Face-to-face conferences are back in full force, and the number of events being held is only expected to grow throughout 2022. In fact, according to the U.S. Travel Association, many companies are reallocating budgets to increase spending for in-person meetings and conferences for the rest of the year.
With so much potential revenue on the line, it stands to reason that venues are anxiously awaiting their turn to host the next big event. But in the last few years, digital adoption among consumers has grown exponentially along with their expectation for greater digital access and tech-forward experiences. Today, digital communication and multimedia displays are considered standard, so it’s essential for venues to reassess their technology infrastructure to better compete in a digital-first world.
According to a study by Enterprise Event Marketing, incorporating technology can increase event attendance by 20%, and digital signage, in particular, is an increasingly effective way to engage with conference attendees. While many venues have invested in technology to help boost attendance, engagement and revenue, some have been slow to upgrade their systems to the architecture necessary to support today’s (and tomorrow’s) technology-driven events. As such, they find themselves in a vulnerable position.
If your venue is competing for events, it’s critical to avoid the following four technology pitfalls to consistently attract and retain the best event clients:
- Poor screen placement and coverage
Failure to strategically place event digital signage will guarantee failure in maximizing both guest experience and ROI for you and your clients. For example, improperly placed wayfinding signs could lead to guest confusion, and sponsored signage placed in low-traffic areas will result in missed impressions and lower conversions for advertisers.
Ideal placement takes into account the objective of the digital sign, and magic happens when the right message is shown to the right audience at the right time. To enhance the guest experience, screen placement should be carefully planned as part of a broader communication strategy. In-house teams may lack the time and (in some cases) expertise to effectively plan and execute a placement strategy. In these cases, digital signage experts can be brought in to help maximize the impact and value of existing screens.
- Screens not in sync with the event
Suboptimal or outdated information displayed on event screens reflects poorly on the event planners and hosts, and it may result in frustrated and disengaged attendees. Likewise, conference sponsors that bring in significant revenue for the host and expect their sponsorships to generate important business will not tolerate diminished value from out-of-sync signage. Unfortunately, this is a common situation at venues that lack the time and resources to help clients develop content and orchestrate digital screens effectively across event spaces.
Recall that one of the primary reasons your venue upgraded to digital signage was to be able to dynamically update signage content so that messages remain timely and relevant. But if your event client can’t take advantage of that benefit, you may just be selling digital frustration. Even if you lack in-house digital signage expertise, ensuring that your event client has full access to a proven, committed digital signage partner when planning their event can avoid signage mismanagement. It should certainly be a standard service your venue provides, and it can be the key differentiator for prospective event clients looking for the perfect venue.
- Inconsistent experiences across spaces
Out-of-date technology can be more difficult to manage and update, resulting in inconsistent visual experiences for attendees. Cracks in your venue’s digital showcase, including unreliable media players or screens in disrepair, can cast a negative light on both the venue and guests’ perception of the event. Out-of-date screens may also suppress digital revenue as they fail to fully support the needs of third-party advertisers looking for more innovative, interactive, and visually compelling ads.
While it may be tempting to pursue a phased – one space at a time – approach in updating event venue technology infrastructure, prioritizing system-wide consistency often proves to be the better and more profitable option. Not only does uniformly updated digital signage increase the value of each screen, but it also increases the value of each event space and avoids the problem of using price concessions to avoid “playing favorites” when working with multiple simultaneous events vying for the best space. Working with a digital signage expert to create the most effective strategy for hardware and system updates can be the most cost-effective way to help improve your bottom line.
- Internet access issues
Underlying all of your venue’s technology offerings is the least visible, but possibly the most important component – the Internet. Poor Internet connection speeds and limited streaming capabilities go to the heart of both, guest and exhibitor experience at events and can negatively impact essential programming. Without good connectivity, event guests are less likely to participate and share their experiences online in a way that helps to promote the event and the venue. Worse, the venue will be saddled with customer complaints as Internet access and speeds fail to meet expectations.
According to iPass, the average business traveler carries three mobile devices requiring WiFi connectivity, and up to 89% of events today incorporate social media participation in some capacity. In addition, most event clients and exhibitors rely on Internet connectivity to successfully execute key components of their events, including keynotes, demonstrations, labs, social media outreach, and session streaming.
With all of these dependencies, it’s critical to partner with an Internet service provider (ISP) that can customize its services to meet the unique demands of your venue. A quality ISP will include not just excellent bandwidth capabilities from dedicated circuits, but also instant failover, redundancy, burstable bandwidth, and state-of-the-art security features. They should be an active and integral part of your event services team and be able to help craft pricing and sales strategies that maximize revenue through value. If your technology partner can’t customize your services and views Internet services as a giveaway, it’s time to find a new partner.
How to find the right technology partner
Is your venue struggling with…
- Aging or suboptimal equipment?
- Vendors who are slow to respond?
- In-house teams that lack the necessary time or expertise?
- Little time to effectively manage and develop digital content?
- Event teams ill-equipped to sell digital ad space?
- Monetizing technology services?
- One-size-fits-all Internet services?
- Providing streaming or hybrid offerings?
If any of the above sounds familiar, you are not alone. The recent evolution of events has many venues reconsidering their technology strategies and infrastructures. It may seem like a major undertaking, but great, cost-effective solutions are available.
Working with the right full-service event technology partner is a surefire way to avoid common pitfalls and keep from leaving digital revenue on the table. Xpodigital is a world-class event technology partner venues trust to architect solutions that meet the digital demands of today while preparing for the needs of tomorrow. If you aspire to be a go-to venue for hosting today’s digitally enhanced events, consider working with a fully managed digital signage and convention Internet partner you can trust.
Xpodigital is a full-service convention Internet and digital signage services company that powers world-class digital experiences for leading hotel brands, corporate events, and convention centers across the United States. Learn more at: www.xpodigital.com.
Thank you to the team at Xpodigital for submitting this week’s blog post.