63% of event planners use Apps, and that number is on the rise. It’s easy to see why – apps can increase engagement, inform your audience, provide valuable insights, and get quick, live feedback. Here’s our list of six features you can’t afford not to have.
Push notifications allow you to send instant messages to your entire audience, specific groups and even individual attendees. This feature is a must-have and great for last-minute changes and reminders, which are a fact of life in the events world. At a recent user conference, we experienced a city-wide water shortage. The help-desk was inundated with worried-looking attendees informing us that the toilets weren’t flushing (not an ideal scenario with almost 3,000 people in the building). In the case of schedule changes, airport delays, safety announcements…the ability to push out messages is really useful.
Attendees need to know where they’re going. That might sound like understatement of the century, but in some conference locations, it’s a bigger challenge than it sounds. Modern venues can be over 2 million square feet, so it’s easy to get lost, and attendees are usually on a tight schedule with a packed programme. Interactive maps are a smart, easy way to deal with this issue. Maps can be colour-coded, interactive, and zoomable. They can also link to session content that occurs in each space throughout the event, so attendees are looking at a live picture at any one time.
It’s easy to put the attendees of an event into a single bucket, but in reality your audience will be varied and have a diverse set of priorities. Some will be there to sell, some to buy, some to learn, and almost all will be there to network. Give attendees the option of personalising their schedule – marking their favourite sessions and speakers, taking notes within the app, and receiving notifications when their next session is about to begin. It will streamline their experience, and it’s a great way to add value to the information contained within the app, giving attendees full control.
All sponsors expect great visibility, including pre and post event marketing such as website and social media. But levels of interaction with the app, once the event has started, usually far outweigh the web traffic, especially if it’s jam-packed with interesting content and useful features. Do your sponsors a favour and give them pride of place – it will keep them writing the cheques. Push notifications also allow sponsor messages, a great way to enhance your offering. A common complaint is lack of traffic to sponsor booths or networking events – use the app to remedy this. Giving added visibility within the app allows them more touchpoints with attendees before, during, and after the event.
List of attendees
We’ve all been there – you’re manic at work, you rush to the airport, take a 9 hour flight (economy of course), reach destination airport, collect luggage, switch on data roaming, find an Uber. The minute you arrive at the hotel you’re whisked off to a networking event where you have one too many Pinot Noirs and wake up on the first morning looking for the Alka Seltzer and thinking to yourself that you really should have done more prep. You’re well behind the curve, so you spend the first two hours working out who you need to see. Including attendee lists in the app allows attendees to establish connections ahead of time, so they can get more out of that hour flight, and go in prepped and ready to roll.
Session Rating and Live Polling
Any planner who knows their onions will have one eye on how to make the event better in future years. The brilliant idea you thought you had for this year – was it really as popular as you’d hoped? Did you make the right choice of keynote speaker? It’s crucial to get feedback, and get it fast, while things are fresh in your attendees’ minds. A Live Polling function within sessions allows speakers to make attendee responses part of their presentations, so it’s not just a dictation, it’s an open dialogue. This dramatically improves engagement and learning. Your app should have the ability to push out custom polls that can be sent to attendees or participants in specific sessions.