For trade show and conference planners looking to capture and engage more Generation Y/Millennial attendees, accommodating their technology needs to be a top priority. These digital natives rely on their mobile devices for much of their communication, information sharing, socializing and networking. When they attend an event, the expectations are that technology will be a major part of the event starting from their initial correspondence till their last. This could be either a challenge or an opportunity for event planners depending upon how you view it.
Yes, there must be adequate, fast and reliable Wi-Fi to accommodate this generation’s multiple devices (i.e., many Millennials carry two to three devices at a time). Additionally, when registering Millennials, slow, tedious manual processes won’t do. Sophisticated touch-screen registration and check-in software are essential for registration and attendee badge production. Additionally, don’t expect Millennials to flip through printed exhibitor/show guides. They will expect either an app or an interactive video display to provide exhibitor information, program schedule, breakout sessions, and other information about local weather, sights, restaurants and travel.
The good news though is that the integration of technology is a true win for the event planner, sponsors, exhibitors and attendees alike.
· Advanced Registration Systems enable event planners to capture data for attendee tracking and future event marketing.
· Digital Document Libraries, not only help planners deliver and manage information securely, but they also allow them to demonstrate their “go-green” efforts and score extra points with this environmentally-conscious generation.
· Digital Signage offers planners a way to better engage Millennials, while doubling as another revenue generator by giving sponsors and exhibitors a high visibility platform for sending their marketing messages.
· Charging Stations give Millennials a convenient way to charge their mobile devices, and event planners another platform for branding their event and generating more advertising revenues from sponsors and exhibitors.
· Audience Response Systems facilitate audience polling regarding different aspects of an event, at the same time providing planners, sponsors and exhibitors with timely input regarding how attendees, including Millennials, are reacting to their seminars, displays, networking events, etc. The information gained can then be used to make “on-the-fly” changes and/or applied to make future activities more effective.
· Beacon Technology can allow for event check-in, navigation, gamification, networking and many other applications.
So, as you can see, technology offers you a way to connect and engage with the Gen Y/Millennial Meeting audience, roughly age 34 and under, who are so dependent on their smart devices (Smartphones, tablets & other wearables). If you do not grab the Millennial at the first touch point, you may have lost them for your event.