The most critical part of any event is the visitor experience and, throughout the events industry, this has improved immeasurably over the years. Festivals have proper food, venues have (on the whole) improved their facilities, and Wi-Fi provision continues to develop to enhance audience engagement. There has also been a marked increase in software providers moving into ticketing and registration.

Buying a gig ticket through the Dice app could not be easier, and Eventbrite has given new-found flexibility to small event organisers. But as larger events and conferences have been trying the same thing – with enterprise-level SAAS products – they have found that this is when software hits its limit. Tools that were supposed to make things easier have become cumbersome and restrictive. The more complex an event gets, the more the lack of flexibility is exposed and organisers need to dedicate even more time to managing and operating the very thing that was supposed to make things easier.

Why do organisers choose to compromise the event registration process? Well one of the most compelling reasons was supposed to be keeping costs down. But that’s proved to be a fallacy. Payment models punish success, with a cost-per-registration on top of a weighty license fee. Integration into existing CRM platforms becomes a constant liability, and that’s before the cost of staff time to manage the tool is factored in.

Perhaps most importantly, the visitor experience has consequently got worse – not better. There has been a marked decline in customer service support, and an almost complete disconnect between registration staff on the ground and the software itself. And if the registration software fails, where’s the contingency plan? This inevitably relies on people – in-house or agency – and their knowledge and experience.

Software may ideal for simple transactions, but when you’re dealing with high-value clients or C-suite execs attending an important business event, you need more. You need experience and human interaction. This becomes even more important when your delegates are not comfortable with self-serve technology, especially those who can’t be termed ‘digital natives’. There is a very good chance that the guests in the most important, senior roles are in this category. Surely they deserve the personal touch?

To excel at event registration and delegate management, take a solution-based approach. Profile your audience and, to paraphrase a marketing dictum, anticipate their wants and needs. Then tailor the service accordingly. You will find that any corporate event of importance is inevitably going to require people and technology, seamlessly integrated and dedicated to the visitor experience.

Engaging with a specialist agency that has this combination people and technology means that you can capitalise on the power of software whilst ensuring your guests feel truly valued.  The best specialist agencies will have their registration platform, but should also be able to work with yours – especially if you’re tied into a contract. The best specialist agencies will have permanently employed people who are experts in their field. The best specialist agencies will ensure that every touch-point of the visitor experience reflects the quality of your brand.

To find out how to optimise the visitor experience with professional delegate management, speak to Grass Roots Meetings & Events. Contact Kathryn Tipps on 020 3077 7751 or email meet@grg.com for more information.

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