The job of an event planner is never done. Once you’ve chosen a theme, found a venue, outlined a budget, and laid out a marketing plan, there is still the technology left to manage. That’s where it can be handy to work with an event technologist.
We’ve taken a look at this budding occupation to help you decide if you need one. If you do, we’ve got a few pointers on where to find them.
Read on, to discover…
- What an event technologist is
- The benefits of working with one
- Which events need one (and which ones don’t)
- What to think about before you hire
- Where to look for candidates
What is an event technologist?
If you’ve kept an eye on the latest event industry trends, you’ll know there’s a wide range of new technologies available to event organisers.
But there is a big problem: Only one-fifth of event planners really know how to use it.
That’s where the event technologist comes in.
The role itself is still in its infancy and has only been around for a decade. That makes it difficult to give a clear definition of the exact functions and responsibilities.
The first event technologists were relegated to dealing with events apps and networks. These days, their responsibilities have expanded to include data analysis and experiential events (think augmented and virtual reality).
That makes sense in the context of emerging event technologies like artificial intelligence, hybrid events, gamification, and automation.
To summarise, the role of an event technologist can entail the following:
- Collect, analyse, and report data and feedback
- Develop a comprehensive tech strategy
- Source relevant equipment vendors
- Manage all event technology
- Manage website and online registration
- Provide on-site tech support during events
- Stay up to date on digital trends
Why should you hire an event technologist?
Even if you consider yourself to be a relatively tech-savvy event planner, you can still benefit from hiring an event technologist. Let’s look at some of the benefits of doing so.
1. Specialised knowledge
If you’re management, then the event technologist is your IT department. They specialise in areas of technology that you probably don’t have the time or inclination to research.
2. Better data insights
An event technologist can tell you how to collect relevant data, show you how to analyse it, and advise you on how to act on it. That will help you increase the ROI of your events.
3. Smaller workload
With only 24 hours in a day—25 if you stretch it—you’ll need all the help you can get. An event technologist can manage all the technical aspects of your event and your team.
4. Vendor research
If you don’t know what tech you’re looking for, it’s difficult to find a vendor that can supply it. An event technologist knows exactly what you need and can research the relevant suppliers.
What types of events can benefit from an event technologist?
Not all events will need an event technologist. They only become relevant when there is a lot of technical equipment or attendees.
Small-scale events like private dinners, local community events, weddings, yoga classes, and student-led university events usually don’t need a lot of apps and equipment to be successful. They also don’t have a large group of attendees to keep track of and collect data on.
Once you get to a certain size, however, the picture looks different.
Major business conferences, music festivals, and theatre performances usually have a large number of attendees and a lot of technical equipment to set up and take back down. That’s when an event technologist comes in handy.
What to think about before hiring an event technologist
If you feel like an event technologist would be a good fit for your kind of event, it’s time to put some feelers out to find a good candidate for the role. Here are some tips on how to do that.
1. In-house vs. outsource
The first thing you should consider is whether to hire your own in-house event technologist or take on a freelance contractor. Outsourcing is a good option if you only need the candidate to work on a one-off event or a small segment of a recurring event.
- In-house event technologists know your event company’s aims and culture. This makes it easier for them to work towards your vision. They are better able to advise you on which software, vendors, and team members to use than an outsider would be able to do. More importantly, the data you collect and analyse will also be in safer hands than it would with a contractor.
- Outsourced event technologists require less investment on your part, since you don’t have to pay for a full-time employee. Agencies that specialise in event technology may also bring more wealth of knowledge to the table than a single person. Finally, established agencies usually have existing ties to relevant equipment vendors and software providers.
2. Technology strategy
It’s a good idea to draft up a strategy for your event technology before you look for a candidate. Make a list of the apps and equipment you think you’ll need, as well as the data you’d like to collect. That way, you know what skills and experience to look for in the candidate.
3. Personality traits
As with the tech strategy, it’s a good idea to outline what kind of person you’d like to have on your team. Do you need someone who is very analytical and detail-oriented? Or do you need someone who can balance the technical side with managing a team of people?
4. Irrelevant tasks
It’s important to recognise that not all technical issues are the remit of an event technologist. It’s a waste of their time and your money if you ask them to help you format your computer or install an app. Delegate those tasks to a local IT professional instead.
5. References and results
When you interview candidates, make sure you ask for references from past employers. It will give you a good idea of what they’re like to work with. You should also ask for an overview of the results they have achieved, such as a case study that outlines the problem and solution.
Where can you find an event technologist?
Since the role is still quite new, you may struggle to find sites that advertise this kind of job. But if you don’t know anyone who can connect you to a potential candidate, there are still places to look.
Your first stop should be to post an ad on event-focused job sites:
Failing that, you can advertise the position on more general job sites:
No more technical difficulties
There is no getting around it: The future is here. If you organise major events and don’t consider yourself a tech-savvy event planner, you’ll eventually need an event technologist. Once you find the right person for the role, you’ll be glad you invested in them.
Know of any resources for event technologists? Are you already working with one? We’d love to know, so drop us a comment in the section below.