Event Apps Help or Hindrance?

Event Apps Help or Hindrance?

the blog

Event Apps Help or Hindrance?

Apps are seen as the instant fix for those who want to “take the event into the 21st century” by digitalizing it. We agree, it’s pretty cool to allow technology to do some of the hard work. It helps with perception too. Not all brands are Apple and by simply having an “app” the event gets an instant boost on the “cool” scale.

Apps are seen as the instant fix for those who want to “take the event into the 21st century” by digitalizing it. We agree, it’s pretty cool to allow technology to do some of the hard work. It helps with perception too. Not all brands are Apple and by simply having an “app” the event gets an instant boost on the “cool” scale.

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Event Apps Help or Hindrance?

Apps are seen as the instant fix for those who want to “take the event into the 21st century” by digitalizing it. We agree, it’s pretty cool to allow technology to do some of the hard work. It helps with perception too. Not all brands are Apple and by simply having an “app” the event gets an instant boost on the “cool” scale. “Cool” is not all that matters though. Research demonstrates that what delegates remember most vividly are the service failures. So, like with everything, balancing gains and pains has to be part of the plan.

Every event brief starts with a bit of soul searching. What are we trying to achieve here? Who is our audience? How best to engage with them? In the past 24 months or so, “Shall we have an event app?“ has crept up in the top 5 event-related topics. As an event owner you want the best for your event. You also want to make your budget go further. Technology is cool so you think an app could be the answer. You’re not quite sure how it works in practice. What’s involved?

Apps are seen as the instant fix for those who want to “take the event into the 21st century” by digitalizing it. We agree, it’s pretty cool to allow technology to do some of the hard work. It helps with perception too. Not all brands are Apple and by simply having an “app” the event gets an instant boost on the “cool” scale. “Cool” is not all that matters though. Research demonstrates that what delegates remember most vividly are the service failures. So, like with everything, balancing gains and pains has to be part of the plan.

Every event brief starts with a bit of soul searching. What are we trying to achieve here? Who is our audience? How best to engage with them? In the past 24 months or so, “Shall we have an event app?“ has crept up in the top 5 event-related topics. As an event owner you want the best for your event. You also want to make your budget go further. Technology is cool so you think an app could be the answer. You’re not quite sure how it works in practice. What’s involved?

Well, here are our thoughts on the matter.

App help? Yes please!

When attending an event:

  • with multiple breakouts
  • spanning over a number of days
  • requiring communication in multiple languages
  • when delegates benefit from push messages (e.g. reminders)
  • when the event uses multiple sites for accommodation and meetings
  • when delegate numbers are large (hundreds and over) and the app reduces the need for multiple hospitality desks
  • when we want to allow two way communication between organisers and delegates (just think how handy it is to mass communicate a change of plans with a simple message if a session is overrunning, or we’ve had to amend the airport transfer times!)
  • when continuous interaction with exhibition stands, speakers and peers is desired (consider smart device rental here)
  • where canvassing opinion, instant feedback collection, viewing event agenda and presentations and voting functionality are a must.

Suddenly, you have an ARS (audience response system), ID (users are logged in with their personal details) tagging device, voting, canvassing, Q&A, post event feedback collection and networking solution which is paperless too! Oh, and with an extra bit of coding you can get your delegates registered pronto! Now that is good value!

Talking from experience, if ever there was a good time to use apps, this is probably it! The cost is coming down, apps have been around the block (twice!) so you can expect easy fixes to any glitches, with solid Wi-Fi provision (and FOC at that!) increasingly a given.  Remember, Activate will always recommend a proportionate solution so it pays to have a chat with us.

App hindrance. Not for me!

The rule of the thumb here is, don’t go for an event app:

  • when it detracts from the focus of your event
  • when delegate numbers are too small to justify it (off-the-shelf apps work even for small numbers e.g. under 50 but for bespoke apps to pay off, you need a critical mass)
  • when it creates a sense of distance between the host and the participants
  • when the event emphasis is on recreation rather than education (e.g. incentive trips or award ceremonies)
  • when app development cost and timeframe is disproportionate to the benefits of the end result
  • when Wi-Fi provision is simply not good enough to guarantee smooth usage of the app (how many Wi-Fi access points do you need? will the beacons work? is the venue host to another live event which may interfere with your Wi-Fi supply?)
  • when you don’t have a back-up strategy or,
  • when you simply don’t want to risk it!

So where does this leave us? The saying “horses for courses” couldn’t be more true!  At Activate we’ll recommend an event app if it’s worth it. And it’s worth it if it saves time and money and it gives your delegates a better experience and you, more control. Otherwise, we’ll champion face-to-face communication every day!

***

To learn more about how we can activate your business through events, please contact Ken, Client Services Director, at:

ken@activateevents.com and +44 (0) 7894684213.

P.S. If you liked this piece, please share it with your friends and business network. #activateevents

Well, here are our thoughts on the matter.

App help? Yes please!

When attending an event:

  • with multiple breakouts
  • spanning over a number of days
  • requiring communication in multiple languages
  • when delegates benefit from push messages (e.g. reminders)
  • when the event uses multiple sites for accommodation and meetings
  • when delegate numbers are large (hundreds and over) and the app reduces the need for multiple hospitality desks
  • when we want to allow two way communication between organisers and delegates (just think how handy it is to mass communicate a change of plans with a simple message if a session is overrunning, or we’ve had to amend the airport transfer times!)
  • when continuous interaction with exhibition stands, speakers and peers is desired (consider smart device rental here)
  • where canvassing opinion, instant feedback collection, viewing event agenda and presentations and voting functionality are a must.

Suddenly, you have an ARS (audience response system), ID (users are logged in with their personal details) tagging device, voting, canvassing, Q&A, post event feedback collection and networking solution which is paperless too! Oh, and with an extra bit of coding you can get your delegates registered pronto! Now that is good value!

Talking from experience, if ever there was a good time to use apps, this is probably it! The cost is coming down, apps have been around the block (twice!) so you can expect easy fixes to any glitches, with solid Wi-Fi provision (and FOC at that!) increasingly a given.  Remember, Activate will always recommend a proportionate solution so it pays to have a chat with us.

App hindrance. Not for me!

The rule of the thumb here is, don’t go for an event app:

  • when it detracts from the focus of your event
  • when delegate numbers are too small to justify it (off-the-shelf apps work even for small numbers e.g. under 50 but for bespoke apps to pay off, you need a critical mass)
  • when it creates a sense of distance between the host and the participants
  • when the event emphasis is on recreation rather than education (e.g. incentive trips or award ceremonies)
  • when app development cost and timeframe is disproportionate to the benefits of the end result
  • when Wi-Fi provision is simply not good enough to guarantee smooth usage of the app (how many Wi-Fi access points do you need? will the beacons work? is the venue host to another live event which may interfere with your Wi-Fi supply?)
  • when you don’t have a back-up strategy or,
  • when you simply don’t want to risk it!

So where does this leave us? The saying “horses for courses” couldn’t be more true!  At Activate we’ll recommend an event app if it’s worth it. And it’s worth it if it saves time and money and it gives your delegates a better experience and you, more control. Otherwise, we’ll champion face-to-face communication every day!

***

To learn more about how we can activate your business through events, please contact Ken, Client Services Director, at:

ken@activateevents.com and +44 (0) 7894684213.

P.S. If you liked this piece, please share it with your friends and business network. #activateevents

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