An Attendee’s Mobile Journey

Understanding where, when, and how attendees interact with their smart devices throughout the event life cycle helps event organizers and exhibitors identify opportunities to engage with them. As mobile device use in the event industry soars, mobile applications and mobile-optimized web sites are becoming critically important as marketing and communication tools. Here’s a typical attendee’s mobile journey through the event experience.

  • Many trade shows and conferences now offer mobile apps for their events. The first step for attendees is to download the native app or bookmark the Web site. Once that task is completed, they can select conference sessions, create personal agendas, and set meetings with exhibitors, depending on the app’s features. About eighty percent of attendees download the app the week before the event starts.
  • Accessing social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube before the show is the new way to check on who is attending and what types of conversations are occurring. Following the Twitter hashtag or joining the private social network offered by show organizers is easy to do via mobile phone.
  • Once attendees arrive on the trade show floor, mobile devices are an efficient way to navigate the floor plan. Even though the screen is small on a mobile phone, developers have worked out ways to highlight sections and create on screen routes to specific booths.
  • Carrying a large tote bag full of printed brochures is a thing of the past now that mobile apps offer several ways to access exhibitor information. Attendees are able to text numbers or scan QR codes to request digital brochures or simply browse an exhibitors’ virtual booth.
  • Elaborate audience response systems are no longer necessary now that mobile apps do the job. Responding to a quick poll in a conference session using a Smartphone or an iPad instead of a special polling device is becoming more commonplace.
  • Show news, updates, and schedule changes are now just a text message away for attendees with mobile phones. Communication can also work the other way when visitors want to text questions back to show management or post inquiries on Twitter.
  • Attendees can use the time in between sessions to answer show surveys on their smart devices. When that task is finished they can view the pictures and video they captured during the event and share them friends.
  • In addition to the event-related tasks that attendees can perform around show time, many apps offer show updates and new content year round. However, ninety percent of the usage happens immediately before, during, and up to 30 days after the live event.

Mapping the attendee’s mobile journey is a way for event organizers, exhibitors, and sponsors to visualize the numerous opportunities for marketing, engagement, customer service, analytics and sales that exist through mobile phones. From the attendee’s perspective, mobile apps distill the complexity of the event down to one small screen. As mobile apps continue to improve and proliferate, they will become an irreplaceable tool to enhance the attendee experience.