This article will take a deep dive into digital concierge service for events - AI-powered event chatbots - their benefits, and common use cases, revealing all you need to know about this technology and its capabilities.
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When people hear the term ‘event concierge,’ they usually think about it as a premium service that is not available to every attendee at every event.
And that is most likely the case with a traditional human concierge service - a person, or a team of people catering to your precise needs during an event or a conference.
A high-touch service like that usually comes with a hefty price tag. However, things get much more affordable when the event concierge service goes digital.
AI-Powered Chatbot as a Digital Event Concierge
Simply put, chatbot is a computer program that can be trained to have conversations with users through a chat interface. It is an automated system for communication with users that can be integrated into websites, applications, or messaging apps like Facebook Messenger.
Enabled with AI technologies, such as machine learning and natural language processing (NLP), a chatbot can play a role of an event concierge, providing the feeling of a premium service for participants.
An event chatbot that is trained with domain knowledge and that can learn from interactions with users is a valuable channel for events to automate and scale participant communications and support.
That is why more and more event organizers use AI chatbots to answer attendee questions and meet their needs on-demand, 24/7, without involving their support staff, and without breaking the bank.
And since chatbots live on the popular messaging platforms like Whatsapp, Viber, and Facebook Messenger i.e. where most users already spend their time, there is no need for them to download a separate app to interact with their event concierge.
The benefits of a digital event concierge are twofold:
Event planners, conference and meeting organizers manage their complete agenda, logistics info, and sponsors’ content more easily while automating common support tasks
Participants enjoy easy access to all the event information that matters to them via a tool that also keeps them connected and engaged.
Now, let’s dive deeper into the value that a digital concierge or an event chatbot can bring to event planners and their audience.
Available to Assist Attendees 24/7
Event concierge can answer questions or perform certain tasks for attendees 24/7 which reduces pressure on event staff. And the best part is, the more it is used the better it gets at understanding the user’s context and sentiment.
To make this possible, an AI chatbot leverages sentiment analysis to understand the emotion that the user is expressing and use that understanding to provide a better response or a tone of response to them. The end goal is to provide a better attendee experience.
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.
Pro tip: Make sure to choose a closed domain AI chatbot that works in your specific niche i.e. events, meetings, conferences, and that can instantly retrieve a response from a database and potentially also generate new answers for the users. This type of chatbot is trained with the knowledge specific to the event industry and will take a couple of days instead of weeks to get up and running.
Increased Attendee Engagement
For busy event planners, the question of how to effectively maximize attendee engagement is usually an afterthought. Enabling a frictionless event day experience takes a lot of planning, different tactics and tools, in other words, time and money.
With an event chatbot, planners can have all the interactive audience engagement capabilities they need, such as live Q&A, to get their attendees to actively participate in the topics they care about.
A chatbot is an excellent tool to drive conversations so attendees can share their ideas and opinions and enjoy a more interactive event experience. And if they wish, they can do it anonymously!
Pro tip: Leverage an event chatbot to enable your audience to rate sessions and ask questions live to speakers and presenters. Most people are more likely to participate in Q&A sessions if they can do so without speaking into a mic in front of the crowd. You can enable your attendees to participate in Q&A anonymously via the messaging app they have on their phone. When using a chatbot for Q&A, make sure to have someone from your team to moderate the questions so that the speaker only answers the most relevant and interesting questions.
Real-time Event Feedback
With the help of a digital event concierge, you can get your participants involved and find out what they’re thinking about relevant topics with live polls. A smart event chatbot can connect to digital signage displays so you can automatically share the results with your audience.
Plus, with the option to rate speakers and sessions, you’ll see what your audience thinks about the quality of your conference program, topics, and speakers.
Often times, event organizers don’t have this level of insight to understand what type of content and what content specifically resonated with their audience the most.
An event chatbot delivers those important insights and helps you shape your next event based on the opinions of people who matter - attendees, sponsors, exhibitors, and partners.
Pro tip: Send your follow-up survey directly to your attendees Facebook Messenger inbox and reach far more people than you would with a typical web survey. Statistics show that Facebook Messenger has the best engagement rate over other marketing/support channels. For the sake of comparison, it is worth noting that Facebook Messenger has an 80% open rate vs. email that has an average open rate of 21%.
Enhanced Event Experience through Gamification
An event chatbot enables organizers to incorporate gamification into their events, creating memorable event experiences through quizzes, treasure hunts, giveaways, and other tactics depending on the event theme.
We’ve seen many examples of event gamification gone wrong because events sometimes force people to participate. The key is in understanding your visitors and their interests and aligning your game to what they are already doing i.e. their current context.
And that’s where AI event chatbots really shine through - you can time your messages so that they don’t distract attendees and make it as simple as possible to participate in and enjoy the game through smooth conversational experience.
Pro tip: Gamification with chatbots is a new way to engage attendees at your event. However, if you want to effectively integrate gaming elements into your event chatbot, you’ll need to consider your audience demographics (age, role, etc.) and psychographics (interests, attitudes, etc.). In addition, look for an AI chatbot that leverages machine learning and sentiment analysis to detect user emotions and provide personalized suggestions/experiences.
Easy Access to Event Info
An event chatbot can deliver all the information about the schedule, speakers, sessions, or the logistics of the event to your participants on-demand, right from the messaging app they already use daily.
We’ve all heard about this - app fatigue is impacting the event industry as well. People are shifting away from downloading apps, especially if they are single-purpose apps like event applications.
Now you can deliver all the agenda info your participants need on-demand via messaging apps they already have on their phone. Nothing new to download or install!
Attendees can easily:
- Find sessions they don’t want to miss
- Get info about speakers and their talks
- Get relevant talk recommendations
Pro tip: Before using a chatbot as a communication and support channel for your event, find out which of the popular messaging apps are extensively used by your target audience and check if they allow chatbot integration. By deploying your event chatbot on the right channel you’ll ensure greater reach and increase the return on investment for your digital event concierge.
Deliver Timely and Relevant Notifications
Organizers often have the need to deliver certain messages to specific segments of their audience only. They used to do this via email, but now this type of communications can be done much more fluently via a conversational event chatbot.
So, for example, a chatbot can broadcast a specific message to speakers only, or deliver workshop updates to a segment of the audience taking part in a specific workshop.
Another great use case for real-time notifications are unexpected changes in schedule or speaker cancellations and we all know this can happen last-minute. With an event chatbot, you can notify all attendees instantly and help them maximize the time they spend at your event.
Pro tip: An AI event chatbot is also great for sending scheduled, personal reminders to attendees. For example, you can use it to notify attendees that the session they favorited is about to start. Your audience will love this level of personalized communication that helps them stay organized.
Increased Sponsor Exposure
Sponsorships are the lifeblood of any event. With an event chatbot, you can maximize the visibility and reach of your sponsors with perfectly-timed announcements, offers, and logo placements.
Your sponsors will have another channel to connect with your audience (their potential customers) but you won’t have to sacrifice attendee experience. On the contrary, sponsored content can be blended seamlessly into their context while interacting with your chatbot.
Pro tip: Use your event chatbot to send timely notifications to attendees and hype them with cool prizes offered by the event sponsors. You can also use this channel to cross-promote an upcoming event (if you run a series of events) to attendees based on their interests.
Conversational User Interfaces (UIs): Text + Voice
So far, we discussed the capabilities of chatbots that use text to converse with users. But what about voice-based conversations and their use for events?
AI assistants like Alexa, Google Now, and Siri could also be used to help people plan their event attendance from the comfort of their home. Adding specific items to your calendar via a voice assistant, hearing today’s schedule or speaker/talk description can be just one voice command away.
We can expect to see movement in the meetings and events industry toward the voice interface, as well as the messaging one - they are quite complementary. Chatbots will revolutionize the way organizers guide participants through their event experience, and voice interface is on the forefront of that change.
Pro tip: Whether your bot converses with users via text or voice, you’ll want to make sure it’s trained to appropriately communicate your brand personality and voice. Most users know that the chatbot isn’t a person, but they still want to connect to their image of a brand they are interacting with via a chatbot.
As event organizers and meeting planners start to leverage the full potential of the available AI technologies, we’re going to see significant changes in the events industry.
With event chatbots powered by artificial intelligence, event experiences will become extremely personalized, enabling attendees to consume event content in a way that is tailored to their interests and preferences.
Organizers, on the other hand, will be able to manage their event content and communications more easily. They’ll be able to gather quality insights about their participants’ experience, helping them optimize their future events.