THE BENEFITS are nearly endless when incorporating an app into a meeting or event. Here are several reasons why, along with ideas on how to garner visibility and downloads for an app.
1. Mobile is everywhere. Conference attendees are using smartphones and tablets more now than ever. Mobile use and abilities are only going to get bigger.
2. Smartphones are a preferred source. People choose smartphones for information, communication, entertainment and social networking more than any other source.
3. Connect early with attendees. Apps allow users to engage in the conference weeks before the event, while allowing you to push out updated information, notifications or build conference excitement- all way before the attendees walk through the conference door.
4. Save money on print materials. Apps eliminate print material, as attendees no longer look to paper for their source of information. Not only will reducing print costs save money, it’s also a great incentive to reduce your carbon footprint.
5. Update and change information instantly. Unlike print material, you can update any and all event information instantly through an app. You also can promote upcoming events, speakers or even send out reminders- all within seconds.
6. Add value for your sponsors and exhibitors. Apps allow rich content such as logo placement, booth location, contact information, videos, downloadable PDFs, website access, website links, push notifications and gamification.
7. Generate additional revenue. Apps provide an amazing opportunity for additional revenue, as sponsors are constantly looking for better ways to be in front of conference attendees. This is a perfect opportunity for sponsors to be in the palm of attendees’ hands.
8. Gather user analytics. Apps generate amazing insight, patterns and statistical information on user patterns and usage that you cannot get any other way. This information is all invaluable for current and future events.
9. Provide clear communications. Use the app to communicate key event information such as event schedule, pricing, hotel, venue/city maps, contact information, dates, times, calendars and local services. All this information is in one place with easy access.
10. Give directions and needed information. Real-time walking, public transit or driving directions are available instantly with apps. They can also provide venue maps, services, restaurants, gas stations, public transportation and emergency information as well.
11. Enhance speaker platforms. Detailed speaker information can be added, including bio, conference materials, contact information, books and website link. The user can even purchase the speaker’s product instantly or contact the speaker directly through the app.
12. Engage attendees. Using the app, attendees can easily join conversations through your event’s major social networking services, including Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus. You can even keep in touch with attendees through these channels long after the event.
13. Involve guests with gamification. Gamification is a great new way to involve attendees, and your app provides the tools to take gamification to the next level. Think of the possibilities of scanning QR codes, sending out rewards and prizes or allowing the user to download videos instantly to Vimeo, YouTube and Facebook.
14. Gather feedback with polling. Get to know your attendees better while providing an effective and interactive feedback forum. App polling also allows organizers to quickly dissolve complaints or frustrations and to receive valuable feedback to make the event better.
15. Enable social networking. Facebook and Twitter can be integrated in an app’s interface, making it easy for users to log in and share content on multiple networks-all performed within the app.
Stephen O’Connor is vice president of sales and marketing for CCR AV/Event Technology Solutions in Denver and has more than 15 years experience in the A/V field.