By Hunter Clemens, CAE, CMP, AMG/MMG Vice President
Hunter Clemens, CAE, CMP
Now that you have finally integrated an event app into your meeting or event, you may be wondering “what’s next?” Meeting and event organizers are constantly looking for more ways to engage attendees. It is increasingly more important to create an “experience” for the attendee. The more engaged they are, the better the experience. In fact, at this year’s meetings and events industry gatherings, there has been a focus on experience design. Event planners are no longer just able to manage the logistics of an event – they also have to focus on attendee engagement and help to design the experience. The event professionals at Meetings Management Group (MMG) stay abreast of the new developments in event technology so that we can work with the event stakeholders to ensure that the attendee experience is designed to meet their expectations. Certainly, “one size does not fit all” so in the explore and design phase, we work with you to determine which technology will work best with your particular attendees.
Naturally, the mobile event application is an essential tool to help improve attendee engagement so do not look for it to go away, rather, you will see more creative ways to use them and enhance the attendee experience. Event mobile application companies are investing more capital into their products to extend the life cycle of engagement beyond the event to a year-round engagement. Not only do they replace the typical onsite paper program, manage schedules, interact with social media and provide a list of attendees, but also, they are now being improved and designed to take full advantage of the expanding technical capabilities of smart phones. Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) sensors including iBeacons can track attendee movements throughout a meeting facility and local area to provide a wide range of assistance such as location-aware information and directions. For example, DoubleDutch is using beacons with their app for a range of services including welcome notification/directions, precise in-room polling (with a pop-up link directed only to the attendees in the specific meeting room), networking and other options.
Among the forefront of these advances are “wearables.” These devices can take the form of a wrist-band or coin-sized disc that is inserted into the attendee badge. Using beacon technology, event organizers can track attendee movement and gather valuable data to help improve their events. Imagine analyzing attendee behavior to improve the experience design on the spot! And, a careful analysis of the data will set the stage for an even better experience design in the following year.
Exhibitors can learn which attendees are more interested in their products and services because it will give them data to know which individuals spent the greatest amount of time in their booth or area. They can be used to record participation for CEUs or CMEs.
Of course, there are attendees that are concerned with privacy so it is important to educate them prior to the event about the wearable devices or modules that track movement in an event app. If you educate them ahead of time and explain how the data is being used to enhance their attendee experience or record their CEUs and/or CMEs, most people will participate. Nevertheless, attendees must be given the opportunity to opt out.
The team of meeting professionals at MMG are well-versed in these advances in event technology, so be certain to explore with us ways to improve your experience design for your next meeting or event.