Why Hollywood May Hold the Key to Event Planning

If you think events are planned purely on human judgment and experience, think again.

Meeting professionals now have new ammunition that gives them deep insight into attendee preferences, behaviors and activities: insight from mobile event apps.

That means the savvy event professional can now shape meetings and events with data that was never available before. New event app analytics reveal how many attendees download and open an event app on each mobile platform, what content attendees like the most, who is sharing and networking, and even how effective incentives and promotions are at events.

All of this data has led to a new way of planning events, one where analytics are used to predict what attendees want to experience.

According to a recent report by Deloitte, analytics driving entertainment and content is one of the top analytics trends of 2014. Hollywood is undergoing a similar transformation, with companies using analytics to decide which movies and television shows to produce. Netflix and Amazon are using consumer behavior data and direct testing to shape their original TV content – and the results have transformed the industry forever.

Now that mobile app analytics provide so much insight into almost every aspect of the event, it seems inevitable that the events industry will become more and more data-driven.

Or will it?

Just like the entertainment industry, human judgment can never be entirely replaced. Event app analytics will continue to be a vital component of event planning but will never completely take the place of human creativity. Instead, what we’re witnessing is a shift towards meeting professionals wanting to augment their creative judgment with analytics.

The risk of having access to so much data; however, is that over reliance on analytics is unlikely to lead to more creative and engaging events. In fact, it may have the opposite effect and lead to a “lowest common denominator” environment with less risk taking. In Hollywood, films that are shaped based on audience feedback from early screenings are not necessarily more creative or well attended than those created by an inspired director. In this sense, events that are planned purely on analytics may quickly lose their appeal amongst a sea of competing events.

It’s inevitable that the most successful events of the future will be created using both insight from event app analytics and pure intuition. Seeking the right balance between the two will empower meeting professionals to shape relevant, engaging and creative events like never before.

If you’re considering an app for your meetings, events or tradeshows, make sure you look for an event app vendor that offers the metrics you want to measure in a way that you can easily understand. If working with analytics is not your thing, ask your vendor if they offer Analytics Reporting as one of their services.