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How to Create an Event Mobile App Experience Your Attendees Crave

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Richard Maranville

Richard Maranville

Executive Vice President & Chief Digital Officer

Freeman

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The four ingredients of a tried-and-true recipe

Event mobile apps are a powerful way to personalize and add value to your event. But to enjoy your app’s delicious features, attendees have to actually download and use it.

With so much out there vying for your attendees’ attention, this can be easier said than done. Happily, with the right recipe you can go beyond mere app adoption and instead make your attendees absolutely ravenous for everything your app offers.

Follow our simple process to create engaging mobile app experiences that will send your attendees back home with a satisfied smile.

1. Pique Their Interest with a Peak at the Menu

The very first ingredient in your app-marketing meal, while often overlooked, is the pre-event emails that encourage app adoption.

“There’s nothing stellar or magical about it,” says Margaret Core, Vice President of Industry Events at the Food Marketing Institute. “Sending registrants a simple email message 10 days out with the download instructions works.”

Even better, send more than one reminder — and make sure the download link is impossible to miss.

2. Serve Generous Helpings on Site

Once the event is under way, a multi-pronged approach is the way to go:

  • Display a QR code and login info at the registration desk
  • Post ads and signage in the hotel, on the show floor, and in shuttle buses
  • Dispatch “men on the street” outside the convention center to help spread the word
  • Set up an “app help desk” for troubleshooting questions

Offering enough information when attendees are most likely to gobble it up will get them running to the table.

3. Throw in Some Spice

Yes, having floor plans and schedules on your app is super helpful for participants. But don’t forget to round out your event meal with a dash of fun.

“One feature we’re trying is to incorporate a scavenger hunt into the app,” says Bob Blau, Senior Manager of Digital Platforms at National Association of Broadcasters. “Users go to the game section in the app, review a list of places to visit on the show floor, and check in at those locations via a QR or numeric code to unlock badges and earn points. Attendees who unlock all the badges are eligible to win a prize.”

Creative elements like these will generate tremendous buzz about the app and send your usage rates sky high — particularly when combined with other handy resources.

For instance, mobile apps also help create a more individualized experience. “Through personalized recommendations and individualized journeys, software can help guide attendees to a rewarding outcome, making sure they don’t miss that person that should meet, or that breakout session that is right up their alley,” says Laurence Coburn, CEO, DoubleDutch. More opportunities for networking lends a richness to your event, and sponsors will be delighted with the extra attention from participants.

4. Let It Steep

Just as the best flavors need time to develop, your app use will grow organically as the years pass.

“Year one adoption and use rates are always timid,” explains Jay Tokosch, CEO of Core-Apps. “Attendees at first distrust the utility of the app. But then you’ll see dramatic increases in years two and three. It’s because attendees are beginning to discover tools within the app that help them find what they’re looking for at the event, and they tell other attendees.”

With these ingredients, you can concoct a four-star event mobile app that will have attendees clamoring to use the great technology you’ve created for them. So tie on your apron and don your chef’s hat — it’s time to get cooking!

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