Most of the discussion around events and mobile apps involves conference directory apps—digital versions of the printed exhibitor directory and conference schedule used by attendees. There are, however, a handful of developers focusing on apps for convention centers and at least five reasons why facilities should pay attention.
Better customer service
Convention services managers rely heavily on their phones and computers to have immediate access to facility data (food and beverage orders, room scheduling, a/v orders) in order to answer questions or make changes on the fly. The need to be attached to the office conflicts with the dual requirement of having to be away from it attending to client needs. A conference center mobile app connected to the conference center database helps CSMs address client needs from anywhere.
Fewer lost sales opportunities
From checking room availability to pulling up room dimensions to assessing the value of a lead and prospecting outside the office, sales managers rely on instant access to information to avoid the dreaded, “I’ll have to get back to you,” response to an inquiry. With a mobile app that ties in directly to the CRM system of the facility, sales staff can address every inquiry no matter where they are.
Faster responses to order changes
Planners change their minds sometimes, well pretty much all the time. They want a room reset differently, more chairs, another LCD projector or fewer brownies on the dessert bar. A mobile app connected to the facility order system allows the convention staff, a/v vendor and banquet captain to not only respond more quickly, but also to immediately reflect the changes on the customer’s master account.
More managerial visibility
Managers at all levels of the convention center, including the general manager, need visibility into their respective departments no matter where they are. And, they all need something a little different. Being able to use an app to remotely access a real-time dashboard or generate an up-to-the minute report just for them can enhance the capabilities of managers.
More customer empowerment
The days of requiring meeting planners to track down the CSM or walk to the operations office to compare notes or go over their accounts are over. With an access-restricted conference center mobile app, customers can view orders or their master accounts any time they want, making it easier for them to stay on track.
Standalone mobile apps for convention centers are becoming more available and more functional, but they aren’t all integrated with the facilities venue management software. The few that are represent a giant leap forward in helping venue staff access the same data on customers, orders and invoices via mobile devices as they can with desktop computers. That translates into more productivity and a better bottom line.