1. The Context:
African Billionaire Events Management (ABEM) is an events company, who provide a platform through various conferences for high profile speakers to present and then sell more in depth programs to delegates in numbers that exceed 5000. Each speaker has roughly 2 hours on stage with a small post presentation window to sell their programs. These programs are generally more extensive product offerings with a level of exclusivity run at some future date. Big Inja was brought in to assist in overcoming various challenges at ABEM’s Millionaire to Billionaire Conference (M2B). M2B 2014 was a single day event and was run on 26 April 2014 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg South Africa.
The list of speakers for this particular event:
James Caan, Andrew Basa, James Macneil, Daniel Miller, Aki Kalliatakis, Mike Douglas, Alex Granger, Mac Attram.
3 Levels of tickets were on sale for the event:
2. The Challenges:
Different ticketing platforms
The organisers of the event, for various reasons, made use of different ticketing platforms to sell event tickets. This meant that there were multiple delegate databases that needed to be collated and different data and ticket formats that needed to be catered for.
Controlling entry to the event
The event has a jam packed schedule running from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m on a single day. It is a prestigious conference and as such the ticket prices are substantial. Delegates want to maximise the opportunity and the organisers want the hall to be full before the first speaker begins. The result is that thousands of tickets need to be verified in a very short space of time. Unlike many other events where visitors trickle in through out the day this event required a solution that could process 5000 delegates in under 2 hours.
Capturing data for bulk ticket purchases
In order to facilitate and encourage ticket purchases, the ticketing platforms are set up to make the purchase of a ticket for an event as simple as possible. They allow an individual to purchase multiple tickets in batches under one name. The organisers rely on data however and want the information of the other ticket holders. The challenge is figuring out how to update the ticket details on-the-fly at the event.
Registering walk ins
An ideal event will have all tickets sold upfront leaving little to no sales administration at the event. This is rarely the case however and a human behavior reality is that people will leave things to the last moment and no organiser wants to turn away legitimate buyers or visitors. As such a means to control late registrations or ticket sales was required.
Processing speaker program orders
In the past the only way to process speaker program orders at the event was with paper forms. Post event the organisers would need to hire a venue and rent computers before getting in a team of data capture’s to transfer the paper order forms into an electronic format. Only then could the order confirmations be emailed to delegates. Human error and substantial time delays meant lost revenue and frustrated program buyers.
Speaker interest survey
Not every delegate will buy a program and so the organisers needed a means to survey the audience in order to gauge general interest levels in the various speakers.
3. The Solutions:
The Big Inja online platform provides a single point of reference for event organisers to manage their events. As such we have designed our system robustly around best practice data management. Multiple data sets and combining registration databases from different sources is not a problem and easily facilitated through our simple to navigate user interface. We have multiple event related services that can be added to each event as required and the number of smart devices (Android and iOS) per service can be adjusted up or down according to specific needs. Our device application allows for all types of barcodes to be scanned and so overcoming different barcode format challenges is simple.
The first interaction a delegate had at the event was seamlessly having their ticket validated with a portable smart device. The process entailed 2 quick scans with the device. The first was of the ticket barcode and the second of the event branded plastic card which had its own 2D Barcode or QR code. This process effectively swapped out the paper ticket (or ticket presented on the visitors phone) with a beautifully branded plastic card with sponsored lanyard. The delegate could then enter the event and engage in various aspects of M2B 2014 using their barcoded plastic card.
Different colored plastic cards were issued for each of the 3 different level’s of tickets available for the event. Security personnel could then quickly and easily identify the various participants and control entry accordingly. Delegate tracking using mobile smart devices then became an option allowing the Organisers to scan delegate plastic cards at strategic points within the venue. We love tracking things and sniffing out useful business information – slap a barcode on it and let us track it!
Updating database values on-the-fly
Updating the visitor/delegate registration details for bulk tickets purchased was efficient with our entry control service. A Big Inja form on the device allows for a ticket to be scanned and for the “Name”, “Surname”, “Company name”, “Email” and “Telephone” details to be updated and submitted from a smart device. The registration database values were then automatically adjusted live on our online platform.
An order processing service was set up for each of the speakers programs that were on sale at the event. Mobile users could then process orders on smart devices replacing the manual paper based system of the past. The primary advantages of this were that:
- The buyer would instantly get an emailed confirmation of their order from the device (which also captured their signature) and electronic link to the terms of service (cost saving on printing).
- The organiser could assess live the number of orders being processed and would have, immediately after the event, a full report of all orders processed broken down by speaker.
- The organiser would not need to do any further data capture and spend money on hiring staff or equipment post show to transfer data from manual forms.
It really gets our tails wagging when we can help clients:
Our registration service allowed the organisers to deal with “Walk -ins” or onsite ticket purchases. Unlike our entry control services which effectively update existing database values our registration service adds NEW values to the database. The barcoded plastic cards were scanned. After scanning, some basic details (name, surname, email and telephone number) were captured on the device and submitted live to our online platform where the new database values were tacked on to the end of the previously uploaded data.
We implemented a “Speaker Interest” survey which could be run from the same smart devices so that the organiser could survey the audience, at random, to gauge the general interest in the various speakers. We were able, within one minute of the final survey being conducted, to provide the organiser with a full breakdown of what the delegates were most interested in.
4. The Result:
We achieved them…results we mean! But don’t take our word for it. See below what our client had to say. At the Big Inja kennel we are a bunch of data dog geeks and you can be assured that your data is being ripped apart and analysed in every which way that it can. We bite hard tearing out all the valuable information and trends that can be used in your specific work environment to make informed business decisions. We help you convert your data to information, your information to knowledge, your knowledge to power! And we do all this instantly!
Partial statistics for illustrative purposes only.
Spin off benefits
Using mobile devices to validate tickets meant that staff could move from the registration desks and “attack” problem areas where queues of delegates began forming. A delegate could effectively have their ticket validated and be issued with their plastic card anywhere in the entrance area in a couple of seconds. This provided a flexible solution and left the organiser with options when the inevitable queue management challenges presented themselves.
Being one of the first users of mobile smart devices to manage various aspects of their event, the organisers were able to demonstrate their desire to innovate. They were able to supply their clients with more efficient and enriching ways to engage in the event, leaving the delegates and speakers feeling that they were dealt with professionally.
“Thanks so much for the Service and the Product – I think you have a real winner there! Your Delegate Tracking was superb, I really got good data from that. We got great feedback from the users on the efficiency and ease of use of the system.” – Sven Schaefer, Operations Manager, African Billionaire Events Management.