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    Making meetings modern

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    Are you well on the way to finalising your company’s next conference venue, speakers and seminars, but don’t know how to engage potential delegates? In today’s world of technology, what is the best tool available? Michael Douglas discusses the benefits of using a mobile event app.

    Why create a mobile app?
    A good mobile application enables a company to fully support its meetings and events objectives, no matter how complex. A typical aim might be improved networking, or increased feedback focused on a specific speaker, theme or session.

    An app will also enhance the experience for attendees by providing them accessible and relevant information, developing involvement in the lead up to the event, throughout the occasion and afterwards. With 91 per cent of smartphone users within three feet of their device 24/7, 365 days a year, an effective mobile app can result in considerably greater engagement than a traditional website. It means that event updates are shared with attendees almost instantaneously and then accessed at a time that is convenient for them.

    Building a successful app
    Deciding which features to include can be one of the biggest issues for organisers. It is important to carefully align event goals and timescales to what the app can do in order to achieve the right results. This requires a good understanding of your audience, to ensure that your chosen features are appropriate to both their and your objectives.

    An interactive mapping feature is useful for large events, but not as relevant for smaller ones. Similarly, connecting and networking functions are most relevant for events where attendees can organise face-to-face meetings or there are hosted buyer programmes.

    App functions can include straightforward networking that facilitates meetings between attendees and exhibitors. They can be multi-lingual, have polling and crowdsourcing ability, exhibitor directories, product showcases, event maps, a guide to the local area, push messaging from the organiser and news and social media feeds – the possibilities are almost endless.

    Networking is often a driving factor for delegates at corporate events. Including attendee profiles in the app allows people to engage with and ‘meet’ each other before, during and after the event.

    Alternatively, organisers can manage networking through a one-to-one meeting planner programme. The app provides a platform that encourages one-to-one meetings and allows attendees to view each other’s profiles, send private messages and set up individual meetings, which can drive both engagement and improve the quality of their time spent at the event.

    Another useful option is to include a way for attendees to give feedback on specific elements of the event such as a speaker or activity, increasing engagement after the event and providing valuable insight for the organiser.

    Finally, the ability to include sponsorship is always popular, as it is a way for event organisers to cover the cost of the app developments. The organiser can completely control the various features, turning them on or off, or adding them as the event cycle progresses.

    More than one event?
    Single-use event apps are a missed opportunity if you know your company will be holding several similar functions. Multi-event apps, which can be downloaded once and reused, minimise the work involved for the next occasion and capitalise on the data already collected. To be successful it is important to populate the app with up-to-date information or potential attendees will stop checking it.

    Ultimately, the benefits can be priceless for both organiser and attendees. A successful app means a more useful day out of the office for all participants: a tightly managed event programme, increased engagement and greatly improved feedback.

    Michael Douglas is Product strategy Manager at GenieConnect. For more information, visit genie-connect.com

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    Molly Dyson

    Former Editor – PA Life

    All stories by: Molly Dyson