By Siddharth Jhunjhunwala
Mobile apps are one of the fastest growing sectors of event technology. Providing organizers, attendees and sponsors with a powerful tool comprised of valuable features that can improve event management, deliver information, encourage participation, boost engagement, gather data and analytics, and smoothen networking among attendees and sponsors, apps have become somewhat indispensable for enhancing attendee experiences, especially where hybrid events are concerned.
And now these apps are expected to become more efficient in order to meet user expectation. According to Corbin Ball & Co., there are several meetings technology trends that event professionals will be on the lookout for.
These include social media channels focusing on video and live streaming from the event, data analytics improving events and enhancing attendee experience, software integration tools becoming integral parts of comprehensive event planning software solutions, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) becoming important parts of events and much more.
Event and meeting planners have already taken note that these trends will positively impact the meeting app arena too. In case you are one of the many corporate industry professionals poised for significant app adoption over the next few years, here is a checklist you can go over before you invest in an event app.
One of the main purposes of an event is to encourage networking and increase business relationships. When you are investing in an app, you must make sure that you have the right solution to connect people with each other. The questions you must ask are:
- Is your app efficient enough to reach your audience, no matter what device they are using – mobile, tablet and desktop? Can it ensure that nobody is getting left out of the conversation?
- Can potential attendees access speaker profiles and sign up for sessions at least a month prior to the event? Can they book meetings and start interacting so that they are fully invested in the event and likely have their schedules full even before it starts?
- You have invested so much in your event; it would not be right to let the buzz die down once it’s over. Do you have a solution that enables your attendees to interact even after the event is over?
- Is social media integrated into the app so that participants are aware who they already know at the event? In case, you want only filtered content to be uploaded on social media platforms, have you arranged for an in-app social wall where real time conversations will be possible?
APP EASE OF USE
Events are complex in themselves. So, you need to make sure that your app is made as easily usable as possible. The questions you must ask include:
- Does the app allow multi-day, multi-event and unconference event formats?
- Does your app allow you to make quick changes to agenda, tradeshow or other critical details and send that notification to all attendees instantly?
- Does the app send welcome and thank you messages and reminders to users?
- Does the app have Google Maps integrated? Does it provide directions to attendees, and does it help them plan ahead for appropriate transportation?
- Does the app include a floor plan to help attendees navigate the venue? Does it let attendees know where the expo halls, convention centers or at least the restrooms are?
- Does your app have a chatbot of its own that can function as a user’s assistant before, throughout and after the event? Can the chatbot make it easier for the user to access relevant information, finalize schedule and participate in various sessions during the event?
- Does the in-app chatbot help to improve audience response on polling, Q&A and feedback? Can it provide the user with a list of people he/she can connect with using attendee matchmaking?
Post event analytics are a thing of the past. Question to ask include:
- Are you constantly getting clear insights on the participation rate at every session? Do you know which sessions, speakers, sponsors and exhibitors are most popular among attendees?
- Is your app efficient enough to gather data that can help you take action on participant behavior–for example to improve attendance or to send more traffic to an exhibitor or sponsor?
- Does the data help you promote future events to potential sponsors and attendees?
Business owners are tired of the traditional mold of inventory. It is time to offer exhibitors and sponsors something new. Re-evaluating and enhancing exhibitor and sponsor packages can increase their success, which in turn, can improve overall event revenue. Questions to consider:
- The app provides a comprehensive online experience to users. Can each element of the online experience be promoted? Can everything from mobile app to the agenda, from community home page to push notifications be sponsored?
- Can the app send branded email content once attendees confirmed the meeting?
- Does your app allow exhibitors and sponsors to retrieve leads?
- Can the features of the app be customized based on sponsorship level?
- Can the app continue to fetch more value after the day of the event with all-year virtual exposure?
Yes, you have promoted your event on Facebook, LinkedIn and other platforms. However, are you sure that your brand is getting undivided attention? Your brand matters and it is important to leverage the app for event branding. Consider the following:
- Can you customize the look and feel of your app?
- Have your colors been used across your website, the app and promotion channels to achieve uniformity?
- Has your logo been used properly across the app?
- Can you integrate your app into your overall conference web presence?
Before you decide to invest in an app, it’s time to look at the design and features of other successful mobile apps for events. Take note of what features have worked for them and what haven’t yielded satisfactory results. Your app is a window to the event that you have so carefully organized.
It will give your targeted audience the first impression of your event. It is only natural that you would want to make sure that it’s the best it can be. Keeping the above points in mind can ensure that you have a robust app for your event.
Siddharth ’Sid’ Jhunjhunwala, CEO of event2mobile is an entrepreneur in the software and information technology industry for more than 20 years. Event2mobile is an industry leader in enterprise events, conference and training engagement. Read more at blog.event2mobile.com