Getting to know you

The registration process for your event is critically important, EN talks to leading suppliers in the registration and data capture market about seamless integration, trust and mobile-first strategies.

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It’s likely to be the first real interaction visitors will have with an event organiser, so it’s not surprising that more companies and technologies are being sought after to provide a glitch-free registration process.

 

The proliferation of the smartphone has changed everything, Circdata’s MD James Ormiston tells EN. “In many cases the average smartphone user can shop, watch video, network, run their business and even register for an event – all from a single handheld device.”

 

Although mobile registrations are increasing, he adds, some event organisers are still not paying enough attention to mobile. “A carefully planned mobile-first registration strategy can have a huge impact on conversion rates and on the quality of the data an event organiser can expect to receive.”

 

An effective mobile-first strategy it is all about keeping it simple. Matt Coyne, business development director at N200|GES says, for the visitor, time is precious, time needs to be well spent.

 

“Mobile is one of the few things we have on our person 24/7 so therefor any registration forms must be responsive. E-badges, e-tickets and e-vouchers should be mobile-friendly, designed to ensure attendees can access the event and their itinerary easily without needing to print anything in advance.

 

“Visitors also need help disseminating information; an easier way to plan their itinerary; a better way to engage and interact with their peers and an easy journey when searching for information on the event.”

 

Organisers can do this by collecting and using in-depth behavioural data to create a better journey for visitors at every stage of the event cycle.

Intelligent use of data

In-depth core metrics on attendance, dwell, re-visits and loyalty analysis, along with visitor flows, engagement/interaction levels by buyer group, ROI indicators, content consumption by buyer group and exhibit success, can even be embedded into stand design or show layout itself, says Coyne.

 

Andy Barr, director at Event Connections tells EN that data is only worth collecting if you plan to use it.

 

“Data capture as a means of lead-retrieval for exhibitors and sponsors should be done selectively, sensitively and with consent.

 

“The people you really want details from are going to be in high demand. They will be wary of protecting their personal contact data. Talk to customers, build up a relationship with them and gain their trust and engagement. Delegates will grow to appreciate the automated smooth data transfer, but wary of people who try to grab it. People typically dislike being scanned as soon as they walk onto a stand.”

 

Justin Craig, managing director at LiveBuzz says that there is “a constant move towards ever more powerful and flexible data analytics tools” so organisers can get greater insight and value across their organisations attendee “universe”.

 

“There is also a constant move to more holistic solutions, integrating solutions where there are clear systemic synergies. These holistic solutions provide savings in both time and efficiencies and simplify the procurement process.”

 

Registration companies have evolved from ‘badging companies’ to development partners, who develop flexible bespoke solutions for event organisers.

 

“For event organisers, flexible and real-time reporting is critical to pre-event registration success,” says Ormiston. “Systems like Fusion enable event organisers to access their data 24/7 via a web browser, tablet and smartphone..

 

Data accuracy is vital when analysing registration trends and must be able to be relied upon when deciding if and how to adjust an event’s pre-event marketing campaign.”

 

Ormiston suggests that organisers involve the registration provider as early as possible so that they can assist and help to carry some of the load. “All successful events start with accurate, clean, targeted data and a lot of two-way communication.”

 

Phil Simpson, owner of D2i Systems says if you consider your business to be a refinery, then data is the grain that feeds it.

 

“The problem with measuring an end product is that you can only do it at the end. However sampling within the process will help you avert problems further down the line and ensure you are delivering to expectations.”

 

There are numerous points within an event cycle where engagement can be measured and quantified.

 

“From exhibitor list page views to registration abandonments, this information will help you make decisions on what you need to do to stay on track. In some cases this may provide new opportunities to provide last minute features.

However, Simpson believes that we are coming to the end of this technology phase.

 

“What I mean by this is that currently technology tends to replace the manual process with the same process, just done electronically. The next phase of technological evolution will replace the processes completely and allow us to do something different. This will in turn have its own challenges but will come with a completely new methodology.”

Codes: Bar vs QR

As will new and different types of technology. Each technology can add value to a customer experience. It’s about customer comfort and trust, Barr explains.

 

“In simplistic terms, the technology is not drastically different from one another – at the end of the day, it is transferring an ID from a

badge to a device.

 

“Barcodes can make you feel a bit like a walking product, but are easy to scan. QR codes are perceived as being more high-tech as they’re associated more with smartphone devices.

 

“However, you need to give people confidence that their data isn’t scan-able without their knowledge. Large QR codes that contain user contact data, rather than a reference number to a database, mean that anyone with a smart phone can capture this data. This may be useful for networking situations, but be wary of it,” he adds.

 

“RFID is seen as being more high-tech and discrete. However in practice it is more difficult to use. Conference badges should be worn high so people can read them.”

 

Both barcodes and QR codes can be encoded to enable easy identification and ensure the right information is shared in real time, says Coyne.

 

“RFiD can offer an added value in as much that, if active tags (rather than passive) are deployed then it is possible to track people and monitor their behaviour - flow, dwell time, interactions.

 

“For larger scale events where cost of RFiD is prohibitive then we utilise QR and barcodes. As long as the venue has Internet connectivity (therefore live data), then we can populate our Intelligence dashboard, giving our clients access to vial insight such as visitor flows and engagement levels.”

 

As important as it is to capture this accumulation of data, it is even more important that the organiser/supplier has the right resources in place to monitor, interpret and use the data they are capturing, Coyne explains.

 

Otherwise, it could be a fruitless exercise with no real benefit to the information garnered.

 

Described as bridges that allow data exchange, barcodes, QR codes and RFIDS each have their pros and cons in terms of speed, cost and ease of implication.

 

“The real win is understanding content and delivering meaningful and personalised content to individuals and delivering the right audience to exhibitors so they can achieve their ROI,” adds Craig. “So, in terms of giving customers what they really want, this is a researched-led solution based around content.”

 

The need for face-to-face is unlikely to diminish, and technology will help facilitate more meaningful and targeted integrations.

As Craig adds, the volume of attendees at events may decrease, but the quality of audience will improve.

 

This article was first published in the November issue of EN. Any comments? Email Annie Byrne

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