July 15, 2013
Event attendees are becoming less interested in receiving massive amounts of printed information when they check in at registration. They’re used to digital tools in all other areas of their lives, so they’re looking for more convenient and tech-savvy ways to get the info they need when they attend industry events. At the Healthcare Convention & Exhibitors Association’s (HCEA) 2013 Annual Meeting in Austin a few weeks ago, attendees were offered both a mobile app and a web version of the app which included online session surveys for the first time (no paper forms) as well as an itinerary planning feature.
There was both an interactive mobile app, and a tablet app that was simply a static version of the program guide. Both apps were sponsored separately. These apps were used by approximately 270 IOS device users and 59 Android attendees. If you’re considering using an app an upcoming meeting, here are a few considerations:
- Map your app – Determine features, what should be interactive and static depending on anticipated attendee need; propriety of information; how often the data is subject to change; and the ability to update information as quickly as possible.
- Make it easy – Your users are looking for easy downloading and intuitive features.
- Incorporate interactive features to create a more personalized experience – You want the app to be used as much as possible during the meeting by everyone from beginners to advanced app users.
- Use the app to “go green” – You will reduce paper through features such as online session surveys.
- Help your attendees plan their event experience – Give them the ability to plan their schedules including what exhibit booths they want to visit.
Here are some of the key lessons we learned from this year’s event:
- Compare features you are planning to use with other mobile apps in advance so you can gauge whether your current app features will use the latest technology while also meeting your attendees’ needs.
- Gather as much information about the app features as possible so you can anticipate any issues in advance and note improvements to be made for the next year.
- Make sure app has consistent functionality for all features across platforms (IOS and Android).
- Determine the ease and flexibility in making changes or additions to the data, particularly during the critical time just prior to the event and while onsite.
HCEA attendees loved the convenience of the mobile app and we plan to offer it at future meetings as well. Will you offer your attendees a digital experience at your next event?