How to Personalize: Tips For Before the Event

November 12, 2019

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This is part one of a three-part series breaking down useful tips on how to personalize your event experience to keep attendees engaged before, during and after

What is event personalization?

The trend of personalization has swept through our lives: entertainment, news, dating, food options – it’s all endlessly customizable. Your event is no exception. Attendees want an experience they can curate for themselves, from the agenda, speakers and breakout sessions, to the photos they browse and social media they follow.

A personalized event begins long before the attendees walk through the door. The more you know about your attendees beforehand – their likes and dislikes, their interests, their goals – the more customized options you can provide.

Our advice is to get this process started early, so you have all your ducks in a row when it’s time to start talking to your attendees. Depending on the size of your meeting and the number of attendees, start the process 90 days in advance, at the very least. Read on for our top ideas on making it a personalized experience before the event.

Jump into the conversation

In the lead-up to your event, there’s a good chance your attendees are discussing and asking questions on social channels. Monitor your channels and reply to questions and comments with sincere, informed and tailored responses. It means a lot to a person when a brand or event handle responds to them directly, and the personalized approach will be noticed and appreciated by others on the platform. You’ll also gather a better sense of your attendees’ interests.

Pre-event survey questions

As mentioned, the more you know about your attendees, the better shape you’ll be in to give them what they want! We suggest asking them directly with pre-event survey questions – and use the information you gather to create a personalized app and event.  Pre-event evaluation questions can cover everything from logistics to session topics to keynote speakers. Plus, pre-event surveys are a great way to generate some additional buzz and excitement. Read more about pre-event survey questions, here.

Send emails from a human being

Your attendees are already inundated with promotional emails – don’t make them feel like another name on a marketing list. One way to avoid this impression is to change the “from” address from a brand name to your name (or someone on your team). Write the email in a more personal tone and close with a personal sign-off or signature. People will appreciate the effort, as they tend to ignore typical marketing-speak, anyway.

If you want to take your email to the next level, invite them to respond directly to your email with questions.

A first name basis

We recommend using attendees’ first names in your email communications. According to Mailchimp, 2% of all emails included personalization in the subject line, however, these emails generated 50% higher open rates than those without personalization. In Stova’s admin system, our email template auto-fills the first name in greetings to make this process simple.

Crowdsource your speakers

What kinds of speakers do your attendees want to see? Again, one way to find out is to ask them directly. Include a question about guest speakers in your survey ahead of time or ask them on social media. We suggest providing them with multiple choice answers (like a Twitter poll) as well as asking open-ended questions. You’ll get suggestions and ideas you might not have considered, which is great for you, but also helps to personalize the speakers to the audience.

Everyone has an agenda

After you develop a list of events, speakers and topics, the next step is to create an agenda. This is a powerful opportunity for event app personalization for attendee engagement. Give your attendees as many options as you see fit and allow them to build their own schedule. This offers incentive to explore the options, learn and make decisions, generating a sense of ownership over the experience. In an event app, attendees only see the agenda they’ve designed, and don’t have to worry about all the other goings on.


Before your event, itineraries and travel information will be top of mind for attendees. Your app should function as the go-to resource and hub for all event info – including travel. For example, Stova apps show hotel information, check-in and check-out times, flight details, and other relevant travel information specific to each individual attendee. When your app contains a personalized itinerary, you create a peace-of-mind, and build trust and familiarity with attendees before the event even begins.

Documenting the journey

Chances are, the majority of your attendees use social media in one form or another. They love to share photos, updates, jokes – whatever is on their mind. With a shared activity feed in your event app, you can capture some of this excitement and content and create a sense of community from the beginning.

In the days leading up to your event, attendees will be traveling from far and wide. Here’s an icebreaker idea using the activity feed: ask attendees to post a photo documenting their journey. The travel process is something we can all relate to, and it’s an opportunity to bond over a shared experience. It’s also a great opportunity for personalization – when attendees share a piece of their experience, they’ll feel more connected, an active participant in the content creation and community building process.

How Can Stova help?

As always, the contents and context of each step should live within your greater event goals, budget and audience. If you want to learn more about creating a personalized experience  – take a look at this ebook which includes all our top event app personalization tips.

And as always, if you’re looking for more advice on apps and event tech, subscribe to the Stova blog.

Ready to learn more?

Whether your event is virtual, hybrid, or in-person, enhance your attendee’s journey with an event ecosystem built for your audience. Ready to walk through Stova's event technology solutions? Schedule some time with us today.