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Stephane Doutriaux, Poken CEO 10/10/2016 [0]

How to build better events: the evolving role of big data

Technology has revolutionised the way we plan, organise and implement events, from Twitter polls and touch points to live streaming events. While new developments like these present organisers with the ability to gather vast amounts of valuable data, many still neglect its potential and instead opt for basic analytics tools.
The primary objective of most events is to satisfy their sponsors’ needs, but because of frequent last-minute challenges that organisers face, we often see lofty goals drawn back to the same set of basic targets at the cost of long-term strategic vision. Fortunately there are a number of technologies and platforms on the market that can help event organisers collect key metrics, from collecting registration data to measuring actual interactions between exhibitors and buyers, understanding traffic patterns in front of exhibits, as well as measuring the time spent at each stand.
Approaching event planning from an analytical mind set and utilising the data that is readily available is a sure fire way to create and build more profitable events. Gone are the days of guesstimating and relying on chance. It’s time to start turning big data into event success – Google turned random information search into a goldmine, now it’s the event industry's turn to optimise its analytics!

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Mark Dodds of Roythornes Solicitors 10/10/2016 [0]

The lasting effect of dark days

The shocking figures released by the French Tourism minister showing that Paris occupancy rates in July were half those the previous year, (Security hits Paris occupancy figures, MIT Sept 2016), shows the real and damaging effect terrorist attacks have long after the initial incident is off the news headlines. With such low rates, economies will no doubt have to be made and it is the front line staff and their families who will suffer.

But whilst it is very easy to say we should stand up to such actions and continue to use cities that have been scarred by atrocities, I fear that with so much choice available to event managers there will be no quick fix. Our thoughts however should be with our industry colleagues, struggling through a very hard time which is certainly not of their own making.

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Mark Dodds of Roythornes Solicitors 30/09/2016 [0]

When perks become bribes...

An interesting and astounding set of revelations in your blog Venue finding agencies - more bad than good? Which indicates that agency bookers are demanding free stays and upgrades as rewards for booking their events at hotels.

I’m not one to decline the odd perk as a ‘thank you’ but to demand sweeteners for placing business is in my simple view close to bribery and both the hotel and the agency may well be in breach of their anti-bribery policies (if they can find them!) if these incidents are not reported.

The problem is of course, is that it has probably become ‘accepted practice’ but that does not make it right and until someone, as you say, ‘names and shames’ it will sadly continue.

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Grant Morgan, senior manager, Poken 23/08/2016 [0]

You don’t listen to music on your Walkman, so why are you still using exhibitor badge scanners?

As a host of technologies make their way onto the exhibition space, we are seeing the experience shaped increasingly by the attendee. While many exhibitors are riding the wave of change, there are still the technophobic few resisting new technologies in place of outdated lead-generation badge scanners.
There’s nothing worse than walking through an exhibition and hearing the dreaded words, “May I scan your badge?” This one-dimensional transaction provides no value to the participant, whether or not they are interested in what’s on offer, and not much more to the exhibitor.
While not every interaction happens like this, we still see it far too often. Exhibitions should be about meeting people - trying to understand their objectives and values.
New technology, like NFC (near field communication) and RFID (radio frequency identification) smart badges, really push the nature of lead generation by allowing participants to determine what interests them through the collection of digital collateral with a single swipe. This action leaves the exhibitor a digital business card, generating higher quality leads and greater return on investment. The adoption of these technologies provides a highly valuable experience for participants, and therefore more valuable returns for exhibitors.
Attending an exhibition should no longer be a ‘voyeuristic’ experience, where people walk the aisles and exhibitors sport their wares. Let’s do away with the outmoded badge scanner!

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Michael Watton of Farnborough International 05/08/2016 [0]

VisitBritain fund is great for business

We welcome the announcement this week from VisitBritain on the launch of the Event Support Programme, designed to help attract more global business events to the UK.
It is a great time for the UK events sector to be targeting further international business - with the pound’s current weakness against the euro and dollar, we have real strength in our ‘value’ message.
Furthermore, with the increased investment in infrastructure we are seeing across the country with the planned airport expansions in the South East, the improvements in high speed rail links, and major venues developments including our own £30 million expansion to our existing event and venue business, it really is a great time for stimulating business outside of London. Britain is definitely open for business.

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Stéphane Doutriaux of Founder & CEO of Poken 28/07/2016 [1]

Why Pokemon Go won’t be the next big thing for your event

Flash in the pan or the next big thing? Even the events industry has got on the bandwagon, with some commentators suggesting that Pokemon Go should be added to the gamification mix to maximise attendee engagement.

While gamification can increase attendee engagement, it’s vital not to get carried away on this wave of excess. We must clearly define the objectives of an event to ensure that the chosen type of engagement is appropriate.

My recent experience with the Pokemon Go phenomenon is a lesson for event organisers. When sightseeing with my son in Milan, he had his face dug into his phone, barely noticing anything or anyone around him. Relating this to the events industry, you might then question whether Pokemon Go, or any other similar immersive, mobile-app-based gamification, will actually drive up the value of your event.

Many mobile apps (including ours, to be honest) are providing too many distracting features. When we consult with event organisers, we tend to steer them away from the distractions, helping them focus on the core benefits that digital technologies can provide.

The focus should be on meaningful interactions between participants, with their exhibitors, and with event content, of which light and calculated gamification may sometimes be the answer, but not the silver bullet.

Mark Dodds of Roythornes Solicitors 29/07/2016

There is so much to be said in life in general for lifting your head up and engaging with what’s around you and at events this means interacting with real people and forming bonds. At the end of the day ‘People do business with people they like’ and you are never going to bond with a glorified phone as much as you are a living, breathing human.

The first event organiser that jams all phone and internet signals will be a brave one but I bet the real relationships formed at their event would be both long lasting and strong!

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