Research Reveals Mobile Event Apps Increasingly More Strategic for Meeting Planners

IMEX Group and QuickMobile have released the findings of their first annual mobile event technology research study, which was presented at IMEX Frankfurt on May 20, 2014 from 12:30-1:15 p.m. and again from 2:00-2:30 p.m. at stand G680 in the IMEX Inspiration Centre. According to the survey of international meeting planners, mobile event apps continue to enjoy torrid growth, with 60 percent of the event planners surveyed using a mobile app for at least one of their events in the last two years. While the popularity of events apps is clearly on the rise, those immersed in the industry believe that adoption is far lower across the entire portfolio of meetings and events.

Corbin Ball, one of the industry's premier meetings technology consultants, indicated the 60 percent adoption rate is probably true of larger, flagship events with more than 250 participants. "There are 1.8 million meetings in the U.S. each year, many of which have fewer than 100 attendees. It will take some time for event apps to be utilized in smaller, corporate meetings, but it is definitely coming," stated Ball.

The research indicated that there is enormous room for growth, as just over one-third of respondents have mobile apps in their budget only "some of the time" and a full 42 percent have never included an app in their event budgets.

Approximately 92 percent of the planners surveyed manage three or more events per year, and of those, 54 percent host more than 10 events. Despite this, 70 percent of meeting planners have used event apps for less than six events in the past year.

Among the key findings of the research is that despite having significantly less experience with mobile event apps, meeting planners across EMEA are much more concerned about security and data privacy (78%) compared to their North American colleagues (69%). For both groups, security concerns decrease once they have used an app. Below are additional key insights from the research:

Only 28% of North American (NA) planners include a mobile app in their event budget most of the time or always, compared with only 20% of planners elsewhere.
Respondents indicated the top three most important reasons for a mobile event app are organizer-to-attendee communications, eliminating paper and attendee-to-attendee communication.
75% want to use the app to start conversations before an event, and 78% want to keep them going after the event.
The biggest barriers-to-entry for mobile event apps are Wi-Fi accessibility and budget, followed closely by the perceived time it takes to produce an app.
Experienced app users value user-friendly content management (95% v. 86%), analytics (88% v. 78%) and social media integration (80% v. 71%) more than non-users.

NA planners (42%) are more likely to use a multi-event platform than their EMEA counterparts (35%).

26% of EMEA planners were unaware of any mobile event app vendors, compared to 8% in NA.
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