CONNECTIONS ARE THE KEY TO SUCCESS
I believe in collaboration. Sharing your stories, successes and challenges with your peers is a great opportunity to grow. And with that in mind, I’ve launched a new private Facebook group for independent #eventprofs that I’d love for you to join!
This group is designed as a collaboration space for independent event planners – a safe space to swap ideas, solve problems and communicate with people who get the ups and downs of running a business doing something we love! The rules are simple: – Share value – Keep things confidential – Comment constructively – Collaborate. Anything else shall be moderated out 😜
Who’s an “independent planner”?
I categorize this as anyone who plans events for a living and/or frequently. You also run a business and have to worry about things like sales, marketing, business development etc. You can work alone, with a team, or with a wide group of freelancers. Or – you might be a freelancer yourself! If you’re ultimately responsible for making a living and planning events, this is the community for you!!
New AI Solution Slashes Planner Workload, Drives Attendee Engagement
The partnership combines Sciensio’s artificial intelligence chatbot technology with Aventri’s enterprise software. The result is the industry’s first end-to-end event management solution that leverages EventBots to provide quick answers to thousands of common event questions.
Where should I park? How do I get to the convention center? What’s the dress code? Can I get gluten-free meals? Do meeting rooms have Wi-Fi … Using Aventri, planners can now get instant answers to these and countless other questions 24/7/365. Sciensio’s conversation design engine delivers millions of answers to everyday event questions with an average response time of less than three seconds.
Previously, attendees have had to log onto a computer and search a website, download an app, contact a call center, or send an email and often wait hours or days for answers. Organizers, in turn, have had to devote a great deal of time to responding to repetitive questions. Many of these inquiries pour in all at once when planners are busiest, the day before the event.
“As consumers, attendees are used to getting immediate answers on their smart devices about weather, news, sports, directions, recipes … you name it,” explains Brad Langley,
“One of the beauties of an EventBot is you can have hundreds, even thousands, of participants receiving answers to different questions at the same time,” Langley continues. “You can’t do that with other communication channels. This frees planners up to focus precious time and energy on the other responsibilities that go into creating successful events.”
EventBots are available as an add-on to the Aventri product suite. Set-up is easy. Now, organizers can access EventBots directly through the Aventri dashboard. The integration ensures a seamless experience and eliminates the need for redundant data entry.
EventBots in Action
EventBots work best on mobile devices and go hand-in-hand with event apps, websites, social media and other channels. They deliver information through SMS, WebChat, Facebook, Messenger, Twitter, WhatsApp and more. But the most popular channels by far are SMS and WebChat, according to Bob Caldwell, founding partner and chief revenue officer at Sciensio.
“Not all attendees read event emails and printed material,” Caldwell explains. “But text messages have a 98 percent open rate. On average, people read them in less than five seconds. That means attendees actually read the important things organizers send them. Attendees have the technology in their hands and know how to use it. If they can text, they can use EventBots.”
With the new Aventri/Sciensio chatbot technology, attendees simply text their questions to a phone number the organizer provides. The EventBot’s AI analyzes the text and responds with the exact information the customer needs. Since potential attendees often have questions before committing to an event, the EventBot helps drive registration.
Sciensio’s award-winning EventBots have a 95+ percent correct response rate, exceeding even a call center industry average of 80 percent. When necessary, they can easily refer complex questions to another customer support option, so the attendees needs are met quickly.
Event profs gain a powerful message delivery tool and real-time view of EventBot interactions with participants. So they can use the power of AI to drive engagement and improve their events.
Organizers can customize EventBots with a name and personality to match their brand.
The solution not only answers questions, but also serves as a powerful tool for sending targeted notifications like greetings, feedback requests and reminders. What’s more, the technology plays a key role for event emergency preparedness, by providing a fast, reliable tool to alert attendees of changes and emergencies.
Of course, attendees, sponsors and speakers have different priorities. Aventri/Sciensio EventBots lend a friendly voice to event data. The technology can customize communications by participant roles, interests, educational tracks, sessions and more to further enhance the attendee experience.
“We’re delighted to partner with an industry leader like Sciensio,” Langley says. “Our customers have engaging new technology that strengthens their brand and radically reduces their workload and costs, while adding value throughout their events.”
EventBots improve customer service at large-scale events. They also work well for smaller, single-day meetings and conferences of 30 – 300 attendees or more.
For additional information, visit Aventri.com.
Sciensio is one of the leading pioneers of AI ChatBots for customer support and the global leader for EventBots. The company’s award-winning solutions have been deployed for events from 10 to 100,000+ attendees and can be used for any type of meeting, conference, festival or gathering. Sciensio has won more than a dozen industry awards, including MPI WEC Tech Showcase 2018, National Sports Forum Tech Tank 2018, IMEX America #IMEXpitch 2017, SISO Innovation Battlefield 2017 and IBTM World Technology Watch 2017. The company also was named to CIO Review’s 2018 list of the 10 Most Promising Conversational Platform Solution Providers. Learn more at sciensio.com/eventbots.
Aventri is a global leader in cloud-based analytics and data-driven end-to-end event management and venue sourcing solutions. The award-winning, open-source platform delivers innovative technology solutions to streamline the event process, providing real-time data and analytics on event performance, customer engagement, and increasing measurable event ROI. Founded in 2008, Aventri has assisted more than 25,000 event professionals in planning, executing, and measuring their events. With a focus on event sourcing and hospitality, registration, marketing, logistics, engagement, mobile, and data analytics, the company serves more than 1,300 customers, including leading corporations, associations, agencies, and educational institutions globally. Headquartered in the United States, Aventri also has offices in the UK, Belgium, Australia, Singapore, India, and UAE. Aventri is a portfolio company of private equity firm HGGC. Learn more at aventri.com.
It seems that everyone is obsessed with the words “influencer” and “thought leader”. Buzz words, yes. But a new concept? Absolutely not!
Since the beginning of time, people purchase things from people they know, trust, and believe will do the job. They hire event planners who come highly recommended, which is why most of us get the majority of our business through word of mouth. They hire vendors based on a mix of research, reviews and recommendations.
In short, people hire people they trust. So becoming a thought leader is important for 2 reasons:
- It establishes you as a trustworthy person because they see your work, get to know your personality and learn to trust that you do what you say.
- The power of social media expands your reach and helps you become that trustworthy thought leader to a MUCH larger audience.
But when we hear these words, we think of the people with thousands of followers and a big, visible brand. We feel unworthy. We think we don’t have what it takes to be the expert yet. We feel like imposters and can always count a million ways why we aren’t “ready yet”.
But here are a few key FACTS about thought leadership you need to embrace so you can make your biggest impact yet in the coming year.
- You don’t have to be an expert to be an influencer. People relate to your journey and are more likely to become attached to you as you wade your way through the muck of life. They will appreciate your road to becoming successful rather than loving you once you’re already a know-it-all.
- Even with that said, you are more of an expert than you give yourself credit for. Have you ever been able to teach or help someone with something you know? If so (and I know you have!), you have expertise. You don’t have to be the biggest expert on a topic to talk about your journey, but you do have things you know that could be helpful to others.
I’ve been listening to the work of Dr. Valerie Young on a recommendation from one of my mentors, Carolyn Herfurth, about Imposter Syndrome – why so many people (especially women) often feel like we are imposters as we build our brands, even though we have plenty of experience. This podcast that Carolyn did with Valerie is a great listen and I highly recommend if you’re just starting this journey of building your thought leadership and you hesitate because you don’t think you have what it takes yet.
The truth is that the world needs to hear from you.
They need to learn from you. And you don’t have to be rated #1 in your industry to have something to say. Put yourself out there as you are – be authentic – and share your journey and I bet you’ll be surprised to see how many people care!
If you’re ready to step into your light as a thought leader to grow your business and could use some help, there are a few ways I support entrepreneurs like you!
- FREE PODCASTS: The “I’ve Been Thinking” podcast is a 3-5 min. series I’ve been doing to inspire you in your thinking as an event business owner. You can listen at the gym, in the car, or anywhere you have some time to challenge your thinking about your business!
- MEETUPS: Sometimes you need to get out of your office and swap war stories with other independent planners who are going through the same things. I’ve found there aren’t many resources for independent event planners so I created a space for us to get the networking we need – planners only so you won’t spend your night being pitched by vendors. Instead – you’ll be able to share war stories and best practices that arm you for success.
- DEFINE YOUR BRILLIANCE: One of the things I’ve noticed is that so many independent event planners have a hard time defining their unique value. And if they know what it is, they’re scared of “niche”ing. But this step is SO CRITICAL to growing your business. In this one-on-one short consulting, we’ll work together to find YOUR brilliance – so you can see the ripple effects of defining your value throughout your entire business.
- IGNITE: If you’re ready to really dive in and uplevel, this year-long mentorship and consulting program is a life-changer. The eventprofs who have been through this course have seen a dramatic difference in their perception of their businesses, but more importantly, so have their clients. We work on defining your brand, up-leveling your business, raising your prices, finding the right clients and bringing in more revenue by leveraging thought leadership. This takes you from the roller coaster of entrepreneurship and puts you on the path towards sustainable revenue and a growing business.
Are you planning an event? Do you need to attract more people to your business, make your company stand out and get noticed? If so, a good event goes without saying as a major prerequisite for that. Of course, it’s easy for big companies to host events. Well, it’s not that easy but it’s certainly better when you have loads of money at your disposal, right? Well, if you belong to the less fortunate group here, where you have to allocate each buck carefully, take a look below and you’ll find useful tips that will help you do just that.
Timing is important
You know how hotels located in mountains charge less when it’s autumn? That’s because fewer people visit highlands when there’s no snow which means less revenue. In turn, hotels lower the prices to attract people to still consider making a short escape from the city life and relax in the mountains. When it comes to events, the concept is quite similar. Since you’ll hunt for a venue, it is good to learn about seasons. Venues often share bookings with other events such as weddings or receptions. If you go for that season, you’ll be paying a lot. Instead, schedule wisely, see if you can pick out a date when there are no other events. Pick a ‘cheaper’ date, you could save a lot of money.
Look for volunteers
Every event planner needs staff for their events. Without your own people helping with everything, there can be no event. It’s plain and simple. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to spend through the roof and hire contractors or something like that. Work with what you can get. Consider younger people who need experience in events to help manage things. Of course, you have to give something in return. But it doesn’t have to be money. Experience is a valuable asset too.
Finding a partner or a sponsor oftentimes isn’t easy. However, if you’re tight on cash, you need to try and look for sponsors or partners. Consider theme and purpose of your event and then look for organizations that might want to align themselves with your particular theme. Remember that both sides need to benefit from this. For example, if you’re hosting an event and you are a small tech company, try to figure out what other company (a partner or a sponsor) would benefit from having their logo displayed at your event. Many companies see sponsorships as a form of marketing. Take advantage of that. Also, if you can find a renowned partner/sponsor, that could help you with event experience. Your attendees will respect you more if they see logos of other giants besides yours. That means that your business is in good company.
Consider going digital
Back in the day printed material was everything. People needed it to plan, promote and basically do everything event-wise. Nowadays the situation is different. A great alternative that will save you money is technology. You can use e-mail to send invitations, promotional material, schedules and general info about the event. Also, you can even create a website for a fairly small sum of money. A simple website that has everything your attendees need to know about your event can go a long way.
Always keep an eye out on your budget
The budgeting process needs to start early. That’s because you want to know whether your event is going to be feasible. However, many planners forget to keep an eye out after planning a budget. That’s why updating it regularly needs to be a priority. Make it a habit to dedicate 10 to 20 minutes on a daily basis to updating your budget. That’s a good way to stay on top of new developments in real time and anticipate additional costs.
Having a tight budget can be a real pain in the neck. However, every single event planner had to make it work with small amount of money at least once in their career.