Crowdsourcing is the process of obtaining services, ideas, answers or content from a large group of people (typically an online community) rather than from traditional suppliers. A range of crowdsourcing tools are emerging for sharing, funding, voting and much more. Benefits include: lower costs, greater choice and better input - all of which can be used in a variety of ways for events. Here are some of the possibilities:
This very disruptive site for traditional hotels and CVBs allows you to rent from people in over 34,000 cities in 192 countries as an extensive “bed and breakfast” system. There is a strong social component to AirBNB. Those renting can check out guest Facebook profiles and other sources before agreeing to rent. Guests review the renters. This may not be for everyone, but I have used this service twice with very good results paying less than half the rate that mid-scale hotels in the areas were charging for quite acceptable accommodations.
This site asks the question: “Why pay for x2 occupancy when traveling solo?” with the tagline: “Share Cost. Make Friends.” This start-up site is another example of a sharing economy to reduce costs.
The tagline for this site is: “Rideshare to Events with Friends” connecting people with cars with those that would like a ride.
Although more of a social networking site, and currently limited only to AirBaltic Airlines, Seat Buddy allows you to choose the type of seatmate you would like to fly next to with four categories: Privacy/Work, Privacy/Relax, Sociable/Easy Chat, Sociable/Business Talk.
Event Content and Ideas:
South by Southwest (SXSW), the huge music and technology conference held every year in Austin, has a long history of technology innovation. SXSW has been using crowdsourcing to develop event content since 2007. Suggestions received through the system for topics and ideas are voted on by the SXSW community and then included with input from an advisory board and from staff for the final programming.
This site promises to “bring out the best ideas from your customers and stakeholders by giving them a platform to share, vote and discuss feedback.”
Event playlists can be crowdsourced by invitees to the event.
This widely used social review site includes categories for event venues, events and event services.
This site allows community members to share tips and reviews about events attended.
Event Rater allows attendees to provide feedback to the venues and events. Reports are generated based on collated feedback to venues and events along with any further recommendations.
Funding and Promotion:
Peoplefund.it, the UK’s biggest crowdfunding platform, provides funding for a wide range of business ideas including events.
This site helps “Turn your attendees into promoters” by giving discounts and other perks to those who spread the word effectively.
This site helps event hosts “bring your event to life with event funding” and “raise funds and test demand for your event risk free.”
These are just a few of the ways that crowdsourcing and crowd sharing can contribute to events. As social media continues to work into standard business operating procedures, we will likely see many more options coming.
Corbin Ball, CMP, CSP, is a speaker and independent third-party consultant focusing on meetings technology. With 20 years of experience running international citywide technology meetings, he now helps clients worldwide use technology to save time and improve productivity. Connect at his extensive website: www.corbinball.com and follow at www.twitter.com/corbinball