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While we may still be a way away from flying cars, we have some pretty nifty technology out there and each day there seems like there’s something new to try. If you haven’t looked into concierge apps, it might be something you want to audition for your next event. If you’re new to using a concierge app, here’s what you want to look for.
A concierge app serves as the virtual version of you. Think of Alexa, Siri, or Cortana just for your event. On them, attendees can have conversations with “event know-it-alls” via the event website, Facebook Messenger, or text messaging on their phones.
A concierge app for events should help attendees with suggestions on who to meet or breakout sessions or vendor parties to attend.
2. Push Notifications
Want to know when the next event contest is being held or a niche breakout session? Push notifications that you subscribe to can make sure you never miss the type of event activity you’re interested in.
A concierge app can also ask your attendees about their needs and match them up with vendors that can help. The app can even schedule the meetings.
4. Geo Locators
Some concierge apps integrate with maps and could provide attendees with a virtual version of an interactive map complete with next session overlays, so if you were in the vicinity of a session it would alert you to it and when it was starting.
5. Chat Log
Can’t remember the answer to what you asked the concierge app earlier or need to verify the information provided now that you’re in the building and looking for the room? Consult your chat log.
6. Software that Has the Ability to Answer for You
There are certain questions often asked by attendees that you could hold a sign up to answer. These questions are ideal for quick answers and a concierge app. It can draw on customer support software and event scheduler organization technology to respond quickly like Siri.
7. WiFi Independent
A concierge app should be available through multiple ways such as opening a chat box on the event website or using text messaging for times when WiFi is unreliable.
Let’s face it, Siri and Alexa have spoiled us. We ask them all kinds of funny questions and they do their best to answer them sometimes with hilarious responses. An event concierge can, and should, use natural language libraries that will make them sound less like a robotic recording.
9. Personalization/Branding Ability
While we’re talking about our “concierge’s” ability to make small talk, attendees will respond to it better if it has a name. Many of these types of apps allow the event organizers to brand the bot, so to speak, by giving it a name and branding the entire experience to your event.
10. A Library
Even Siri and Alexa don’t always know the answers. When this happens with your concierge, the app should give you the ability to add a response to the library; that way the next time it gets asked, the concierge can retrieve that information and give your participants more than an “I don’t know” response.
11. A Bat Signal
Okay, not literally, but you do want the app to be able to give event organizers immediate notification on things they need to take action on like adjusting a room temperature or restocking the bottled water.
12. A Chat History
Those are valuable questions your attendees are asking, well most of them at least. And it’s info you may find interesting in the future when creating marketing materials and drip campaigns, not to mention blog posts. You need an app that will let you access chat history for everyone at the event.
13. Concierge Suggestions
No event is an island. Attendees may want directions to an offsite dinner or the weather report for tomorrow. Maybe they want reservations somewhere. If a human concierge can do it and there’s an app for it, it can be shared in your concierge app. Ideas include integration with Google maps or Weather.com.
14. Replace Paper
Concierge apps should have the ability to push out any sort of schematic that would be helpful to your audience including a map of the exhibit hall or surveys. Plus this helps your event go paperless.
15. Replace Your Agenda
While e-agendas are helpful, attendees still have to type and click several times to get to them. With a concierge app, they could speak a question like “What session is up next?” and have an instantaneous answer. This is so convenient they can do it as they’re walking down the hall trying to decide where they want to go.
You can also program the concierge app library to handle questions about tracks. For instance, attendees can tell the app what kind of sessions they’re interested in and the app could provide a list of when and where next sessions are on the topics of their choosing. That takes a lot less time than perusing an entire agenda with multiple learning tracks.
16. Your New Administrative Assistant
Don’t you wish you had an assistant who had all the knowledge that you do who could help people signing up for your event and answer post questions too like “When am I going to get my video sessions?” These simple communications can slow you down. A concierge app needn’t just help with the event. It can live on your event site answering questions for people who are thinking about attending. After the event, it can remain to help with the inevitable post-event questions. Look for a concierge app that can live on as part of your website because if it only resides on the phone, people will delete it after they attend.
17. Offer Services
A concierge app should be able to offer the same services you do without tying up your staff. For instance, if attendees need to sign up for a special breakfast event, your concierge app should help them do that.
18. Virtual Keys
Concierge apps in the hospitality industry even offer virtual keys by generating a QR code. It’s certainly not a necessity in events, but it could be used in some inventive ways for entrance to special ticketed events.
19. Local Tips
Since the app uses the library you give it, if you have extensive knowledge of the event host city, you can transfer that knowledge to your app so that participants can find the best places to go. If they respond back with feedback, you can include that in the library so that it’s available for others.
20. The Ability to Update Often
The beauty of these apps is their library. Without a good library of knowledge, they can’t serve as much use. You want one that can be updated as often as you’d like. In a multi-day conference or event, you may be updating several times a day to keep information fresh.
21. Virtual Check-in
Some concierge apps even allow for virtual check-ins. Wouldn’t that be a nice change from the lines at most events?
22. Extreme Personalization
Okay, so your concierge app doesn’t need this level of information but several hotel chains are looking at apps that will help them meet the needs of long-standing customers. You can use past history as an indicator of what they want today. For instance, a long-time attendee who required accessibility help in the past could be met with those provisions already taken care of. No asking needed.
While concierge apps may be on the newer side for event planners, your attendees have been using and enjoying them for a while. With Apple and now Amazon (the latter ran out of its Echo device at Christmas this year so you can expect a lot of people are getting used to these answer services in their homes) adding AI to phones and tablets, speaking your needs has become a customer expectation. Introducing a concierge app at your next event shows innovative thought and catering to the expectations of your audience. It’s still not flying cars but pretty cool just the same.