Your annual conference is six months away, and the stakeholders have asked you to look at creative ways to further engage attendees. They’ve noticed a drop-off in attendance and are worried that the way the message has been delivered in the past isn’t as effective in the present. When you look at your options, all paths point to the use of more technology, especially the use of mobile devices.

Let’s explore the three options listed below. Please remember, attendees will continue to use their smartphones and other technology with or without your direction. Make it part of the engagement plan instead of considering it a conference distraction.

event registration

Maximize Mobile


First, make sure your website and event registration platform is responsive. If you’re unsure what that means, it’s an approach to web design aimed at allowing desktop webpages to be easily viewed in response to the size of any mobile device. In addition, Google has stated its indexing algorithm will help mobile-friendly websites have better rankings over non-mobile ones.

Second, use an event app. Whether it’s one off the shelf or one you’ve developed, an event app should have the following components:

  • Information and directions to the event location
  • Speaker bios
  • Full session agendas and the ability to sign up for them
  • Attendee list and the ability to connect with each other via email or text
  • Instantaneous feedback/survey forms

Third, throughout the conference, encourage people to use their mobile devices to ask questions, post on social media or give you feedback.

Last, consider live-streaming content to second screens. If you have a large general session where attendees may be too far from the stage to see the speaker, streaming content to attendees’ phones or tablets keeps them interested. In addition, they can see the content if they must step out of the room, and it can be archived for on-demand viewing later.

Set Up Social


First, determine which social channels will be dedicated to your event. Most meeting planners select Facebook and Twitter. Younger attendees? Add Instagram. Only women? Bring in Pinterest. Business Professionals? LinkedIn looks good. If you are unsure which channels your attendees use, ask them on the registration form.

Second, create an event hashtag. At a minimum, it should encapsulate the acronym of the organization and year (e.g., #PCMA2017). Be certain to share the hashtag in all PowerPoint presentations, marketing collateral and digital signage throughout the meeting.

Third, make sure to feed the beast. There’s nothing worse for an event than taking the time to properly set up channels and then having no content to deliver to them. Create a content calendar and move forward with it.


Voyage Into Virtual


Virtual reality (VR) is considered a gaming phenomenon, but it can be so much more. Companies are using it as part of their marketing campaigns, reaching audiences in fresh ways. Imagine the ability to tour a venue, explore a destination, drive a car or capture 360-degree live-streaming video at an event. While VR may require development if you want it customized to your product offering, you can provide a test VR lounge where users can experience this technology while playing a game, such as Pokémon Go or Oculus Arcade.

Kalahari Resorts in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin offer “The Arena,” which is a free-roam, multiplayer VR gaming experience. Participants wear VR goggles and play either Dead Zombies Survival or Engineerium on a 2,200-square-foot game floor. Up to six individuals can play at the same time.


What Do You Think?


We at Kalahari Resorts and Conventions would like to know what technologies you’ve used or experienced at events recently. Which ones do you think will stay? Please comment below to keep the conversation going!

Kalahari Resorts and Conventions provides meeting and trade show space and a world-class waterpark at our Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin locations. Please call 855.411.4605 now to speak to one of our experienced group sales professionals about all we have to offer!