1 October 2019

When Your Attendees Don’t Own a Smartphone…


We’re a world of connected data, and the meetings industry even more so! We relay on the cloud more than we’ve ever had before. Our registration is cloud based, as is our attendee apps. What happens if your attendees don’t own smartphones?

Event services like live polling and exhibitor lead retrieval are typical cloud based as well. We use our phones and tablets to access real-time data about our events, and we use those same phones and tablets to connect our onsite teams and stay on top of the huge amount of event details we need to manage.

Of course, there are social networks and gamification at your event. All are fantastic ways to connect attendees and encourage engagement and social connections!

Not only are we dependent on the cloud, we ask our attendees to do so as well. And for the most part, it’s not a big deal.

In a 2018 Pew Research Center study, they found that 77% of Americans own smartphones. When they first ran this survey in 2011, that number was 33%.

So, it’s great that 77% of your attendees have a smartphone. Let’s crank out those attendee apps, the real-time beacon check-in and so much more! It’s easy!

But what about that 23% who don’t own a smartphone? How are you going to connect with those attendees?

Looking at the Pew Research Center study, 73% of folks age 50-64 own a smartphone, and the number obviously goes lower as for those 65+.

It’s easy to assume everyone will have a smart phone or tablet. Especially if your event caters to those under age 50. As meeting planners, it is crucial to understand the nature of our attendee demographic and do our very best not to leave anyone out of your event engagement efforts.

How can you assess this information? It’s really not appropriate to ask for birthdates or ages during registration. One recommendation is to ask questions that are appropriate, such as “do you own a smartphone” or “how many times each week do you access social media on your phone?”

Printed event guides, handed out optionally, is one way to keep these attendees connected. Another way some planners connect with their attendees is to offer low-cost or even free rentals of small, six-inch tablets. With the Attendee App pre-installed, it just takes a quick log in to connect your non tech-savvy attendees to your event!

As we march to the third decade of the 21st century, it gets easier and easier to forget about our less connected attendees. But, as meeting planners, we do need to be aware and remember that every needs to connect and engage at our events – not just those connected to the cloud.

For more insights to how an event management platform like EventsAIR can be customised to the specific requirements of your upcoming event, chat to one of our EventsAIR consultants or check out our videos.