1. Social Media Integration
Attendees have easily accessible mobile devices at most times during a meeting or conference. Many meeting and event planners capitalize on growing mobile usage by encouraging attendees to engage virtually (via social media) in addition to face-to-face participation. By making custom event hashtags on Twitter, attendee-generated content becomes available in a consolidated stream of pictures, comments, questions, and ideas. Meeting Professionals International (MPI) just implemented a successful hashtag at their annual World Education Congress. By tagging #WEC13 in each Twitter post, attendees created a live stream of camera-phone snapshots and 140-character-long blurbs detailing their experience at the event.
2. Mobile Apps
Smart devices are more commonly purchased than laptops or traditional cellular phones, and as mentioned previously, attendees like to stay connected. Planners use this to their advantage in several capacities in creating custom mobile apps for their meetings and events. Attendees download the mobile app from a link or QR code that is posted around the event location. Such event apps may include a hotel map or event itinerary. This saves money on printing and makes events a little greener. Some apps even include games such as a scavenger hunt in which attendees are encouraged to take pictures at various exhibits. Custom event mobile apps also serve as a means of gaining sponsorship. According to a recent blog post by CVent, “There are 5 popular ways for your sponsors to advertise via the mobile event app. Attendees can tap on these ads and be re-directed to all types of marketing material: websites, a PDF, social media pages, and so on.”
3. Virtual Meetings
In response to budget constraints due to the economic downturn and new legislation such as the Sunshine Act, many planners turn to virtual meetings to reduce costs. While nothing will ever beat face-to-face interaction, virtual meetings are on the rise because they are relatively easy and economically efficient. Online tools, including Skype and Google Plus Hangout, allow individuals to meet in the comfort of their own desk chairs. Such web capabilities are also used to project remote speakers in front of larger audiences bringing in knowledge without the travel expenses.
See the original ETD press release here.