What Is an Appointment Waitlist System?

How Appointment Waitlists Work

Perhaps you’ve seen the buzz about appointment waitlists and wondered how they could benefit your business. Today’s technology is allowing all sorts of industries to manage their clients professionally and efficiently. And since nobody has to spend time sitting in a waiting area looking through old copies of Time and National Geographic, it’s a true win/win!

But What Is an Appointment Waitlist Exactly, and How Do They Work?

Today’s waitlist technology is a great way for any service-based business to schedule customer appointments and walk-ins alike. A waitlist allows you to schedule clients way ahead of time — regular visits, planned service appointments, monthly appointments. And it also allows you to manage walk-in clients, who are of course far less predictable. So if your nail salon has regular monthly manicure clients along with walk-ins who are trying your salon for the first time, you can include all of these types of visits in the same system. This allows you to fill slow times or no-shows with walk-in clients, and also reschedule late clients or last-minute drop-ins on the fly.

The best part? Nobody has to sit around and wait. Waitlist technology, like the NextME app, allows your clients to monitor their place in line from the comfort of their phones. A simple text message gives clients a link to a custom webpage where they can see their spot in line, in real-time. Another text when it’s almost their turn confirms that they’re coming back, so you can give away their spot if they’ve changed their mind.

How Appointment Waitlists Benefit Busy Businesses

If you’ve run a business in any service industry for any amount of time, you’re probably familiar with the nightmare expense of no-shows. The restaurant industry is a classic example. It’s not uncommon for 10-20% of the reservations on any given night to result in tables that sit empty waiting for fickle diners who are not coming. Knowing the famously thin margins of restaurant budgeting, this can be a real problem with a huge impact on the bottom line.

Many restaurant reservations and waitlist platforms exist, but most have no idea how to handle no-shows. NextME, with its simple texts, custom pages, and unobtrusive customer experience, has proven to be a great way to fix the problem. By texting a confirmation to customers just before their reservation is set to begin, restaurant hosts can know in a flash whether it’s safe to give away that coveted Saturday night spot or if the diner who’s reserved it is on the way.

But this technology is not just for restaurants. All sorts of other businesses are finding it to be a perfect option for managing their queues of customers too. In a salon, having just a few large appointments not show up can make or break a stylist’s day. The cost of no-show salon customers can add up quickly, disrupting your stylists’ momentum and leading to disgruntled employees and management difficulties. A strong cancellation policy is a good start, but wouldn’t you rather be able to retain as many appointments as possible, while filling in the empty slots with walk-ins?

Auto Repair shops can face similar issues. Customers notoriously don’t understand the amount of time involved in complex repairs like timing belts. So they may not consider it a big deal when they book an appointment and then miss it. But if you’ve blocked out several hours for your top guys to handle a technically challenging problem, the last thing you want is for them to be standing around waiting for the car to arrive.

Today’s event marketing agencies spend a fortune creating unique customer experiences to help connect consumers with a brand. Elaborate convention booths and pop-up customer experiences are a great way to build a brand’s name and a ton of customer loyalty. But you don’t want to force show visitors to stand around waiting, blocking the way to your booth and generally getting frustrated with the experience before it even really begins.

Instead of eating the costs of dreaded no-shows, why not choose a solution built to handle them with minimal disruption to your business? Contact NextME today to find out how our appointment waitlist system can help.


How Small Businesses Can Optimize Appointment Waitlist Management

How Small Businesses Can Optimize Appointment Waitlist Management

Waiting is a fact of life. And managing waitlists is often a big part of doing business. 

You may be thinking of the waiting area at your favorite salon or those little buzzer coasters at restaurants. But there are so many more industries who have to tackle this problem. From bowling alleys, to car lots, to stylists, to sales professionals, to event organizers and exhibitors, waitlists seem to be everywhere.

And those annoying buzzers or the old-fashioned clipboard technique are a poor way to keep track of such a vital part of your business. Fortunately, today’s technology has given us a better way to manage the wait through appointment waitlist platforms.

How Small Businesses Can Optimize Appointments and Waitlist Management

Create an Appointment Waitlist

If your salon, repair shop, or other service business uses a walk-in model, you might be leaving money on the table. But moving to an appointment-only model can also have financial drawbacks. A better solution is to create an appointment waitlist — it’s the best of both worlds.

An appointment waitlist allows you to schedule clients way ahead of time — regular visits, planned service appointments, monthly appointments. And it also allows you to manage walk-in clients. So if your dog grooming business has monthly bath and cut clients and walk-in flea baths or nail trims, you can include all of these types of visits in the same system. This allows you to fill slow times or no-show appointments with walk-in clients, and also reschedule late clients or last-minute drop-ins with ease.

Confirm Appointments with Text Reminders

Many walk-in type businesses have found that setting appointments can actually hurt their bottom line when people don’t show up. They may have booked a full day of appointments and staffed their business appropriately only to find that half of the clients have gone elsewhere or forgotten the appointment. Staff is left twiddling their thumbs waiting for people who are not coming. The whole business is less busy, and consequently less profitable, than it should be. 

This is similar to the no-show problem restaurants have faced for years using reservation systems like OpenTable. Since NextME was originally designed for the restaurant industry, our platform was created with this difficulty in mind. 

With a simple text message, just before their appointment clients can let you know if they’re still planning to keep their appointment. If so, they are prompted that they’re soon to be next in line. If not, the waitlist is moved forward accordingly and the day progresses smoothly. The staff stays busy, the business stays active, and workers and clients alike don’t have to waste time waiting. 

Let Clients Control How They Wait 

By sending SMS updates estimating wait time and then notifying clients when they need to head back, you allow clients to control and manage their own time. They don't have to hover in or just outside your shop (or keep checking back). They can take off and do as they please, then only begin to return once they receive a text letting them know that they're next or almost next in line. 

Not sure how this would look? Take Apple's Genius Bar. They do an excellent job of allowing clients to schedule their appointments and then wait wherever or however they like. Since many of their locations are inside shopping malls or busy commercial areas, this means people can shop or run errands as they wait. This leads to happier clients and better customer service ratings across the board. And there’s no denying that they’ve managed to create a loyal following.

Take Advantage of Clients' Captive Attention

In today’s data-driven world, your clients are constantly bombarded by marketing messages. So finding ways to get their attention is harder than ever. What if you could get your clients to view a page with your chosen messages, voluntarily?

One of the best features of NextME’s waitlist platform is that it sends your clients to a page where they can monitor their place in line in real-time. This creates a captive audience who is already interested in your business and its services. And you get to decide what content is displayed on the page beneath the countdown. 

This means you could advertise potential upsell products or services like adding a blowout to a hair cut or offer new air filters for clients coming to your automotive shop. You could also showcase your website, give customers the option to sign up for your email list, or encourage them to follow your brand on social media. Have a customer loyalty plan? This is a great place to give them a sign-up link.

This waiting page is also a great option for event management teams. It allows event exhibitors to manage wait times for attendees visiting booths. The marketing page allows exhibitors to prep attendees while they’re waiting to experience all a booth has to offer. They can use the page to help attendees make a more meaningful connection to your brand or cause by combining mobile marketing content and one-on-one meetings with staff members. 

Want to see how an appointment waitlist can help you grow your business? Give NextME a call today!


NextME Waitlist App - Top CRM Consultants in Chicago by Clutch

NextME Featured on Clutch’s 2019 Top CRM Consultant Report

Clutch Top CRM Consultants 2019 NextME Waitlist App

NextME Appointment Waitlist App Wins Top Honors from Clutch

NextME is the ultimate solution for helping various businesses, event organizers, exhibitors, and restaurants effectively manage their appointments and waitlists while improving efficiency and customer satisfaction. As technology develops, virtual solutions are being used more frequently as a method to manage customer relations, which includes managing a queue if you’re an appointment-based business. Due to our success in improving appointment and waitlist management across industries, we have earned a Clutch award for being one of the top CRM consultants in Chicago.

Located in Washington, DC, Clutch is a ratings and reviews startup dedicated to B2B service firms. Since 2013, Clutch’s platform has connected thousands of prospective buyers with service providers for their business needs. By carefully analyzing industry data and conducting their signature client interviews, the Clutch analysts are able to rank and rate the top companies in a variety of industries. We are very grateful to NextME’s clients for taking the time to participate in the interview process. 

Along with our rating on the main Clutch page, we have been featured on The Manifest and Visual Objects, sister-sites of Clutch. The Manifest is a business news platform featuring how-to guides, state of tech news and industry rankings. We can be found listed among the top CRM consultants on The Manifest. Visual Objects is designed to highlight the work of a wide variety of creative agencies ranging from advertisers to software developers. Each Clutch listing offers buyers a unique look into what we can offer to clients. 

We are thrilled to have been selected for these awards. Going forward, we hope to grow our client base and expand our brand. If your business could use help optimizing your appointment and waitlist operations, let’s get in touch today! 

 


Why All Event Organizers Should Use An Appointment Waitlist App - NextME

Why All Event Organizers Should Be Using An Appointment Waitlist Platform

Nobody likes to wait. This is even more true in today’s fast-paced, on-demand society. But waiting is made so much less annoying when you’re given accurate information and kept informed. This is just one of the benefits a waitlist platform can provide for attendees at your next big event. 

Waitlist platforms like NextME are an increasingly popular way for businesses to handle a queue of customers. From restaurants to healthcare clinics to conferences and industry events, this simple to use technology is taking the sting out of waiting. 

And waitlist technology is making things easier on the exhibitor’s end too. It’s taking care of back end tasks like collecting customer data and keeping track of appointments. 

Read on to find out why an appointment waitlist platform is a win/win solution that every event organizer should be using.

Why Appointment Management is Important for Events and Conferences

Greater Exhibitor Retention – Waitlist solutions like NextME allow your exhibitors to properly manage appointments and visitors during events. This leads to greater retention of exhibitors from one event to the next. 

Let’s face it. Your exhibitors are investing a lot of capital to be a part of your event. And they want to ensure they’ll get a good ROI for this investment. The most valuable commodity they’re after? Qualified leads. If you can provide them with the ability to easily capture and qualify potential leads, you’ll see exhibitors come back year after year. 

Providing NextME to your exhibitors is a great way to do this. In fact, this appointment and waitlist platform has been proven to improve lead retention rates by up to 35%. And it’s been tried and tested by the big boys like GE Appliances, who were able to capture more leads and close more sales than in prior events.  

Greater Attendee Retention – Just like exhibitors, you want to entice your attendees to return for future events. A solution like NextME presents a seamless and user-friendly face to visitors at each booth of your event. If they can spend their time networking, browsing, and learning rather than standing in line, they’ll feel like it was time well spent. 

At BMW’s Ultimate Driving Experience, NextME was deployed to great effect. As attendees waited to test drive the car of their choice, the chaos of this packed event was effectively managed with this waitlist platform. It allowed for quicker turnarounds so that visitors could participate more fully and test more cars. At all 16 of these events across the country, this lead to enhanced attendee experiences and positive responses. 

"This appointment and waitlist platform has been proven to improve lead retention rates by up to 35%"

The Benefit of Using a Platform that Offers Waitlist and Appointment Management

So why NextME? Why not just combine a basic appointment software with a simple waitlist? Or even just use an old school appointment book? 

Many event exhibitors have found that setting appointments at an event can actually hurt their bottom line when visitors don’t show up. They may have booked a full day of appointments and brought the appropriate staff only to find that half of the visitors have changed their minds or found other things to do. Staff is left twiddling their thumbs waiting for people who are not coming. And booths are less busy, and consequently less profitable, than they expected. 

It’s similar to the no show problem restaurants have faced for years using reservation systems like OpenTable. Since NextME was originally designed for the restaurant industry, our platform was created with this difficulty in mind. 

NextME offers a combined “appointment waitlist” where people can get a priority spot for a specific appointment time but the expectations are that they still may have to wait. 

With a simple text message, just before their appointment attendees can let booth operators know if they’re still planning to keep their appointment. If so, they are prompted to return to the booth as they’re soon to be next in line. If not, the waitlist is moved forward accordingly and the day progresses smoothly. Staff stays busy, booths stay active, and exhibitors and attendees alike don’t have to waste their time waiting. 

So before your next big event, why not give NextME a call? We’d love to show you how our platform can fit into your plans seamlessly.


8 Great Examples Experiential Marketing NextME Waitlist App

8 Great Examples of Experiential Marketing

How Top Brands Use Experiential Marketing

It seems that everywhere we go today, we’re bombarded by advertising. For many, this means traditional means of marketing a product are less effective. They fade into the background as just so much white noise. So how can a company get their message noticed in this increasingly competitive space?

Enter experiential marketing.

What is Experiential Marketing?

8 Great Examples Experiential Marketing NextME Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of Parker Design Consultants

While you may only be encountering this term recently, it’s likely that you’ve seen experiential marketing many times. Marketing booths at fairgrounds and conferences, car shows, and sample booths are all common examples that have been around for decades.

Experiential marketing is marketing in the real world, in ways that grab the attention more than your typical ad ever could. The methods and specifics are as varied as the products and companies using this technique, but they all have one thing in common. It means interacting directly with your target market and creating memorable experiences, no matter how small or how large.

Why is Experiential Marketing Important?

In today’s increasingly crowded marketplace, smart brands are stepping up their game. Those who pay attention are learning that the best way to capture attention is to stand out from the commonplace. It’s not enough to just hand out a sample or a sales pitch. Instead, marketers must create experiences that people will both remember and talk about.

The best examples of this are those events and experiences that go viral. In addition to reaching people in real time, you also get your message in front of their social networks when they share their experience. In effect, each person reached directly becomes a brand ambassador, spreading your message for you. It’s the kind of reach many brands couldn’t afford to buy, but with a little creativity, it can be created.

How Your Brand Can Use Experiential Marketing

So how do you incorporate this into your brand strategy? The most important thing to remember is that the experience should be unique, and should be intimately tied with your product or message. Here are a few memorable examples to help get your creative juices flowing.

BMW’s Ultimate Driving Experience

BMWs Ultimate Driving Experience - 8 Great Examples Experiential Marketing NextME Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of BMW

What’s the best way to market cars? The test drive. It’s a tried and true method that dealerships have been using for as long as we can remember. But many times, people don’t go test drive a car until they’re pretty sure they want to purchase it. So how does a manufacturer use test driving to get new customers who are not already considering their vehicles? BMW has found a way.

The Ultimate Driving Experience is open to the public at race tracks across the country. But this is not your typical test drive. Rather than cruising comfortably through city streets or suburban neighborhoods, this experience lets you drive in ways you never have before. Spend two hours with professional driving instructors and get behind the wheel of a BMW 3 Series in their Autocross. M Car Control gets you access to a full day with driving coaches, slalom courses, and high-speed skids. The xDrive Experience is a cross between a driving course and a roller coaster, as you take the X5 and X7 through a specially designed course. And for those looking for a tamer experience, there are street drives and even a teen driving school program.

Doc McStuffin Check-up Campaign

When Disney Jr. was looking for a way to market the Doc McStuffin program to their young audience, they knew they wanted an out-of-the-box idea. The show is about a six-year-old girl who has created a health clinic for broken and ailing toys. What better way to promote this than by allowing kids to take on the role of toy doctor themselves?

At retail stores across the UK, a Doc McStuffin’s check up clinic allowed for just that. Big Ted, a larger than life teddy bear, was sick. And little ones could help diagnose and treat him. First, in the waiting room, kids got to watch clips from the show, and get creative with coloring pages and puzzles. Then came doctor training, where kids learned how to give a teddy bear check-up. Once they passed their exams, they got to take home a certificate and a “Doc Is In The House” door hanger to help them set up their own backyard clinics!

Inc. Founders House at SXSW

Inc. is a magazine and website catering to entrepreneurs and small business owners. When they wanted to spread brand awareness at SXSW, they came up with a useful and fun idea. The Inc Founders House is a “one-of-a-kind founders-only space for the extraordinary people starting, running, and growing businesses.”

Inc Founders House SXSW - 8 Great Examples Experiential Marketing NextME Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of Inc. Media

During the festival, the Founders House hosts invite-only happy hours and speakers who can help the next wave of entrepreneurs get their projects off the ground. They’ve chosen some of the most influential founders to bring their own personal brands of inspiration to those who can benefit from them most. And the movement continues throughout the year with the Founders Project, which pairs top-notch founder mentors with up-and-coming entrepreneurs.

Harry’s Bartershop

Online subscription clubs are huge right now. They’re a great way for brands to cut out the middle man and send their products directly to consumers. And the subscription concept virtually assures repeat business. What’s not to love? For Harry’s, a shaving subscription service, the difficult thing can be to get consumers to give up their tried and tested brand and make the switch.

Their solution? Harry’s Bartershop. (Yes, you read that right.) This pop-up shop in NYC allowed consumers to barter one overpriced brand name blade for two (or more) of Harry’s. The pop-up store was designed to look like a typical home bathroom, complete with bathtub, toilet, and vanity. But inside that vanity mirror awaits the staff, ready to help consumers trade in their old razors for new ones, and experience the quality and comfort of Harry’s products.

Did You Mean MailChimp?

Sometimes it can be hard for people to find your brand once they’ve seen your marketing. No matter how many times you repeat your business name, there will still be some folks who mishear it. And still others will be thwarted by typos and autocorrect fails. MailChimp has decided to take this problem and turn it into fun marketing for their brand.

They’ve created several brand sites: FailChips, MaleCrimp, NailChamp, WhaleSynth, VeilHymn, and SnailPrimp. Then there were the attention-grabbing short films, like MailShrimp, KaleLimp, and JailBlimp. It’s all part of their “Did You Mean” campaign. And it’s an incredibly memorable way to get their real name in front of new eyes. So whether you want to go behind the scenes on a music video shoot or vote for the best new trends in nail art, you’ll be directed back to the MailChimp site to learn more about their marketing platform.

Nivea Bubble Billboards

A fresh sheet of bubble wrap is hard to resist. The feeling of popping those little plastic pillows is unlike almost any other. Likewise, blowing soap bubbles is the sort of innocent fun that most people associate with happy childhood memories. What brand wouldn’t want their name associated with these sorts of activities?

Nivea found a way to make this association a reality with a new billboard campaign that has plenty of people talking. First is the giant “Reduce the bumps” billboard that’s covered with bubble wrap. It invites passers-by to pop to their heart’s content. Next they created a billboard with the tagline “Oxygen is a wonderful thing” that actually blows bubbles from a giant Nivea bottle.

Nutanix’s .NEXT Conference Tech Lab

Want the ultimate experiential marketing option? Instead of presenting your product at some industry conference, why not create your own? One tech brand has opted to do just that.

Nutanix Next Conference - 8 Great Examples Experiential Marketing NextME Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of Nutanix Inc.

The .NEXT Conference is an annual event sponsored by tech company Nutanix. More than just a brand spotlight, this full-fledged event is designed to help global IT leaders learn about the latest and greatest developments in data center and cloud tech. A key feature of the conference is the ability for attendees to get a first-hand look at the latest Nutanix products. There are also plenty of speakers, training and certifications, and hands-on labs too.

SYFY Karaoke Bus at Comic-Con

Comic-Con is probably the biggest pop-culture and geek gathering in the country. Every year fans and creators alike descend on San Diego for four days of fun and revelry. And if you’re in the comics, video game, fantasy, or sci-fi entertainment business, you definitely want to be there to reach your target audience.

The SYFY channel has found a fun and fantastic way to be a part of the festivities. They’ve created karaoke bus tours featuring the actors from their show “The Magicians”. On this slow-rolling double-decker bus, you can sing along with your favorite tunes and serenade onlookers. As if that wasn’t enough fun for one convention, they also employed a NOLA style marching band. And finally, they created a geek wedding chapel where couples were united in legally binding bliss by none other than Orlando Jones. It was all designed to celebrate the network’s 25th anniversary in true Comic-Con style.

Why Proper Waitlist Management is Crucial to Experiential Marketing

8 Great Examples Experiential Marketing NextME Waitlist App

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how amazing your concept is if it’s not well executed and well managed. And a good experiential marketing concept is bound to draw crowds, so you’ll need to be prepared for them. Long lines and unclear wait times are likely to chase potential customers away before they have the chance to interact with your brand. Instead, utilize a waitlist management solution, like NextME, to keep things moving efficiently and keep visitors happy and engaged as they wait.

NextME has played a big part in the success of several of the examples above. When BMW needed to manage the crowds at 16 different events in 16 cities across the country, NextME stepped up with a standardized tool to ensure quicker turnarounds at each location. When the .Next conference needed to manage the lines waiting to engage with their Hands-On Lab, NextME’s mobile guest engagement platform helped them increase brand awareness. And when the Karaoke busses at Comic-Con wanted a quick and easy way for attendees to digitally reserve their spot on the singalong tour, NextME allowed them to do just that.

As you’re planning your experiential marketing strategies, don’t forget that you’ll need a way to keep waiting guests happy. Contact NextME to discuss how this fully customizable solution can work for your brand strategy.


5 Engaging Interactive Event Ideas Your Guests Won't Forget

Event marketing is a big way to engage with your target market in today’s world. The most impressive and memorable events involve interactive elements to really capture the attention and imagination of potential customers and clients. But how do you create an unforgettable experience that will resonate with attendees? Here are a few of our favorite interactive event ideas. 

Expert Consultations

Photo courtesy of Everystock Photo

You may be familiar with the Genius Bar at Apple Stores. It’s the brand’s version of tech support but carried out as a one-on-one consultation. The popular feature offers customers repairs, advice, and answers from knowledgeable experts.

This is an excellent technique to replicate at your industry events. Set up an area for attendees to have one-on-one time with your qualified experts. This type of interaction is extremely valuable to consumers and clients because it allows them access to professional advice. It also allows your experts to form a personal bond with attendees, and build an ongoing business relationship.

Brand Activations

The Netflix Altered Carbon booth at CES. Payless’s Palessi luxury shoe store marketing prank.  Carlsberg’s beer poster. The Oscar Meyer Weinermobile. What do all of these have in common? They’re all excellent examples of brand activations. But what does that even mean?

Photo courtesy of Oscar Meyer Wiener

Simply put, a brand activation is any experiential campaign designed to increase awareness of and engagement with your brand. They can be as simple as offering samples directly to your target market. Or they can be as complex as the Bates Motel at SXSW. But the most important things are that you get attention to your brand.

But the most important thing to remember is that a prank, stunt, or booth can’t stand alone. To make the most of your newly generated buzz, you should incorporate a social media campaign and engage the press with a PR strategy.

Photo Booths

Speaking of social media, one of the most common ways to get your visitors to share your brand online is the brand photo booth. These allow your attendees to share selfies on Instagram, Snapchat, and other apps with ease. And since you can include brand elements in the picture, it means your brand will be splashed across each of these platforms.

Photo courtesy of Etsy

So you create a really fabulous photo backdrop or hire and brand a digital photo booth. How to best leverage these photo ops for your event? First, be sure to create and widely publish a hashtag. Then, be sure to include a social media display in your booth. This way all the photos shared with your hashtag will show during the event. It’s a great way to prompt attendees to take part!

Not Just Swag, Custom Swag

If you’ve attended any sort of convention or networking event, you probably saw people handing out all sorts of goods from pens and coffee mugs to t-shirts and thumb drives. But in reality, a good bit of that event swag ends up in the trash. How do you create swag that people want to keep?

Photo courtesy of Lorem

Skip the standard giveaways and look for options that are unique to each attendee. Try hiring a caricature artist to create portraits of attendees. Or create a personalized thumb drive containing information, songs, or other data chosen by the user.

Or choose options that are unique to your brand. Instead of ordering out of the same catalog that a dozen of your competitors are using, create something unique. Make sure it ties in to your brand for an impression that lasts longer than your logo stitched onto a ballcap.

VR and AR

Create a digital experience with your brand that customers won’t soon forget. The use of virtual reality (VR) means attendees can interact with your brand beyond the physical limitations of your booth. Create a virtual reality demo of your product and its uses. Let them take a VR tour of your company headquarters or production facility.

Photo courtesy of SXSW at Dell House 

Augmented reality, on the other hand, brings digital elements into the physical space of your booth. The Snapchat lenses that allow users to add puppy ears or goofy effects to their faces are an excellent example. Pfizer Faucets used this technology to great effect at a show in 2017.

No matter which of these ideas you decide to implement, be sure to make it memorable to your product or service. They coolest photo ops or VR games won’t help if they have little connection to your brand. You want to create a memorable experience that attendees will associate with your brand in a positive way.


Innovative Ways to Engage Event Attendees

Top Ways to Increase Engagement at your Events

Photo Courtesy of CES 2019

Any organizer who has been in the business for long knows that event engagement is an excellent way of measuring the effectiveness of your events. Simply put, engagement is how fully your attendees are participating and how much of their attention your event has captured. If attendees are tuning out or working on other things, you’ve lost them. So it’s important to captivate your audience, from the moment they arrive until the event doors are closed. But how?

Encourage Real-Time Feedback

Asking event attendees what they thought of the event after it’s over is a useful way to improve your outreach. But when guests have a great experience or need someone to complain to, they want to be heard right now. The good news is, since every one of your attendees is likely carrying a phone, you can make that happen easily.

Create a virtual suggestion box and publish it before the event even begins, allowing them to have input through the registration process and leading up to the big day (or days). Include polls and survey questions in presentations or on event literature. Encourage them to text your brand or engage with social media via targeted hashtags, then be sure to monitor and respond to those feeds in real time. Create an event app that allows them to interact with and give feedback on every part of your event, in real time. The options are endless and often easily implemented with the help of current event management technology.

Skip the Lines with a Digital Waitlist App like NextME

Nothing will lose a captive audience quicker than to make them stand around and wait. If you want to keep your attendees engaged and excited about your event, allow them to skip the lines and spend that time learning, networking, or exploring instead. One simple and effective way to manage this is with the NextME app. It allows attendees to sign in quickly and then go do other things while they wait for a panel to start or an interactive experience to be ready.

Rather than forcing visitors to stand around waiting their turn, NextME allows them to sign in with just a few simple details. The app will then text them a link that includes a countdown to their place in line. You can customize this link to include all sorts of information, links to your social media, prompts to help them engage further with your brand, and even interact with your eCommerce site. They can then wander the event as they please, spend some time networking with other attendees, or go grab a snack or a quick drink. A few minutes before their spot is ready, the app will prompt them to return. They can confirm or cancel their reserved spot with a quick return text. During and after the event, you’ll get insightful and actionable reports on everyone who checked in, allowing for easy follow-up and feedback. And all of this without requiring them to download a thing!

Make Networking Simple and Fun  

One of the biggest reasons for attending in-person events is the ability to network with peers across the industry. Not only that, good networking automatically means increased engagement and a more favorable response to your event. Why not make it easier with fun and interactive networking games?

Create a networking scavenger hunt, where attendees have to interact with one another to fill in a list. Use simple prompts like, “find someone with the same initials as yourself,” or “find someone celebrating a birthday this month.” Once they’ve completed the hunt, they’re in the running for a door prize or other gift. They’ll meet tons of new people, have fun doing it, and possibly walk away with a prize.

Encourage smaller networking groups. Large networking mixers can be intimidating, and it’s often hard to find the right contacts in a room of hundreds of people. Instead, have your attendees fill out questionnaires at registration and then use the data to place them into smaller, targeted groups of 20-25 people. This will help to encourage more meaningful connections and provide increased value for attendees.