Using an app for your event can have a number of significant benefits, says Karmen Vladar from Lumi Global. For example:

  • It can make your event more sustainable, by avoiding the need for large numbers of printed programmes, brochures and notes.
  • Having all of the event information in one place can make it easier for guests to take advantage of all of the event features without getting lost, being misinformed, or simply forgetting. It can even help them network, as event-goers can connect via the platform and find each other’s contact details there.
  • It gives organisers an easy way to keep in contact with their attendees in a timely manner, which can be useful for traffic warnings or programme updates. This communication can go both ways, as surveys and polls allow feedback to be given to the organiser.
  • An app also allows organisers to track what their audience was the most (and least) interested in. For instance, maybe a specific speaker’s profile was viewed a lot on the app.
  • Gamification techniques can be used by the organisers to try and elicit certain behaviours. As an example, social media can be integrated into an app, and an organiser can encourage attendees to tweet with the event’s specific hashtag by offering a prize incentive.

HOWEVER, organisers need to keep in mind that most, if not all, of their event attendees need to download and use the app, as otherwise they can kiss all of the above benefits goodbye.

Research by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) shows that people dislike putting an app on their phone for a one time use. It’s understandable when you consider the number of apps most of us already have on our phones. This means that if you are using an event app, you need to let your attendees know about it and educate them on how to use it. You also need to incentivize them to download it. Prizes work well, but ensuring the app offers a lot of added value will also be an incentive.

Karmen agrees, and says sometimes event organisers fail to fully integrate the event app into their event. “For example, they will use it to only display the programme. That almost doesn’t make it worth it for attendees to download. The event organiser needs to think of an event app holistically as a tool that aids them. Place yourself in the shoes of the delegate. What information will they require to make your event an awesome experience for them?”

You should also consider the longevity of the app, and whether you’ll be able to use it year on year for annual events. Doing this is more convenient for loyal attendees, and has the advantage of allowing you to communicate with them outside of the event – for example, to announce ticket sales for the upcoming event.

Karmen Vladar is the Marketing Manager at Lumi Global, a company that provides real-time audience engagement technology for the meetings industry.