Event planners urged to engage on digital and physical level

Speakers at the Singapore MICE Forum cautioned that simply adopting digital services is no longer enough to build a successful and standout event.

Instead, planners should work towards blending both physical and digital elements in order to create personalised experiences.

Kai Hattendorf, managing director/CEO of UFI, speaking at the Singapore MICE Forum

“Many events work on a ‘start-stop’ mentality, where engagement starts when the event opens and stops when it ends,” said Errol Lim, COO and co-founder of Jublia, which provides business-matching and online-to-offline technology for conferences and exhibitions.

Instead, what they should do is secure both offline and online engagement that can build a community around their delegates throughout the year, advised Lim.

Mohan Belani, co-founder and CEO of technology media platform e27, added: “Events tend to be too time- and space-driven. Companies should create more opportunities for business matching through online engagement – not just for current attendees but also for future attendees.”

The way to do this, suggested Belani, is by using data analytics on attendees to provide more personalised service in the future.

Experimentation becomes important in this situation, especially as delegates are “evolving”, said Claire Smith, vice president (sales and marketing) of Vancouver Convention Centre.

She observed that successful events challenge delegates to “think differently” and allow them to “create their own experiences (of the event) that are meaningful”.

Smith cited the PCMA 2017 Education Conference as a good example. It used live streaming to emulate talkshow interviews with attendees, thereby increasing reach and delegate-centred content.

In addition, Melissa Ow, deputy chief executive of Singapore Tourism Board, shared that IACC – a global association of meetings professionals – reported more than 80 per cent of planners believe that interactive technology will become integral to business events in the next five years.

“The tradeshow floor and meeting environment will then become an intermesh of physical content as well as elements that are VR- and AR-enhanced,” concluded Ow.

According to UFI, 65 per cent of companies in Asia-Pacific have digitised their existing exhibitions through apps, advertising and signage, with Thailand and China leading at 73 and 67 per cent respectively.

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