Did you know that the very first chatbot in the world was developed in the 1960? Named “ELIZA”, it was the creation of MIT professor Joseph Weizenbaum – although it would only be decades later that the term “Chatbot” was coined and popularised.

The rise of chatbots

But while chatbots have a rich history, their rise to prominence has only come around in recent years – thanks to developments in artificial intelligence (AI), and increased business demand for their services as companies reach out to more audiences through their websites, apps, and platforms.

One sector that is being transformed by chatbots is the events industry. Here are some ways that the humble chatbot is significantly improving the return of investment (ROI) on event budgets.

Lightens staff workloads

Enquiries are a double-edged sword for an event team. While more enquiries generally relate to greater interest in an event (which is a plus for event planners), answering these enquiries also puts a strain on the event team’s time.

Traditionally, event teams would either:

  • Hire and train customer service staff to handle these enquiries, or;
  • Handle the enquiries themselves, as quickly as possible (so they can get back to event planning)

Neither solution was optimal, as either budgets or the event team’s time would be stretched.

A chatbot, placed on an event website, can take care of many lower-level questions such as, “When is the event taking place?”, “How much will it cost?”, “What are my choices for nearby accommodation?”, “Are there package deals available?”, “Where can I find the event agenda?” and many more.

Improves customer experience

Event teams aren’t the only ones rejoicing over the introduction of chatbots, event attendees are too.

From a customer experience perspective, your prospective event attendees can now have their questions answered quickly, easily and immediately – by simply asking your event chatbot. They won’t need to leave the website, pick up the phone, or event send an email. Best of all, they can have an entire conversation with your chatbot – asking questions using natural language, and having all their baseline queries answered.

Questions that aren’t answered by your chatbot, can then be escalated to your customer support team.

Enhanced event experience

This improved experience extends to the event day, as attendees can ask your chatbot questions that would usually be directed at your event team – such as, “Where are the nearest carparks?”, “Who are today’s speakers?” and “Where can I download the videos the speaker talked about?”

Once again, this saves the event team time as basic queries are handled by the event chatbot, rather than humans. It also allows event attendees to ask questions whenever and wherever they think of one, instead of having to find a customer service staff to assist.

Lowers costs

What all this equates to is a slimmer event budget that can be more easily planned and better controlled, as a small investment in technology saves your event from incurring a significantly larger staff cost.

Put simply, event chatbots have the potential to improve the pre, during and post-event experience (for event attendees and event teams), while lowering costs – effectively turbocharging event ROI.