How are Digital Apps Changing Events?

As everyone knows, digital is taking over the way we communicate to consumers.  The appeal to the digital evolution is the financial benefits for businesses of various sizes. Even with this knowledge, it is hard to grasp how to implement digital formats for it to be a success. The reduction of paper and printing of show guides, brochures, and other marketing materials over the last few years is not only an eco-friendly benefit, but companies and non-profits big and small are also seeing the benefits of utilizing event apps to reduce their costs as well. So how are others introducing their own event app to increase attendee engagement but also to reduce costs and time of printing? Here’s some how-to’s for you to start seeing the savings in money and time by utilizing an event app for your next event.

A recent case study from Cvent spoke about the National Association of Stock Plan Professionals desire to introduce their own event app at their long-running annual event with 1800 attendees, over 3 ½ days with 100 sessions and 200 presenters. For 25 years, they printed the conference brochure and knew that moving to an app would be a big change for the entire conference delegation to adopt and accept digital over paper. Their broad audience and a multi-generational mix of attendees had to be taken into consideration to make for an easy transition.

Common Issues with Transitioning to Digital Integration

Integration of digital results in a few initial problems. First, getting all attendees open to the idea of using technology takes time. Change is hard! Think about how hard it is to migrate from an iPhone to an Android or vice versa. It’s painful. A good place to start is with a migration plan. Layout a multi-year gradual reduction of printing all the while introducing more engagement each year via the event app. Gradually adding more access to schedules, materials, and eventually interactive components to the app each year will provide baby-steps to adoption.

The Easy Solution

When considering utilizing an event app, one should define their goals, and event objectives. Thus, allowing one to decide what features are most useful on the app for your event. Focus on the wants of the attendees for the event. The two main reasons people attend events are the desire of education or absorbing content and to network.  Using these two goals as a guide can help the integration and success of event apps.

Why it is Beneficial

When you think about the number of hours spent compiling hundreds and hundreds of show guides, let alone the cost of printing, the benefits of removing those costs entirely will be realized very quickly.  In the case study, it was determined that the event organizers saved 150 hours of assembling materials for sessions, thus eliminating $30,000 from printing, shipping and storage fees. Not to mention, saving a few trees!

Another benefit is that with an event app, if things change, it’s easy to do on the fly and everyone is notified. No more dealing with printing and shipping deadlines months in advance. A speaker gets sick and can’t attend, no worries. Making that change in the app and sending out an immediate notification to the attendees who signed up for that session, brings immediate communication to life for your attendees.

The other benefit is for the attendee themselves. Attendees find that having the event schedule, the ability to build their own agenda and engaging with other attendees through the app lessens the load on their backs. Long gone are the backbreaking eight-pound guides shoved into a backpack or shoulder bag to be schlepping all over a convention to only be thrown away in the hotel room before leaving for the airport. A lightweight mobile device can contain all of the same information without the weight.

From a post-event standpoint, an event app allows for attendees the ability to go back after the event and connect with those they met, review the sessions attended and follow up with companies that were of interest to them. It’s a tool they can continue to use!

Creating engagement, allowing for networking and building content awareness are some of the ways event apps can be used, but having a migration plan in place to gradually reduce the need for printing, will help to get all attendees on board with digital at any event.

Thinking about implementing an event app? Contact us today!

*Melissa Del Monte, Senior Marketing Associate, and Priscilla Vidal, Product Marketing Manager, Cvent.