Paving the Path to a Better Event Experience

by Thorben Grosser, eventmobi Europe

Event apps. The past year was full of excitement and opportunity as the true power of event technology came to light. From new presentation tools to event apps, associations across Europe and around the world drastically cut costs, won sponsorship and created a more engaging experience for members. Leading the way, EventMobi supports over 1,500 association planners with mobile event apps.

Event Evolution: Engaging Everyone Economically

More than half of all employed European adults use smartphones; mobile event apps evolved out of the rising ubiquity of smartphones to provide better ways of managing and disseminating information and to offer new ways to engage attendees.

Initially, event apps were developed to replace printed materials – members could use the app instead of a paper guide to retrieve session details and other information. But planners and suppliers quickly realised the potential of mobile and looked for new ways to integrate this familiar experience.

Live voting, for example, required expensive and bulky equipment, remote controls, and on-site staff to manage it. Now, live surveys require almost no preparation at all and come at minimal cost. Interactive in-app messaging between attendees leads to increased networking opportunities, providing for a better, safer, stronger community. These features help associations to feel the pulse of their members, to engage them and demonstrate innovation.

Bringing Benefits to Bear on Savings and Gains

EventMobi has worked with associations since the beginning. Since many events represent a major source of income, the potential is huge: membership service, cost saving, revenue generation. Reducing printing costs is just the tip of the iceberg. Mobile event apps present enhanced sponsorship opportunities – banner advertising, sponsored games and alerts. Associations can offer modern, interactive exposure for their trusted partners.

Moreover, mobile apps allow for tracking user behaviour, giving planners valuable “silent” insights into their member base. With these, planners can use hard data to justify their expenses and measure their association’s return on investment

That said, planners should proactively bolster their returns by crafting a promotional strategy that encourages attendees to use the app. Properly implemented event apps can easily reach 50 to 80% in usage and promoting early and often ensures that sponsors get the maximum benefit.

One for All and All for One

Fully integrating event technology can start at just a few hundred Euros. Modern apps can run on the web-browser without an Internet connection, creating a smooth experience on all desktops and smartphones without the need for expensive native apps. Quality apps start at around 800 Euros and, depending on the supplier, range anywhere from 1,000 to 20,000 Euro.

Ideally, planners can upload and manage all the information on the app independently. Some suppliers also offer event gaming (“gamification”) and registration. Understanding the different options and choosing the right vendor with integrated services will save you time as well as money. Quality does not have to be expensive.

Two Testaments to Mobile Success

In 2012, the International Air Transport Association, IATA, printed more than 150,000 pages for a conference with more than 700 attendees and a huge press interest. In 2013, they used an event app for the first time and reduced that number to 35,000 pages, not only saving 14 trees but saving greatly on printing costs. Also, the DirectNotification feature allowed them to send specific, group-directed updates to staff, attendees, spouses and press about events relevant only to them.

Bringing the largest medical event that has ever happened in Australia to Melbourne, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) are no stranger to saving paper. IDF having taken abstracts to DVDs and USB flash drives in the past, they are continuing this innovative trend by putting their full-text searchable abstracts on a fully sponsored app. Attendees no longer needed to find a computer to find valuable information, accessing it where and when they needed it from the palms of their hands.

With 2014 around the corner, there are brand new opportunities to engage members and save costs like never before. Connect with EventMobi’s Berlin Office to learn more!