AI-Powered Chatbots - Coming to an Event Near You

May 8, 2018

Marijana Mrkalj

Marijana is Head of Marketing at SpiceFactory, the company that developed the Sava.events platform to simplify and streamline the process of managing the entire event lifecycle.

Event technology is an umbrella term that encompasses a variety of different technologies - think event management platforms, ticketing solutions, digital signage widgets and apps, beacons, virtual and augmented reality apps, AI-powered event chatbots, and more. Technology is literally shaping every aspect of the event experience.

There’s, however, one prevailing problem with new and innovative event technology and that is adoption. In order to reach meaningful adoption levels, event tech needs to satisfy the needs and expectations of both the organizers and participants.

Organizers are looking at the available tech through the lens of relevance - how is this technology going to make it easier for me to plan and manage my event? Is it going to be relevant to the attendees’ needs? Is it going to help them feel more connected to the event content and thus more engaged?

Event participants, on the other hand, have high expectations for their event experiences. They want the event agenda and content to be at their fingertips at all times, and they prefer to consume it through familiar channels.

If we look at the available event tech landscape from the participants’ perspective, event chatbots surface as the most lightweight, natural, user-friendly solution perfectly suited to the fast-paced conference environment.

Capitalize on the popularity and familiarity of messaging

The infamous app fatigue is impacting the event industry as well. Fewer and fewer people are interested in downloading yet another app, especially if it’s only useful to them for a few days e.g. the length of an event.

But as app downloads and usage decrease, the use of messaging apps continues to surge. People all over the world use messaging apps more than any other channel and this is why brand-customer communications are increasingly moving to chat.

Event organizers can now leverage AI-powered chatbots to deliver conversational and more personalized experiences to attendees, while at the same time taming the chaos of conference agenda management. By giving their attendees, sponsors, and speaker a smart and simple tool to stay organized and connected, they can open up a plethora of feedback and engagement opportunities.

And here’s how.

Event chatbots can interact with hundreds or thousands of attendees at the same time via their preferred messaging channel, be it Facebook Messenger, Viber, WhatsApp, or Skype with little to no human interaction. A branded event chatbot can thus serve as a perfect event assistant that is available on-demand to answer attendee questions, deliver personalized notifications, or collect feedback.

So if you’re organizing an event of any scale, think about adding a chatbot to your toolbox. Here’s a quick look at how one of the biggest technology events in the region used our Sava event chatbot:

When attendees at the recent LibertyCon in Belgrade wanted to know the start time for a session, they simply reached for their phones and asked SavaBot. They were able to learn more about speakers, the venue, or networking events with the same ease. And if they wanted to rate a talk or ask speakers questions during sessions, SavaBot made that incredibly simple as well.

Drive better event outcomes

Since we launched Sava, the smart event assistant traveled to several conferences around Europe:

  • 40% of attendees interacted with the bot, compared to an average of 20% of attendees using conference apps.
  • 270% more sessions were rated compared to mobile app ratings from previous years

Why are conference attendees using chatbots (when available) more than they’re using event apps? It’s simple, really. There’s nothing to download or install, no new interface for them to learn or complex menus to navigate, there’s simply no added cognitive load!

Everything they want to know about the event agenda, speaker, talks, venue, etc. they can learn by typing a question to get an instant response. On top of that, interacting with an event chatbot feels like a natural conversation for the attendee. And the more an event chatbot is used, the smarter it gets.

Powered by machine learning and NLP systems, smart bots learn attendee preferences from previous interactions, becoming better and better at their job.

So, what can an event chatbot do?

  • Provide on-demand agenda. An event bot can deliver all the agenda info your participants need on-demand, right from the messaging app they already use daily.
  • Deliver timely and relevant notifications. No matter how good you are at planning, in almost 100% cases you’re going to have to deal with unexpected changes. An event chatbot can inform your attendees about sudden changes in schedule, speaker cancellations, or room switches.
  • Answer attendee questions. Imagine if you had sufficient support staff on your payroll to enable one-on-one personalized conversations with attendees for every question they may have pre-, during-, and post-event. Now you can achieve this level of personalized interaction with your own branded chatbot that can instantly provide answers to attendee questions about speakers, sponsors, logistical info (session rooms, WiFi access), and more.
  • Gather attendee feedback. Smart event chatbots typically have different attendee feedback functionalities, such as Live Polls and Q&As. Your chatbot can ask attendees to rate sessions and speakers, or launch polls on relevant topics.
  • Usage analytics. Event chatbots provide analytics that enable organizers to track and measure engagement levels, number and type of chatbot interactions, sentiment analysis, and more.

There’s a wide variety of potential chatbot use cases for events and conferences. They are fast to deploy, easy to use, and they bring significant benefits to event organizers and attendees alike.

From an adoption perspective, if given the choice, attendees will choose the familiar interface and simplicity of a bot over a mobile event app or a website every time! Organizers, join your peers in taking notice – planners are increasingly investigating available options and starting to recognize chatbots as the next big thing in events and conferences.

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