August 11, 2023
By Paul Cook

AI in events has been a hot topic lately. As an event planner or marketer, you may wonder what AI means for your job and how it could impact the events you run. Will AI help you be more efficient and find new opportunities, or will it take over your job entirely? 

The truth is somewhere in the middle. There are many ways AI can help make things easier for you as an event professional — but there are also potential challenges to be aware of, particularly as the technology continues to evolve.

Read on to learn best practices for using AI to plan and run your events, risks to watch out for, and tips to overcome these challenges.

What exactly is AI?

AI (artificial intelligence) is the use of computing power to perform tasks that we previously thought required humans.

We live in a world where enormous amounts of data are constantly collected. The volume and complexity of that data are too vast for humans to work with reasonably, and we need a hand in making sense of that data.

With AI, machines and software can process huge amounts of data, spot patterns, and make decisions based on that information. 

Every day, AI is becoming more integrated into our lives and society, which means, love it or hate it, AI isn't a fad — it's here to stay.

Benefits of AI in events

It's useful to think of AI as being your personal technology assistant. In the blink of an eye, you now have an assistant that never tires, can work all night, and doesn't need coffee or conversation. All it needs are prompts or questions.

You can get AI to do those tedious, time-consuming tasks and use the time saved to focus on tasks that require your human creativity and decision-making skills.

Don't like analysing multiple data sets or getting into the weeds with spreadsheets? Ask AI for help.

You can delegate tasks like creating charts, developing slides, and data analysis to save you valuable time. Delegating tasks to your new personal technology assistant in this way can make you much more efficient and effective in your role.

6 practical ways to use AI in your events

However, the biggest benefit is that you can use AI in events to make your events better than before. Let’s look at how.

  1. Use chatbots to streamline communication

Answering the same questions for different people becomes dull very quickly.

Unfortunately, it's hard to avoid. Every year, you can count on getting the same kind of questions about your event from delegates, speakers, and stakeholders alike. 

What time is the event? Where is it taking place? What time are the speaker sessions? The list of potential questions seems endless. But you can use chatbots for much of the heavy lifting. Chatbots never get less enthusiastic, even after they've been asked the same question 12 times in a row.

The good news is that you can add chatbots to your event websites, social media channels, and messaging apps. And not only can you program them to answer questions, but they also gather data, which you can analyse to improve your future events.

  1. Create engaging event content

It can be challenging, especially when time is tight, to be creative. With multiple tasks competing for your attention, it's hard to find the inspiration to write compelling copy for blog posts, event landing pages or session summaries — especially when under pressure.

Calling on a tool like Cvent's AI Writing Assistant to help you get started, or give you a fresh perspective to work from, can be a game-changer. Having a new idea or perspective is usually all it takes to help you to move forward again.


Cvent AI Writing Assistant screenshot

Whether generating content for social media snippets or developing an agenda for your attendees, AI excels at this kind of work. Content generation is one of the main reasons why ChatGPT took the world by storm this year.

Pro tip: You can use AI to help get your creative juices flowing, but you’ll need to add your personal touch to make it obvious the final content comes from a human.

Learn more about how to easily generate engaging content for your event using the Cvent AI Writing Assistant.

  1. Improve networking with AI-powered matchmaking

Connecting people at events is one of the keys to positive evaluation results and a successful event outcome.

One of the main reasons people attend events is to connect with others and build their professional networks. However, connecting people can be a time-consuming task for event professionals.

Finding the right people at networking events is often daunting for attendees. You can help them by getting AI to analyse profiles and interests in advance and offer a customised list for each attendee. 

Marketers can use AI to match the right sponsors to their events. Similarly, AI can be effective in matching marketers to potential leads.

  1. Engage your audience at a personal level

The quest for event engagement is never-ending. In a world where attendees' expectations are constantly evolving, AI can help you increase event engagement.

Most event professionals already know the importance of engaging attendees, whether they are a delegate, a sponsor, or a speaker. But while you may have measures in place to ensure engagement is of a high level, there's always room for improvement.

Considerations like dietary requirements. Or providing captions to enable people to follow what speakers are saying. Or making your registration process easier for everyone and not inadvertently making people with 'invisible conditions' feel unwelcome. These are all factors that can have a major impact on the attendee experience.

Delegates provide a huge volume of data when they register for your event, and AI can help you mine that information. With AI, you can engage attendees on a deeper level by tailoring session recommendations or suggesting activities based on their interests. Plus, you can deliver your suggestions through personalised messaging.

  1. Evaluate your event

Evaluating events is often one of the least favourite activities of planners. Unless you are fond of numbers and analysing data, evaluation will be a task that you may decide to leave until as late as possible.

However, carefully selected AI tools can help you easily analyse and evaluate.

Processing large volumes of data is what AI does best. It can even help you draw out insights you may not have spotted, enabling you to make recommendations for your event evolution.

That's all good, but you should exercise some caution. Using some AI tools can make your data available in the public domain. Choose your AI tools carefully before trusting them to process your information.

  1. Research service providers in depth  

Choosing the right service provider for your event can take a lot of time. There are many companies to compare, meaning you'll likely waste hours trawling through websites to find the information you need.

Comparing service providers isn't always a simple task, as they may present their information differently. Websites are never laid out in the same way. Luckily, AI can help. Include a list of websites in your prompt and instructions on which features to sift for, then an instruction to display the results in a chart, table, or text form of your choice.

You can use AI to find information easily and at a deeper level. For example, rather than just comparing the pricing of audio-visual or streaming providers, you can use prompts to ask specific questions about their data security, out-of-hours availability in different countries and reliability. You can already get a sense of how AI could take you very quickly to a deeper level of analysis.

Be mindful, however, of chatbots such as ChatGPT 3, which may not be fully up to date. Treat their responses carefully, as the latest pricing and newer tech providers may not be included.

Risks of using AI for events

Whilst AI can help you be more effective, the speed at which AI is evolving means that there are several things to keep in mind. Let’s take a look at some of the risks to be aware of.

  • Data privacy

Data privacy has long been a concern for event planners and marketers —  just think of GDPR and the amount of work needed to ensure compliance with the regulations. Plus, data laws continue to evolve. 

AI may seem to have all the answers, but this isn't necessarily the case. For example, if someone asks AI to analyse data, which contains sensitive health information, that data could end up in the public domain, leaving you with serious data security issues. 

  • Biases

AI can only draw from the information which is already available. It can't necessarily identify between correct or fake information, nor can it influence any biases in the collected data.

Therefore, if survey programmes have been created with (inadvertent) in-built bias, the results of any AI data analysis will contain the same in-built bias.

  • Lack of emotion and creativity

Currently, AI lacks emotion and true creativity.

If you decide to use AI for content creation, you should always add your branding and style to your messages and communications to ensure they resonate with your audience.

Someone needs to have the responsibility of checking and editing the copy that is generated by AI. Otherwise, you put the quality of your content at risk.

  • Breaching copyright

If you do decide to use AI for content creation, make sure you don't accidentally breach copyright law or infringe on trademarks. AI tools have been known to invent "facts," so always make sure you have your AI cite sources for facts and figures it supplies and check them.

Embrace AI to give yourself a competitive edge

For centuries, horses were the main form of transport. Then cars came along and changed the landscape for transporting people and goods. For years, there was limited choice in broadcast media. Then social media appeared and opened the way for different views and voices. 

AI isn't a new concept, but what is new is the speed at which this technology is developing. It's become top of mind for people in all industries. And it's also become ubiquitous in our personal lives — whether that's Alexa, Siri, ChatGPT, or other AI tools.  

As an event professional, you can't ignore it. But you can use it to help you save time, be more efficient and enhance your events.  

However, before you start learning how to create great prompts, take a moment and reflect on how you can use AI for your best benefit. 

Your job is to figure out how to use AI as your personal technology assistant in a way that works for your organisation. 

One thing is for sure, if you embrace it, you'll discover competitive advantages. With sophisticated attendees and stakeholders wanting ever more inclusive, outstanding, and engaging events, now is the perfect time to start using AI in your events.  

Are you looking to automate your event content creation? Learn how the Cvent AI Writing Assistant can help you generate personalised, engaging event content that resonates with your audience in just a few steps.  

Paul Cook

Paul Cook has been immersed in business events for over 20 years, as a writer, producer, speaker, advisor, and educator. He is the author of three event focused books; Supercharge Your Virtual Speaking, Remotely Engaging and Risk It! Paul is a Past President of the UK Chapter of Meeting Professionals International (MPI) and he is currently serving as a Jury President for the Eventex Awards.

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