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How to reduce queues during festivals

HELLO

Festivals are becoming bigger and bigger every day; some good examples are Coachella, Tomorrowland, Mawazine etc., which are hosting hundred of thousands of guests every festival. The festivals are getting upgraded while their popularity is increasing. Organizers are bringing only A list artists, increasing the number of stages, accommodating more attractions and partners; the overall experience is getting better and better every year.

Festivals are becoming bigger every year but their are also increasing their prices accordingly

Not only the festivals are getting bigger, additionally they are becoming more expansive too. Guests spend between 50 to 500 euro to attend such kind of event and their expectations have increased exponentially. Most of the crowd which is attending festivals is composed of Millennials which consider that experiences are more important than things.

In this times, when people appreciate experiences more rather than valuables, it is important to do everything possible to fulfill this need and create a flawless and remarkable experiences.

The most recurring issues that usually arises within festivals is queuing; nobody likes to waste their time waiting in line, however it always happens.

The lines can’t be 100% avoided, though, there are a few practices which will reduce them considerably.

One of the most popular practice which is becoming rapidly adopted by most of the festivals are the NFC wristbands. Through the NFC wristbands, event planners are trying to offer a higher event experience making it more convenient, secure and transparent.

Visitors can top-up money on their wristbands at any point of the event, pay without queuing in lines – everything just with a simple tap while event organizers benefit of transparency and complete control with real time reports over all sales.

The wristband is synced with a specific ticket category which allows the visitors to access all their designated areas more easily and if entitled receive perks such as T-shirts, free drinks, etc.

Additionally with the help of the NFC chip, the wristband can be used to create a new level of interactions, such as: Treasure Hunts and challenges, rate favorite products or shows, save playlists, check geolocation etc.

Since 2015 the NFC integrated wristbands started to become popular within the events’ world. If back then guests were complaining about wristbands’ failures which left them unable to buy food or drinks, today they do work smoothly and are reducing considerably the queue.

No more queue for food and drinks, but how about the registration process. When attendees arrive at the event, they need to change their ticket into the NFC wristband. Unfortunately most of the attendees are complaining having to stay a few hours in line to get their wristband; it is of course a big turn-off, when the pre-event excitement is killed by a huge waiting time.

Trying to be on-top of the situation, event planners are already finding solutions to combat this huge registration lines.

Event planners are always trying to find solutions to reduce queue

Big events(e.g., Coachella) are shipping the NFC wristband directly to guests, right after the ticket is purchased. Guests receive precise instructions which they need to follow in order to configure their wristband from home. Also when arriving at the event’s premises, it is mandatory to have it already attached around their right wrist. In this way, guests can enter directly, without having to stay in line to do their registration. This practice turned out to be successful and diminishing the lines considerably.

The NFC wristbands represent an important milestone in the process of reducing queues within festivals

What are the biggest benefits when using the NFC wristbands?

  • Visitors tend to spend 15-30%more
  • Speeds up purchases & reduces queues
  • Minimize cash handling
  • Captures all sales and audience insights
  • Control and transparency
  • More interaction within the event

It is interesting how in a short period of time so many uses have been found for the NFC chips. With the use of a simple chip, attendees can do almost everything with it. Their Social Media profile can be synchronized and all their data stored and access after the event. An NFC wristband is the only thing you need in order to attend a festival. No need to worry for your wallet, money or mobile phone, you only need to be worried of not having enough fun.

Event Marketing Through Stories: Instagram vs Snapchat

“It is clear to us that regular users’ Snapchat usage/engagement have gone down significantly since the release of Instagram Stories” writes Charlie Buffin

Event Marketing

For almost one year now, it’s been quite a war between Snapchat and Instagram – Why?

Well, on 2nd of August 2016 Instagram has launched the Instagram Stories, which are the identical copy of Snapchat Stories. For those of you who don’t know what Snapchat does, here is a brief intro; a Snap is a picture or video you send through the app to one or more of your friends. It will disappear after a maximum of 10 seconds and can only pe played twice. You have the option to add multiple photos and videos as well into the “My Story” feed which will disappear after 24 hours and can be viewed undefined times; visible to your friends only  if you have a private account or by everybody if you have a public account.

Instagram did not stop here, and one year later it hits again by copying Snapchat’s crowd-sourcing photos which allows users to send photos or videos from a specific location or event. Basically they can add photos from their personal story to nearby locations. Afterwards Instagram will curate the photos and the selected one that would show in the Explore tab as another story, let’s say New York (story). These stories created through crowdsourcing photos and videos can be searched after the location and hashtag. Learn more how to use crowd-sourcing photos for your next event.

Crowd-sourcing photos and Geofilters are two of the features that made Snapchat famous among all types of events

Crowdsourcing photos and Geofilters are two of the features that made Snapchat famous among all types of events; managing to create a high level of awareness within numerous events by collecting loads and loads of photos/ videos from all kind of participants at the events. It is an easy and friendly way to promote and bring awareness of your event . Learn more about how to promote your event through Snapchat.

It was quite a significant hit for Snapchat when Instagram launched its “stories ” because they suffered a substantially daily users decrease.

In only 25 weeks since launch, Instagram Stories reached 150 million daily users. That’s the same number of users that Snapchat’s whole app reportedly reached in June 2016, after seeing a significant growth from 110 million daily users in December 2015, Bloomberg reported.

Another report on TechCrunch found that both Snapchat views and posting of stories counts decreased by 15-40 percent after Instagram Stories launched.

Influencers seek for Instagram’s reach

Mike Albanese the CEO of social talent media company Galore’s says “Influencers that were late to build an audience on Snapchat pretty much abandoned the platform because it was so much easier for them to reach more people through their existing audience on Instagram Stories.”

Influencers have also noticed that the engagement rates are 3-5x higher on Instagram than on Snapchat. No matter how faithful you are to Snapchat, you’ve got to do what’s best for your business.

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Snapchat is fighting back Instagram

In order to fight Instagram, Snapchat launched Custom Stories in May 2017. Custom Stories  is similar to the normal story posting, the only difference is that it allows users to create their own events within their chosen friends. So for example, if you are organizing a birthday party, you can create a story named “`Birthday Party” and invite only the friends you would like to post in that story. Through Custom Stories, Snapchat is trying to focus more on offering a qualitative and tailored content to their users.

Creating the Customs Stories seems to be the logical step after creating  a tool that creates on-demand geofilters on the web, in February 2017, which allows users to create custom stickers for different occasions and events. And as competition with Instagram intensifies, it might represent an important milestone in the process of roping in new users.

Both Snapchat and Instagram are trying to bring people together through their stories. Even if it is about user’s lifestyle, a private event, a concert or a championship they help people spread the word and their experiences.

What makes the difference between the two, especially when using Instagram and Snapchat Stories to market an event?

Instagram

  • Has over 600 Million Users monthly with most of its users over 24 years old  (Read more)
  • Instagram’s users spend 15 minutes per day on the app
  • A big part of the activity users spend their time mostly browsing

Snapchat

  • Has 16 Million users daily with 60% of it’s users under the age of 24
  • Users spend twice as Instagram’s users on the app, approximately 30 min per day
  • 60% of user create content (Business Insider)

It only depends on what are your goals, who is your target and what kind of event are you are trying to market in order to decide if Instagram or Snapchat is more suitable for your event.

Having so many users, Instagram’s best use is to bring awareness and gain new potential attendees. But if you want to create an after event marketing, you can make sure that Snapchat is the right tool for you; Leaving all the content to be created by the community, with the wonderful slew of tools that Snapchat has to offer.

We are curious and looking forward to see how this battle is going to end. If Snapchat will raise back by increasing the number of daily users; if Instagram will manage to surpass Snapchat in it’s quality and number of features or why not  live happily ever after by figuring a middle way to survive on the “stories market” by bringing different added value for their users. All in all, social media platforms can help a lot event professionals in terms of marketing and creating awareness. However, finding the right event registration software is also a very important step to deliver a high-quality event.

Use long tail keywords to promote your events

Did you know that almost half of the world’s population (and over 75% of the population from Europe and North America) has internet access? And that on a daily basis Google and Bing gather more than 5 billion online queries? If so many people use online searches for information (and to actually buy products/services) what can we do to get a slice of this big pie? The short answer would be Search Engine Marketing; SEM has different areas to focus on but today I would like to tell you more about long tail keywords and how they could lift up your business.

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What is Search Engine Marketing? 

SEM is the form of internet marketing that has the purpose of increasing a site’s visibility in search engines results pages.

The two main components of SEM are Search Engine Optimization  and Pay Per Click, both of which I’m sure you have heard of, so I’ll just mention how each work (as a short reminder):

Search Engine Optimization- the process of increasing your site’s visibility in the search engine machines by:

  • Selecting  good keywords and focusing on them
  • Creating good and unique content
  • Creating a good structure for your website
  • Building links (internal and external)
  • Including the selected keywords in your site’s title, pages, articles, Meta Tag Title, meta description etc
  • Providing best possible user experience (speed, cross-device compatibility etc.);
  • and more.

Pay Per Click: or cost-per-click (such as Google AdWords or Bing Ads), paid search advertising where you select the keywords for which you want to be listed (when someone searches for them) and pay when someone clicks your ad. For the search engine to determine which ad appears where the process includes an auction (you select how much you’re willing to pay for every click) and a quality score (how useful is your ad for the user: relevance, landing page etc.).

What are keywords? We use the term keywords for words or phrases that people search for online, through search engines. So what you type in the text box when you use Google, Bing or other search engines falls into this category.

The generic term keywords has 2  categories:

Head (or short tail) keywords:

Keywords that are most frequently searched for (usually the “head” has 1 or 2 words)

and

Long tail keywords:

more specific keyword phrases (usually the long tail phrase has more than 3 words)

But if head keywords have hundreds of thousands (or even millions) of searches each month why would anyone concentrate on anything else, right? Well, here are some advantages of using long-tail keywords, especially if you have a smaller event planning business.

75% of the search queries use long tail keywords 

This means that there are some keywords that can be found in hundreds of thousands of searches each month but most of the searches contain more specific long-tail keywords. So while the main focus is on one-quarter of the pie, there are still 3 quarters left for us to work with. There are tens of variations of a long tail keyword and each of them can bring you tens or hundreds of visitors that are further along in the buying cycle.

Search Engine Marketing is a very competitive field

SEM is a process that takes time and involves a lot of work if you want to make it in the “big league”. If you construct your keyword strategy based on a very popular head keyword you will be in direct competition with all the big event planners all over the world, even if they are not your direct business competitors.

SEO – bigger companies have more resources to invest in their websites and it is easier for them to generate more content (and search engines love sites that have more pages). 

PPC – an important part of PPC is the auction for keywords and a very popular one can become extremely expensive.

If I search for “event planner” there are 28,700,000 relevant results on Google…it is hard to compete with all of them.

Let’s say that you organize leadership conferences and work in the UK. And you want people to find more about what you do, when is your next event and other useful information. If you focus on “event planner” as keywords you will enter a ferocious competition with companies all over the world for a keyword that surely is more relevant for others than for you.

Long tail keywords have a better conversion rate 

Using the same example as above think that someone uses “event planner” for an online search. That person may look for information on how to become an event planner, or he/she may look for someone to plan a wedding in Japan, a business summit in India or an Indie concert in Kansas City.  It’s true, there are tons of searches for “event planner” each month, but this is because “event planner” can mean different things in online search terms. On the other hand, if someone uses  “leadership conference in England” or “leadership summit 2017 Merseyside” for a search he has a real interest in your type of event.

Using long-tail keywords you can focus on what really makes you stand out from the crowd. For example we, at Oveit, know that our feature that allows you to use cashless payments at your events represents our advantage; so we tend to use it more than the classic “online tickets”. Use your strengths when you communicate your message and you will have the perfect match for your customers.

Technology changed the event management game

The world has changed.  Maybe Galadriel smells it in the air (and tastes it in the water...), but event professionals face the changes in their unceasing efforts to deliver the perfect experience. Day by day. And even though technology has a nasty habit of getting you distracted (you get like 12 emails, 8 phone calls and 37 FB/Twitter notifications per hour), it also offers a lot of help when organizing an event. So let’s see how technology changed the event management game:

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Access to real-time data

“Un homme averti en vaut deux” (an informed man is worth two), claims a French saying. And maybe the math is not quite right but we all know the importance of information when planning an event. Luckily today’s apps let you know every minute how many tickets you’ve sold and to whom (through the right tools, such as Oveit’s event registration software ).

For example most of the seats are empty 10 minutes before the posted start time? Verify the app and see how many people checked in. If 80% of the ticket holders already checked in (maybe they are in the lobby)  you’ll only have to deal with a small delay, not a fiasco. Using an event management software keeps you well informed.

Yes, we mind waiting

Time is money (for everyone). Professor Richard Larson, from MIT, has estimated that Americans spend about 2 years of their lives waiting in lines. Even sadder is that often the psychology of queuing is more important than the statistics of the wait itself” and people tend to overestimate the waiting time by about 36%. Today you can use an event management app that allows you to use any smartphone for ticket scanning and registration, making the queues go a lot faster (you can extend the scanning points with as many as you want; all you need is a smartphone).

Social media helps you meet billions

There was a time when word of mouth was the only way to communicate your event. Today, 3 of the most important social media platforms gather more than 2 billion unique monthly visitors; modern technology gives you the opportunity to market the exact demographics that you want. Although this is not the answer to all of your prayers it clearly makes it a lot easier when you want to make yourself heard.

Keep everyone engaged

People spend around 2 hours a day touching their smartphone’s screen and  85% of that time is, in fact, spent using applications. So we can understand why more and more #eventprofs are using applications when it comes to engaging participants. See for example TONOMAT, an app that allows everyone to be the DJ at your party, helping even the shyest to make himself/herself heard (via his/her favorite band).

You should always follow up your leads

62% of the leads are not followed up after an event. I really hope this is not the case for you. You invest a lot of time and money in planning your event and you should interact with everyone who registered. If someone spent the time to register for your event it means that they are interested in what you have to offer (not to mention those that actually attend it). So keep in touch with them!

Modern-day apps let you know who arrived and who didn’t, so you can follow up by segmenting your audience with different messages. Here are some examples:

“Thank you for attending …”

“Sorry you didn’t made it, here is what…”

Let the world see you shine. Live

40% of world population has access to the internet. Maybe the venue has a capacity of only 500 people, but today you can sell an unlimited no. of tickets for an online experience (live streaming is way cheaper than it was a few years ago). So, just like a big football match, your event can also be watched by millions for a few bucks (ok, maybe not millions, but you get the picture). You can sell live online access for a small price and/or you can even ensure a VR experience for those who cannot attend in person. (this is not something new but today the technological leaps make it possible for anyone to broadcast an event)

Replace cash payments to grow the order value

Carrying a lot of cash is not really fun (especially in crowded places where they sell alcohol). Use NFC technology to replace cash payments and you will have:

    • No more pickpocketing
    • Less queueing
    • 0 cash loss
    • 30% increased order value
  • Happier attendees

Oh, and by the way…

It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” Charles Darwin

Further reading:

    • http://www.preoday.com/blog/the-changing-scene-of-consumer-experience-in-festivals/
    • http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/19/opinion/sunday/why-waiting-in-line-is-torture.html
    • http://www.ebizmba.com/articles/social-networking-websites
    • http://blog.mobilosoft.com/blog/e-tickets-vs-m-tickets-difference-and-benefits-for-consumers
  • http://www.marketingdonut.co.uk/exhibitions-and-events/exhibiting/planning-your-follow-up-after-an-event

Why use RFID and NFC technology within an event?

 Because it is simple, new and fun.

Weather you are a marketing agency or an event organizer you will always try your best in order to succeed organizing “the perfect event”.

EXHIBITION(1)

How do you ensure high-octane experiences within your participants and the overall experience?

No matter what kind of event you are hosting, technology is playing an essential role in order to maximize your consumer’s engagement.

The Near Field Communication (NFC) ushered in a new age of technology. This particular innovation, brings an added value to the traditional concept of events, representing the key solution in creating wired experiences.

NFC technology can be used via smartphones and other enabled badges and devices, with amazing benefits for both event hosts and attendees. Basically, it’s a small chip that allows 2 devices to talk to each other when they’re in close proximity.

What does NFC actually do?

Imagine you are attending an event. You booked your ticket online, registered and linked your social media profile to your registration.

When reaching the event you will be handed out a NFC wristband which will offer you instant access, connections, memories and chances to win sweepstakes.

Ticket, wallet and, why not, phone free!

The NFC wristband is uniquely programmed to you and allows you to tap on special designed locations in order to:

  • Purchase drinks and food
  • Check-in and shoot photos that can be automatically posted on your social media page
  • Participate in challenges and win prises
  • Rate  your favorite products or shows
  • Save playlists
  • Check your Geo-location and your friends’

At the end of the event you can access your own memory bank where all your journey is stored. From photos, music playlists, food you’ve liked and many others.

Benefits for Event Planners

  • Faster check in
  • Less Staff needed – diminished costs
  • Reduces queuing time
  • Eliminates ticket fraud incidents
  • Enhance Security
  • Managing permission to specific access areas and lockers
  • Collect information about attendees
  • Consumption
  • Track time spent in different points
  • Ratings of products
  • Inventory of gifts – reducing loses
  • Tailored content – send specific information to particular attendees
  • Gamification features (treasure hunt)
  • Instant survey submission at the end of the event
  • Data and statistics are gathered and shared with the organizers and sponsors for continued interaction with attendees as a tool for future campaigns

Benefits for Attendees

  • Faster check-in (less time spent in line)
  • Cashless wallet: tap & pay
  • Social Media Posting (Photos, Check-ins, Songs)from different interactions
  • Access digital content and information from own smartphones (maps, slides, planning of the event)
  • Vote and rate favorite products
  • Win sweepstakes
  • Interactive challenges to keep the customer engaged
  • Customized wristbands
  • Geo-location (self and friends)

Wristband properties

  • Cost effective
  • Creates interaction
  • High quality print
  • Water resistant and durable
  • Tamper evident closure for maximum security

Integrating  RFID and NFC technology within events is a simple process when using Oveit’s cashless payments solution and can have a significant impact. Knowing who your attendees are and what kind of interaction they are seeking is the most important thing that an event planner has to know. Once you know that, the rest is done by Oveit !