What is session attendance? Why does it matter? If you’re curious, it’s time to start using this valuable form of data: Session attendance tracks not only how many attendees you have, but what presentations or activities they attended. For more open events with multiple sessions occurring at the same time, this type of tracking is very valuable…as long as you know what you’re doing.

Session Attendance: Useful Attendee Analysis

Session attendance is growing in popularity because it tends to be more useful than general attendee analysis. After all, finding out how many attendees showed up is nice, but knowing exactly what presentations or booths they intended is far more valuable when it comes to ROI and event autopsies. So we’re seeing more and more corporations moving from a broad view of attendance to a detailed view – studying each session separately to see where attendees are moving.

The goal is to turn presentation attendance into Big Data and use it, rather than just hoping for the best. When used correctly, session numbers can prove valuable for your team, presenters, and the company as a whole. But you need to have a plan in place, or it ends up just being a bunch of numbers.

Reasons to Study Sessions

  • Ranking Sessions: This type of tracking allows you to see which sessions were the most popular, what speakers attendees flocked to, and what events they stayed at the longest. Not only are these useful numbers to share with sponsors and others, but they are very valuable when it comes to planning your next event and maximizing ROI.
  • Attracting Sponsors: Ranking numbers and analysis can be a value offering to sponsors who seek out data, allowing you to find the sponsors you want more easily.
  • Certifications: Sometimes attendees need credits or units for attending specific classes and seminars, especially if they are working toward a certification. Session attendance is an easy way to verify attendance for these certifications.
  • Demographics: Deep session attendance numbers can also analyze age and other demographic qualities. Basically, this lets you see what groups of attendees preferred which presentations or meetings, allowing you to create handy target audience data.
  • Security and verification: For certain conferences, session attendance can be used to verify attendee credentials (think about data security or medical sessions, for example) and improve security options.

Options for Tracking Sessions

  • Manual monitoring: Here, someone is in charge of counting heads (or seats, depending on the setup). It’s not a great solution, but it’s useful if you’re short on time and can’t set up any technical answer.
  • Scanners: Either event badges or QR codes are scanned using portable scanners as attendees enter a room. It takes a little time, but the results tend to be immediate and accurate – as long as you have the right apps.
  • NFC: NFC solutions use a different type of wireless communication based on proximity. Here attendees can simply tap their phones or badges against an NFC reader and have their session attendance recorded. It’s less accurate than scanning, but saves more time.
  • RFID: RFID tags can be more easily scanned at a distance, and don’t require any attendee action. Of course, your attendees may not like being “tagged.”

If you want to learn more about session tracking and how you can use it, let us know at McVeigh Global Meetings and Events and we can find the right event technology for your goals!