Key Digital Trends in the Conventions Industry


We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: The most important thing you can offer your customers as a venue is a good, memorable experience. Even better, an experience that lets them know that you understand and care about their needs. In fact, if your customers feel that the destination experience was positive, they are not only likely to attend the same event again, but also different events hosted in the same venue.

The conventions industry is an exciting place right now. We especially see that trade shows, conferences, and conventions become more customized and interactive, as digital solutions find their way into the events. Today, event technology plays a huge role for visitor experience, connecting every part of the event from preparation and planning to following up on new connections. This week, we’ve looked into some of the key digital trends that can help convention centres adapt to meet their visitors’ needs.

Branded apps

Event apps are no novelty. Many convention centres and convention organizers use apps either as a platform for all events or customized to individual, recurring events. And it’s really no wonder that these apps are becoming an increasingly established part of conventions and conferences, considering their variety of possibilities. With mobile apps, visitors can access information on individual exhibitors, sessions and registered visitors, venue layout and POIs as well as parking and accommodation options. Most apps will also have the option of preparing agendas and establishing contact with potential business partners. Providing ways of planning, so that the guest can enjoy a stress-free and well-prepared experience, and exhibitors can measure tangible connection results, is a service that shouldn’t be underestimated.

Indoor navigation for convention centers

Aside from being a manageable information platform, apps also provide unique branding opportunities for you and your sponsors; incorporating your sponsors into your event app has shown to double brand awareness, brand favourability, and purchase intent compared to general mobile advertising, and even more so compared to print. Most sponsors would already prefer app advertising over print, a tendency that’s expected to keep increasing as digital event solutions continue to take hold in the industry. One of the many clear advantages of in-app advertising is the interaction and customization options; they allow companies to implement gamification, coupons, rewards and other means of visitor engagement. Combined with indoor positioning technologies, you can send personalized push notifications based on the visitors’ location in the venue, to encourage them to visit specific restaurants or highlight nearby sponsors.

The choice between print and app is not only significant for your sponsors - it’s also very significant for you. Using mobile event apps can reduce printing costs dramatically; according to a study, the cost savings for convention centres switching from print to mobile event apps is expected to lie between 65% and 87%. Some convention centres even reported an expectancy of totally eliminating printing needs in favor of apps. With convention centres spending more than $80,000 in average per event, the cost saving possibility is considerable.

In-app indoor wayfinding

With all those options for the visitors, you’ll have to consider how to make the experience as stress-free, structured and enjoyable as possible. Good orientation is a big part of the visitors’ psychological comfort - to know where they are, where they’re going and how to get there has a significant impact on the experience. In a survey of factors of importance for destination experiences, ease of getting around and good wayfinding were stated as important or very important by 86% of the respondents, and a different survey reports floor plans and maps as two of the most important features in mobile event apps.

Indoor navigation for convention centers

Indoor navigation solutions let the visitor prepare effective routes in advance and find their way around inside the venue, whether the destination is a specific session, a restaurant with gluten-free meals, or simply the nearest lavatory. With our indoor navigation solution, MapsIndoors, you completely control POIs and create custom layouts for your individual events - convention venues are rarely static, so the option of adapting your floor plans is essential when choosing an indoor navigation solution. MapsIndoors also offers the advantage of seamless outdoor-indoor navigation, which means that your visitors can be guided all the way from home to a specific exhibition stand without switching apps.

Insights-driven decision making

By creating a personalized experience, you can increase visitor engagement. Push notifications based on your visitors’ location is only one possibility of integrating indoor positioning technologies and indoor wayfinding in your venue. When you know where your visitors are, where they’re going and how they get there, you can adapt these insights to your venue layout planning. One way of utilizing this knowledge, is to differentiate stand prices or session tickets according to people flow information. Another way is to highlight popular sponsor stands or show nearest and safest emergency exits during evacuations according to current people flow, or even integrate your indoor navigation system with a queue management system to display waiting times in restaurants. With our MapsIndoors indoor wayfinding solution combined with indoor positioning technology, the data and the knowledge is yours, and you decide how to use it.

Do you want to read more about indoor wayfinding in action? Read our showcase about our solution for Google Next '18 or check out our blog post about Huishoudbeurs, the largest lifestyle event in the Netherlands.

Google Next '18The Huishoundbeurs