The primary purpose of a conference app is to serve as a digital platform where attendees can view the event schedule, receive updates and announcements, interact with other attendees, and provide feedback.
However, conference apps can do much more than that; they also help streamline the operations of events.
For event managers, running a successful event is not only about ensuring that the attendees have a good time, but also about making sure that the event runs smoothly from a business standpoint. This is where conference apps come in handy.
In this blog, we do a deep dive on how conference apps help streamline operations for in-person events.
How to Use Conference Apps
Conference apps are mobile event apps that help event managers with business operations in several ways.
Communicate with Attendees
Conference apps have several features that help event managers communicate with attendees.
Announcement features allow event managers to send announcements and updates to all attendees.
These features can help managers keep event attendees informed about important updates and announcements and allow event planners to resolve issues and respond to questions in a timely manner.
Conference apps make it easy to collect feedback from attendees. Feedback features allow event managers to poll attendees and collect feedback about the attendee experience. This information is valuable because it helps event managers identify areas that need improvement.
Conference apps often include features allowing attendees to provide feedback in real-time. This information is valuable because it enables event managers to make changes on the fly and improve the event experience.
Benefits of Conference Apps
Conference apps are incredibly helpful in streamlining business operations. Here are a few examples of the benefits of using conference apps.
Save Time and Money
Conference apps can help event managers save time and money. For example, conference apps can create digital event programs that can be easily updated and distributed to attendees. This eliminates the need to print and ship physical event programs, which can save event managers a significant amount of time and money.
Improve Event Logistics
Conference apps can also help improve event logistics by making it easy to track attendees and communicate with them in real-time. For example, if part of the event is running late, conference app features can help event managers quickly communicate the new event agenda to all attendees.
Increase Attendee Engagement
Event management apps can increase attendee engagement by over 41% by enabling event planners to create custom agendas, send announcements and updates, collect feedback, and more.
Additionally, conference apps often include features that allow attendees to interact with each other, such as in-app messaging and networking features.
How to Choose the Right Conference App for Your Needs
Now that you know the benefits of conference apps, how do you choose the right one for your needs? Here are some factors to consider:
The Size of Your Event
For large events, you will need a conference app that can accommodate many attendees. It should be able to handle a high volume of traffic and it should have features such as an in-app messaging system, live polls, and, for the truly enormous events, include a floor plan with beacons for attendees to find their way around.
Your budget will play a determining role in the app you choose. While setting a budget for the app, consider the overall value it will add to your operation. 91% of event planners report a positive event ROI (return on investment) from using event management software, according to the State of Mobile Event Technology Report).
User Interface of the App
The user interface (UI) of the app is important because it will determine how easy it is for attendees to use the app. If the app is difficult to use, attendees will be less likely to use it. This can be a deal breaker for some attendees.
When evaluating the UI of a conference app, consider:
- How easy is it to navigate?
- Is the design clean and modern?
- Is the app responsive, i.e., is it fast and does it work well on all devices?
Best Practices for Using a Conference App
Now that you know how to choose the right conference app for your needs, here are some best practices for using one to improve.
Test the App Before Your Event
Do not, and we repeat, do not wait until the day of your event to test the app. Test it out well in advance so that you can identify any glitches and correct them before the event.
While testing, try to think of the worst-case scenarios and test those out as well, such as changes to event sponsors or event schedule. This will give you a good idea of whether you can rely on the app during your event.
Use the App to Its Full Potential
Don’t just use the app for the sake of using it. Use the features that will add value to your operation and make your event more efficient. For example, push notifications that allow you to send in-app messages to attendees during the event to ensure they are kept up to date about schedule changes.
Train Your Staff On How to Use the App
Your staff should be familiar with how to use the app before your event. They should know how to navigate the app and how to use its features. Consider creating a training manual or video tutorial for them to reference. You don’t want to run into technical difficulties during your event because your staff is not familiar with app features.
Promote the App to Your Attendees
Your attendees will only use the app if they know about it. Promote the app before your event and remind them to download it. You can promote the app through your event website, social media channels, and email list.
For example, you can create a landing page on your website with all the information about the app and how to download it.
For attendees who have not installed the app prior to the event, make sure that you have signage at registration and interstitial slides that includes a QR code they can scan to install the app.
Collect Feedback from Your Attendees
After your event, collect feedback from your attendees about their experience with the app as part of your post-event survey. This will help you identify any areas for improvement. For instance, if many attendees complain about the app crashing, you know you need to find a more stable app for your next event.
Decide Your Goals Before Choosing the App
What do you want to achieve by using a conference app? This could be anything from reducing paper waste to making your event more interactive. By having defined goals, you can choose an app that will help you achieve them.
Consider the Entire Event Lifecycle
When choosing a conference app, it’s important to consider the entire event lifecycle. This means thinking about everything from pre-event marketing to post-event follow-up. For example, you may want an app that allows you to send push notifications to remind attendees about your event and follow up with them afterwards.
Choose an App That Offers Support
No matter how well you plan, there is always a chance something might go wrong. That’s why it’s important to choose an app that offers support in case you run into any technical difficulties. A good conference app will have a dedicated customer support team to help you with any issues you may have.
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