It’s been about a decade since the Environmental Protection Agency called out the meetings and events industry as the second most wasteful (behind construction). And while—with leadership from organizations like the Events Industry Council, MPI and the PCMA—a major fire has been lit under event producers to boost sustainability, the arena still has a long way to go before it can truly call itself “green-centric.”
According to stats from Event Manager Blog and MeetGreen, A 1000-person, three-day event has the following environmental footprint:
- 5670 kg (12,500 lbs) of trash: That would be the weight of four compact cars. About two-and-a-half of those “cars” are heading straight to the landfill.
- 530 metric tons of C02E emissions: That’s the equivalent of 1,233 barrels of oil.
- And we’re not just talking about food waste or fuel used to travel to and from the event: A full 35% of items thrown out at a mid-size conference are recyclables, including mixed paper, cardboard, plastic and cans.
If you’re reading this while simultaneously tossing down a Luna bar, trying to sync your registration system with your event website and fielding emails from your CMO about the latest ROI data, we get it. Mother Nature might have to stand by for a bit while you fight some event fires.
The good news is…there’s good news. Today’s mobile event technology can help you boost your sustainability, increase long-term attendee engagement and provide actionable data that accurately gauges ROI.
A Mobile Event App Gets Kudos and Kicks Paper to the Curb
The United States alone throws out enough office paper to build a 12-foot wall from New York City to Los Angeles. And as we all know, paper comes from trees, which need water to grow. But studies show if only one attendee at an average one-day conference used an electronic program instead of paper, it would save 5,200 gallons of water.
Mobile event apps allow event marketers and planners to satisfy today’s attendee demands for instantaneous engagement, real-time updates and digital networking opportunities. An intuitive, well-designed app fosters:
- Going social: The best mobile apps offer private social networks that keep attendees active and take just minutes to set up. With the ability to process comments, likes and photo uploads, these private channels are just like the ones they use every day, but strategically only open to your event audience.
- Interactive communication: With built-in activity streams, chat groups and document libraries, attendees can plug into the event pulse at any time and get the information they need quickly and easily.
- Real-time feedback: Live polling capabilities, survey options and push notifications make it easy to give attendees a voice, while also collecting event data for post-event nurturing.
“It was incredible,” said Christian Russo, Director of Interactive Marketing at Sotheby’s International Realty. “People were posting photos, starting conversations and building custom schedules for the event—it was something we had never seen before.”
Saving Money, Saving Data, Saving the Environment
Whether you’re producing a seven-day beach boondoggle or an eight-hour workshop, it’s likely you’re facing budget challenges. And while you might think purchasing a best-in-class mobile event app would be a hefty investment, there are companies out there offering comprehensive pricing packages at less than $1000 per event. Word to the wise: Look for an event app vendor that allows you to buy a la carte or via a bundled package.
Here’s why taking your event communications digital is a win-win-win for your budget, your future marketing efforts and the world around you:
- It pays to go green: Leveraging a mobile event app helped the non-profit Christian Union eliminate wasteful printed materials while also saving 83 percent on their conference communications. Bonus plan: The app was adopted by 92 percent of attendees. “Our students didn’t miss the paper booklet for a minute,” said event manager Elizabeth Bloodworth. “Checking their phones was already second nature, and the content they needed was right there.”
- You’ll boost registration (without the paper tickets): Many of today’s event-tech leaders also offer a registration system that makes ticket purchasing and check-in a breeze, enabling QR codes that can be scanned off of mobile devices. Countless promo-code options, multiple ticket types and the ability to sync attendee data seamlessly into the corresponding event app means you can market your event efficiently and cost-effectively.
- Drive data for days: Forget paper surveys, printed session hand-outs and sending snail-mail before and after the event. Embracing an app with a data platform specifically developed for events allows you to digitally distribute and collect actionable information from attendees. It’s also a boon for digital marketers: The data can be leveraged well after your event is over for personalized nurturing funnels and future optimizations.
From event planners to suppliers, and event marketers to digital marketers, everyone in the industry is feeling the tug to produce cleaner events. Mobile event technology is a smart, easy and affordable way to implement your green initiatives while also keeping your other key goals front and center.