Your event is in 4 weeks. The date is set, your venue is booked and your keynote speakers are confirmed. Things seem to be rolling. Cue the *temporary* sigh of relief. Plus, you’ve invested time to build an event app that includes everything an attendee would ever want to know. You’ve even written an email to your delegates promoting this year’s app and you’re ready to go. You’re about to hit send…
But wait! Because your app is a window into the event experience and the attendee’s first impression of your event — you want to make sure it’s the best it can be. So before you send that email encouraging attendees to download your app, make sure you’ve included these 5 elements in your event app.
Even if your sessions and speakers are only partially confirmed, no need to hide the schedule entirely.
Instead, include your draft agenda or session titles with buzz-building statements like “More exciting details to come” to pique everyone’s interest. You can add in the full agenda closer to the date, but this way, your attendees will have an idea of what’s in store well in advance of the conference.
As a bonus, including a Table Viewof these prospective sessions gives everyone a visual representation of the agenda and makes it easier to spot potential conflicts.
It’s easy to overlook, yet so important! Encouraging attendees to tweet in the weeks leading up to your event builds excitement and anticipation for your event.
So be sure to include your event hashtag in the app. It will serve as a visual reminder to attendees to tweet early on. By the time the event rolls around, using your event hashtag will be second nature. Incorporating the hashtag into event activities will see your engagement with social media tools spike onsite.
Directions To (and Within) the Venue
Providing directions to the event space in your app allows attendees to plan ahead for appropriate transportation. It also ensures they’ll be in the right place at the right time.
Embedding Google Maps (which your attendees are already familiar with) into your app will be especially beneficial for those travelling from out-of-town. In large, complex venues like expo halls or convention centres, you may want to include a venue floor plan to help attendees navigate the event. Adding drop pins tied to specific session rooms or exhibitor booths is an added bonus to ensure attendance at your breakouts, and prove ROI to stakeholders.
Making sure details are uploaded in the event app for all your keynote speakers or well-known subject matter experts helps amp up anticipation and gets attendees excited about the event.
They’ll have something to look forward to, plus and it can boost session interest leading up to the event. Including a brief bio on the speaker, links to their social media accounts or even a quick document to learn more will help create pre-event speaker hype.
Alert Delivery Schedule
When used strategically, event apps can be an extremely effective marketing tool, giving you a captive audience for promoting the event, sponsors and exhibitors.
You need to be ready to hit the ground running with a content strategy to communicate with your attendees through pre-scheduled alerts and direct notifications.
That way you can set it and forget it, which means there’s one less thing to worry about. Change it up with different kinds of messaging, such as pre-event promotion, know-before-you-go lists, etc. You can even monetize this messaging by offering sponsors the chance to buy a messaging blast, and include their logo.
You only get one chance making a great first impression with your event attendees. Including these elements in your event app will ensure this first touchpoint is memorable and piques their interest for the event to come. Now go forth (and push send)!
For more ideas on pre-event app promotion, check out our Event App Marketing ebook.
From drones and GoPro to augmented reality and 3D printers, no one could have predicted the unprecedented explosion in event technology. Given the pace of tech changes in the event space, trying to keep up-to-date can be overwhelming. How can event professionals keep up with these changes and determine the most strategic ways to incorporate technology into events?
Here are 8 keys to help you successfully integrate event technology into corporate events, meetings, conferences, and association events.
Monitor and track emerging trends systematically
Social media is one of the most effective ways to learn about what is hot and new.
One way to keep up is to monitor discussions in LinkedIn Groups. Here are a few that are strictly devoted to social media and event technology:
Follow the #eventprofs and #eventtech hashtags regularly to find articles, blog posts, and announcements about emerging technology.
Connect with event technology suppliers at trade shows and conferences and ask them to add you to their mailing lists. Attend event start-up competitions at trade shows.
Don’t restrict yourself to event industry shows. SXSW, GITEX and the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) are examples of great shows for picking up ideas.
Keep abreast of trends in the music, film and fashion industries. Sometimes that is where new technology first emerges.
Monitor trends in other parts of the world, particularly Asia and the Middle East.
This ground-breaking fashion show at the Fountain of Trevi created the illusion of the models walking on water.
Design a winning strategy to build support
Even if you are chomping at the bit to incorporate the hottest technology into your events (or your client’s events), senior executives may not be ready to try something new. So here’s what we suggest:
Never just dive in. If the approach you are suggesting is brand new, it’s the worst thing you can do as you are likely to face major resistance.
Do your homework. Determine if decision makers have been exposed to something similar.
“Prime the pump” long before presenting your ideas. Bring in examples of what other organizations in your industry are doing.
Share relevant articles and videos to pique interest and curiosity.
Gather data to demonstrate ROI build the business case for trying a new approach.
Form alliances with influencers and members of the executive team who are supportive.
Arrange for a demo internally or by obtaining passes to an event where the technology you are proposing will be used.
Make sure the chosen technology supports your event objectives
Event technology is helpful only to the extent that it helps you achieve your event objectives. Here are a few examples:
Consider your attendees’ technology experience level
This can be as easy as adding 2 or 3 questions and quick checklists for answers to registration forms. You can ask:
How often do you use social media? And provide spaces for Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat handles.
With which of the following event technology platforms are you familiar?
It is illegal to ask about age but you can use certain questions as proxies. For example, provide checklists and ask participants:
How much team leadership experience do you have?
What are your favorite musical genres or groups? TV shows and movies?
Use this information to identify preferences so that you can select themes, technology, and even plan entertainment that is likely to hit the mark.
Select an approach that fits your budget
If you have a high budget, by all means, pull out all the stops. But even with a limited budget, drones, or 3D projection mapping may not be off-the-table. For a small internal event, emerging professionals or talented students may be able to deliver what you need at an affordable price.
This video by Warren Weir, a sprinter with Jamaica’s Olympics track and field team, demonstrates the kind of quality emerging professionals can produce when covering live events.
3D projection mapping can be created for small event venues by projecting computer generated animations onto a wall or objects.
Avoid the “flavor of the month” trap
Even if Pokémon GO is this month’s shiny new toy, it may not be the best fit for your participants. Boomers may prefer a Pac-Man.
If you are considering gamification, provide a brief checklist and give participants an opportunity to identify whether they prefer Pokémon, Pac-Man, Space Invaders, Monopoly, or others. To gauge your attendees receptiveness to games, for years, my company has used the following true/false statements on its mini-learning styles checklists.
Most learning games are trivial time wasters.
Learning games appeal to me.
Provide coaching and support
Use tech bars, coaching corners, and breakout sessions to prepare participants to use event apps and participate in sessions that use event technology.
Meet Sheila Gidley, CAE and Partner at Gidley Management Group, an association management company out of Chicago. She also holds the position of Executive Administrator for the International Association of Advisors in Philanthropy and (like us!) is really looking forward to packing her bags for ASAE Annual 2016 in Salt Lake City in a few weeks.
We chatted about her top picks for sessions and the biggest challenges her association is facing this year. She also shared some best practices on using event technology to run annual meetings for association clients.
What sessions are you looking forward to the most at ASAE?
Sheila: I love going to ASAE! My top 3 picks for this year are:
1. Game Changer: How the Crowd is Reforming Education, Charles Best , Founder & CEO, DonorsChoose.org
If you haven’t heard of this organization, you should look into it. DonorsChoose.org raises funding for public school needs–whether books, technology, supplies or trips. I love that the CEO (a former public school teacher) took a simple idea and turned it into a really effective solution.
2. Killer Apps for Aspiring CXO’s. Beth Ziesenis: Author, Speaker, and Your Nerdy Best Friend.
You have to check out this session! She knows all the best apps – most of which are free. I first saw her at an ASAE Conference a few years ago and that’s where I learned about Doodle, Animoto and a few other apps I use regularly. She’s a very entertaining speaker who offers content you will use frequently.
3. Becoming Your Association’s Storyteller-in-Chief. Scott Steen, President & CEO, American Forest.
This session appeals to me because I feel association leaders need better strategies to weave together data points and anecdotal content into a cohesive story to demonstrate value to sponsors, members and other stakeholders in the organization.
What are you most excited to do in Salt Lake City?
And what are the biggest challenges that your association is facing this year?
Sheila: Sure, two bigger ones come to mind:
1. Leveraging Volunteer Time. Volunteer time is so precious these days. We work with wonderful, talented people who are willing to share their talent and expertise, but we’re all stretched between priorities. The whole goal of an association is to provide a forum for individuals to share information, resources and experiences for the benefit of the industry, so finding ways that will maximize the time members have to give is key.
2. Demonstrating ROI to sponsors. While AiP is a fabulous organization that does great things and has so much to offer, it can be very challenging to demonstrate sponsorship dollar ROI to decision-makers, particularly when those decision makers are not the same firm representatives that participate in the organization. We don’t always have access to the kind of information that would allow us to show hard dollar return (i.e. which of our conference attendees became end-users of a sponsors’ products or services). This is why I’m looking forward to the session on “Becoming Your Association’s Storyteller-In-Chief.”
You’ve used EventMobi’s event apps for a few events for your association clients in the past. What did you love about our event app?
Sheila: Yes, I used the app on 2 occasions, both for association annual meetings. It was a late in the game decision to use an event app in both cases and we already had the event program in the works–otherwise I would have eliminate the paper collateral. We discovered, though, that you don’t need both a program and an event app. The event app offers way more flexibility to make last-minute changes, you can offer sponsors ad space in the app, and can push out live alerts in real-time–which is so useful.
Any creative event app ideas to share with other associations?
Sheila: Sure–we used it to arrange last-minute dinner plans for an open evening. During our 2016 Conference on Philanthropy, we decided to arrange a dine-around for those who didn’t have dinner plans. We picked 2 restaurants and listed who was going to what restaurant. Members picked where they wanted to go, based on who they wanted to meet–and what they wanted to eat, of course!
What did your EventMobi app enable you to do beyond what you’ve done at previous events?
Sheila: We were able to increase session attendance over last year! Using live alerts, we were able to send out messages to members in real-time to remind them that sessions were starting. So often time gets away from you as an attendee–whether you’re finishing a conversation or finishing lunch. With an event app, we had the ability to reach people with a nice reminder that X session was starting in X room–and it really boosted our attendance numbers!
Of course, we’re looking forward to the great line-up of conference sessions and are especially excited about Robert Stephens’ session on the future of technology. But while we’re in town, it would be a shame to miss some of Salt Lake City’s highlights.
1. Soar on Snowbird’ Aerial Tramway to the top of Hidden Peak
Enjoy the incredible views on Snowbird’s iconic aerial tramway to the top of 11,000 Hidden Peak. Take a moment to breathe in the clear mountain air and then choose to either hike a 1.2 mile round-trip along Snowbird’s Barrier Free Trail, OR take a ride on Snowbird’s Mountain Coaster, Alpine Slide, or the Mountain Flyer.
2. Dine like a duke (or duchess) at Valter’s Osteria
Rated #1 by Trip Advisor, this upscale Italian restaurant at 173 Broadway is a quick 10 minute-walk from the Salt Palace Convention. With a mouth-watering line-up of authentic Italian dishes inspired by Valters’ Tuscany upbringing, this is a must-try for visitors to Salt Lake City. We’ll be here on Sunday night, sampling burrata with a bottle of red! Check out the menu here.
3. Paint the town red at Park City’s Kimball Arts Festival
Park City’s famous Kimball Arts Festival is not-to-be missed local arts fundraiser. The party gets started on Park City’s historic Main Street, and features a motley mix of local potters, painters, sculptors, live blues, gypsy rock, reggae and more!
Food trucks, bistro-style dining decks and an artisan-products tasting area offers delicious adventures for every taste bud. Meandering down Main Street looks like the perfect way to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon.
4. Take a stroll through the “most beautiful shopping mall in America”
Check out the City Creek Centre which is just what it sounds like: this shopping mall has a gorgeous creek running through the property! In the heart of Salt Lake City, this unusual shopping environment also features a retractable glass roof and a pedestrian skybridge, Not to mention the 100 world-class stores and restaurants including Nordstrom, Macy’s, Tiffany & Co, Michael Kors. Definitely worth visiting while you’re in town.
And best of all, Salt Lake Area Adventure Tours is offering activities 1 and 3 as organized events for ASAE attendees on Saturday, August 13 from 1:00–5:00 p.m. Separate registration is required. Get more details here.
Curious about how event technology can help you get more value out of your association event? Visit booth 549 this year at ASAE 2016 and we’ll show you how.
With the recent announcement by Apple, taking online payment for event registration is about to get a whole lot easier. Making registration for your conference as easy as possible is a great start to creating an amazing event experience for your attendees. And with more attendees receiving your registration email invites on their mobile devices, this will allow for faster signups right from their laptops, phones or tablets on the spot. Attendees can quickly complete the registration and payment process without having to reach in their wallets and yanking out their credit cards.