It’s almost time for your event to start. Everything is ready, and registration is about to begin. This event is a big deal for your company—so don’t tell me you still have people waiting for attendees with printed agendas, checklists and all that chaos. Why bother with that when you can just use an app?
More and more, attendee check in and engagement is switching toward utilizing people’s addiction to their mobile devices. How? By using event-specific apps rather than employee manpower. Applications like Cvent and Attendify are event management software that can streamline your registration, event payment processing, reporting, scheduling and information dissemination.
“Especially for full-conference servicing, besides doing registration, [apps can] have easy content management. They’ll have instant updates, have complete event guides, schedules and maps,” says Rachel Nasse, senior account manager for Utah event planning and management company In the Event.
When preparing for a big event, there are a lot of costs in printing agendas or schedules, which can quickly become obsolete (or even harmful) if information changes.
“We’re often printing a lot of banners and signs—and they can only be used for that one event. Then they get thrown away,” says Becca Pickens, account manager for In the Event. “What I love about these apps, it’s that they make all these maps and directional signs, and information can show up as push notifications on your cell phone.”
So there’s no need to worry if a breakout session moves from Ballroom A to Ballroom C, or if your morning keynote speaker had a delayed flight and needed to be bumped from 10:00 to 11:30—the apps will take care of disseminating that information for you.
How can you incentivize people to mingle, to interact with your sponsors or even to work (just a little bit!) for their event-branded swag?
Enter apps like GooseChase, which can make a customized scavenger hunt for your attendees. The scavenger hunts can be completely tailored for your event size, location and event: have people take pictures at your step-and-repeat, find a mascot, chat at your sponsorship booths—whatever you want.
“The website itself already has 100-plus missions or you can make your own. You can give them point values. You can track the action of everybody playing and see the response to it,” says Pickens. “Some are photo missions, like, ‘Go get into the phone booth with your colleagues and get a pic!’ That uploads to a game and you can publish it on the social media side of your event.”
Social media is another huge boon to using apps at your event. Say you have a photo booth: people can upload photos from it or even simply use your event hashtag, and the app can collect those photos for you. You have full control over the photos that stream in: project them onto a screen, let people browse through them, download them, etc.
“It’s invaluable for the company, because they’re going to be able to figure out what drives future attendance, and have that slide show and those memories. It’ll inspire elite levels of engagement amongst their attendees,” says Pickens. “They can even use those photos for future marketing initiatives. It’s a great way to engage everyone at the event.”
Be creative with the way you reach out to your attendees. An app allows your attendees to communicate with you in real time, so utilize that! If you have a DJ or a band playing in the evening, use your app to reach out and ask people what they want to hear.
“You can request songs at your event. The band gets a full set list and everyone gets to hear the songs they want,” says Pickens. “You can have screens around that have live social media interaction during the event, [with people saying] ‘This is my song!’”
See what you did right (and wrong)
Using an app can also provide your company with analytics about your event. How many people participated in the scavenger hunt? What did people have to say, during the event and while things were happening, that you could improve upon?
“Feedback is something that’s so priceless about these apps. Your guests are able to give you feedback afterwards about the event in the app,” says Nasse. “So many times, when you send out a comment card, people will ignore them. But if they can give you feedback during the event that you can use in analytics and surveys after the event, that’s so valuable.”