There’s nothing worse than meticulously planning a meeting replete with carefully crafted PowerPoint slides, handouts, and a speech you worked on for weeks, only to look up and discover that everyone is playing Angry Birds and checking the weather on their devices. You want to storm out in disgust. But you have to soldier on.
This frustration is magnified tenfold for conference planners. Every detail is carefully plotted. Yet the only thing anyone talks about afterwards is the great party they were able to arrange on some social networking startup app during the boring speech about web design best practices.
There was a time when everyone hated their phone. Now, we can’t live without them. Unfortunately, they have also become the greatest threat to productivity since the smoke break was invented. These days, if you want to capture the attention of your conference guests, you have to do it with their own devices. Here are a few tips for how to make that happen:
Make Their Devices a Part of the Conference
By now, you already know that you can get a custom conference app made just for your event. But to get the most out of an app, you need much more than simple event scheduling. The more advanced apps, such as those provided by DoubleDutch, are capable of handling:
- Interactive event activity feeds
- Post-event analytics reporting
- Registration system integration
- Surveys and ratings
- iOS, Android, & HTML5 support
- In-app sponsorship opportunities
This class of application goes way beyond shepherding participants to the next lecture venue. As an event organizer, the post-event analytics reporting is worth its weight in gold. That is what quantifies how successful your even actually was based on the metrics that matter to you the most. The participant’s devices become an indispensable part your conference toolkit.
Gamify Your Conference with Checkins and Rewards
Rather than offering traditional door prizes with paper tickets everyone loses, and printed numbers no one can read, why not use the devices they are already carrying? With a combination of iBeacons and checkin apps, you can keep track of your attendees’ coming and goings. You can reward them on the basis of most workshop hours logged, or first to arrive at sessions. You get the idea.
What seemed like a silly trend back when FourSquare was launched, is now a serious tool for analytics. Today, everything is gamified. With the right scheme, participants, and their devices, will do your analytics work for you.
Provide Event-based Messaging
When a lot of people are at an event, the people they most want to talk to are also at the event. They want a way to ask, “Who’s up for pizza?” and get a response from the people who are actually interest in sharing a meal and splitting a check. It makes no sense to put such a message on one’s Twitter feed.
You also don’t want Twitter to be abuzz over a snoozer of a lecture, a failed demo, or the gag-tastic crawfish. Those are also communications best confined to a private network. Many event apps come with a messaging environment confined to participants of the event. As an organizer, you can follow those communications, and be the first to know when something goes wrong, and get a feel for how things are going over all. This beats trying to watch a thousand Twitter feeds.
When the Apple Watch becomes widely available, it might reduce the iPhone distraction, or become an even greater distraction. Either way, with a little creativity, you can use those devices to captivate attendees at your next business conference.