Posted by Wayne Hyman - 06 March 2018

You may think of phone apps as small and focussed utilities that we use on a frequent basis for simple tasks for short periods of time. A news app is tapped each day to check up on what’s making the headlines or a weather app is opened to see if hanging out the washing is a good idea.

Some people don’t tend to see the value in apps for one-off or infrequent use. Perhaps because it’s not what they've been used to and they don’t see the value in an app with a limited lifespan. It doesn’t have to be that way - event focused businesses that are leveraging apps for one-off or infrequent use are reaping the benefits with an increase in repeat customers, higher ticket sales and building positive brand perception.

As an event organiser - you’ve sold a ticket to your event, and want to know how an app can enhance the enjoyment of the event for a customer that may attend, but then not purchase off you again for months or years? Why would a customer want to go to the trouble of installing your app for just a one-off event?

Read on to see how we think you can enhance the experience for your customers and generate a bit of extra revenue, converting them into more regular customers with an investment in your event-focussed app.

Personalisation and going paperless - upgrading the pre-event experience

It’s quite common for events to involve unknown logistics for the attendees. How do I get there? Where can I park? Can I use public transport? When do I need to be there? These are all questions that can be answered on your website (hopefully it’s fully responsive and mobile-capable). These details can also be included in an app, and the app brings the advantage of timely notifications if any of those logistics change (more on that later). An app also allows customisation and more customer-centric information because your app will have knowledge of what the customer actually booked - making your customer feel more valued and providing a more straightforward user experience with its targeted content.

Apps are also useful for electronic ticketing and users can also elect to save their tickets to the wallet function of their phones. Mobile ticketing is now prevalent and reliance on paper tickets is decreasing. Many of your customers will expect a mobile ticket - it’s generally easier to lose a piece of paper than it is to lose a phone (just ask a teenager).

Depending on your event, the app can also be used as a pre-planning scheduling tool so that customers can get the maximum out of your event, e.g. working out what activities to include at what times to make sure they’re packing in as many activities as their preferences and timing allow.

Enhancing the in-event experience - keeping your app user engaged

With the logistics sorted and the planning completed, all the punters have arrived at your event. This is where you can enhance their onsite experience, and hence their memory of that experience, by making sure they can get the most out of the event. This involves capturing the easy-to-handle things that might be in an FAQ on a website and integrating them into the app e.g. venue maps so they can find food, toilets, places for the kids to hang out and so on. The real value can come in providing timely and meaningful information about the event as it’s happening live, so that your customers don’t miss out on the cool stuff e.g. surprise guest performances, last minute pop up food stalls etc.

Leveraging last-minute sales opportunities

Your app may also give you an opportunity for some last-minute sales where the convenience of an app makes a quick low-value sale fast and queueless. Perhaps you could be selling parking at the venue, maybe you have some unsold inventory that you can promote at a discount to sell on the day of the event, maybe you can upsell to a premium package offering on the day. Your app gives you a platform to make purchasing suggestions to your customers (and to suggest to their friends).

You could also take this one step further and promote partners in your partner network within your app and ask they do the same for you too.

Timely and relevant notifications - keeping your app user in the loop

A key component of improving your customer experience is being able to communicate with them, and from an experience perspective that comes down to providing the right message to the right person at the right time. Since your customer is using your app, chances are the app will be able to link to their purchase to verify this information (we did tickets at entry with the app, so the user has probably logged in).

Push notifications are an effective and unobtrusive means of getting those messages out to your app users, and these notifications are a key part of delivering a better experience to your customers. Your event may be weather-dependent and in situations like that, if your customers know that you can send them timely updates on any disruptions, that alone may be enough reason for them to install your app, never mind the other goodies you have.

Sharing the love - using your app to spread the word

You probably promoted your event and sold your ticket using your website, which is probably the main source of your web presence. You may complement that with social media channels as well. Many of your customers will also be regular social media users and you can harness that to improve your reach as part of your overall digital marketing strategy.

Hopefully when you sold your event ticket, you also provided your customers with an ability to share their purchase on your targeted social networks. Your event app can also make it easy to share details of their purchase socially if they haven’t already done so. In addition, an app can make it easier to share images, reviews and comments about your event, during your event, on both your own social networks and/or your customers’ networks. This all contributes to getting details of your events and superior customer experience out onto the internet to widen the net for bringing more potential customers into your event booking website.

Summary

Focusing on streamlining event experiences is the base level of a great overall customer experience. We find that it’s very important for a guest to walk in, know where to go to register, register without a long line and get into the event seamlessly. While that’s only the first five minutes of their event experience, it helps shape their overall experience that sticks with them throughout the entire event.”
- Liz King, global event organiser and event tech advocate

We think there is a strong case for investing in apps that improve the experience of your events for a customer. The events themselves may be frequent for you as a provider but infrequent for your customers. By designing an app that provides useful features for your customers, you can leverage off opportunities you may miss out on e.g. last-minute sales/upsells whilst creating a memorable experience for your customers that they want to share with their family and friends, generating repeat customers and new ones that you may have otherwise missed out on.

 
From ruggedised devices for use on transport docks or ports, through to consumers on their smartphones, Sandfield has built mobile app solutions for Mainfreight, Les Mills, Wilson Parking, NZTR and many others. We develop apps across all major platforms - iOS, Android and Windows Phone. Our framework has built-in analytics and measurements which allow you to continually monitor usage so that you can continue to adapt, improve and deliver what your users need. Get in touch with the team to discuss mobile solutions to give your event an edge.
 

When not developing mobile apps for enhancing the experience of one-off events, Wayne Hyman can be found tinkering, fine-tuning, and generally obsessing in his home brewery (and yes, he does have an app for that).

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