• CVBs offer planners new formats
As the digital age continues to grow and expand, more CVBs are beginning to offer app platforms for meetings and events. The ability to load agendas, speaker bios, and even menus for attendees is a great addition to engagement practices before, during, and after the event.
Sylvia Rice, Director of Visit Salina, learned about the technological opportunities of placing meeting and event agendas on apps during an industry conference. This came at the same time Salina’s Chamber of Commerce was working to develop a local app. “They (the app developers) sought out planners to find out what they wanted in an app,” explained Rice. The answer went beyond local hotel and restaurant offers to personalized offer options.
Using the app, planners are able to personalize their attendees’ handheld experience. Sponsorship components are available with hot links to sponsor websites and with six buttons to modify, planners can share agendas, speaker bios, and so much more. Attendees are able to link directly to Facebook® and Twitter® via the app to share their personal event experiences.
According to Jo Ann McClure of Visit Salina, “The Kansas meeting demographic is currently right down the middle with half of the attendees preferring electronic agents to paper copies.” And if planners are worried about extra work, “The process only takes about 15 days,” McClure said. Fifteen days prior to the event is all that is needed to load and test content to be ready for an event.
The potential for app platform growth is easily there and the team would like to eventually add in-app note taking and other options. The current goal is to get 60-75% of attendees at Salina meetings and events to download the app. “A benefit to the app is once the conference is over attendees have our app and easily become leisure visitors,” explained Rice.
In Indianapolis, IN, Visit Indy’s app has been around for some time. Jeff Robinson, Director of Marketing, Visit Indy, said, “We primarily built out the app to take advantage of geography in ways we can’t on our website.” Those using the app are given access to lists of hotels, restaurants, attractions, and more based on their personal location at the time of use, literally giving them a more hands-on way to tour the city. When the Super Bowl came to Indianapolis in 2012, the event team looked to Visit Indy to integrate city information into the Super Bowl app.
The integration into another app became a focused service provided by Visit Indy for planners hosting events at the convention center. Rather than trying to compete or force attendees to download more than one app, Visit Indy can offer planners XML feeds for hotels, events, attractions, and restaurants to add to their existing event apps. “This is a perk which reflects well on planners and their events,” expressed Robinson.
Are you ready to take the next step in your technological power? Have you considered using an app for your meetings or events? Make sure to ask CVBs what their app capabilities are and work to provide these extra amenities to your attendees.