How Apps Can Enhance & Facilitate Meetings

By Tom O'Rourke President & CEO, O'Rourke Hospitality | August 30, 2015

A meeting planner responsible for a large event often compares one hotel against many others. One way for your hotel to stand out from the competition is to provide the meeting planner with a customizable, event-specific meeting mobile application. Meeting apps provide copious benefits to both the meeting planner and attendees and can be customized to fit the specific meeting. Apps increase attendee engagement before, during and after the event and create an easier and more convenient environment for the planner and attendees.

Pre-Meeting

Before the meeting, attendees are invited to download the app. They can sign up for the meeting directly through the application and then use the many features to prepare for the event. Rather than waiting until they arrive at the meeting to get a heavy bag stuffed with booklets, pamphlets, and papers, attendees can see all of the information on their smartphones ahead of time. They can read guest speakers' short biographies, watch videos, and navigate an interactive event map. Downloading the app allows attendees to plan accordingly for the event. They can view the agenda and favorite the sessions they would like to attend, creating their own personal schedule. The app allows attendees to arrive at the event fully informed and prepared for the upcoming sessions.

Printing enough booklets for everyone in attendance is a huge cost in the event planner's budget. However, the mobile app replaces the cumbersome printed booklets and pamphlets, reducing the cost of printing materials for the event. Creating a mobile app can actually be a cheaper option than printed booklets. Additionally, the lesser need for paper products may tie in with your organizations goals to become more 'green' and eco-friendly.

The app can also detail the amenities that will be present at the event such as seating charts for sessions and available food options. Should an event require attendees to sign-up for a session in advance, they can do so through the app. This feature gives meeting planners an accurate head count for the meeting in general or for specific sessions.

When initially signing into the app, attendees will be given the option to sign in using their LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook profiles. The app will then tell them who in their network is also attending the meeting. They can then connect through the app and plan to meet up at the conference. If someone in your network downloads the app after you, you will receive a push notification alerting that someone new from your network has joined the meeting.

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Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.