While the concept of AI has been around for nearly 80 years, it wasn’t until the last few that we’ve truly seen it impact our daily lives. With recent advances in generative AI and popular versions like ChatGPT and Bard, all areas of business are scrambling to find ways to utilize the technology to save time and money while improving outcomes. The events industry is no different.
Still, what is AI really? How is the events industry utilizing AI? How can AI impact your event, and what are the best ways to leverage it to improve event experiences?
- Corporate Events and Event Technology
- What Is AI Really?
- Why Corporate Events Need AI
- Top Ways to Leverage AI at Your Corporate Event
Corporate Events and Event Technology
Corporate event trends change, sometimes rapidly, but few as rapidly as event technology. Even a few years ago, the visions we had for events may not have included some of the developments we’ve seen. For example, while none of us could foresee a pandemic, event technology allowed us to pivot to virtual and hybrid events. Another example of event-altering technology is RFID, which allowed us to track attendees and improve both crowd control and security.
Because of these powerful changes, we’re regularly looking toward new technology and how it can positively impact corporate events. With new tech, we’ve been able to transform nearly every aspect of events from planning and registration to delivery and live event execution. AI is the next such transformative tool.
If you’re reading the news (or if you’re online at all), then you know that AI has everyone’s attention these days, and frankly, the events industry is no different. Our President and Co-Owner, Rob Adams, states, "At Bishop-McCann, we are committed to innovation, and AI presents an opportunity that we are excited to continue to explore within our industry."
What Is AI Really?
One of the most interesting things about AI is learning that there are several definitions for the technology, depending on the type of AI. At its most basic level, artificial intelligence is the ability for computers to mimic human thought and perform various tasks, such as data analysis and problem solving. However, there are several types with various components added to each, resulting in different outcomes. One such type is generative AI. ChatGPT and Bard are examples of generative AI, which adds machine learning to AI to allow new and original data to be created. With this addition, AI can identify patterns and make choices and can also then apply those patterns/choices to new behaviors, improving as it “learns.”
In short, AI can perform tasks, especially repetitive and labor-intensive tasks that would traditionally take humans a long time to complete. But with the addition of generative AI, it can also generate ideas for activities, venues, promotion, and other aspects that are tailored to specific groups of attendees.
Why Corporate Events Need AI
For those of us in the corporate events industry, finding new ways to improve guest experiences and help event hosts achieve their goals is an ongoing effort. That means we’re constantly evaluating events and looking for tools that can help us achieve both of those objectives. In fact, even a year ago, event industry leaders were confident in AI’s ability to improve corporate events and corporate event experiences.
For attendees, corporate events should appear seamless, with a natural flow from one element of the event to the next. If a program is successful, that’s due to hard work going on behind the scenes. From early data gathering and coordinating logistics to applying and gathering real-time data, event planners are evaluating, adjusting, and problem solving on the fly. AI has the remarkable potential to make those decisions more effectively in every step of the event process and to help make them more quickly.
Top Ways to Leverage AI at Your Corporate Event
With what we know and understand about AI, leveraging it at corporate events means understanding how and where the tech can improve the event for attendees. Not only can this elevate the experience for your audience, but it can also be immensely helpful for event professionals by assisting in the planning process.
1. Event Promotion
Generative AI can help promote your event by creating social media posts or email messages that highlight key features and benefits for those attending. It can also be utilized to produce videos, themes, graphics, and content (all tailored to your specific group of attendees) that can be used in promotional materials. This frees up your team to make important decisions and pay closer attention to details. If you aren’t using AI to plan your next event, you are probably a few steps behind your competitors.
2. Matchmaking for Successful Networking
Developing strategies to keep attendees engaged is a priority for anyone hosting an event, and one of the best ways to ensure engagement is to make certain attendee goals are met. With the understanding that one of the most important goals for most attendees at a conference is networking, AI provides a powerful tool to match your guests. This matching can go beyond surface levels like job titles and interests to more complex areas based on goals and past behaviors. Due to AI’s ability to gain insights from thousands of data points quickly, matchmaking has become not only more efficient but also more effective.
One of the most consistent event trends, and one of the most notable for guests, is the ability to personalize even digital interactions. Most applications enable the use of tokens and personalization that allows you to connect mobile devices to users. This means not only can you use their name during digital communication, but when it comes to AI in your event app, you can tailor marketing and notifications to specific audiences. Further, based on attendee information and interests, you can create session tracks that speak directly to those interests.
In our blog on chatbots, we looked at the way this simple AI tool can increase and personalize communication for attendees. FAQs and Q&A sessions could both utilize AI to provide answers for attendees in real time. Thus, allowing event staff time to focus on guest experience in a more meaningful way. Further, because of their availability and flexibility, chatbots themselves have the potential to significantly impact the attendee experience.
5. Multi-language and ADA Compliance
Whether you have non-native English speakers, multilingual attendees, or attendees who are deaf or hard of hearing, AI can help translate and close caption speakers to help those individuals participate more actively in your event. There are few things that will boost attendee engagement (and satisfaction) quite like creating accessible events.
6. Gathering Feedback
Whether you’re gathering real-time data from other event technology (like RFID tags or event apps) or trying to understand the results of post-event surveys, the data you gather from event attendees is needed not only to evaluate the success of your event but also to plan your next one. In fact, a well-constructed post-event survey can return a volume of data that needs to be aggregated and analyzed. AI and AI dashboards help parse that data into charts and graphs that help you determine the most valuable and successful aspects of your event.
Finally, one of the biggest benefits of AI is that it frees up your staff to handle more of the elements that require a human touch. Staffing shortages continue to impact corporate events, so finding ways to give your team time to work with guests is essential. And, in this way, it can also decrease costs.
At Bishop-McCann, our team prides itself on staying on top of new technology and the ways we can leverage that technology to help our clients produce the best event possible. As AI continues to develop, there’s no doubt we’ll find new and interesting ways to include it in the event planning and production process.
If you’re planning your next event and want to discuss how we can help you leverage AI and other technologies, get in touch with our team today!