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by Michael Shapiro | January 27, 2012

Meetings-management technology provider Cvent introduced mobile-device-friendly online registration and event websites this week, a welcome addition to the platform. We knew this feature was soon to arrive, based on our recent interview with some of Cvent's young employees ("A New Generation of Suppliers"), who said they were called upon to test the new functionality. While I haven't seen a demo, it appears that ease of use and flexibility are key characteristics of the enhancements. Planners can create a mobile-device-optimized event website and registration form automatically, based on pre-existing desktop event settings, or customize the website and form with their choice of colors, display settings and content. Benefits of the mobile-friendly site for use during the meeting include new geolocation capabilities -- to find nearby events or restaurants, for example -- as well as the ability to check the show agenda or a personalized schedule.
 
Additionally, Cvent has boosted social media and marketing integration for the platform. For instance, after registering for an event, future attendees are prompted to share details with their social networks. Facebook comment boxes and "Like" links may be placed directly on the Cvent event website as well. And for marketing tie-ins, automatic updating for Salesforce.com and eMarketing e-mail campaigns have been added.
 
Cvent also makes survey tools, and in a separate announcement yesterday reported that the surveys were now more flexible and could be responded to via mobile devices and in a variety of different languages.
 
Generally speaking, these aren't particularly flashy or overly complex enhancements, but they're important and they speak to the kind of functionality we will soon require of all meetings-management tools. Based on the number of iPads I saw at the recent PCMA Convening Leaders meeting, we're all aware of how important mobile-friendly websites are during an event. As for the pre- and post-event periods, the industry's overall commitment to mobile-friendly communication has been less consistent. To take one example, I've received several post-event and post-hotel-stay satisfaction survey follow-up e-mails in recent months, none of which linked to mobile-friendly sites. That means that the surveys which I would otherwise have completed on my iPad while waiting in airports probably went unanswered, buried among the wreckage of an overflowing, post-trip inbox when I got back to my desk. Cvent's enhancements should prove to be part of a trend in the right direction.

In this industry, we often work while on the road, and our success often relies on other people traveling. We have to make it easier for those travelers to work en route, too, and to acknowledge that they may want to register for our events or provide feedback about them while they're away from their desks.