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Lining Up a Creative Solution


Using data and problem-solving to help the attendee experience take flight

Industry: Marketing or Event Agency

HubSpot’s INBOUND event has become the must-attend event in the digital marketing world, with 30 percent attendee growth year over year. Game-changing information sessions from the industry’s top players are intensely popular. But with over 20,000 attendees jostling for seats, many sessions had long lineups.

HubSpot wanted to keep the popular “first come, first served” format of sessions. But, they also wanted to eliminate the frustrating experience for attendees who wait in a long line, only to be turned away when the session is full.

Tech as traffic controller

A predictive attendee traffic tracking system was already in place. The key was to communicate traffic status updates, which could help prevent attendees from wasting their time heading to (and lining up for) sessions that were already filled.

Freeman borrowed from a place perfectly suited for moving large crowds: the airport. The resulting concept involved digital signage modeled after flight departure/arrival boards. With session statuses updated in real time, attendees could easily see which sessions were full, almost full, or still available.

Always on, always informed

Using RFID and badge scanning technology, the team tracked in real time the number of people attending any given session. That data was compared to session capacity and displayed on the digital signage throughout the convention center, as well as on the massive, 360-degree “Social Centerpiece” in Club INBOUND, the popular attendee gathering spot.

If an event was full, Freeman was able to make overflow rooms available, where the most popular sessions could be viewed via video stream for those who weren’t able to grab a seat.

Smooth and seamless flow

Traffic flowed more smoothly than ever. In fact, only one of over 450 sessions went beyond capacity — the address by former First Lady Michelle Obama. Thanks to the boost in technology, attendees spent less time looking for an open session and complaints about lineups virtually disappeared.

Presenters benefited as much as attendees — session rooms were more evenly filled with audience members. This positive change was reflected on HubSpot’s social media channels, with feedback about session occupancy being the most positive in the conference’s history.

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