Here @shoutem we spoke with Natalie Hawker, Marketing Coordinator at Surfers Paradise Alliance – a local government organization that promotes Surfers Paradise events, local businesses, and initiatives. They’ve decided to use iPhone and Android apps to publicise the Surfers Paradise Festival, an event held each March and April that promotes the Australian Gold Coast’s cultural scene. Natalie explained the importance of mobiles in event management and why event managers shouldn’t ignore mobiles anymore when communicating with event attendees.
1. Would you like to say few words about event Surfers Paradise Festival?
A celebration of Gold Coast music, art, food and culture, the Surfers Paradise Festival is here to entertain, intrigue, dazzle and delight. A vibrant showcase of emerging local talent and a platform for national and international artists, the festival occupies and defines Surfers Paradise across four weekends of free community events. Each weekend is themed to four distinct pillars – food, art, music and entertainment – ensuring it caters to all interests.
2. Why did you decide to use mobile as channel for communicating with your community?
Mobile technology seems especially pertinent for event management; at the last minute, details such as locations, times or wet weather notices need to be communicated quickly to event attendees. Using mobile platforms allows us to communicate right to the pocket of the App user, which proved to be a valuable tool this year.
3. Why do event planners need a mobile strategy?
Digital media is quickly becoming even more prevalent, allowing us to advertise to our consumers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Without a mobile website or event App, you have to rely on traditional media to communicate to guests, and at times that’s simply too slow. Platforms such as Instagram and Twitter are growing faster than ever – it’s clearly something the consumers want. Ignoring this or not adapting to the change could be detrimental to your event.
We do however believe that it’s important to pick the platforms that suit your event – not everyone has the resources or the ability to use every single social media outlet, so pick the most relevant and use it well. For us, that means the App, Facebook and Instagram; for others it could be Twitter, Pinterest, Blogging etc. etc.
4. Could you name a few advantages of mobile for event organizers or other online communicators?
The biggest for us is the ability to send out short messages to engaged users as needed. We found it particularly useful for one of our outdoor events; on the day it was pouring down with rain, so we moved inside and delayed live music. Being able to send out push notifications to people who voluntarily chose to receive our messages allowed us to communicate these changes instantly. You also have the ability to schedule the posts, which helps.
It’s no good sending out messages during 9 to 5 office hours if your users aren’t connected then. Being able to schedule allows you to do your research and send it when it’s most convenient for the majority of users. Plus, it’s relatively cheap to set up, and not heavily resource dependant, so in the long run, it’s very economical.