Let us start by answering the question, what are “sustainable events”?
Sustainability is about ensuring that resources are used in such a way that future generations will also be able to continue using them. When it comes to sustainability in the events industry, this involves taking a step back and assessing how your event impacts the environment and exploring alternative ways of running your events to reduce their impact.
What are the benefits of running a sustainable event?
Making your event sustainable is about more than simply being “green” for the sake of it.
Indeed, being sustainable makes a lot of business sense, too:
- Cut costs by reducing fuel usage, catering expenses, and utilities
- Improve the image of your event and organisation
- Make your event more efficient
There’s now more tech solutions than ever that can help you monitor your event’s energy usage.
One of the most obvious challenges facing organisers when it comes to tackling sustainability within events is the vast quantities of wastage – particularly in sales and marketing collateral.
Recycling is always a good solution, but to truly reduce our carbon footprint marketers must first look to reduce the need for printed material.
As with everything in event management, if you don’t plan properly it will either go wrong or possibly not happen at all. Once you’ve chosen which environmental impacts you’re going to focus on, you should set some realistic goals which you can improve on each year.
Again, make sure you choose the right partners and suppliers to see through your plans.
It might sound obvious, but you need to think about when you’re going to get everything done. This is not just about planning when you’re going to implement your project but when you’re going to achieve the targets you’ve set. Create milestones and stick to them.
Visit Touch-points were created as a data collection solution for exhibitors and a content collection tool for visitors, quickly becoming a sustainable solution for distributing digital content. Exhibitors no longer need to print brochures and flyers; instead visitors collect what they choose to in their ‘digital briefcase’ simply by tapping their smart badge’s.
Content QR codes are another low-cost, sustainable solution to distribute content effectively across the show floor. Through a progressive web application (no app download required) visitors can turn on their phone camera and access the necessary info in just one tap.
Printed guides are still very prevalent and whilst some organisers have opted for event apps as a solution, I know from experience the lack of adoption amongst visitors can be a barrier for investment. Longevity is often cited as an issue, with the argument that a printed show guide has a longer “life-span”. As websites become increasing mobile-friendly, and network coverage stronger (enter 5G), the need for event apps will perhaps wain in favour of alternative event technology solutions.
Organisers can now consider offering show guides as digital downloads. A mobile-friendly event website can be easily redesigned specifically for on-the-day event use, for example by prioritising content such as travel information and seminar programme details from the homepage.
How Digital Marketing can help
Social media and PPC can increase campaign engagement, however for exhibition marketers this isn’t enough. It’s vital to track all registrations to understand which digital channels deliver the most – and then convert – in order to better direct budget and resource.
Being able to identify channels driving new visitor profiles is also important, as events often have ambitious growth targets.
This targeted approach allows organisers to reduce the traditional forms of mass mailings which are often ineffective, expensive and tricky to track.
Using an event intelligence provider allows marketers to understand their visitor journey – they can track registration sources and follow their on-site journey by seeing which exhibitors and features they’re engaged with. This insight allows for more targeted campaigns and better decision making.
There are many ways in which events can easily become less impactful on the environment and more valuable to their communities and in many cases, technology adoption and willingness to try something new, is a sustainable step in the right direction.
Sustainability is a responsibility we all share.
Let’s embrace it together.
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