Event apps are a necessary tool in the conference and convention ecosystem. Why? Because they help the entire group communicate with each other. Here are some best practices, for example:
Planners need to get information to attendees.
Attendees need to communicate with other attendees and track those conversations for better networking.
And in terms of event security, the event app is the best possible vehicle for sharing notifications of dangerous situations.
Different app companies promote different features, however. Convention Nation surveyed our members, asking for reasons why attendees love or hate event apps. The results may surprise you.
Event App Must-Haves:
1. Schedule at-a-glance
In today’s technology-laden world, most business people are accustomed to being notified of important appointments during their day. Having a predetermined digital schedule is expected.
Event apps should always display the event schedule in real time, and should update immediately to all app holders as information is changed. You'll save a ton in printing costs and eliminate a bit of paper waste from your event.
2. Notifications/event alerts
Many apps go a step further and add a push notification option. When attendees see a session or speaker they don't want to miss, they can tell the app to notify them 15 minutes in advance. That gives them time to get a seat in the room.
3. Badge scanning and attendee check-in
For everyone that thought QR codes are dead technology, please reconsider. Most event planners hire staff to scan attendees as they enter the exhibition hall, and just like using a code at the airport to board a plane, this technology is very familiar to the majority of business travelers. What would be even more exciting would be technology that also recorded an attendee's exit of the hall, ballroom, or session. That data alone would tell a planner or event marketer which events were most popular, and which ones missed the mark.
Twitter? Facebook? Whatsapp? Text? Mail? Snapchat? Instagram? How are your attendees communicating? While messaging within the event app is convenient, what is more convenient is access to an attendee list. Don't worry about privacy; attendees can display whatever contact information they choose. And if they prefer to communicate via Twitter or something else, your app can help them find the social media handles for the people they want to connect with.
5. Speaker Profiles
Your attendees want to trust the speakers presenting information. Speaker profiles in the app allow attendees to check whether your speakers are trustworthy. Many will look up LinkedIn profiles, Medium posts, Tweets, and other important information that your speakers have published to the public. Your app can put this information at their fingertips.
6. An Opt-In Attendee and Exhibitor List
Yes, as stated above, the list. With the genie out of the bottle and data aggregation companies able to determine your whereabouts by locating your phone, privacy has been all but rescinded in today’s society. The majority of us know this. We accept this. And 50% of working adults today joined their first company with a smart phone in their hand. Sure, different generations feel differently about privacy, but for those wanting to keep their information private, they can easily opt out of showing their name in the app. Millennials and younger attendees will promote their attendance because they want to connect with others. If you don’t believe me, look at the growth of Facebook groups. (link to Millennial FB Entrepreneur group). Your event is only 5,000 members, and the FB group is over 50k members. What’s the problem? Give attendees the option to publish their contact information in the app, with directions on how best to reach them.
7. Comments/Survey/Feedback section
This may be redundant, but we'll emphasize this point one more time: your attendees want to comment on their experience, whether good or bad. Show them a place in the app where they can leave feedback, and make sure your staff are able to read and comment on those areas. In doing so, you'll demonstrate your commitment to attendee satisfaction and you'll build loyalty and trust in your community.
DO: Publish an event schedule in the app
DO: Build your app with notification capabilities
DO: Use your event app to register your attendees on site
DO: Offer messaging links to help your customers network
DO: Publish your speakers and their sessions in a separate section of the app
DO: Give your attendees the option to be contacted by other attendees
DO: Give attendees a place to leave event feedback, including a survey section
Were there any surprises in this list? If so, the next segment may offer even more insight. We'll show you the cons of mobile event apps. You'll be able to decide for yourself whether your attendees really feel the app is worth it. Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!
Or better yet, schedule a free call with a member of our team to talk more.