Networking opportunities – build it and they will come, right? Well, not exactly… sometimes people need a little push.
Read on to find out how 2016’s PCOA Conference used friendly competition to drive engagement.
The 9th Annual PCOA Conference & Exhibition, held in November 2016, saw over 400 top conference and event organisers, producers, and in-house meeting planners convene at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre for two full days of conference sessions, workshops, networking functions and famils.
The Entegy Suite
As the app sponsor, Entegy worked closely with the Professional Conference Organiser Association to deliver a comprehensive, well designed and constructed event technology solution including an app and the following products from the Entegy Suite.
- Event app with full event program, venue wayfinding, destination information, in-app badge, feedback forms, push notifications, speaker, sponsor and exhibitor profiles
- Attendee Connect: leaderboard, activity feed, attendee profile list and private messaging
- Interactive Sessions: live polling, discussions and Q&A for sessions
- Registration: gathering attendee information as profiles ready for use in the app
The 2016 PCOA Conference was themed ‘Connect, Collaborate, Differentiate’. The aim, to give participants an opportunity to make new connections, challenge themselves, get hands-on learning and consider the future of the industry.
“Our Conference program included hands-on practical workshops, keynote presentations, concurrent and panel sessions” said Cindy Axisa, Admin & Accreditation Manager of The PCO Association. “This was coupled with special interest groups, chances for collaboration with peers and exposure to new products throughout the trade exhibition.”
Event technology was used to facilitate a rolling conversation between attendees with plenty of opportunities to meet face to face at meals and networking functions. Gamification through in-app achievements and a social leaderboard were key in driving activity and connection.
“There are many challenges for networking events and overcoming these is paramount to successful PCOA events” says Cindy Axisa.
According to Cindy the main networking challenges PCOA identify are:
- Providing a relaxed atmosphere with ease of access to food/beverage
- Managing entertainment noise levels to ensure attendees can comfortably hold a conversation
- Formalities are essential but kept to a minimum to avoid losing the crowd’s attention
- Encouraging attendees to make new connections. The App is being used to encourage attendees to start conversations and build relationships
A cross-channel communication plan was developed in collaboration with Entegy to encourage uptake and use of the app. This included email promotion as well as in-app push notifications and a leaderboard competition.
95% of the surveyed delegates downloaded the App. Cindy says – this was a superb response with most agreeing it was very easy to use, “Most features were well used, though the activity feed and private messaging were the most popular.”
Cindy says they’ve noticed an increase in user interaction and attributes it to gamification in the 2016 event. They plan to utilise it more in future, “The Association has used a conference app for a few years now and has definitely noticed an increase in the level of use and interaction. For future conferences we aim to increase the level of gamification.”
She commends the Entegy Suite saying “the app was modern and very easy to use.” As an event organiser she liked having “easy access to the program while on the conference floor and watching the interaction of delegates on the activity feed.” Cindy concludes “Entegy were such a pleasure to work with and I would have no hesitation in recommending them or the App.”
Attendee feedback was very positive and indicated that the app was a hit:
“Fun connecting with others through this app – it’s awesome” – Amy
“Easy to use” – Jann
“Greap app, so easy to use” – Maxine
“The app was great to be interactive with other delegates and suppliers” – Kali
“Fantastic app. One of my favourites” – Warwick
— PCO Association Inc (@pcoasn) December 5, 2016
— PCO Association Inc (@pcoasn) November 27, 2016