UBM Studios' mobile application is helping several of the company’s events connect exhibitors, attendees and sponsors, in addition to generating revenue. While most events do have applications, UBM Studios is pushing the limits of functionality.
UBM Canon Boston 2012 and its collocated events that include BIOMEDevice, Design & Manufacturing New England and Electronics New England event, took place April 25-26, 2012 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition on 40,000 net square feet with about 350 exhibitors. All of the events used UBM Studios’ mobile application.
With the app, says Michele McPhail, vice president of product development for UBM Studios, attendees can “plan their schedules by viewing and selecting the sessions and exhibitors they are interested in to create a personal agenda.
The app lets attendees to communicate with other attendees and allow exhibitors to request appointments. They can view, pan, zoom and locate the sessions and exhibitors through interactive mapping and spread news about the event. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media are integrated with the app. Exhibitors, sponsors and other attendees can send messages to attendees who access the portal/mobile app and they can search by company name, speaker and attendee name.
The application is available through iTunes for both the iPhone and iPad, in addition to Android phones and tablets, through the Android Marketplace. Other cell users can access the mobile app through a mobile enhanced desktop Web portal. The company says this application and Web platform allow for revenue generation and sponsorship opportunities.
“We have configurable packages ranging from exclusive mobile sponsorship (on-site signage, mentions in promotional materials, loading page branding, multiple banners throughout and more), to enhanced exhibitor listings, a la carte banners, sponsored push messages for the application,” says McPhail.
The application’s development took about a month, and the content can be refreshed as the event approaches to make sure all information is up to date. UBM Studios provides full-service project management, production, design, marketing, and sales support for all event apps and partners with mobile app vendors to provide the technology that best meets an event’s needs. The company did not disclose how much it cost to develop the app.
“Organizers can schedule announcements and alerts leading up to, during and after the event such as welcome messages, session reminders, sponsored messages, new product alerts and more,” says McPhail. On average UBM Studios is seeing approximately 35 percent of attendees using the mobile event applications. “With strong marketing, and by offering a Web portal in advance of the event, we have seen that the number of app downloads can exceed event attendance. On average, an app user will use the service between 10 and 20 times around the show time.”
Attendees can use the application to set an appointment with an exhibitor while onsite—an individual can click a user’s profile, or exhibitor listing, and can submit a meeting time, suggest an optional location and send a personal message. An exhibitor can accept or decline the invitation, and suggest an alternative location. If accepted, the application’s agenda books the meeting. Similarly, users can search by keyword to find educational sessions to add to their agenda.
“Users can also ‘favorite’ content throughout the app and view their favorites in their personalized ‘My Event’ section of the app to help remind them of speakers, exhibitors, etc. that they’d like to learn more about,” she says.
In addition to making the application integrated with social media, the developers also incorporated interactivity within the app itself.
“The interactive map identifies the location of each exhibitor and session,” says McPhail. “Clicking on the map pulls up information about that location and allows users to view more (i.e. click through to the exhibitor listing or session listings), as well as add the location to their favorites, and even find directions to or from that location by entering their current or desired location. Featured exhibitors are identified through a highlighted color, and once a location is “favorited,” it is also identified by a unique color.”