Thomson Reuters Elite: Mastering the Art of User Conferences

How a leading enterprise business management solution provider boosted attendee feedback and networking at their largest user conference.

Planning for the Biggest Event of the Year

Thomson Reuters Elite is a provider of an end-to-end enterprise business management solution for law firms and professional services organizations worldwide. They host three Vantage user conferences around the globe each year. The U.S. conference is always the largest, and in 2013, the company attracted nearly 700 people to Miami for a week of education sessions, user group meetings and special events.

Overcoming Big Challenges

In 2012, the company decided to create a mobile event app in partnership with an event marketing company for its Vantage Las Vegas meeting program and agenda. Unfortunately, the app was filled with bugs, lacked intuitiveness and did not provide the flexibility needed to make changes or manage data. Once the app was launched, important event details could not be changed so the program content was not accurate. “As a technology company, the app was not a great reflection of our capabilities,” said Laura Baumgardner, Senior Product Marketer at Thomson Reuters Elite. “The experience was awful for us and for our users. To make matters worse, we were also using the conference to launch a mobile app for our financial system, which is the backbone of our customers’ firms. Needless to say, having a poor event app was unfortunate timing.”

“We needed an app that had an up-to-date schedule that could sync with iCalendar, and social media integration that could use pre-populated Twitter hashtags. We wanted these basic features to keep everyone up-to-date with the latest information and better engaged in event activities. What we got from QuickMobile was so much more.”
Laura Baumgardner, Senior Product Marketer, Thomson Reuters Elite

Getting Mobile Right

Following the 2012 event, the Vantage team discussed the continued need for a mobile app at future events, recognizing that they “had one chance to get it right.” After evaluating a few providers and experiencing a QuickMobile app through the International Legal Technology Association, Thomson Reuters Elite selected QuickMobile to build its next mobile event app. For Baumgardner, getting the basics right would be the most important goal for Vantage 2013.

Increase in Attendee Feedback and Networking

“We decided to do something different to capture attendee feedback after each session. In the past, we collected paper-based surveys, which required our staff to manually enter the results into computers after the event. Having the surveys available in the app immediately after attendees left a session definitely helped in the quality and quantity of surveys that we received,” said Baumgardner.

Compared to 2012, which resulted in only a few hundred collected surveys, more than 8,500 surveys were completed through the QuickMobile event app. The app also facilitated networking in a new way, using QR codes to exchange personal contact information. Each attendee was assigned a unique QR code and when they scanned someone else’s code, the information was instantly downloaded to their address books. The app was the only way that attendee contact information could be exchanged and accessed, which eliminated any concerns about privacy.

By the end of the conference, attendees had exchanged contact information though the app more than 1,100 times.

All Fun and Games

“The app’s basic features performed as promised and the survey responses exceeded expectations, but the smartest thing we did was to include a gamification component,” added Baumgardner. “We weren’t sure if people would get excited about it, but once people arrived, they were immediately talking and tweeting about it.”

The game integrated virtually every aspect of the conference. Event organizers used prize incentives to get people to participate. Points were awarded for tweeting, adding sessions to personal schedules, uploading photos, completing surveys and checking in at various points throughout the event. The game was also used to drive traffic to exhibitors’ and sponsors’ booths.

“Everyone was really engaged with the game, and exhibitors and sponsors were excited about how the app drove traffic to their booths.”
Prior to the event, exhibitors were assigned a unique QR code that was displayed prominently in their booths. Attendees received points for checking in at the booths and interacting with exhibitors. In addition, when the exhibitors’ QR codes were scanned, their collateral was immediately downloaded to attendees’ mobile app briefcases, which also helped the Vantage team move closer to a paperless event. Attendees who collected the most points and finished on top of the app’s leaderboard received iPads, Beats headphones or American Express gift cards.

“We certainly proved the concept, and next year, we will be able to offer advertising and sponsorship packages that will further advance the gamification aspect of the app, as well as our revenue-generation opportunities.”

  • Highest app adoption ever
  • Increase in feedback and networking
  • More participation through gamification

Night and Day Experience

In 2012, 30% of attendees downloaded the Vantage Las Vegas conference app. At Vantage Miami, that number exceeded 85%.

I approached app development with apprehension based on past experience,” said Baumgardner. “QuickMobile quickly helped me to get comfortable because they were responsive, helpful, and they delivered what we wanted. The experience with QuickMobile compared to 2012 was night and day.

Thomson Reuters Elite is in the process of moving toward completely paperless events. While programs were printed for Miami, the goal for 2014 at Vantage New York is to eliminate all paper except for a one-pager that has session names and times. Everything else will be housed in the app, helping to reduce event costs by as much as $10,000.

Baumgardner concluded, “We are a technology company and we need to showcase that at all of our big events. QuickMobile helped us to achieve that goal, and a full featured, engaging app is now the expectation.”

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