Adoption of Mobile Apps Lags for Small Meetings, Study Shows

Although mobile event apps continue to enjoy “torrid” growth, their adoption for small meetings remains low, concludes a new study by the IMEX Group and meetings app developer QuickMobile, the results of which were published yesterday at the IMEX in Frankfurt trade show, currently underway in Frankfurt, Germany.

Based on a survey of international meeting planners, the study found that 60 percent of event planners have used a mobile app for at least one of their events in the last two years. While that number is likely true for larger, flagship events — those with more than 250 attendees — adoption across the entire portfolio of meetings and events is likely much lower, posits meetings technology consultant Corbin Ball.

“There are 1.8 million meetings in the U.S. each year, many of which have fewer than 100 attendees,” Ball said in a statement. “It will take some time for event apps to be utilized in smaller, corporate meetings, but it is definitely coming.”

According to QuickMobile, over one-third of meeting planners have mobile apps in their budget just “some of the time” and another 42 percent have never included them.

“It’s clear that 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. We definitely have room to grow,” said QuickMobile CEO Patrick Payne. “Earlier this year, we predicted that mobile event apps will enter a new stage of market acceptance moving from early adopter to the early majority phase. This research confirms that this is happening, though we have not quite hit mainstream and event apps are still under-utilized in the corporate meetings space.”

Other highlights from the QuickMobile/IMEX survey include:

• Although 92 percent of planners surveyed manage three or more events per year, and 54 percent more than 10 events, 70 percent have used event apps for less than six events in the past two years.

• The top three most important reasons for a mobile event app are organizer-to-attendee communications, eliminating paper and attendee-to-attendee communication.

• Three out of four planners want to use event apps to start conversations before an event, and 78 percent want to use them to keep conversations going after the event.

• The biggest barriers to entry for mobile event apps are Wi-Fi accessibility and budget, followed closely by the perceived time it takes to produce an app.

According to QuickMobile, this year’s study is the first in a new annual series. “We wanted to establish a baseline for future research about mobile event technology,” Payne said. “As a result of this study, we now have the data that we can use to contrast and compare the adoption of event technology and its potential impact on the industry in future years.”

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