Emerging technologies like virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and holograms are exciting – but how many planners are actually using tech of this kind at their events?

As part of Eventbrite’s recent Pulse Report, we set out to measure tech adoption rates in the industry. We asked event organisers about their average per-event budget for technology, and which tools they planned on using this year.

Here, we break down the results by budget so you can see where those with the big bucks will be splashing out, as well as how the cash-strapped will be focusing their spend.

If you’ve got an event tech budget of £20,000+
Most likely to be: Medium to large business
Definitely spending on: Big data and AI
Might spend on: Drones

Tech budgets of this size are uncommon – just 0.6% of the planners we spoke to had this much to spend. The organisers with the most money tend to be those working in-house for larger businesses or they are event agencies working on behalf of corporate clients. They’re most likely to run events to generate a profit or raise brand awareness. 40% of organisers in this high spending group said they would be increasing their budget this year and stated they would be spending across the gamut of event tech categories. However, most interest was in big data and artificial intelligence (70% said they would either definitely or maybe spend on both categories). Drones are the tech most being debated by these planners, with 50% stating they would “maybe” use them at an event this year.

If you’ve got an event tech budget of £10,001 to £20,000
Most likely to be: Charity or non-profit
Definitely spending on: Event apps
Might spend on: AR or VR

Our research found that technology budgets in excess of £10k are still in the minority, so it is perhaps surprising that the dominant organiser type in possession of such budgets works in the charity or non-profit sector. The core reason given by these planners for organising events is to network and build business relationships. They believe that new technology is one of two trends that will have the biggest impact on them in 2018 (the other being customer centricity) and 50% see their tech budget increasing. What will they be spending it on? According to 63% of them, event apps. None of them said they would definitely spend on augmented or virtual reality, but interestingly, it was the most popular “maybe” (57%).

If you’ve got an event tech budget of £5,001 to £10,000
Most likely to be: Small or medium business
Definitely spending on: Event apps
Might spend on: Big data

Companies organising events for education and training purposes are most likely to have a budget in this range. A decisive 80% believe new technology will have the biggest impact on their events out of all current trends and 50% are planning to spend more than last year. Event apps were selected as the tech most likely to be used, with 60% “definitely” spending here. Behind this were iBeacon and AR/VR technology, with 29% committing to their use. However, most interest surrounded big data, which 60% put down as a “maybe”.

If you’ve got an event tech budget of £1,001 to £5,000
Most likely to be: Business or charity/non-profit
Definitely spending on: Event apps
Might spend on: AI

Those spending between £1-£5k on tech per-event were most likely to have an objective of building business relationships, but growing brand awareness was also a key motivator. Again, event apps came out on top as the tech that this group would definitely be using (55%), while big data was the next most popular guaranteed spend (21%). In terms of the tech these planners were most on the fence about, it was artificial intelligence, with 49% putting it down as a “maybe”. There was also significant interest in augmented or virtual reality and wearable tech, which 47% were debating the use of.

If you’ve got an event tech budget of £501 to £1,000
Most likely to be: Charity or non-profit
Definitely spending on: Event apps
Might spend on: Big data

For those with a tech budget of £500 to £1k, “education and training” is the main reason for organising events. Like their slightly higher spending counterparts, they’re focusing that budget on mobile event apps (31% will definitely use them and a further 53% might). However new technology is seen as the most important event trend by this group and nearly 30% do expect their spending to increase. If it does, it’s most likely to be analytics tech that they’ll be investing in – 30% say they might use big data this year, while 17% are “definitely” going to.

If you’ve got an event tech budget of £1 to £500
Most likely to be: Charity/non-profit or self-employed
Definitely spending on: Event apps
Might spend on: Big data

Under £500 might not sound like much of a tech budget but, in reality, it’s what most small event organisers are working with (if they have any budget at all, that is!). While it puts high tech innovations out of reach, 24% state they will be using event apps and a further 49% might. The good news is that there are some free event app builders, like networkapp and createmyfreeapp, so you don’t necessarily have to pay out to benefit from this technology. According to the organisers in this group, bringing people together/community building is a major reason for holding events, so perhaps human connection is more important than digital ones? However, 21% do believe their tech budget is likely to increase and there’s interest in investing in big data and iBeacons (just under 30% say it’s a “maybe”).

Conclusion

As this research shows, planners are getting strategic with their spend, placing a strong focus on tech that will deliver business outcomes like big data and artificial intelligence. Sadly, for attendees who dream of events with Back to the Future-style attractions, very few organisers are spending on novelties. Hologram technology is the least likely of all to be used by the organisers (just 1%), so it will be a while before we regularly start to see anything like Coachella’s amazing singing Tupac hologram.

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