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Case Study: Event Engagement With Added Caffeine


Have you had your coffee fix today?

The 60% of Australians aged between 30 and 70 who drink coffee every day probably have!

Given coffee’s popularity, it’s no surprise it’s a non-negotiable feature at most events.  While catering to the caffeine demands of a small internal meeting is easy, things can get tricky for large events hosting hundreds or thousands of attendees.

Do you serve filter or barista brewed? How do you avoid long lines and over stretched service?  What happens to a large crowd when they’re deprived of caffeine?!

The coffee conundrum made us dig deeper to find out more about the Customer Engagement and Loyalty Conference that took place in Australia’s coffee capital, Melbourne.

We chatted to event organiser, Elizabeth Hanlon from Global Loyalty, about how they pulled off a caffeine masterstroke to boost event engagement!


CC: Hi Elizabeth, can you tell us a little more about your event?

Elizabeth: It’s the Customer Engagement and Loyalty Conference.  The event has been running for six years and provides information, discussion and networking opportunities.

Attendees tend to be people in senior, decision-making roles in marketing managers, loyalty and data analytics.

CC:  So, people who are very likely to expect, or rather need, coffee at an event?

Elizabeth: Absolutely! In the past we’d serve filter coffee, but we’d find that people were nipping out to get a ‘proper’ coffee.

Given the 2018 event was being held near Melbourne where there is a strong expectation for great coffee we felt filter wouldn’t fly with our attendees.

CC: Did you bring in a barista?

Elizabeth: We certainly did. We hired two coffee carts to cater the event. One would provide a walk-up service like a normal café. The other would deliver coffee orders made via our event app.

CC: Wow! A clever idea.

Elizabeth: I thought incorporating a coffee ordering element into the event app would not only make getting hold of a coffee a lot easier but it would also encourage downloads of the event app itself.

CrowdComms came up with a clean and simple ordering feature for the event app that was exactly what we were looking for.

CC: Did it work?

Elizabeth: It did, almost everyone downloaded the app! We also made coffee ordering part of our gamification strategy.

For every coffee attendees ordered they would receive 25pts and boost their place on the leaderboard. It definitely helped with event engagement.

CC: And how about the in-app ordering, was that a success?

Elizabeth: It went down so well. It was really easy to place an order. People could specify their coffee preference and milk type. The order went straight to the barista who worked from the list of incoming requests.

Attendees could order throughout the day so we had hardly any queuing.

CC: What was the attendee feedback like?

Elizabeth: They loved it! Attendees could order as many coffees as they liked.  I had plenty of people asking me “where can I pay for coffee?” They were delighted to find out it was free!

We planned on three coffees per person and came in just under that for the event.

CC: Did you get any sponsor feedback?

Elizabeth: Mastercard sponsored the coffee cart. While they didn’t give any specific feedback they had done this before so it obviously works for them.

CC: Finally, do you think the coffee ordering gave your event a strong point of difference?

Elizabeth: Definitely. Coffee is an instrumental part of many people’s day. Making sure attendees could get their daily cup easily (and for free!) helped create a lovely, positive vibe throughout the event.

Webinar Review: Boosting Event Engagement

CrowdComms Ireland recently ran a popular webinar on Boosting Engagement at Your Next Event. Getting and keeping attendees engaged is critical to any event success. Bored delegates quickly turn off their attention and switch on their smartphone.

With this challenge in mind, our Ireland team put together a presentation to give event organisers tips and tricks guaranteed to keep attendees plugged into event activities.

Interaction is a sure fire way to get attendees’ brains humming.  And there are lots of options to choose from to fire up the enthusiasm factor. Our presenters took the audience through a series of interactive features:

Polling – with live polling, everyone gets their say. Pose the questions and let your audience respond in real time via their mobile device.

Q&A – a digital Q&A platform means extending the experience beyond a roving mic. Audience members can pose questions and vote-up the ones they really want answered.

Surveys – post-session surveys help you quickly see what works and what doesn’t.

Discussion boards –  discussion boards are a great way to support group chat and information exchange.

We put audience interaction and participation into practice by asking our audience to tell us what they wanted to know.  They voted to hear about pre-event communication and how to set their event apart using ‘something different’.

We also discussed activities that boost event success.  There was a consensus that pre-event planning is the most important success factor. It allows planners to understand their audience and provide them with the event they’re looking for. On a similar note was the second most important success factor: crowd sourcing content.

During the session the audience used our Pollevent software to ask the presenters questions and vote-up the issues that most interested them. This meant we had time to answer the most popular questions (and planners could see live polling in action!).

Want to know more about boosting engagement at your next event? The slides from the session can be downloaded here. If you would like a recording of the session, get in touch with the CrowdComms Ireland team at

A Quick Guide To Event Icebreakers

Icebreakers: great fun or excruciating in the extreme?

Whatever your views on icebreakers they can be an effective way to get people engaged and connected, quickly

When you’re short on time, and need to maximise the value of interactions between attendees or delegates, event organisers need some tried and tested icebreakers in their toolbox to get people working together.

The trick is to pick the right icebreaker for the group and environment. The reason people can feel uncomfortable about icebreakers is because the organiser hasn’t given enough thought to the nature of their audience.

Having attended hundreds of conferences and events over the last 20 years, I’ve seen some interesting icebreakers to get the audience engaged from the get go. Here are some that have worked particularly well:

  1. Joke Bingo

Good for: Fundraising events.

How to: The MC prints bingo sheets and put them under everybody’s chairs. The MC then announces an amazing prize to whoever wins the bingo competition.

What the audience don’t know is that everyone has exactly the same bingo numbers. So when the final number is called the whole crowd erupt because they think they have won. Everyone instantly gets the joke and it creates an immediate connection between guests.

  1. Find the Person

Good for: Networking Event

How to: Give each delegate a 2nd name badge (in addition to their own). The 2nd badge has the name of another delegate at the event. Then ask attendees to go and find the person whose name is on their 2nd name badge by interviewing as many people as possible. It’s a great way to encourage people to meet new people.

  1. Action! Selfie!

Good for: Audience Engagement

How to: It’s really simple: get everyone in the audience to take a selfie! Then ask them to post the selfie to a Twitter hash-tag. Put the stream up on a big screen and you’ll see photos of everyone in the room. It’s really effective way of getting everyone connected to the event, plus engages the audience with key social media streams.

  1. My Event Objective

Good for: Audience Feedback and Discussion

How to: Crowd sourcing information or opinion helps get discussions started. Using an event app or polling system, the audience messages a single word into the system about what they want to get out of the event.

The messages are broadcast on a big screen. The audience gets to see each other’s objectives (and maybe enjoys a few humorous responses). Event organisers can award a prize for the most ingenious response or ask the audience to vote for their favourite comment via the polling system.

  1. Karaoke

Good for: Fun!

How to: Most people are familiar with karaoke so very little explanation is required. It works with an MC conducting the whole audience in a sing-a-long to a cheesy or well known hit (Bon Jovi’s ‘Living on a Prayer’, was one that went down particularly well at a recent event). The MC sings the first verse and the whole audience sings the chorus. It’s great fun and it puts a smile on everyone’s faces. Plus, it avoids any awkwardness of individual interaction.

Icebreakers can make a positive difference to the event experience, for organisers and attendees alike. Just remember to think about your objectives and what type of exercise will work best for your audience.



Pete Hair - CrowdComms, Co-Founder

In 2011, Pete co-founded CrowdComms from his garage in Sydney. With over two decades experience in event tech in the UK and Australia, Pete’s been involved with thousands of events, large and small. He gets a buzz improving events using the latest technology, and exciting customers with innovative solutions and great technical support.

Why Is Event Engagement So Important?

Engagement is one of the buzzwords of the event industry. But what does it really mean and why all the fuss?

To define event engagement in our event industry you must look at what we think of as success from an attendee perspective. Most would agree, we like attendees to trust our events, be enthusiastic about them and most importantly to feel a sense of belonging before, during and after our event.

We’ve all seen disengaged people at events. Delegates just there for the freebies, a nice hotel and a day out of the office. People who drift off during speaker sessions (or even sleep!). There are secretive scrolls on smartphones during talking events or attendees who prefer the bar to the sponsors’ stands.

Conversely, we’ve all seen people who love our events. They share their thoughts with others, help overcome problems and care about the event’s success. These people are why engagement is so important to an events success and why we must all find ways to foster it at our meetings, conferences and events- through an event app.

So how do we do get there? There is still a place for one-way communication; the inspiring talk, the emotional video or the jaw dropping event location. These I would class as passive event engagement and can be great motivators for your exhibitors and attendees alike.

The real magic juice in my opinion comes from getting attendees involved in the event itself. Making them feel part of the setting of the event agenda and outputs. Active event engagement.

Event apps are now generally accepted as increasing engagement. Event apps are built for interactive use that encourages, or even demands, that attendees participate rather than just spectate.

Event app features like live polling, attendee networking, gamification and Q&A all help make the attendee feel part of the event – whether they are the event sponsor, keynote speaker or an industry novice.

People want to know they matter and they want to be treated as people. Give your attendees and speakers these engagement tools and they can generate the excitement and active engagement we all crave for our events.


App Talk Host: Stuart Hadden, CrowdComms – Ireland

Stuart has worked with CrowdComms directors, Felix and Pete, to develop leading edge event technology that has shaped the market. Stuart now leads the CrowdComms’ Ireland team to deliver event app solutions to a broad range of clients. Whether it’s polling and Q&A, silent auctions or gamification, Stuart is always excited to find the right event tech fit for small and large events.