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10 tips to select event tech for in-person shows in 2024

Event management platforms have become essential to the success of MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, exhibitions) shows. It’s hard to envision a conference or exhibition without technology enhancing the audience experience.

Live shows are now supercharged by digital tools – online registration, badge scans, lead gen insights and data collection all happen seamlessly.

Choosing the right tech platform sets up immersive activations and personalized journeys to prompt attendees, exhibitors and sponsors to keep returning.

Before finalizing your purchase, it’s important to do your research and ask important questions.

This article outlines 10 tips you should keep in mind before buying event technology in 2024. Here is a quick look:

Read more 👉 Event Tech Forecast 2024 – How event tech will influence the 2024 meetings landscape

How event tech improves the in-person show experience 🧑‍💻

According to Freeman’s 2024 Exhibitor Trends report, leads from an in-person event have a higher lifetime value than those from a blog or an ebook download. Event tech makes the consumption and management of these shows easier. Here’s how:

  • Digitize and automate internal event processes
  • Save crucial man-hours, leaving organizers to focus on improving the human experience
  • Create more engaging touchpoints and experiences for greater lead conversion
  • Drive digital revenue options through online sponsorships to boost ROI
  • Advanced data analytics for a deep dive into audience behavioural patterns and identify areas of improvement

Also read 👉 Firms are being selective about who attends events – which is a good thing, says industry leader

Let’s take a look at the key factors – in the form of questions and tips – when choosing an event tech platform for your shows:

Tip #1 Select scalable, modular solutions 🧩

A scalable and modular event tech platform should support your current needs and adapt to future demands.

This ensures you are well-equipped to deliver successful event experiences consistently, irrespective of size or complexity. Here are the advantages:

  • Flexibility for diverse event sizes: Effective event technology should scale seamlessly from small meetings to large conferences, maintaining performance as attendance rises without requiring a different system.

  • Adaptability to event complexities: Events come in varying levels of complexity. Some might already have in-house tools or third-party providers for functions like registration and payment – and may require a dedicated event tech provider for networking and lead generation. A modular platform allows you to add or remove features as needed, customizing the tech stack to suit each event’s unique requirements.

  • Long-term viability: As your events evolve, so should your event tech. A scalable solution helps adjust the platform’s capabilities in line with your event’s growth trajectory – saving you the hassle of investing in a new platform when your needs change.

  • Cost-efficiency: Investing in a scalable and modular event platform is economically prudent. It negates the need for frequent reinvestment in new technologies, as the same platform can expand and adapt to your changing needs over time.

  • Agile response to industry trends: The event industry is dynamic, with trends and attendee expectations shifting regularly. An agile event tech platform can quickly adapt to these changes, ensuring your events remain current and competitive.

➡️ Learn more about ExpoPlatform’s modular solutions. Ask for a free demo

Tip #2 Is the platform easy to use and have a friendly UI? 📲

Imagine your show is buzzing with activity, but attendees struggle to navigate the event app – frustration sets in and engagement goes down.

This is why prioritizing ease of use and an aesthetically pleasing UI is crucial when choosing an event tech platform. This ensures:

  • Frictionless interaction: A user-friendly platform with intuitive navigation allows attendees of all tech skill levels to find information, register and participate seamlessly. No more tech hurdles hindering their experience!

  • Positive first impression: A visually appealing interface with clear layouts and consistent branding sets a professional tone. It creates a sense of polish and reflects well on your event’s organization.

  • Effortless registration: A clear and concise registration process with minimal steps encourages participation. No one wants to spend ages filling out forms before joining the fun!

  • Intuitive features: Easy-to-use functionalities like booking sessions, networking or accessing resources minimize confusion and maximize engagement. Attendees can dive right in and enjoy the event’s offerings.

  • Mobile optimization: Ensure the platform is mobile-optimized for a seamless experience on smartphones and tablets, allowing attendees to manage their event participation on-the-go.

  • Accessibility: Prioritize features that cater to a diverse audience – like screen reader compatibility or language options. An inclusive platform ensures everyone can participate comfortably.

Read 👉 How ExpoPlatform maximized engagement through intuitive web and mobile solutions at leading tradeshows like IMEX and GITEX Global.

Tip #3 Do the core features meet your event needs? ⚙️

growing event app adoption

Freeman’s 2024 Exhibitor Trends report shows 64% of respondents rate immersive experiences as key for live events, while 45% considered tailored agenda plans crucial.

An event tech platform should be equipped with a comprehensive suite of features to cater to all facets of event management. This helps greatly simplify logistics and makes it easy to level up whenever you want to. Here are some core features you should look for:

  • Registration management: Seamless online registration with customizable forms, badge printing and attendee tracking to ensure a smooth onboarding process.

  • Hosted Buyer Program: Connect pre-qualified buyers with exhibitors through personalized concierge services, maximizing exhibitor ROI.

  • Exhibitor Manual: A comprehensive exhibitor manual provides crucial information, guidelines and resources to ensure a successful exhibition experience for all participants.

  • Lead Capture and Retrieval: Capture leads through badge scans, collect contact information, score leads and integrate with CRM systems for seamless lead management and qualification.

  • Interactive 3D Floorplan: Interactive floor plans offer venue visibility and assist attendees in navigating the event space.

  • Networking & Matchmaking: AI-powered matchmaking tools facilitate attendee networking and appointment scheduling, while built-in messaging tools foster communication and engagement.

  • Mobile Event App: A mobile app empowers attendees to connect, network, generate leads, receive updates and access and share content – all on the go.

  • Online 365 Community: An online community platform fosters year-round interaction between buyers and exhibitors, facilitating business deals irrespective of location or time zone.

Tip #4 Check for third-party tools integration 🔗

event tech integrationA siloed approach doesn’t cut it in event tech anymore. Third-party integration capabilities are a must – here’s why:

  • Enhanced functionality: Integrating with specialized third-party tools compensates for any features unavailable in the core platform. These tools are also used when they are more efficient and developed than the platform feature.

  • Streamlined workflows: Native integrations or open API access enable seamless data exchange between your event platform and other tools you use. This eliminates the need for manual data entry and ensures consistency across different systems.

  • Improved efficiency: Integrating tools like identity management systems or exhibitor management software helps you automate tasks and minimize manual work – freeing up your team to focus on strategic initiatives.

  • Data-driven decisions: Integration with analytics and insights tools provides a holistic view of event performance. This allows you to make data-driven decisions and optimize future events.

Here are some key integrations to consider:

  • Identity management systems: Streamline attendee registration and access control by integrating with existing login systems used by your organization or partners.

  • Exhibitor management systems: Simplify exhibitor booth management, lead retrieval and communication by integrating with dedicated exhibitor software.

  • Payments: Offer attendees a secure and convenient way to register, purchase add-ons or pay for services through integrated payment gateways.

  • Analytics and insights: Gain valuable insights into attendee behavior, session engagement and overall event performance by integrating with analytics tools.

  • Conference management: Integrate with conference management software to streamline speaker scheduling, abstract submission and session management.

Open API vs. Native Integrations:

  • Native integrations: These are pre-built connections between the event platform and specific third-party tools. They offer a smoother setup process but might limit your options.

  • Open API access: This allows developers to build custom integrations with virtually any tool. It offers greater flexibility but requires technical expertise for implementation.

 👉ExpoPlatform offers integration with various popular tech tools. Read about them here.

Tip #5 Are customizations and branding options offered? 🤳

top tips to improve brand presence at tradeshowCustomization options let you integrate your event with your brand identity. Here’s what you should look for:

  • Event app branding: Ability to customize the app’s interface with your brand colors, logos and fonts to create a seamless brand experience for attendees.

  • Branded communication: Personalize email templates, notifications and push messages within the platform to reflect your brand voice and messaging.

  • Branded content and gamification: Create branded quizzes, polls or interactive elements within the app to increase attendee participation and brand recall.

  • Personalized agendas and recommendations: Offer attendees the ability to personalize their event schedule or receive recommendations based on their interests, all within a branded experience.

  • Event website integration: Match the platform’s visual elements to your event website, creating a unified brand experience for attendees.

  • Social media integration: Maintain brand consistency by using the platform to generate branded social media posts and encourage event promotion.

  • Building brand affinity: A well-branded event experience fosters a stronger connection with your target audience. Showcasing your brand’s personality and values during the event promotes brand affinity and fosters positive perceptions.

Also read ➡️ Top tips to improve your brand presence at a tradeshow

Tip #6 Analytics and reporting to assess event performance 📊

data analytics and insightsAdvanced analytics and reporting tools are no longer an afterthought – they’re a non-negotiable feature when selecting an event management platform. Here are the various ways :

  • Measuring success: Robust analytics tools go beyond basic metrics like attendance numbers. They delve deeper to reveal key performance indicators (KPIs) like session popularity, attendee engagement levels, lead generation and exhibitor satisfaction.

  • Identifying areas for improvement: Analyzing attendee behavior and engagement data helps pinpoint areas for improvement. This could be anything from optimizing session scheduling to tailoring content to better address attendee interests.

  • Demonstrating value and ROI: Event stakeholders -like sponsors and executives – want to see the value proposition of your event. Advanced analytics provide concrete data on event performance and return on investment (ROI), justifying the budget allocated to the event and the technology used to manage it.

  • Data-driven decision making: Advanced analytics offer real-time insights into attendee behavior during the event. This allows you to make data-driven decisions on the fly. For example, analyzing traffic flow can help adjust staffing levels at booths or adapt content based on audience engagement levels.

  • Personalized attendee experience: Advanced analytics can reveal attendee preferences. This allows for personalization through targeted communications or recommendations within the event app, enhancing the overall attendee experience.

  • Benchmarking and trend analysis: By comparing historical data and analyzing trends, you can identify what worked well and what needs improvement for future events. This data-driven approach allows for continuous improvement and optimization of your event strategy.

  • Targeted marketing and content creation: Insights from attendee demographics and behavior can inform future marketing campaigns and content creation. You can tailor your messaging and content to better resonate with your target audience.

  • Quantifiable results: Advanced analytics provide quantifiable results that showcase the effectiveness of your chosen event tech platform. This data validates your investment and strengthens your case for continued use of the platform.

Read more ➡️ Five ways to drive tradeshow ROI with data analytics

Tip #7 Go for tech that encourages sustainability 🌎

Events that prioritize sustainability have an ethical value attached to them. This makes them more attractive to exhibitors, participants and sponsors. Here’s a quick read on how event tech contributes to a greener future and the goal of Net Zero Carbon Events.

  • Reduced paper waste: Digital check-ins, e-tickets and paperless information booths significantly reduce paper consumption, minimizing your event’s environmental footprint.

  • Lower energy use: Event tech solutions can promote energy efficiency. For example, some platforms use cloud-based storage, reducing the need for physical servers and their associated energy demands.

  • Carbon footprint reduction: Sustainable event tech can help minimize your event’s carbon footprint. This could include features like carpooling incentives within the event app or promoting virtual attendance options to reduce travel emissions.

  • Alignment with green values: Consumers are increasingly environmentally conscious. Using sustainable event tech solutions demonstrates your commitment to green practices and resonates with a growing eco-conscious audience.

  • Positive public perception: Promoting eco-friendly initiatives like tree planting through partnerships with sustainability groups can generate positive media coverage and enhance your event’s public image.

  • Reduced printing costs: Embracing paperless systems eliminates printing costs for tickets, brochures, and signage, leading to potential cost savings for your event.

  • Streamlined operations: Digital tools can streamline event operations like registration and data management, potentially reducing manpower needs and associated costs.

Explore now 👉 ExpoPlatform’s Meetings Make Trees program helps you plant a tree for every meeting confirmed 🌿

Tip #8 Check data security and compliance policies 🌐

Protecting exhibitor and attendee information is paramount when you select an event tech provider. It helps in data security, risk management and compliance with local and international laws. Here’s how:

  • Protecting sensitive information: Event platforms often collect personal details like names, emails and even payment information. Strong security measures safeguard this sensitive data from unauthorized access, cyber threats or accidental leaks.

  • Minimizing risk and maintaining control: Robust security protocols like end-to-end encryption minimize the risk of data breaches. Regular security audits further ensure the platform’s defenses are up-to-date and potential vulnerabilities are addressed promptly.

  • Data usage policy: A clear data usage policy outlines what data is collected, how it’s used and for what duration. This transparency builds trust with attendees and ensures they understand how their information is handled.

  • Maintaining control over data: Ideally, the platform should allow some level of control for attendees over their data. This could include options to opt out of certain communications or request data deletion upon request.

  • Data privacy regulations: Many regions have strict data privacy regulations like GDPR (Europe) or CCPA (California) that govern data collection, storage, and usage. Choosing a platform that adheres to these regulations ensures your event complies with legal requirements and avoids hefty fines.

  • Building trust with stakeholders: Data breaches can erode trust with attendees, exhibitors and sponsors. A secure platform demonstrates your commitment to protecting their information and builds credibility for your show.

NOTE ↪️ ExpoPlatform follows a data-control policy where the organizer is the sole controller of the user data. Read our Data Manifesto.

Tip #9 Access to training resources and onsite support 👨‍🏫

b2b event management platform - all in one | expoplatform
  • Platform mastery: Event technology platforms can be complex. Comprehensive training resources – like tutorials, webinars or knowledge bases – help your team fully understand the platform’s functionalities.

  • Troubleshooting and problem-solving: Even with training, technical glitches can arise. Robust support resources with FAQs, troubleshooting guides or even a dedicated support line empower your team to address basic issues independently.

  • Maximizing platform potential: Effective aftersales support goes beyond troubleshooting. It can include resources on maximizing the platform’s features to enhance your event experience.

  • Swift issue resolution: Technical hiccups during a live event can disrupt the flow and attendee experience. Onsite support personnel can quickly diagnose and resolve technical issues, minimizing downtime and ensuring a smooth event execution.

  • Addressing audience queries: Even with a user-friendly platform, attendees might have questions. Having on-site support allows for immediate resolution and prevents minor issues from escalating.

  • Peace of mind and confidence: The presence of onsite support acts as a safety net. Knowing that technical expertise is readily available reduces stress for the event organizer and instils confidence in a successful show.

Read now ➡️ Integrated registration onsite service like badge printing kiosks boosts revenue and insights, says industry leader

Tip #10 Evaluate past customer feedback and industry experience 

b2b event management platform - all in one | expoplatform
  • Domain expertise: A platform with experience within your specific industry understands the unique challenges and needs of your event type. They can offer features and functionalities tailored to your audience and event goals.

  • Proven track record: Companies with a strong track record in your industry have likely tackled similar events before. This experience translates into a smoother execution for your show, as they anticipate potential issues and have solutions readily available.

  • Industry trends and regulations: Experienced platforms stay updated on the latest trends and regulations within your industry. They can ensure your event technology adheres to relevant data privacy or security standards, giving you peace of mind.

  • Independent validation: Reviews from past customers offer unbiased insights into the platform’s performance. Positive reviews from similar events boost your confidence in the provider’s ability to deliver a successful show.

  • Identifying potential issues: Reviews can also highlight areas where the platform might fall short. Look for recurring themes in negative reviews to identify potential drawbacks and ask the vendor how they address them.

  • Realistic expectations: Customer reviews provide a realistic picture of the platform’s capabilities and limitations. This helps you manage your expectations and ensures the platform aligns with your needs.

➡️ Case studies and customer testimonials are testament to an event tech’s success. Read how ExpoPlatform delivered tech for leading shows like IMEX, Cosmoprof, GITEX Global and more.

Bonus tip ➡️ Understand pricing, licensing and add-ons 

Pricing and licensing go beyond just the headline cost. Here’s why they’re crucial:

  • Budget management: Event tech can range from free basic versions to comprehensive, feature-rich platforms with hefty price tags. Understanding the cost structure upfront ensures you stay within budget and don’t get surprised by hidden fees later.

  • Scalability: Will your event size fluctuate? Consider if the pricing scales with your needs. Per-user fees can become expensive with a large audience, while tiered plans might offer a better fit.

  • Features vs. value: Don’t be swayed by the flashiest features. Analyze which functionalities directly benefit your event and attendees. Prioritize features that align with your goals and avoid paying for functionalities you won’t use.

  • Licensing restrictions: Some platforms restrict features based on licensing tiers. Be clear on what functions are included in the base price and what requires additional purchases.

 💡ExpoPlatform provides different pricing packages for small, mid-size and large eventsexplore them here.

Upsells and add-ons: making informed decisions

Understanding upsells and add-ons can make a big difference in your purchase decision:

  • Identify core needs vs. extras: Many platforms offer core features in the base package and then upsell additional functionalities. Carefully analyze if these add-ons are truly necessary or simply bells and whistles.

  • Evaluate true value: Don’t be pressured into upsells. Research alternative solutions that might offer the same functionality for a lower price.

  • Negotiation leverage: Knowing about upsells empowers you to negotiate with the vendor. If a crucial feature comes as an add-on, see if you can bundle it into the base price during negotiations.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. At ExpoPlatform, we want to help you build better events and communities. Please get in touch and ask for a demo here. Thank you 😀