Event apps have been a part of the meetings and events industry for more than 10 years now.
As so many innovations in our industry, they turned out to be the holy grail of the interaction within any meeting or event, when they first came out. So many copy/paste companies joined the buzz and created apps to be used in conferences, meetings and events.
As the years passed and the app providing companies received more and more feedback of what worked out well and what not, the wheat was separated from the chaff. The companies that learned from the behavior and usage from the participants grew and the ones that didn't disappeared as fast as they came.
But what differentiates a great event app from a mediocre one?
The possibilities of the apps are huge. They can support the networking, the interaction, do surveys, control access, collect activity information, provide general and specific information for the participants achieve a bigger ROI and a lot more.
The vast possibilities are the ones that can be daunting.
If a provider offers too much possibilities, without analyzing the needs from the customer and his participants, the result will be questionable.
A good analysis is the basis for a successful usage. In the end you have to consider, that the planner will be asking the participants to download and use an app on his/her device.
This is where the risks are hidden.
Some planners and some meeting owners include event apps at their event, to have “something interactive”, to stress out the topic of “digitalization”, or to create a “good participants experience” by including gamification aspects. They do not think much about the why of using it. As many apps are very cheap it’s not a big budget consideration to do it or not to do it. The budget consideration only comes into action, when choosing wisely on which supplier to use.
The critical factor is, what happens on the participants side. Things like the following factors will impact his/her experience: Is it possible to download the app? Is it easy to use? Does the venue have a reliable Wifi and enough bandwidth? Which of my private data is shared with whom? Is company data shared? Am I motivated and triggered to make use of the app? Does it help or change my experience? And the most important question: What’s in it for me?
If the event app stays an add-on for the participants and it doesn't affect their experience in a good way, it might end causing harm to the experience and the ROI.
The usage of those kind of supporters have to be done wisely. They have to be planned to be a pillar on which the event experience is based on. They have to be an integral part of the design.
Only then, they will make a positive difference to the experience, to the event and the ROI.
Try it! You will see how it works!