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Embrace the event app – mobile’s not going away
With smartphones multiplying faster than the human race, the appeal of mobile event apps will endure, says Cvent’s Will Kataria

2 Nov 2016

Smart phone technology is here to stay. It’s not going anywhere. It’s growing at a crazy and a rapid pace at five times the pace of the human race, and it’s not slowing down. And there’s still a very, very long way to go for this technology.

The mobile phone is the most personal device that we all have right now. It is something constantly used for social media, connecting with friends and other people. If you’re not capitalising on that device for your events, then you are losing out. So that’s the situation: that it will be here and it will grow even more. 

Resistance is fading
I’ve worked in all different regions with Cvent, including South Africa, India and now Singapore, APAC, and Australia. People have different mindsets in different places. You get planners who say things like, "Hey, my attendees are in the age group 40-50, and I think I’ll have a hard time with adoption and with them using technology".

My answer is that with any age group today, people have smart phones and apps. They may not use as many apps as someone who’s a millennial. But if there’s something easy and simple to use, they are going to adopt it.

I think it’s just a mindset. I still challenge people and ask them to experiment with it. I’m sure they will be surprised by the results. 

If you really want people to buy something and to use it, you do have to really go and educate them. In Asia we are still educating people because it’s something new. And that’s ok. 

But people still show a lot of interest and they’re intrigued by it and they want to explore it. 

Promising future
Previously we only had an event registration product to offer planners. We thought it would be the only product and it would grow. We started with supplier networks, but we never thought we would connect hoteliers and planners.

That, however, worked really well and was a good revenue model for us, so we now have mobile applications and integrations. If we see a trend that is very strong, we invest. As long as that’s happening, I think anything is possible.

In 10 years, there will be even more technology that connects a planner with an attendee and, more importantly, an attendee with that company or that organisation in a much better way. We have to find that technology, because right now it doesn’t happen that easily or effectively. 

If there is a way to connect with them on a deeper level, I would put money into that. 

Asia
Our CEO says that the event industry is a multiple billion-dollar industry that you haven’t heard of. It’s an industry that a lot of people don’t invest in – investment seems to be in property. 

With technology, very few companies have done it right and consistently had products that are easily adoptable and give return to the clients. 

Geography matters. If you look at North America, its very quick at adopting technology. They knew about mobile applications three or four years ago. 

The market in Asia is five to six years behind. The pitch I have right now in Asia is what Americans heard three or four years ago.

Will Kataria is director of sales for Cvent, a software company specialising in meetings management technology. He was speaking to Georgia Feldmanis



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