While event mobile app use is on the rise, 42 percent of planners surveyed have never included an app in their event budgets, according to a survey of 298 international planners, conducted by IMEX Group and QuickMobile. "While more event planners are using mobile apps and seeing them as 365-day communication tools, they are just beginning to discover their strategic value," said QuickMobile CEO Patrick Payne. "We definitely have room to grow." Of the planners queried for the first annual mobile-event-technology study, about 92 percent plan more than three events per year, and 54 percent plan more than 10 events annually. But 70 percent of planners used mobile apps for less than six events in the past year, the study found. Other findings include:
• Meeting planners throughout the EMEA region have less experience with apps than those in North America, but they are more concerned about security and data privacy (78 percent vs. 69 percent). In both cases, their concerns decreased after they used apps.
• Twenty-eight percent of North American planners include an app in their budget most of the time or always; 20 percent of planners elsewhere do.
• The top three most important reasons to use a mobile event app are organizer-to-attendee communications, eliminating paper and attendee-to-attendee communication, according to respondents.
• Three quarters of respondents want to use apps to start conversations before an event, and 78 percent want to use the apps to keep the conversations going afterward.
• Experienced app users value user-friendly content management (95 percent vs. 86 percent for their less experienced counterparts), analytics (88 percent vs. 78 percent) and social-media integration (80 percent vs. 71 percent).
• The biggest barriers to using mobile event apps are Wi-Fi accessibility and budget, followed closely by the perceived time it takes to produce an app.
"We wanted to establish a baseline for future research about mobile-event technology," said QuickMobile's Payne. "As a result of this study, we now have the data to contrast and compare the adoption of event technology and its potential impact on the industry in future years."