Most of the people who attend your event are likely to do so with a smartphone on their person. It’s a piece of tech everyone has, and if your event doesn’t take advantage of this fact, then you’re losing valuable opportunities. An informative app enhances the event experience and makes it more valuable for them, hosts, and sponsors too.
Why Do You Need an Event App, Anyway?
A mobile conference app can turn your event up a notch, enhancing the attendee experience in a wide range of ways. It can:
- Distribute event information
- Keep people updated
- Help attendees stay organized
- Boost your revenue
There’s also the fact that trade show, convention, and conference apps aren’t rare anymore. Once considered an optional extra, they’re now more of a requirement.
Provide Essential Attendee Information
One of the most useful things an event app can do is provide an interactive map of the event hall. Walking even a small conference, convention, or exhibition hall without a floor plan can be an exercise in frustration. Last-minute changes in exhibits, vendors, and entrances and exits are almost certain, so paper maps can’t be relied upon 100%. An event app provides the ideal solution. If it’s interactive and personalized, so much the better. For instance, attendees can virtually mark booths they want to visit.
Another useful feature is the inclusion of information about exhibitors. This can be as simple as a directory that lists all those attending, together with company info and hall locations. This is a handy asset for all attendees, whether they have a set schedule or not.
It’s impossible to overestimate the convenience of having all the information you need in one place. It’s not easy for attendees to keep track of maps, brochures, business cards, and all the other pieces of paper they accumulate. A great event app makes it easy to keep track of contacts, leads, and other important information.
Create New Opportunities for Engagement
At large events, it’s easy for attendees to feel lost in the crowd. Once people start feeling lost and overwhelmed, their engagement level plummets. They just want to get to their appointments and then get out of the event hall, rather than taking the time to see what else is on offer.
A great app solves this problem by providing useful information that makes it easy to navigate the event. This, in turn, encourages attendees to soak up the content.
With an event app, you can boost attendee engagement in a variety of ways. For instance:
- Help them see everything they want with an in-app day planner for each day of the event.
- Send reminders about speakers and other special content, like entertainment.
- Add geofenced push notifications to tell people about nearby content.
- Provide real-time updates about last-minute changes.
- Connect with an in-app forum and message system to communicate with you, the organizer, as well as exhibitors and other attendees.
Gather Valuable Information
There are many potential benefits for event attendees, but an event app can help you out too. For instance, it can track attendees as they move around the event hall. This means you can see which booths, speakers, and other activities are most popular. With this kind of information, you can make future events better by including more of the popular content. This detailed data can even help you land new sponsors and exhibitors.
Pro Tip: Be careful about selling attendee information and event data to exhibitors and sponsors. Mishandling visitor information is not good for reputation management.
Create Monetization Opportunities
As the event host, you can even add monetization opportunities to your app, like
- In-app purchases
- Product showcases
In-app advertising is often very attractive to sponsors.
What to Include in an Event App
The key to a great app is simple: Think like your attendees. What will they be doing during the event? How can an app help them do it better?
Using these questions as a starting point ensures you end up with an app that’s genuinely helpful and attendees want to use. Then you can take it a step further by adding features that are useful at your end, such as data-gathering features and monetization options.
With your attendees’ needs in mind, what are the essential app features?
1. Exhibitor List and Site Map
Even the most bare-bones mobile app should include a list of exhibitors and a map of the event hall. Ideally, the map should be one that users can modify to mark locations they want to visit.
Make it easy for attendees to plan their daily schedules with an in-app calendar. Include appointment slots, and let them add speakers and other content to their personal schedules.
Even better? Integrate the schedule with the map so that an event or appointment added to the planner also marks the map location.
Enhance the planner with an option to send reminders for upcoming appointments, speakers, and other content. For each time-limited event, allow users to opt-in to scheduled reminders.
Pro Tip: Make sure that reminders and notifications (See below.) are opt-in, so visitors only receive reminders for events they express interest in. Otherwise, you risk annoying people with a constant barrage of unwanted reminders. At that point, they may uninstall the app.
4. Push Notifications and Location-Based Messages
Geofenced push notifications are location-based messages the app sends to people based on where they are. For instance, you can set up a message to trigger based on proximity to a sponsor booth or product demonstration. Or a geofenced message could remind people of the after-party when they leave the event.
Push notifications are also a good way to tell attendees about last-minute changes. For example, if a popular scheduled event is running late or a booth has moved to a new location, send push notifications to inform every attendee at the same time.
5. Social Media Integration and Networking
If people are enjoying your event, they’ll want to talk about it on social media, so make it easy for them to promote your event! Integrating your mobile app with the most popular platforms helps drive attendee engagement and social media buzz. It’s a win-win.
An integrated forum and messaging system can also boost event engagement. If great user experience makes it easy for people to connect and make new contacts, they’ll naturally engage more with your event.
Ease Is the Name of the Game
A conference, convention, or trade show is a major undertaking with huge potential for your company. But the bigger the event gets, the harder it is for attendees to achieve everything they want to. A mobile event app helps streamline and organize the attendee experience. It’s then easier for them to focus on their goals and stay engaged throughout the event. That means a more successful event, with more satisfied attendees, and a bigger boost for your brand.