There are hundreds of tasks on any business conference planner’s checklist. And if there is one solution that can mark several items as done, it will be more than welcome. Organizers of Autodesk University Russia, an annual conference held in Skolkovo Business School, found just such a solution in the event app built on Eventicious platform.
We had a chat with Tatiana Kulikova, event marketing manager and producer of Autodesk University Russia, and asked her what event app features are most important for event planners.
Autodesk University Russia is the main event of the year for everyone working to improve our physical environment. Every year we bring together 1000+ professionals: architects, engineers, construction workers. The event program is quite extensive. Talks are presented in 8-10 parallel sessions, plus there’s a technology exhibition.
Previously we always printed event programs. They were thick booklets containing detailed descriptions of all talks, so the printing costs amounted to 4500 euro. All those booklets had to be stuffed into attendees’ goodie bags, which is not my idea of fun. And then, at the very last moment, some change would happen in the program, so we would pull each booklet out of its bag and glue strips of paper into the schedule, right there at the venue.
So we started searching for an alternative solution. Our main goal was to help our attendees figure out where they needed to go and what they needed to do. The event program must be digital, interactive, and have hyperlinks that can take you to a talk description and, from there, to speaker information. It is important to be able to filter the schedule by days, sessions and topics. These were the criteria that made us choose the solution from Eventicious.
Another event app feature that is very important to us is push notifications. When something changes in the schedule, or we just need to draw attendees’ attention to certain activities, push notifications are very helpful.
Ratings and surveys
Apart from the handy interactive schedule, another very helpful app feature is rating of presentations. Previously, we tried several times to collect feedback on presentations offline. We would hand out cards with presentation titles on them, one card for each presentation, and asked people to rate them on a five- or ten-point scale, then we would collect these cards and digitize them. It was a very, very laborious process. Now our audience can rate presentations in just a few clicks in the app, and we are all set with analytics — a huge plus.
At AU Russia, we run online surveys and polls for our audience, with results being broadcast to a large screen. Previously, we used specialist survey services. This was the first year when we used the Surveys feature in the Eventicious app. It’s very convenient when all interactive elements are put together in one solution, and there’s no need to integrate anything else.
Networking and communication
Autodesk University Russia conference is held annually, and an entire community of professionals has been formed around this event. For them, the conference has become the traditional meeting place where you come to see old friends rather than make new connections. Nevertheless, we would like to make that opportunity available to our attendees and sponsors.
We tried several networking solutions, but none of them really took off. We came to a conclusion that our audience is just not into meeting new people. Much more popular is the functionality for asking speakers questions via the app. It’s nice that the Eventicious solution has both a meeting scheduler and questions to customers, and, in addition to that, there are chats where attendees can communicate with each other.
Contacting organizers and overlooked possibilities
As our practice shows, attendees appreciate being able to contact event organizers at any time and quickly receive an answer to their question. So we created a “Questions to organizers” chat in the event app, and it was very popular with attendees.
There are some features in the event app that we have not yet tried out but that seem very promising, like interacting with partners and sponsors. Autodesk University hosts a technology exhibition in collaboration with our partners. The event app could become a solid ground for promoting our exhibitors. There are push notifications to draw attention to what’s happening at exhibition booths, promo pages for most important partners – the possibilities are many, we just have not used them yet.
For us, Eventicious event app is a four-in-one solution: program navigation, presentation rating, surveys, and networking – we don’t have much of that, but still. We were quite impressed with the app preparation process, the administrator panel interface is very intuitive and user friendly.
I could have added content myself, it’s not difficult at all, but it’s great that there is a special service that can take this job off the organizers’ hands when they are most busy preparing for the event. For event organizers, the event is the time when most hiccups and emergencies happen, so if there are resources that can do a big chunk of work for event organizers, they will be more than happy to use them.
More success stories:
- Case Study: Mobile App for Agricultural Industry Experts Conference in Bulgaria
- Event app instead of paper handouts at Design Weekend conference