An Event Planner’s Recipe for Success: The Incentive Research Foundation

Putting on an event for professionals who arrange destination events for a living can be daunting. The expectations are high and everything has to be perfect. This is the story of how the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) used QuickMobile’s app technology to ensure their event went off without a hitch.

When Everything Has to Run Perfectly

The IRF funds and promotes research to advance the science, enhance the awareness and improve the appropriate application of incentives in business globally.

For over two decades, the IRF has been holding the Annual Incentive Invitational which provides four days of networking, education and destination showcase experiences that foster new relationships and solidify existing ones with decision makers from incentive companies and supplier corporations.

All participants are exposed to the current trends in the incentive travel industry with many chances to experience a wide range of group activities. Since everyone is connected to travel and incentives in some calibre, the invitational has to meet and exceed the high standards of the attendees.

Making it Social: Connecting Buyers, Suppliers & Sponsors

For the first time in 24 years the IRF attendee list was comprised of 50% buyers and 50% sellers. This made for an ideal mix of vast networking possibilities and organically promoted the networking capabilities used in the QuickMobile app. The ability to easily network made the entire event much more impactful and eventful for the attendees.

  • Contact exchange functionality facilitated networking
  • Gamification was widely embraced and became highly competitive
  • Social media channels linked to the mobile app were centralized around the event hashtag

“For this event, the focus is networking, so the contact exchange feature has been amazing,” said Kelsey Secules, event planner for the IRF Invitational. “This event is about everyone coming together. The sponsors are meeting with buyers in hopes of fostering relationships and trying to seal the deal… and building strong partnerships in the process.”

Secules continued, “To make the event more entertaining, we added gamification, where every aspect of the app is incentivised with points toward the game, which was perfect for this crowd. They were really eating it up! Every night we had a social called “Afterglows” where people could see the results of the game, like who was winning for the day and whom they had to keep up with. We put the leaderboard up on the big screen since it was so easy to display, and the attendees became enthralled with it, as they could see how they ranked among the others.”

“We also incentivized uploads of photos to the event gallery by awarding points in the game. Attendees could photograph what’s going on around them and we could capture those photos for our use on social media and for next year’s event gallery. They really enjoyed seeing each others’ photos and they even started to post and then out-post each other,” said Secules.

In order to bring the excitement of the event to the outside world, the IRF used the social media integration in the event app to drive attendees’ use of external channels. Creating a hashtag around the event and encouraging attendees to use Twitter via the QuickMobile app (awarding game points for each tweet,) extended the event’s social reach to an even greater number of personal networks. “We noticed the Invitational’s hashtag skyrocket over the course of the event. It’s been really exciting to see. The fact that attendees could post within the app really increased the value of the event for the IRF,” said Secules.

“I’ve used a couple of other mobile event apps in the past as a coordinator of events, and I have to say I’m very, very impressed with the level of detail, the level of attention and the overall user-friendliness of QuickMobile. ”
Kelsey Secules, Event Planner, Incentive Research Foundation

The Creation of the Event: Building and Doing

In order to support the unique characteristics of the IRF Invitational event by the mobile app, the IRF worked closely with QuickMobile to design an event app that was informative and extremely engaging.

“We had an exclusive customer success manager,” said Secules. “I was travelling a lot during the course of the build –we were often on different time zones, and we were still able to execute on this perfectly. Having a dedicated person focused on the app really made planning such a smooth process as it allowed me to focus on other high priority aspects of the event.”

Putting the Pieces Together

Once the event app had been created, the IRF Invitational was ready for the arrival of thousands of attendees. Being able to communicate changes or send reminders was key to ensuring that the event flowed smoothly. Of particular value to the IRF team were push notifications. By creating and scheduling important announcements to attendees and having them show up in both the devices’ notification center and the app’s activity feed proved extremely valuable. As some attendees were not regularly monitoring the app’s activity feed, a dual communication system allowed the event organizers to ensure that important messages were being received.

It’s About the Relationship

The IRF and QuickMobile were able to forge a strong partnership that led to a hugely successful event. When asked to comment on QuickMobile, Secules had this to say: “Having that relationship with your app provider is so essential because when you’re onsite and your brain is focused on seventeen different things at once, and you still need to send that push notification because lunch is starting fifteen minutes later than it should, you need that relationship. You can send that off and have someone else focus on it. You really need confidence in that person that they can get the job done. And that has absolutely been my experience with QuickMobile.”

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