Henry Kogan
Henry Kogan 16 September 2016

How In-Venue Apps Make Your Content the Star of Any Event

Imagine boarding a cruise ship and not knowing a soul onboard. Fortunately you have your smart phone with you. There’s a sign on deck suggesting to download a free app. It promises to help you meet other passengers, find fun activities on the ship and let you go shopping without leaving the vessel.

By the time you’ve reached port, you’ve made new friends, learned to salsa and retired your beaten up dress shoes for a new, shiny pair.

Seem too good to be true? Welcome to the wonderful world of in-venue apps.

Finnish cruise company Viking Line provides its passengers this very app onboard all its vessels.  Designed and built by Ixonos, one of our many talented eZ Partners, the app treats passengers to an immersive digital experience, one that elegantly blends online and offline activity. All content is stored in eZ’s semantic content repository and fed to the app via eZ’s REST API.

Vikiing Line's mobile experience

Ixonos’s in-venue app is making big waves for Viking Line, and passengers are taking full advantage of this immersive digital experience.

The Vikiing line app was the first of it’s kind for a cruise ship and has proven to be very successful. Positive customer feedback and a demonstrated return on investment has proven the value of putting time and resources into developing an app for your venue.

What is an in-venue app?

Have you come across an app for when you watch your local professional baseball team or go to a theme park, museum or an academic conference? These are in-venue apps and they’re a proven way to deliver your customers a memorable user experience and build brand advocacy.  

If your organization holds events or brings customers to specific destinations, an in-venue app strategy could be the ticket to engaging your consumers, increasing revenue and driving repeat business. 

What can an in-venue app do for your users?

Discover must-see sites

Most users who are new to a venue may find it difficult to navigate. Use an in-venue app to provide a map of the area and help visitors find their seats, restrooms, vendors and any  specific sites, exhibits or other places of interest. The app can provide an  interactive experience so your guests can mark where they want to go and make the most out of their time. To take it a step further, users can even be provide tailored notifications when they arrive at certain areas in the venue.

Make new friends

Apps with social networking components enable users to connect with like-minded people and make new friends. Once a taboo notion, meeting people through apps is becoming commonplace, especially in urban areas. How could social networking be used in the context of your business?

Find out about new products

Customers love to shop on their phones and on the go. It’s very easy to have your entire product catalog on the phone. Customers can browse through items and maybe even find something they would not have considered earlier.

Read compelling content related to the venue 

Imagine going to a museum and being able to read more information about a particular painting on your phone. This is possible with an In-Venue app. Using a CMS that can structure your content, facilitates the repurposing of relevant information across multiple channels and devices. In addition the app can notify you of a related video or article.

Avoid those dreadfully long lines

Time is of the essence so use an in-venue app to provide your customers with key information on wait times for attractions or even nearby bathrooms. Most in-venue apps have built-in notification systems to alert users of emergencies or changes in schedules.  

Why develop an in-venue app?

We’ve highlighted the benefits an in-venue app can bring to the consumer. But you might be wondering ‘What’s in it for me, the provider?’ Here are just a few of the many reasons to consider in-venue apps.

Drive attendance 

Users in general, and especially sports fans, love interacting with their devices. It may seem counterintuitive, considering they have come to watch a live event. But studies have shown otherwise and sports fans often use their mobile devices as they watch games or search social media and other websites to get information about players, teams and expert commentary. Sports fans form a collective and engage in what psychologists refer to as tribe mentality. Social networking capabilities are able to facilitate this bond and create a more immersive experience.

Increase engagement and revenue

By increasing engagement, your app will provide you with many opportunities to capture revenue you might have missed otherwise. For instance, at a sporting event, fans can order hot dogs and beer. At a concert, you can order band merchandise

Many businesses gamify their apps, and create incentives for users to buy products or share information on social media. Users earn points and badges that they can use later for discounts on products. This drives users to make purchases at at the venue they might not have made otherwise. Your app is another place where sponsors can advertise. If ads are truly relevant to the user’s activity, it can be a win-win for your business and your customers.

Extend your content through the Internet of Things 

Your content’s reach is not limited to the confines of an app. With a flexible CMS like eZ, you can have your content separated from presentation. In our article on headless CMS, we talk about the advantages of using a channel neutral repository for this particular use case.  You can easily push out content to smart screens and digital  kiosks. Not only does this expose your content to more eyeballs outside the app, it also creates an opportunity for people with the app to share their experience. This may be anything from photos, short videos or comments.

Gain insights

What your users do in the app can be tracked and measured, as long as data privacy is handled properly. You can then create reports and analyze the data to see if there are pain points at your venue. For example, are certain products not selling well on the e-shop. You can also gauge if users are taking advantage of social networking capabilities and rank which pieces of content are most popular. And most importantly, you can see where your users are spending the bulk of their time and adjust your marketing strategy accordingly.

How should you manage your in-venue content?

No matter which language your front-end developers use to build the app, it’s essential to think about how you’ll store and manage your content. We advocate for organizations to consider a headless CMS approach, in which content is stored in a repository and delivered to the app via an API. eZ Platform—and our premium version eZ Enterprise—provide this flexibility, in addition to traditional web content management. With our approach, you can use a single repository to manage content for your website, your in-venue app and any other digital properties such as an intranet, online shop or connected devices (IoT).

Share your thoughts! Have you used an in-venue app that you particularly enjoyed? Does your business offer one? We’d love to know! Leave a comment below.  

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