Like every other industry, event professionals are both cautiously and optimistically watching as artificial intelligence and the ever-growing ecosystem of tools it empowers begins to shape and transform event planning. AI offers some obvious advantages and benefits for event planners, who are often inundated with data, extensive logistical and scheduling issues, communications needs, and many other processes which could stand to be streamlined by tech.
However, are there also drawbacks for event management platforms and professionals as AI continues to expand into the space? RSVPify CEO Ari Driessen, who’s been working in the events space for the past decade, shared some of his thoughts on the impact of AI broadly for the events industry, as well as some of the trends he’s already seeing as part of he and his team’s ongoing work.
So the first question is, a lot of the hoopla around AI has come from the rise of ChatGPT and people have been consistently focused on ChatGPT, but I think we probably need to think about artificial intelligence a little bit more broadly than that. When we think about the events industry or what you’re seeing with AI in the event industry already, what do we feel like we’re seeing or kind of what advantages do you see to AI here in this space?
Ari Driessen, CEO at RSVPify: Yeah, I think if we think longer term, the biggest thing we’re going to start seeing is really fewer mundane tasks for event professionals. Open up the doors for a focus on the bigger picture, bigger event ideas. One event professional I recently spoke to is already using AI to help her kind of manage and triage travel related issues requests frequently asked questions. So I think there is going to be less and less human involvement for these more mundane things like those travel changes, like handling special accommodations, and even question and answer replies that, you know, you get fairly frequently.
I also think we’re going to see more and more, and better and better real-time data, including on guest registration details, but also things like real-time sentiment analysis at events, where we combine social media sentiment, at-event engagement, attendance, return rates to a conference, for example, integrating at event feedback tools and more to really help tailor that event experience to certain guest personas or segments.
And to also just improve that event in real time, make real-time changes where in the past you might have had to wait for feedback forms to come in after the event with the only chance to make improvements would be the year after. This data is going to arm event professionals with the opportunity to make those changes to impact the event that’s ongoing.
How is a company like RSVPify thinking about integrating AI into its own operations in the event tech industry?
AD: We are actually already. As of a month ago using AI to help us power our onboarding and customization experience. So when you come into RSVPify, you type your event name and our AI tools. Can figure out what kind of event you’re hosting based on that event name, a few other queues and get you. 80% of the way there to an already polished event website. Create a registration form with relevant questions for your event type and design and customization options, and even settings that are already geared to help kind of save some of that.
We’re also working on AI to streamline elements of the registration process, where we use AI to help us decrease focus on some of the noise that might impact conversion through a registration form, and really surface the questions and knowledge or FAQs that are relevant to a certain persona or target segment.
What do we feel like event professionals need to start doing or they need to be aware of when it comes to AI in the events industry and these trends you are seeing?
AD: I think definitely keeping aware of what’s happening with AI and what some of the new tools are that are coming out. Like I said earlier, I think this is going to be an opportunity for event professionals to focus more on delivering that amazing event experience as AI frees up their plate and takes over those mundane things like guest correspondence data entry and the routine day-to-day management at the event.
By the same token, younger less experienced event professionals may unfortunately start seeing less opportunities to get relevant experience, because a lot of these younger event professionals often are tasked with these routine data entry and guest communication tasks that AI may eventually largely take over.
Do you feel like artificial intelligence is a net benefit for the event industry specifically?
AD: It’s a tough question to answer and definitely thoughts on both sides of that aisle.
I think there’s no question that AI is going to, for many industries, change the event management industry and it already is in some ways, but at the end of the day the event management industry and event professionals are all about delivering in-person human experiences. And for that I think you really do need the touch of real flesh and blood humans. So I don’t see that changing as long as events are about bringing people together.
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