8 Ways to Engage with Meeting Attendees in a Convention Center

21st Jun 2017

The success of any event – whether it’s a hi-tech conference meeting or a car expo, depends on two things – its turnout and its dropout rate.

Attracting a large audience and keeping them engaged until the very end is not easy. The millennials in particular, are quite demanding when it comes to expectations from events. They seek an experience which is unique; something they can’t access on their own. That is why, if event managers want to put up a great show, they must reimagine convention centers.

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Let’s see how location-based technologies such as WiFi and beacons can help event managers transform the typical convention center experience and turn it into a hub of engagement, networking, and marketing.

Automate Registration

The thought of long queues at registration desks can deter even the most zealous of participants. Onsite check-in options through beacon enabled event apps could be the most apt solution to help your attendees bypass long serpentine queues at events. The participants can scan an in-app QR code at a kiosk, or just check in with the app.

Keep Navigation Easy

Whether it means locating assigned seating in a large auditorium or just finding the bathroom, one of the capabilities of location technology is making navigation that much easier. This can be extended to helping guests find their vehicle in the parking lot, directing them to booths and displays that align with their interests and finding individual guests when necessary rather than spoil the ambience with public address system announcements.

Events such as Bonnaroo in Tennessee and Coachella in California used beacons to direct its attendees towards medical tents, and water locations present all over the concert premises.

Better Crowd Management

One of the ways location technologies can improve management at convention centers is by notifying staff of developing crowds and bottlenecks before they become pain points. Different routes and exits can be suggested to attendees who will probably not be very familiar with the building layout, decreasing congestion and improving the guest experience.

In addition, the expected wait time at choke points can be displayed to anyone who searches for or approaches a location, essentially allowing any queues to manage themselves. Over the longer term, location analytics can help to identify recurring foot traffic patterns and assist in resolving the issues that tend to cause problems.

Giving a Boost to Secondary Revenue Centers

In-app notifications and text messages are great for keeping attendees up to speed – but this is not their only use. Having already earned its spurs in the retail environment, location technology allows facility managers to send advertisements and discount coupons to guests at the very moment they pass the restaurant, bar or other amenity. When done with discretion, this kind of advertising is not intrusive but will actually be welcomed by your guests. The same mechanism also opens possibilities for collaboration with off-site hotels, taxi services and other amenities.

Helping Attendees Connect with One Another

Half of the value of attending a conference lies in the professional networking opportunities they offer. Guests who choose to participate in such a program can use the event app to find and be found by others with similar interests, and display their professional credentials with links to their company or LinkedIn pages.

While this is not an aspect of the service every attendee will opt in to, a major reason for presenting papers or other presentations is to raise one’s profile within an industry or field, and being able to announce your location during downtimes is a strikingly more efficient way to meet like-minded individuals than wearing a nametag.

In 2014, at the Cannes Lion Film Festival, beacons were used for the same purpose with the “Around Me” feature in their event apps.

Beacons to Guide Attendees to Refreshment Parlors

While sessions, speakers, networking and collaterals are the usual highlights of a corporate event, one must not forget food and refreshments. Corporate events host people in big numbers and sometimes from all around the world, and thus it becomes important for them to arrange for food that can cater to all needs.

The presence of beacons can guide event attendees to their preferred form of refreshments, while also providing them information on any ingredient or food component that they might want to avoid for health reasons or otherwise. Beacons provide deep insights on food patterns and other choices made by attendees at the event and can therefore help event managers to be better equipped for future events.

Gamify your Events

Gamification is a crucial element that is regularly being featured in events and conferences to enhance visitor engagement and make it more interactive. Keeping the visitors hooked to an event through personalized deals based on attendee’s proximity to an event or a booth is proving to be one of the most efficient event management tools.

The special rewards or offers provided to attendees too are excellent ways of encouraging them to explore the less popular areas of the event. Certain value actions such as participating in a survey or completing a feedback questionnaire can also be clubbed with swag merchandise or freebies.

Create Live Polls

Speakers at events and conferences can make their sessions interactive by having live polls. Apart from making the event engaging, it provides marketers with an opportunity to collect participant data which in turn can be leveraged for insights to organize successful future events of similar magnitude. Integrating real-time poll to a conference can be easily done through mobile apps.

Turn Your Convention Center Into an Experience Center

While all convention centers aim to capture the attention of its visitors and provide an engrossing experience, not everyone can achieve it.  Event managers must be prepared to leverage location based technology if they want to take their participants’ involvement to a whole new level. Location-based technologies such as WiFi and beacons have the potential to transform the stale convention center experience.


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