In 2021, people expect the future. Technological progress, from the personal computer to the Internet, to social media, to the smartphone, has led consumers to believe that technology will continue to revolutionize and improve their lives. They want life to feel different today than it did 5 years ago or 10 years ago. They even want new ways of experiencing live events.
The coronavirus pandemic accelerated trends that were already modifying every aspect of life. Notably, the smartphone took on an essential role. Now that smartphones have revolutionized everything from buying a car to opening the door to your hotel room, consumers expect it to play a key role in attending live events.
Smartphones have gone from a luxury to a must-have. Likewise, a role for customers’ smartphones has gone from nice-to-have to required for businesses of all levels. Attendees no longer marvel at mobile tickets; they expect them. Just as a website not optimized for mobile is archaic, an event that only has paper tickets is behind the times.
But live events can offer much more than mobile tickets.
1. Production Services
First, mobile apps can do a lot more to streamline logistics – beyond mobile tickets, and mobile parking passes. Full-service digital programs will make events easier for both attendees and organizers. In one app, fans have all the information they could possibly need: from a map for navigation, menus for concessions, FAQs, background on the organizers and venue, and more. Venues win by eliminating the paper waste from tickets, maps, and programs. This cuts cost makes cleanup easier, and it’s better for the environment.
Event planners can take it further with online ordering for concessions, eliminating both long lines and the need to have vendors travel throughout the crowd hawking food and drink. Mobile payment will further speed up the process, eliminate paper receipts, and remove friction.
Event organizers should not forget about the fans who will fail to download the app before the event. Key placement of QR codes in locations throughout the venue can eliminate friction for these customers.
2. More Interaction
Once the logistics are out of the way, apps offer event organizers ways to enhance the fan experience. These apps can create more interaction for sports fans, concertgoers, and festival attendees, from photo-filters to polls and trivia. They can even distract fans with quick games during periods of downtime. Apps can also power engagement between eventgoers.
Young people, especially, love sharing the events they attend with their friends on social media. Apps can further facilitate their interaction with friends back home and help them make new friends at the event itself. Sports fans can join together to participate in live, in-stadium, photo filter sharing. Concertgoers can chat with other friends in the concert and find each other in dense crowds.
Another way these apps can improve engagement at events of all types is through polls. Polls can help gauge crowd sentiment. Deployed properly will allow event organizers to collect important data they can use to improve their venues and user experience. With real-time polling, teams can check out fan sentiment on the game, musicians can gauge their performance, and comedians can rely on more than just boos and clapping to test out new material. If the same app that facilitates production services also gauges fan sentiment, offers photo filters and live chat, and enhances the overall experience, it has the power to revolutionize live events.
3. Prizing and Promotions
Prizing and promotions offer yet another win for event organizers and also for advertisers. What’s in it for eventgoers? They get a chance to win contests and earn prizes.
The same app that provides production services, and interacts with fans, also offers advertisers closer access to fans. Advertisers can run traditional ads in the app itself. Or, they can offer users something better: discounts and special offers on new products, only available to those physically present at the event, only available for a limited time. Brands can test out new products or increase demand for old ones. Event sponsors can connect directly with consumers.
Brands can also allow their products – or discounts and coupons for their products – to be used as prizes in competitions among event attendees. During sports games or music festivals, fans can compete with one another in trivia contests and games. Winners earn prizes from event sponsors. Different types of events can adjust competitions to fit their needs. At comedy shows and concerts, audiences might compete before the show begins instead of during the performance. For plays, it might be during the intermission.
By offering rewards, event sponsors and organizers can increase audience engagement even more and better promote their venues and products. Attendees win by getting discounts on products they love. Organizers win by increasing audience enjoyment. And sponsors win by enhancing product desirability.
3 Wins in 1 App
Imagine a single app handling everything from logistics to fan engagement to sponsor promotion. It would make events simpler and more fun both for the organizers and for the attendees. Every person’s phone would become a one-stop-shop for entering the venue, buying food and drinks, participating in polls and photo filters, and earning rewards. For the planners, the app would be a one-stop-shop for data collection, waste reduction, enhancing the fan experience, and sponsorship opportunities.
This is the promise of second-screen technology.
This technology is the future of live events. It offers a seamless, frictionless, more interactive, more exciting experience. This is the kind of experience people are not only coming to enjoy; they are coming to expect. This kind of experience makes people realize they are living in the future and that live events have fundamentally changed since they were kids. Even technology skeptics have to admit this is cool.