Demand for mobile event apps continues to grow, says survey

Mobile event apps continue to enjoy growth, according to research released at IMEX Frankfurt 2014, with 60 per cent of the event planners surveyed indicating they used a mobile app for at least one of their events in the last two years.

The research, carried out by IMEX Group and QuickMobile, revealed that while the popularity of event apps is on the rise, those immersed in the industry believe that adoption is far lower across the entire portfolio of meetings and events.

Meetings technology consultant Corbin Ball said the 60 per cent adoption rate is probably true of larger, flagship events with more than 250 participants. “There are 1.8m meetings in the US each year, many of which have fewer than 100 attendees. It will take time for event apps to be used in smaller, corporate meetings, but it is definitely coming,” he said.

The research also indicated that there is enormous room for growth, as just over one-third of respondents have mobile apps in their budget only ’some of the time’ and 42 per cent have never included an app in their event budgets.

“It’s clear that while more event planners are using mobile apps and seeing them as a 365-day communication tool, they are just beginning to discover their strategic value,” said CEO of QuickMobile, Patrick Payne.

“In our 7 Predictions of the Mobile App Industry in 2014 white paper released earlier this year, we predicted that mobile event apps will enter a new stage of market acceptance moving from early adopter to the early majority phase. This research confirms this is happening, though we have not quite hit mainstream, and event apps are still under-used in the corporate meetings space.”

Approximately 92 per cent of the planners surveyed manage three or more events per year, and 54 percent host more than 10 events. Despite this, 70 per cent of meeting planners have used event apps for less than six events in the past two years.

Dahlia El Gazzar, founder & CEO of The Meeting Pool, and events industry consultant, said: “Demand for mobile event apps is skyrocketing, as are the number of vendors now providing some form of event app.  As apps start to go enterprise-wide, corporate customers will look for solutions that can scale, adhere to security standards, and are easily accessible and used by teams company-wide.”

Among the key findings of the research is that despite having significantly less experience with mobile event apps, meeting planners across EMEA are much more concerned about security and data privacy (78 per cent) compared to their North American colleagues (69 per cent). For both groups, security concerns decrease once they have used an app.

Key findings:

  • Only 28 per cent of North American (NA) planners include a mobile app in their event budget most of the time or always, compared with only 20 per cent of planners elsewhere
  • Respondents indicated the top three most important reasons for a mobile event app are organiser-to-attendee communications, eliminating paper and attendee-to-attendee communication. 75 per cent want to use the app to start conversations before an event, and 78 per cent want to keep them going after the event
  • The biggest barriers-to-entry for mobile event apps are Wi-Fi accessibility and budget, followed by the perceived time it takes to produce an app
  • Experienced app users value user-friendly content management (95% v. 86%), analytics (88% v. 78%) and social media integration (80% v. 71%) more than non-users.
  • NA planners (42%) are more likely to use a multi-event platform than their EMEA counterparts (35%).
  • 26 per cent of EMEA planners were unaware of any mobile event app vendors, compared to eight per cent in NA.

“We wanted to establish a baseline for future research about mobile event technology,” concluded Payne. “As a result of this study, we now have the data that we can use to contrast and compare the adoption of event technology and its potential impact on the industry in future years.”

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Paul Colston

Author

Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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