Chatbots For Event Apps

Chatbots- A Turning Point for Event Apps

Himani Sheth
November 25, 2017
“We will move from a mobile first to an AI first world- Sundar Pichai”

Technology is a dynamic entity. It is a process, ever evolving. The results of this process, often mind-boggling. One such awe-inspiring result of this process is the concept of Artificial Intelligence. Man has progressed up to a point where he can create a machine that can display intelligence of its own.

The AI market is expected to grow to $4.05 billion by 2020, according to research firm Markets and Markets. It is very much a rising trend. AI can be present in very many forms; robots, autonomous cars, etc.

One similar product of AI are chatbots. These are simpler forms of AI that have paved their way into our lives and are quite en vogue.

By definition, Chatbots are:

“A computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users, especially over the Internet. “

Eliza, the first chatbot ever was meant to simply mimic the human voice. Since then, chatbots have come a long way with the recent trend being chatbots for messaging apps.

According to an article on the future of meeting and event communication & networking by Skift,

“Products such as Siri, Amazon Echo, and Google Home are fulfilling our desires for immediate answers, resolutions, and general information, and that has led to the surging popularity of chatbots. Messaging apps, including WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Slack, all incorporate some text-based AI to help us connect.”

The advent of social media coinciding with the increasing use of smartphones had led to the rise of messaging app.

There are a lot of chatbots on popular messengers like Facebook Messenger, Slack, Telegram and Text Messages. FB to CNN, major corporations are integrating chatbots in their apps. Even the White House uses it.

Event industry is definitely abreast with this trend. Chatbots have entered the event tech industry with organizers integrating this AI tech with their event apps.

The Evolution of Event Apps:

Talking about the overall evolution of event apps, let’s get right to the time when developers integrated in-app messaging with the event app.

Attendees could interact with each other through direct messaging via their event app. But that wasn’t enough. It was essential to make networking more efficient and much smarter.

This is where the organizers recognized the scope of integrating chatbots in the form of virtual assistants. These virtual assistants are the attendees go to feature to answer any sorts of queries that they have related to the event.

The attendees simply need to drop in a text to the bot and voila! Within seconds, the bot would gather information that it has received previously, process the query and provide answers.

A great example of an event app with a chatbot integration would be the mobile app for the event: Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors’ Summit 2017.

The event, Vibrant Gujarat Investors’ Summit is one of India’s biggest business summits. The 2017 edition of the summit had an event app with a chatbot integration.

The app chatbot could carry out a lot of varied tasks with its extensive range of features:

- Transportation and Accommodation

- Venue

- Schedule and Agenda

- Direct connection to organizer app

- Networking

- Travel Guide and much more

The app had more than 20,000 downloads with the virtual assistant playing a major role in facilitating an overall memorable attendee experience and maximizing engagement.

For an event with more than 55,000 attendees, the app was the organizer’s helping hand. For the attendees, it was a trusted assistant contained in the palm of their hands that was with them throughout their event experience.

Just think of the benefits that such an addition to event app can provide:

1. Attendee convenience:

Perhaps the most important benefit of having an in-app chatbot is attendee convenience. Happy attendees make loyal attendees. A chatbot can really simplify navigating through the event for the attendees.

Considering the Vibrant Gujarat app, the attendees could inquire about various modes of transportation to and from the event venue.

The bot was able to provide information regarding the public transport system at the venue as well as a list of private cab providers if the attendee wishes to hire private transport.

Attendees could also text their queries about the availability and contact information of hotels and other options for accommodations around the venue i.e. Mahatma Mandir.

The nearest cities around the venue were Ahmadabad and Gandhinagar. Attendees could ask for information on hotels and transport in any of these cities. All of this with just a text.

2. Individual voice:

Every element of your event reflects your brand including your event app and the bot that you integrate with it. An eventbot is a great opportunity for event branding. Your app reflects your brand personality. Your bot can be fun, sarcastic or serious.

One way to do represent your brand personality is by giving your bot a creative name. The event app creators for the VG summit wanted their bot to be fun and helpful.

Hence, they got creative and named their bot ‘Botman.’ In case of any query or confusion, Botman was always at the attendees’ service!

Thus your chatbot can be a great way to establish your identity among your attendees and further build up on that. Happy attendees are your biggest promoters. Make sure to leave a good impression.

3. Personalization:

It is their ‘own’ virtual assistant. Right from the message the message that pops up as soon as the bot introduces itself to every query that’s answered; every reply is addressed directly to the attendee.

Every individual attendee gets to maintain their own profile and a database with their in-app virtual assistant. The bot takes care of the attendee’s

- Travel plans

- Meetings set up

- Reminders

- Profile

- Schedule and agenda

- Queries based on every aspect of the event

This makes up for a highly personalized event experience for the attendees. Personalization is key to creating a memorable event and ensure event success.

Attendee ROI= Event ROI.

4. Event App Adoption:

Having a chatbot can be really effective in order to maximize your event adoption rate and seeing to it that the attendees engage with your app. They can navigate through the event with their helpful assistant in place.

Make this fact known to your attendees and I’m pretty sure your app download rates are bound to rise. Wonder why the Vibrant Gujarat App had more than 20k downloads?

As chatbots are a rising trend, it is a relatively new experience for the attendees as well. Be creative with your bot, give it a voice and make your bot as efficient as possible to ensure engagement.

Be sure to promote your bot and keep emphasizing the efficiency and necessity of it.

5. Smarter networking:

In case of the Vibrant Gujarat event app, every attendee had their own user profile where information such as their interests, current profession, the industry that they work in, their company/organization etc. was listed.

The bot was able to scan through attendee profiles and enable smarter networking. It matched attendee profiles and guided them in terms of whom to meet, which booth they could visit, etc.

Apart from this, the bot also helps attendees keep track of their meetings as well as their overall schedule and agenda.

Chatbots can thus really help attendees network effectively, thus maximizing attendee ROI. The prospect of this increased ROI also becomes an additional reason for the attendees to download and engage with your app.

6. Features Not Limited to Event Premises:

The utility of your app’s bot should not be limited to the event premises. As mentioned earlier, the organizers must make sure that their app is as efficient as possible so that it becomes more of a necessity than a novelty for the attendees.

Making sure that the app is useful to the attendees for all sorts of purposes throughout the duration of the main event is a part of this.

Again, taking into consideration the Vibrant Gujarat app, the bot took care of the overall attendee experience during the entirety of the main event. It was a personal guide for the attendees in terms of their transportation to the venue, navigation throughout the event as well as outside the event premises.

Here’s an example: For the attendees willing to explore various destinations in and around the main event venue, i.e. Gandhinagar, the bot helped them create and manage their travel plans, suggested popular tourist spots they could visit and also keep track of their overall itinerary.

It was not just their virtual assistant but also their personal travel guide.

7. Direct Connect with Event Organizers:

The chatbot is a great way to build a direct connect between the attendees and the organizers.

Again, using the VG start-up summit event app as an example, the organizers were provided with their own event organizer app that was directly connected to the event attendee app with the chatbot integration.

The queries that the chatbot was unable to solve on its own were conveyed to the event organizer through this organizer app.

The organizers received a direct message from the bot regarding the attendee query. They were then able to get in touch with the attendees directly and sort out their doubts. This just adds on to the attendee experience.

They are surely to remember the efficiency of the organizers in making sure that they have a great event experience.

With its many-fold benefits and the application of latest technology, chatbot is an innovation meant to entirely revamp mobile apps for events. It is not just an addition, it is a revolution for event apps.

Let’s see how further can this technology develop and impact the event app industry. Only way to go now is further.

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Himani Sheth

Hemani Sheth is a Mass Communication major and an event enthusiast. She is currently associated with Hubilo, a cloud based event management platform that aims to help event professionals create exceptional events. Hemani strives to create resourceful guides that pave way for insightful discussion built around various facets of the event industry. She has a keen interest in event technology and how multiple innovations in the field can help transform the way events are created, marketed and executed. Hemani is also a content marketer and a key contributor to Hubilo Blog. An avid reader, traveler and a movie buff, she is open to conversations on any topic under the sun! Go ahead, say hello to her on twitter @HimaniSheth

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