H&E North speaks to Managing Director of European Chatbot and Conversational AI Summit, Sydney Eneremadu, about how chatbots can be used to enhance hybrid events for planners and delegates.
As suppliers of hybrid events continue to develop new products to keep delegates informed and engaged, the impacts of the COVID pandemic on the events industry may have still left a resounding sense of uncertainty. Pressures are heightened for planners to see to all delegates’ needs
and deliver a seamless event experience, while guests remain hesitant to speak to others face-to-face but relieved to be able to attend a venue in-person at the same time. The simple act of arriving to the venue, quickly scanning a QR code, and hurrying on inside might become the norm for most delegates without any interaction with event staff or organisers.
Once the invites are sent, there are a lot of questions raised about the event voiced not just from delegates, but from the speakers, exhibitors, or volunteer staff: Where can I buy tickets? Who is the next keynote speaker? What is the Wi-Fi password? Suppliers are under more pressure than ever to provide solutions to these problems, while at the same time, new innovations have been given the opportunity to come to light.
Programming the answers into an event chatbot is one method for the event organisers to keep the delegates at ease and engaged. By automating the helpdesk element to events in this way, planners hold the crucial benefit of responding to queries in real-time without the need for prospective delegates to wait for an email response or staying on hold. Chatbots can also identify the role of the user, whether a sponsor, delegate, or staff, to tailor the information relevant to them and quicken the process even more.
Delegates can also use a chatbot to help navigate their way across large or multiple venues and be able to access directions, maps and information about various event spaces, while organisers can also efficiently engage with guests by conducting polls and surveys about the event experience, which has proven to be a big benefit for planners to gauge popular opinions and help inform decisions for future events, all gathered in instant, real-time from attendees during the event.
Managing Director of the European Chatbot and Conversational AI Summit Sydney Eneremadu delved into the intricate process of developing the chatbot’s persona: “A chatbot is a friendly face to turn to when in need. Its character can be carefully aligned based on choosing a certain name, profile picture, and gender for the chatbot. Most chatbots tend to be female, but there is also no stopping you if you think the bot shouldn’t have a gender at all and use a unisex name. “As for hybrid events with a global reach however, with users from multiple backgrounds, choosing a suitable chatbot persona may be more of a challenge with many cultural and ethnic aspects to consider.”
A two-day hybrid conference and exhibition, the AI Summit hosts a range of industry executives and programmers of virtual assistants and voice technology. Taking place online and at the University
of Edinburgh, the summit includes a full programme of discussions from expert speakers on how companies can apply virtual technology, with workshops available for participants to take a deep dive training session into creating their own chatbot.
The rise of chatbots at events is one solution to the post-pandemic logistical issues cropping up for event suppliers, but these solutions don’t come without innovative thinking and remoulding of ideas: “When we first put this event together last year, it meant starting the conversation on how we can embrace artificial intelligence and see the benefits of technology in multiple industries rather than fearing it will steal our jobs,” said Sydney.
“Over 2000 attendees from 55 countries registered for our last summit, with 40% of delegates using our chatbot service to book tickets. With over 3000 delegates now expected to attend this year’s event, it only makes sense to develop our chatbot service again and hopefully attract more users than before. Artificial intelligence is taking over the world right now, but the event industry is not left out.”