Meetings

How to Make the Most of Mobile Apps for Meetings

By / May 27, 2014 (iStock/Thinkstock)

Six in 10 meeting planners have used a mobile event app at their conferences in the past two years, according to a new study. While that’s an impressive number, organizations can make better use of these apps, especially at smaller meetings.

While more meeting planners are employing mobile apps at their events, there is room for greater adoption, according to a new study released last week by IMEX Group and QuickMobile.

The “Event Planning and Mobile Technology” report found that 60 percent of meeting planners had used a mobile event app within the last two years—a  statistic that surprised some industry experts.

What a mobile app does is create an opportunity to turn that three-day event into a 365-day community.

“If anything was surprising it’s that 60 percent of planners had used mobile event apps in the survey, when in fact we hear so regularly that people are first-timers at this,” said Robin Jones, chief marketing officer at QuickMobile.

Some of the supporting data, such as the fact that only about a quarter of meeting planners are budgeting for apps, seems to suggest that the percentage might actually be lower and that there is room for wider adoption, Jones added. “What’s happened is everyone went for it for their big events, but they haven’t really started to explore using [mobile event apps] for the rest of their events,” she said.

One of the reasons meeting planners may not be adopting apps for smaller meetings and events are that planners are only now starting to see the value of event apps, Jones said.

According to the report, the most important reason for using a mobile event app was the ability to share information and communicate between event organizers and attendees, followed by the reduction in paper, attendee-to-attendee communication and sharing, keeping the conversation going after the event, and getting the conversation going before an event.

That before-and-after communication is an important consideration for associations working to continuously engage members. “What a mobile app does is create an opportunity to turn that three-day event into a 365-day community, which is something associations work hard to do every day,” Jones said.

To ensure an app is creating that 365-day experience, Jones advised ensuring that conference content is valuable, as well as including in event apps the ability to continually message and communicate with members after the conference and run surveys and polls.

“When you’re part of a group, you want information that that community produces, and that’s generally in the form of content,” Jones said. “So the ability to put that information—documents, publications, etc.—inside an app to keep people connected to you is super valuable.”

Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. More »

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