Mass personalization a game changer for MICE sector

The Apple’s iBeacon system uses Bluetooth to pick up the signals transmitted by ‘beacons’ and provides location-specific notifications and personalized content about points of interest nearby an attendee of a convention. Source: Shutterstock

MASS personalization may sound like a contradiction, but it is actually entirely possible to offer personalization at scale.

Often this involves identifying patterns in behavior as to target consumers with relevant choices based on either their previous activity or match to similar profiles.

These personal recommendations are highly effective marketing tools as brand giants like Amazon, Netflix, Spotify, iTunes and many others will confirm. But they aren’t the only ones exploring the potential.

Away from digital platforms, it seems event planners have taken a page from the marketers’ playbook, applying the concept to the MICE sector to better meet the needs of attendees who, as consumers now, desire more.

With mass personalization promising a wave of change, we take a look at the methods and benefits on offer.

Meetings reimagined

International scale events can easily draw tens of thousands of attendees a day. For organizers, the challenge is to reach them as individuals to deliver a meaningful experience.

One option is to use a segmented meeting design, something Skift reports is becoming increasingly common. Instead of just offering keynote talks, these events weave a number smaller engagements throughout their programs, like industry related sub-group meetings, roundtables, and networking sessions. These provide an opportunity for active participation so more can be gained by attending.

Visitors have welcomed this segmentation which gives them dedicated spaces to grow their connections, chew over shared or predefined challenges and offer what Andrea Driessen, founder of No More Boring Meetings calls “in-the-trenches-custom-solutions.”

Yet, this is not the only means; technology is taking personalization to new heights.

Technology-driven personalization

Originally, conference specific mobile apps were used as alternatives to printed programs, but they have since evolved to play a dynamic role in visitor engagement.

On their own, apps like the one developed for last year’s Asia Pacific Conference, seamlessly blend virtual assistant style features such as planning and scheduling with social media integration for enhanced networking and sharing.

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However, when combined with onsite technology like beacons, their functionality skyrockets. Pause Fest Melbourne founder George Hedon, quoted by Trend Hunter, explained: “Beacons give us the opportunity to create unique interactions that enhance the festival experience.”

Pause Fest, a premier tech conference was one of the first to put Apple’s iBeacon system to the test. The app acts as a listening device and uses Bluetooth to pick up the signals transmitted by beacons. In response, it provides location-specific notifications and personalized content about points of interest nearby, direct to visitors’ smartphones.

Future opportunities

Event planners are only just beginning to unlock the potential of mass personalization, and many are speculating about how it will advance. But one technology stands out above the rest, virtual reality.

Freeman marketing officer Chris Cavanaugh, quoted in an article for PCMA Convene, said: “Imagine putting on a pair of goggles and being transported into an operating room … instead of watching an experience, [each attendee] will be part of the experience, and that creates a new world of opportunities for organizers of face-to-face events.”

With predictions like this abound, exciting times could be ahead for the MICE industry.