Learning From Association Conferences

In the early days, the majority of conference apps CrowdComms created were for associations. They were the true pioneers of event app adoption.

Five years later, whilst corporates have really started to embrace event apps, associations still represent a large percentage of our client base.

It’s useful to analyse the association conference app journey to see what can be be learned and what lies ahead for active event app users:

Stage One: Save Money And Trees

Before event apps, large association conferences had no choice but to print telephone directory style programmes with page after page of concurrent sessions and hundreds of speaker bios.

Separate handbooks were also often printed to detail all the associated session and poster abstracts. None of this came cheap.

One of our early clients told me they were spending a whopping $90,000 on their conference handbook alone.

The event app was going to cost them less than a tenth of that!

They swapped the entire print run for an event app and never looked back. The majority of associations have progressed past this stage of creating digital content on to stage two.

Stage Two: Get Interactive

The majority of our association clients are now tapping into the interactive features such as Q&A management. Attendees can submit and vote up questions for speakers and the organiser can moderate or let the discussion flow fast.

Live audience polling within the event app is also widely used at association conferences. This is a new addition for many associations who couldn’t afford the expense of audience response keypads in the past and a huge cost saving for those who could.

Helping more associations expand beyond simply digital content based event apps is part of what did recently at the Association Event Strategy Conference.

Our team ran the live polls and Q&A all within the app we created for the event.  Event managers experienced how interesting and engaging it can be first hand.

Step Three: Face Time

There are many more features available within event apps could be really helpful at association conferences. One is the ability to set up topic specific discussion boards. Another is the in-app attendee-to-attendee messaging.

The messaging function allows attendees to talk to each other through the conference app without divulging their personal contact information. A simple keyword search can display a list of attendees with common areas of interest.

Finding ways to help more face-to-face networking could be just the ticket association conferences need to take attendee experience to the next level.

Dee Brannick - CrowdComms, Co-Founder

Working in Event Tech since 2003, Dee has made thousands of events shine by incorporating market leading technology into a diverse range of events. From boardroom meetings to multi-location conferences, Dee is passionate about finding the right solution for her clients. In 2011 she co-founded CrowdComms to maximise the explosion in smart phone usage at events and now works out of the UK office in sunny Dorset.