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Do you need an event app?

The value of an event app

Sally McNamara (pictured), head of digital services at Conference Care, explains why event organisers should invest in an event app.

Even before 2020, we found that the need for event apps was on the rise. Whether organisers were adopting a more sustainable approach, trying to streamline operations at their live event, or simply wanting their delegates to have a better user experience, an app was becoming the go-to solution in bringing a digital element to their events.

The technology now available has come on in leaps and bounds and apps are more in demand than ever. There are a few contributing factors to this. A key one is how attached we have become to our mobile devices. Research shows that people spend an average of 4.8 hours a day on their phones – that’s 1/3 of their waking time, up 30% from 2019 levels ( State of Mobile 2022 report).

Having a phone in your hand has become a normal part of daily life, and why would it be any different when you are at an event? 

If you are on the fence and unsure, here are some of the key reasons our clients are leaning towards this approach:

1. Sustainable

The move to an app means that your event can be truly paperless, reducing your emissions and alleviating waste. For a medium size event for 150 attendees with 10 exhibitors, the carbon footprint for brochures alone can be as much as 15KG of CO2e. In addition, it’s all retrievable information, nothing gets accidentally lost and it can be downloaded for future use.

2. 365 marketing and communications

Events no longer exist as just a moment in time. With the right planning, your event app can be live well in advance of the in-person event day. You can use it to push out promotional material, exclusive content and communications before, during and after the event.

It’s also a great space to advertise any future events you have planned to your attendees. It works well as an extension to your overall marketing plan and objectives.

3. Interactive

Now we are all easing back into in-person events, it’s key that audience members still feel that they can be interactive. Event apps facilitate all of your live Q&A, live polls and social walls/twitter feeds.

The networking features mean that regardless of your audience type, everyone has the opportunity to interact with one another through text and video.

4. Personalisation 

Overall, the success of an event is based on the experience of your attendees. An event app can enhance the delegate journey with personalisation. This can be agenda items, ability to purchase extra tickets for evening dinners and drinks, choosing workshops and even sending out personalised notifications to specific groups of attendees.

5. Contactless

Understandably, the way we interact at events may have changed. By using an event app and QR codes, you can offer contactless check-in by scanning someone on arrival. Ticks the boxes from both a hygiene perspective and also eases any bottlenecks at different points of your event.

It’s also an accurate way of looking at your attendance rate, rather than just checking someone off a list or counting badges that have been handed back in at the end of your event.

6. Convenient

The ability to have all of your event resources in one place is a huge benefit to both you as an organiser and your attendees. It removes the need for brochures and bags which rarely get another use. Did you know you need to re-use a jute bag at least 30 times for it to have a lower carbon footprint than a plastic bag, another check for helping the carbon emissions of your event.

The fact that people can access the app in advance of the event means they are more prepared. Plus, there’s the ease of being able to choose your sessions if you have a jam-packed schedule, rather than circling your options on a printed agenda.

7. Real-time content

I’m sure we have all experienced last-minute changes to agendas, room moves and now more than ever - an unplanned absence of a speaker. With the right event app and support, you can make these changes as they happen and update your audience in real-time.

8. Networking

Relationship building is a valuable and necessary part of many events. Networking tools within an event app give your attendees, exhibitors, sponsors, and speakers the opportunity to not only interact before, during and after an event, but you can even go as far as automating meetings, giving people the opportunity to meet with others who have similar interests.

9. Income generating

Investing in an event app shouldn’t just be seen as something to enhance the user experience at a cost to you as the organiser. There are opportunities for increased revenue sources that will often cover the cost of your investment.

10. Reportable

If you are selling exhibition stands and sponsorship, these investors will want to be aware of their ROI from the event. Robust analytics can show all of this information, encouraging them to get more involved in your future events.

The ability to quickly report on their leads, have email notifications for follow up and lead questions make an event app a much more affordable and streamlined way of data capture, in comparison to lead scanning software just a few years ago.

As an organiser, the data is important too. Whichever format your event takes, you want to be able to track your attendees journey as a measure of success. See who has participated in Q&As, poll results, survey responses, downloads and engagement points. It’s a much more intuitive way of gathering insights and true feedback from the event to improve in future.

Apps may seem daunting and too much work for smaller events, but we feel sure that the future of physical events is digital.