Despite 82% of event planners naming personalisation as a top priority for 2016, only 27% are doing it consistently, according to a new study from Eventsforce.
Dale Parmenter, CEO of drp, said that his agency often has clients on a tight budget who are looking for personalised touches. "There are lots of ways to do this that don’t need a huge amount of time or money. For example, we can set up an ‘inspiration’ email among delegates, asking them to send thoughts, images and ideas about what inspires them – these can be used throughout an event to create a personal touch."
Parmenter added that simple things, such as asking delegates what their favourite drink is and providing it on arrival, could make a huge difference to an event. "You don’t have to use fancy technology. You can utilise the tech people are already using, such as email and smartphones. You can even take it one step further and go completely back to basics. At a recent event we actually put a white paper tablecloth out and got people to contribute with felt tip pens."
Use your contacts
Randle Stonier, founder of AddingValue, agreed that personlisation didn’t have to be expensive. "For incentives, we often use the annual conference to source ideas for reward incentives. You can engage the audience with destination videos (which can be provided for free by tourism boards) and get the opinions of the people who will be going to the event. By using your contacts and what you already have within the agency, you can give delegates plenty of information on destinations for their trip."
Stonier also pointed out that asking delegates a few personal questions before an event could also make a difference. "We might ask them to tell us something about themselves that we wouldn’t know, or a funny anecdote. These can then be used in speeches or even on the back of menus as a talking point." For Stonier the biggest challenge lies not with cost, but with convincing clients that personalisation is essential. "Some of our clients are very enlightened and forward-thinking. Others like to do things traditionally and aren’t convinced that these steps actually make a difference."
Give delegates a voice
According to commercial director at Bluehat Group, Ben Parkinson, event planners must ensure delegates have a voice and feel valued. He suggests using Survey Monkey to save money on apps and creating a free hasghtag and suggestions box to use at the event. "Ultimately a conference is for them so addressing their concerns and issues, or helping them understand where the company is heading and what that means to them is paramount. This is real engagement- rather than fancy stage sets and flashy lighting effects which give a short term initial impact."
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