particular session.
  • It could use this to make merchandise recommendations, similar to Amazon when you buy a book and suggesting others you might like.
  • Alternatively, recommendations could be targeted at networking opportunities worth taking advantage of.
  • A system that detects visitor flows (probably in conjunction with beacons) could predict real-time logistical requirements for food, drink, and crowd control.
  • It can also direct event-goers to more convenient facilities by showing them where shorter queues are. It becomes a virtual concierge.

If you’re having trouble visualizing this, try looking at AI as a way to understand attendees’ goals and provide personalized recommendations rather than following a rigid set of rules.

AI matchmaking engines use data from attendees’ social media profiles and interpret it with the event in mind. Attendees can mark which recommendations they liked or disliked, and the AI starts a learning cycle so that the suggestions are better in the next round.

The more the function is used, the more it learns, and the better the result becomes.

On-demand AI benefits exhibitors too

This is beneficial for attendees, but also for exhibitors to better understand the needs and expectations of their potential customers. It provides visibility into these aspects so they can be better prepared in meeting them by:

  • Personalizing their offerings
  • Maximizing their space, time, and personnel during the event

Looking forward: Integrating chat AI and event apps into an event’s social media strategy

Event professionals will spend more time making their items more accessible online, which is an attempt to increase the reach of their events. But incorporating chat AI into a social media strategy could also mean using chatbots to push relevant offers or timely promotions.

We also believe that the use of AI for sentiment prediction (or opinion research) will be of great importance. This includes analyzing comments, conversations, and interactions on social media to find out how event-goers feel about your event.

You can even gauge their expectations for your next event.

Precious information for planning future events.

Do chatbots rule?

As technology improves and chatbots become more sophisticated, event planners may no longer need dedicated event apps. Let’s imagine for a moment that chatbots might deliver all the materials needed in a personalized and efficient way.

Coupled with the fact that event-goers are more likely to adopt a chatbot than an event app due to the familiar user interface, we would say that chatbots will win the day. A contentious argument, we know!

AI for events and data protection: is it a cause for concern?

With every new technology and collection of additional data comes societal concerns about data protection and privacy. As an event planner, you need to take all necessary steps to protect the data you collect.

But you must also be transparent with event attendees about what data you are collecting and give them every opportunity to opt-in beforehand. You must not assume that you have the right to collect and share data.

There is a lot of investment in AI technology because the benefits are clear. And we are excited about these benefits for the events industry. We hope you’re excited about AI for events too. Not to follow the latest trend.

But because you care about delivering an optimized and personalized experience to event-goers. And to gain valuable insights for events, you plan in the future.

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It helps ensure your website is in tip-top shape.

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