Organizing events is all about creating a memorable experience for attendees, whether it is a conference, a festival or even a baseball game. Book inspiring speakers, exciting acts, build an app… you’ve got this down. But in an increasingly digital world, what can you do to make it just that much more special? Geofencing and beacons give you tools to give app users a standout experience when attending your event. Here’s a few ways you can be contextual, innovative, and fun!
1. Help avoid lines
One of the big pains of attending events is queueing. It is time wasting for attendees but is just as undesirable for organizers. More time in line equals increased frustration, less time to experience (and share) the event, less money spent on site etc.
With geofencing, you can reduce lines by reminding attendees to either check-in online when they get close to your event, or by letting them know of alternative booths they can retrieve their badge or bracelet at when they are in the vicinity.
Check out how The Next Web directed their conference attendees when they first-arrived to the city of Amsterdam to diverse badge pick up points located in places like the airport, train station and downtown.
2. Navigate around the venue
Another way to make the experience smoother for attendees is providing them with directions when they need it. From pushing a notification with the right transit information when at the train station to letting users know where they can find lockers or food and drinks vouchers after entering the venue, Geofencing let’s you reach out to users when they need you.
3. Inform about what’s happening around
Ever realized at the end of an event that you somehow completely missed that gig? Or that the amphitheatre was hosting a talk you would have loved to attend but somehow didn’t know about? Big events have so much going on and can be so overwhelming it’s easy to miss out on things. Notify people about what comes next in the venue they are at or near to and help them keep track of what’s available right when it matters.
4. Use wearable beacons for mobile points of interest (e.g. networking)
Now, what if your point of interest is not linked to an area or a venue but instead to a person? Unlike gigs or workshops, that take place in a predefined location and at a predefined time, people move around unpredictably. Wearable beacons (they exist in diverse forms; necklace, bracelets, cards etc.) allow you to do exactly the things you would with static locations, but for mobile objects.
Networking events, for one, can make use of wearables to bring together professionals with similar interests. Matchmaking events have also been known to make use of wearables to let users know of prospects around, in a “people near you” list format.
5. Manage crowds
Geofencing and beacons can be of great use for crowd management. Not only does it allow you to be aware of where you crowd is aggregated, but it also helps you being proactive. Think about, for example, reminding attendees of show times to avoid rushes or warning them when certain venues, tents or rooms have reached full capacity to avoid risky overcrowded areas.
6. Collect event intelligence
Knowing how your audience interacts with your event is extremely valuable not only for optimized event management at the time of the event but also as feedback and basis to improve for future events.
Geofencing can provide you with automatic event registration and let you know just how many people showed up (perfect for free events). In addition, geofencing and/or beacons – for smaller venues – give you the tools to create heatmaps and know what concerts/speakers/activities were more popular amongst attendees and how long they stayed in each area.
7. Funk it up with gamification
It’s not only about making the experience smooth and seemingly well organized. We wouldn’t want to forget about the fun factor, would we? Instillate some excitement with a little gamification!
Send users a little quiz while they wait between shows, remind them to check out a certain booth for a chance to win prizes as they walk by, give them 3 minutes to redeem a free coupon as they walk in the food corner.. You name it, entertainment is YOUR specialty after all.
8. Give sponsorships exposure
Want to add value for sponsors? Remind attendees they can use the free wifi graciously provided by sponsor x, or to go check out sponsor z’s counter for freebies. Contextualized notifications are just one more way to give sponsors positive visibility.
9. Drive app engagement with app-users only perks
You want attendees to make use of your app, and ‘app-users only benefits’ are a great way to make sure they download it and keep using it until the end of your event.
A few ideas? Send users a voucher for a free drink as they approach the food court, or reward them at the end of the event with a code for early bird tickets to next year’s edition.
10. Re-target with personalized content based on visit history
Geofencing and beacons provide you with valuable information about users’ behavior – where they go most, for which types of entertainment, for how long etc. Now, that data can be used to provide them with personalized content in different ways.
For one, it allows you to customize the messaging you push your user during the event. Picture this: your user mostly attends talks about design. Reminders and directions to upcoming design-related speakers and workshops are highly useful. On the other hand, data shows you might want to turn the volume down on, say, marketing topics.
Alternatively, this location data gives you the perfect insights to later retarget users across different channels – email, banners etc. – with ads and offers that fit their preferences.
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