4 ways for event marketers to explore AI

By: Erica Lalk

What you need to know

  • Event marketers should observe how industry peers and other industries are using AI effectively. 
  • AI tools support a wide variety of event planning tasks and provide fresh insights. 
  • Implementing AI as an event marketer requires embracing change and experimentation.



event planners using AI to create unique event experience

Bring up Artificial Intelligence (AI) in a room of event professionals, and you’ll probably see more than a few folks squirm. Advances in AI are shaking up industries, and there’s still plenty of uncertainty about how the tech will impact event planning and promotion. Staying relevant and open to change requires us to have conversations about how to safely, effectively and ethically engage AI.

After tackling the AI topic as a panelist during the SITE Global Conference in Istanbul, I became more optimistic than ever about how predictive technology can improve our work. My peers shared real-life examples and insights from their own experiences that helped demystify AI. Back in the office, I also tapped into the knowledge of my colleagues across ITA Group solutions. Many have integrated machine learning into their workflows and client services. 

I’ve turned a few top takeaways into four applications for AI that event pros could explore today.

1. Use AI to automate routine tasks  

Event marketers are already using AI for word processing. Spellcheckers and autocomplete functions are commonplace. Virtual Assistants like Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant and Cortana can help set reminders, send messages and make calls. Large language Models (LLM) can be used to generate and translate text and other content, which can come in handy for transcribing a panel session or as a virtual assistant during registration. AI also enables instant, high-quality translations, which saves time and money—and minimizes confusion. 

Industry crossover example

AI-powered automation can streamline a whole host of marketing tasks and can be especially helpful for the kind of segmentation and personalization that set your event communications apart. Our customer experience team uses AI-powered platforms to develop dynamic “right person, right channel, right time” messages. Their goal to create emotionally resonant messaging in moments that matter most has plenty of crossover into the world of event communications.  

Think about how AI might support processes like journey-mapping and audience segmentation. As Gen Z continues to become a larger part of workforce, personalized attendee journey-mapping is more important than ever. It can be used for everything from session topics to food choices to matchmaking networking connections. 

Related: Learn how a responsive platform enables integrated multi-phase, omnichannel communication

2. Use AI to inform event planning

I’m not advocating that event marketers let AI take over decision-making. However, soliciting input from a wide range of sources should be part of the planning process, and AI is another tool for gathering information. During her SITE Global session on harnessing your data superpower, my colleague Anna Boggs unpacked some approaches to data-driven decision-making. She suggests first defining the problem/question, then gathering context and data to analyze for planning purposes. AI prompts can narrow your focus, prompt you to ask new questions, and shift your typical research style for the better. 

Related: Harness different data types for incentive trip planning with Anna’s SITE Global tips

Not convinced? We’ve heard from partners and client organizations that they’re creating their own internal AI-powered data hubs to inform decisions.

3. Use AI to adapt event insights in real-time

In the “old days” of just a few years ago, post-event surveys were the best opportunity to gather feedback and measure the effectiveness of your speakers and sessions. Now, tools like Zenus.ai give sponsors and organizers real-time insights into attendee sentiment, traffic, dwell times, etc.

The ability to tie facial expressions into survey results takes the guesswork out of content engagement. Instant results allow organizers to pivot the event based on how attendees are responding and interacting, whereas post-event data could only inform future events. 

Don’t wait until the event is over, though. Adding an AI-powered chatbot to your event website can help you provide better customer service. Staying close to chatbot interaction helps your team adapt event content to resonate with attendees.

4. Use AI to create unique attendee experiences

Yes, applying AI to business innovation is a serious topic. But have you ever tried a photo filter? Put attendees on top of the Eiffel Tower in seconds with an AI-powered photo booth. Use AI to quickly build info-training quizzes that can get people smiling and keep them learning between sessions. Create memes based on funny keynote quotes and share them to social media during the session.  

There are plenty more ideas out there for using AI to get sillier and, of course, work smarter. I’d love to hear how you’re leveraging predictive technology on a day-by-day basis. 

Want to stay up to date on more trends—like letting attendees plan your events for you? Check out our Event Marketing and Incentive Travel Insights Magazine.

Erica White
Erica Lalk

Erica’s passion for events and incentive travel can be felt immediately upon speaking with her. With 15+ years' experience planning and operating global travel and incentive experiences, she’s been well prepared for her role as Event Design Leader. From day one of working with clients, Erica prioritizes building strong, trustworthy relationships while offering original ideas that elevate the attendee experience. When she’s off the clock, you can find her laughing with her family or chatting with her Husky, Naya. And if you have a Peloton, send her your username, so you can become best friends.