Research: Do You Know What Your Attendees Really Want in an Event App?

According to American Express Meetings & Events (AMEX) research, a gap exists between what planners and attendees want in meeting technology. Among various other numbers, social media is not high on the list when it comes to attendee priorities. So what is it that attendees really want?

Crunching the Numbers

Surveying over 300 planners and 160 attendees, AMEX compiled data to uncover the most important aspects of the event technology experience. Not surprisingly, 90% of smartphone owners say they use it for business at meetings and events demonstrating the opportunity planners have to add value to their attendees’ experience.

For the most part, planners have effectively gauged what’s most important to their attendees. Both attendees and planners agree these are the top 5 features or capabilities in an event app:

  1. Access to Event Schedule
  2. Access to Session Descriptions
  3. Ability to Receive Updates from Organizer
  4. Ability to Create a Personalized Schedule
  5. Access to Maps

“Access to basic but critical information about the program – as well as communication and scheduling features – were most important to both groups” AMEX reports. Offering a web-based offline-capable event app, EventMobi provides one-click access for every attendee – a mission we’re happy to see aligns with the goals of both attendees and planners!

Points of interest differ in other areas. As people pleasers, planners aim to add value to their attendees overall travel experience viewing the inclusion of local services as a relative high priority (70% of planners rate it as ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ important). However, less than half of attendees agree, opting for more specialized sources like TripAdvisor or Yelp. Admittedly, when the EventMobi team travels to destinations, these are often the apps of choice when it comes to local hotspots and must-sees.

EventMobi Private ChatAnother interesting gap was apparent in the use of social media at events. While almost half of planners said social media was very or extremely important, only 35% of attendees said the same thing. Attendees cited the fact that information at the event was not relevant to their community of followers and friends. Instead, private social networks seemed to be more attractive as it provides a closed, focused community.

For this reason, EventMobi has focused more resources on in-app chat networking as well as a Social Wall where attendees can share ideas, thoughts and questions which can be displayed at the event for everyone to see. Similar to a Twitter wall, the Social Wall can be projected on a large screen with real-time contributions updating automatically; the key difference that attendees look for though is that its closed to the event community and can be moderated too!

Unfortunately for planners, these closed communities don’t offer the same social media marketing buzz they aim for. As a result, more thinking will have to go into how to create shareable content that attendees WANT to share with their attendees.

The Missed Opportunity

Highlighted in AMEX’s conclusion is the need to take advantage of measuring success. Meeting apps are offering easier ways to measure success but planners aren’t yet taking advantage. Only 29% of planners say they always or often monitor attendee engagement paling in comparison to the recent stat from MPI that 63% of event planners are using an event app. Every planner that is incorporating a mobile strategy should have easy access to data on attendee engagement at the meeting.

The Solution

Planners are encouraged to use data that’s collected through an event app, not just the feedback from attendees but understanding how the meeting app is actually used. Popular data points easily pulled from EventMobi include:

  • Overall usage based on days – helps measure pre-event promotion strategies
  • Most popular sessions and speakers – helps gauge room sizes and traffic
  • Highest clicks on ads and sponsors – communicates ROI to advertisers
  • Popular documents – informs planners of the most valuable resources and content

All of this simply from a post-event review of the meeting app data. After every conference where EventMobi is used, we debrief with the organizing team to review data and feedback in order to generate an action plan moving forward.

It’s also important to be active in your feedback collection. AMEX makes a great suggestion in asking the same question pre-event and post-event to gauge the level of education, comprehension or retention among attendees. The value behind this exercise is to effectively measure meeting outcomes helping decision-makers see the value of meetings.

With greater measurements, planners will make it easier for decision-makers to invest in their meetings with a clear ROI in sight. The most important takeaway is to start measuring using the tools you have in place. If the data shows high usage in certain areas and an increase in comprehension and retention based on your findings, there will be no doubt about the value of your meeting.

For more details on how you can take advantage of interactive tools and analytics, join our online conversations taking place weekly!

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The full report can be found at Amex Global Business Travel.