In 2017, you would assume the answer to this question is yes. And for the most part that is right. Technology in the meetings and events industry has transformed over the last 3-5 years with smartphone apps, websites and on site displays. However, despite providing attendees all of this technology, from event websites, to on site agenda apps and even agenda screens displaying through the property, there is still feedback that certain guests miss the hard copy agendas. With that said the days of printing one agenda on hard stock for every attendee is over, we recommend printing 20% of the attendee number and if you run out you can always print on site.
Phone Apps - If you have a generous event budget or if you are looking to host a user conference then a smart phone event app has become the new standard. One major value of an event app is being able to setup personalized agendas for each attendee. A few companies have specialized in the event app space (Crowd Compass, EventBoard, WebMobi) but the cost for the value still seems high. Many of the apps have limitations and are targeted towards specific types of events. However these apps are native integrations so users would not need Wi-Fi or service in order to access them. This is a great benefit if the event is overseas or the Wi-Fi at the conference can't meet the user demands. The phone apps are robust in features from simple agendas to conference messenger services to feedback options to live maps and attendee profiles.
Websites - In 2017 if you are hosting an event over 50 attendees you should have an event website. These websites replace the need for multiple emails and hard mail to attendees. It's a great place to provide agenda details, dress code, and FAQ's which cut down on email questions. If you receive a good question from an attendee don't be afraid to add that question to the website's FAQs. The more content you can provide to attendees, the better the overall experience as they feel informed and prepared. Event websites are a extremely low cost yet provide endless value for both the attendee and the meeting planner.
Here are a few examples of an event website for both Incentive Travel and Sales Kickoff Events:
Smart TVs/Screens - There has also been great improvements with on site displays at many hotel properties. What used to be a USB load to a screen outside a conference room can now be run through Wi-Fi and changed instantly. You no longer need to edit the document on your computer, load it on a USB drive, load it on the screen just to show a quick update. You can now make that update and seconds later it be reflected on the screens.
Boston Park Plaza has a simple feature of showing the event's daily agenda along with a map of the meeting space on each guest room tv when guests check-in or turn their tv on in the mornings. Small technology feature but also a great perk for a meeting planner or internal corporate planner.
In order to keep up and compete in the MICE market as a meeting planner or internal planner you need to stay ahead of the technology enhancements. The simple agenda printout at check-in is no longer enough and attendees want quick access to information on their smart phones.