Using Event Apps as Destination Guides

Posted by Matt Milloway on Aug 15, 2014

Few event app features make more sense than a comprehensive destination guide for attendees, many of whom are visiting a host city for the first time and need advice on everything from public transportation to local restaurants. Value added features to attendees often fall outside of traditional program content and are benefits mobile technology brings to the table. Ensure users receive the best possible experience at both the event and in their free time around town by including a destination guide—potentially adding sponsor revenue in the process.

Third-Party City Guides

Integration with services such as Google Places and City Search are typically offered by app development companies as a way to showcase a wide range of local places to attendees. Often with little more effort than supplying an address or zip code, clients are able to select from various categories—including restaurants, hotels, shopping, and attractions—to share in the app. The third party service automatically selects the top ten locales based on the address given and provides information in the app, including reviews, directions, contact information, and more. Users may share results via email or social media to other attendees in the process of making plans during down time at the event. Local weather is another easy addition to greatly help attendees.

While many apps such as Yelp or Tripadvisor offer similar services, event planners shouldn’t assume every attendee uses a 3rd-party app or is used to frequent travel. Useful city guide information in the app is a thoughtful touch and keeps users engaged. Providing a city guide, along with other extras such as a notepad, turns the event app into a comprehensive tool during the entire span of the event instead of simply a resource for the meeting or conference program.

Travel Logistics

Generic third-party city guides offer a lot of value, yet still lack travel and event-specific logistics useful to attendees. Consider adding information about local airports and public transportation, as well as any shuttles or hotels affiliated with the event. Integrated PDF viewers also offer a way to include a wide range of brochures from local events and attractions to meeting facility maps and more.

Providing the same information on a website or via email will leave some attendees without information when they need it most. Native apps provide offline caching of content to give users all of the pertinent travel logistics during their flights into the host city and throughout their stay. Much like the third-party city guides, detailed travel logistics keep created happier users who not only become more efficient attendees, but spend more time in the app as well.

travel logistics

Revenue Opportunities

Sharing destination information in an event app not only helps attendees, but gives event planners another potential revenue source in the process. Local hotels and restaurants are likely to pay money for the addition of their business in the app. Offer to include a coupon code for 10% off a meal or even send push messages promoting hotels with discounted room rates—the possibilities are endless.

Another option is to acquire a bulk discount for catered lunches or hotel rooms for event staff as part of a deal to promote a certain business in the app. Thinking outside of the box not only gives attendees more information and potential discounts on necessary expenses when traveling to the event, but can simultaneously give the host organization increased exposure and revenue.

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