In his article, “Why We Do What We Do,” in the latest issue of Facility Manager, Adam S. Cook wrote, “In an already fragmented world, our increasing reliance on mobile technology and social media to stay connected can drive an even greater wedge between personal interactions.”
True, the value of in-person connections cannot be overshadowed by online connections. The human touch, the appeal to the five senses, the non-verbal communication aspect—none of this can be replaced by the less emotionally penetrating nature of mobile technology or social media.
That said, according to the latest version of Event Manager Blog’s Event App Bible, “Over 60 percent of smart-phone users are using their devices at social gatherings and events.”
What does this tell us? More than half of attendees don’t want to put their phones down at an event. Per the Event App Bible, “What we are seeing is a surge in event app adoption and it seems inevitable that they will become more and more mainstream.”
Event organizers are realizing that having an online component to their event is a great way to broadly communicate event information, increase engagement with their event, elevate attendee interest, build their brand, please their stakeholders (exhibitors, sponsors, etc.), reach a broader audience than ever, and more.
Still, 63 percent of the event organizers surveyed in the Event App Bible aren’t currently using apps for their events. Why? The majority said it was because they didn’t have the money to invest in developing one of their own for their event.
Do you hear that knocking sound on your venue door? That’s opportunity.
Your event organizer customers want their customers using their mobile technology in your venue. They want people taking pictures, sharing images, tweeting, and posting updates across social media channels live from their events.
What if your venue filled this need for them? The increasing interest in mobile technology from event organizers and attendees alike presents a great opportunity for venues to add a mobile solution to their event services offering. If the app is priced correctly—even bundled with other services your venue offers—perhaps this will solve the issue event organizers are facing related to the cost of developing an app of their own.
Venues are catching on to the many benefits of a mobile offering.
Per IAVM’s 2013 technology report (part of its VenueDataSource industry data collection project), 28 percent of venues already have an app developed for itself, and within three years, an additional 27 percent plan to develop one. However, at this point it isn’t clear how many of these venues have an app they offer event organizers as a service option.
Providing event organizers with a mobile app for use at their event provides a few interesting benefits for venues. For one, the venue can look for a mobile solution partner that offers a reasonable price (perhaps volume discounts) so the venue can make money off the offering, which can create a new revenue stream for the venue.
Second, in order for an event organizer to launch a mobile app in time for their event, the organizer will have to get event details to the venue earlier. This helps the venue get the information they need well in advance of the event so they can plan resources appropriately, which isn’t always the case when details for an event trickle in last minute.
Finally, if the mobile app increases attendee satisfaction and engagement with the event, your direct customer’s satisfaction will increase, thereby increasing the customer’s loyalty with your venue and likeliness that they’ll not only return but also recommend your venue to their peers.
Given the growing prevalence of mobile device usage at events and the fact that social media isn’t going away anytime soon, I imagine a mobile solution offering could give you an edge over your competition when it came time for event organizers to choose a venue. Make sure you’re not missing an opportunity!