Attendees in Motion: Five Ways Location Intelligence Reshapes Event Design

Location Intelligence Services

How real-world location and foot traffic analytics will reshape the future of attendee experiences.
In the fast-paced world of event planning, marketers require a deep understanding of their audience’s every move, a pulse on their preferences, and a knack for thinking outside the box.

Enter a game-changing approach: real-world location intelligence services. In this article, we explore how this technology is reshaping how we understand attendee demographics and revolutionizing how we strategize our events—from audience acquisition to sponsorship packages and everything in between.

Placer.ai offers event planners valuable insights and capabilities to significantly enhance event planning and marketing efforts, thus resulting in more satisfied attendees. With location data pulled anonymously from mobile devices, including visit trends, trade areas, and demographics, as the foundation, Placer.ai is an analytics platform offering full market intelligence that provides countless insights to help organizations understand what’s happening in the physical world.

Equipped with extensive experience in data science, cybersecurity, and engineering, Placer.ai’s founders decided to create the world’s most accurate location analytics platform without compromising individual privacy. They do this in five steps:

  1. Device data is stripped of personal identifiers, such as device identifiers (“MAIDs”)
  2. Data is aggregated around specific points of interest using a K-anonymity of 50 (from at least 50 devices) to preserve privacy
  3. Data is further extrapolated to provide predictions based on a sample set
  4. Heatmaps and dots represent an approximate and randomized location where, according to the U.S. Census, there are at least 50 residents. The maps never show the actual location of any one particular device.

Why is this interesting for event planners? Because we can utilize this technology to address two critical data gaps in modern planning processes.

Data Gaps in Modern Event Planning

Today’s event planners see two primary gaps in utilizing data: insights into the remote workforce and where our attendees travel within and after the event. 

  • Insights into the Distributed Workforce
    The rise of remote work in the past decade has made it challenging for marketers to accurately identify where people reside. Individuals may live on the East Coast despite working for a California-based company. AI's location insights provide more accurate information, ensuring event planners clearly understand attendees' locations, which aids in destination and venue selection.

  • Insights into After-Hours Travel
    Traditional planning often relied on assumptions and targeting when considering attendees' after-hours destinations. With AI location intelligence, event planners gain visibility into where people go after leaving the event property. This valuable data replaces assumptions with precise information, allowing planners to make informed decisions based on real travel patterns.

With AI-powered location services, we can fill these gaps and more. We can discover where our attendees go after the keynote to optimize our event design and learn where they live to support marketing and destination selection as well as overall attendee experience satisfaction. 

Data in Action: Five Benefits of Location Intelligence

Opus Agency recently produced a large-scale, tier-one event in Las Vegas. We utilized Placer.ai to gain insights into our attendees' demographics and behaviors. The following data are screenshots pulled from Placer.ai across our event days.

Let’s explore the insights from the location data and the five ways this data influences our marketing strategies and experience design.

I. Precise Audience Targeting

During the event, we discovered key insights into various segment groups of our audiences, including the percentage makeup of the total audience, average age, and much more, giving us a crystal-clear view of our actual audience segments rather than our intended audience.

“Educated Urbanites” emerged as a key audience segment at our event. We utilized Placer.ai to identify meaningful trends of our "Educated Urbanite" audience, including:

  • Average age, income, and other core demographics of our "Educated Urbanite" audience
  • Social topics and top voices to explore as potential speakers and topics for this particular audience
  • Media preferences to identify advertising opportunities and general cultural trends among these attendees

II. Optimized Marketing and Pricing 

Utilizing location intelligence revolutionizes our audience acquisition and pricing strategies. By analyzing attendees’ movement patterns and preferences, event professionals tailor marketing strategies to reach hyper-specific demographics. 

“When attendees register for the event and provide credit card information, for example, our analytics and registration data often associate the credit card's zip code with the attendee's address,” shares Katie McIntyre, Director of Strategy and Event Technology at Opus Agency, “The reality of today’s remote workforce is much more diverse, with attendees flying in from around the world. Knowing our attendees' origin cities gives us greater advantages regarding audience acquisition through optimized marketing channels, like targeted advertising. It also helps planners identify other events in the area that may compete for our attendees' time.”

Often, our data overlooks this dispersion of attendees in the registration process, but identifying attendees’ origin cities offers profound insights into targeting distributed companies. This data may influence our venue and destination selection, travel arrangements, and sustainability objectives.

Planners can also glean insights from their key segment's average income and compare it with current pricing research to ensure they are competitively pricing their events and conferences.

III. Smarter Sponsor Partnerships

Maximum visibility is imperative for our event sponsors. Location-tracking data provides valuable insights into attendee behavior, helping brands optimize sponsorship packages. By identifying high-traffic areas, venues, and restaurants, sponsors can strategically position their brand throughout the event, both onsite and off. 

This data reveals traffic patterns leading to popular attractions like aquariums, live shows, and airports. Recognizing these trends, brands might opt for strategic partnerships with these places as part of their sponsorship packages. For example, suppose the data shows that a large percentage of the audience heads to a popular restaurant each evening. In that case, planners may host a sponsored happy hour or afterparty at that restaurant since it is already a top choice among attendees. 

Here’s a breakdown of our key segment's "Favorite Places," pulling data from the specific date range during our recent tier-one corporate event in Vegas. Placer.ai also provides visitor journeys, which helps to identify where our attendees came from and where they departed from the event.

IV. Creative Third-Party Event Activations

Brands that activate at third-party events like SXSW, CES, and other large-scale events can evaluate data that shows interesting places to activate beyond the tradeshow floor.

For instance, location data may show peak traffic each morning at a busy intersection that attendees pass on the way to the morning keynote. Brands may host a hyper-creative or guerilla activation here, as they know many attendees will see it. 

Using Placer.ai to pull data from our recent tier-one event, we unlocked the hourly visits in a particular zone. This data gives us insight into peak times so that our activating brands get the most from their investment.

V. Innovative Design Opportunities

Location analytics reveal high-traffic areas within the venue and the host city. Event planners can use this information to strategically position key exhibitors and activations to ensure maximum engagement. 

Many large-scale conferences like IMEX are investing more in signage beyond the property, on streets they’ve never had it on before, and several blocks away from the main property. With location intelligence, planners can implement dynamic signage and wayfinding solutions. 

Planners may also leverage this data to find hotspots of activity during the event and plan personalized activities. For example, if the data shows that people crowd in a particular hallway following the keynote, planners can choose to have F&B placed there. Similarly, if the data shows crowds of people gathering in an area to answer emails, planners may choose to design a quiet work zone in the future.

Trust and Privacy

When maintaining the trust and privacy of event attendees, partnering with reputable organizations like Placer.ai is essential. Placer.ai’s commitment to privacy, demonstrated through meticulous data-handling processes and reliance on aggregated, anonymous data, ensures that event organizers can leverage insightful analytics without compromising individual privacy and audience trust.

Big Idea

Modern location intelligence services like Placer.ai will transform event portfolio strategies and specific experience designs while improving the attendee experience across five key areas:

  1. Precise Audience Targeting
  2. Optimized Marketing and Pricing
  3. Smarter Sponsor Partnerships
  4. Creative Third-Party Event Activations
  5. Innovative Design Opportunities

With our attendees arriving from around the world and exploring new areas beyond the show floor, tools like this will make our events stronger, faster, and better in the future.  

Connect with Opus Agency to talk strategy, and head to Placer.ai to explore the platform.

More Like This, Delivered to You

As our agency continues to explore the future of experiences, you can join us and leaders from Google, Microsoft, Salesforce, and many more of our clients to stay ahead of what’s next by subscribing to XO. Each month, you’ll receive our latest insights and perspectives, plus carefully curated links worthy of your next new tab.

Posted by:
Explore More

Insights in
the Inbox

XO is a newsletter with a mission to be loved by marketing executives and event professionals.

Through careful curation and purposeful prose, XO serves thousands of leaders who want to stay on top of what’s new and what’s next in the world of experiences.

To join in, see past issues or subscribe below.