Any event professional who wants to be at the top of their game has to consistently find ways to revolutionize their attendee’s experience. Artificial Intelligence is transforming the events industry as a whole, yet a key part of the attendee experience is still the most ‘human’ one — networking.
Up to this point, event networking has been a slightly overlooked area. While the days are over when event-goers were thrown together with a generous bar tab and expected to ‘mingle’, notions of ‘exposure to prospects’ and ‘creating the right atmosphere’ for meaningful connections are still fuzzy.
Consistently getting the human-to-human connection right – appropriately and meaningfully – is what turns a ‘regular’ attendee event experience into something revolutionary.
Here at Grip we focus on getting that connection right. Through personalizing the networking experience with Artificial Intelligence, we’ve facilitated about a million connections so far (and counting).
Here’s an insight into some of the key networking personality traits we’ve encountered, and how you can use an understanding of them to revolutionize your own attendees’ experiences.
Time savers have signed up to the event because they want a tangible ROI on the cost of attending the event. With them, the saying ‘time is money’ is not a cliche. They could be start-ups looking for a partnership, sales looking to capture a business lead, exhibitors looking for a customer — but they’re looking to make the most of their time.
Help them schedule meetings before the event even begins, to boost networking productivity.
“The meetings would have taken at least the first day of the conference to arrange – but (with Grip) I’ve been able to arrange them a week in advance.” — Max Davies-Gilbert, Director, Enemigo
Closely related to Time-savers are the Curators. These are the folk who believe in scheduling good quality meetings, not lots of them. It’s easy to collect or ‘swipe’ as many business cards as possible, but Curators know that a staggering 87% of leads at tradeshows are not followed up on, and they want to use their time and resources better.
“The app helps you clarify which potential meetings you want to have… 5 out of 6 meetings I’ve had are quality meetings; I’ve had 8 yesterday and 8 today, so it’s been pretty good.” — Matthew Servini, CEO, The Craft Distilling business
With a completely different work set-up – open offices and mobile workstations – and a job that entails being constantly on-the-go, the Restless would prefer not to be tied down to lots of paperwork, or logging in to an app multiple times and updating it on – heaven forbid – a desktop. They live on their smartphones and tablets, so nimble, easily-managed mobile technology is the way to go.
“Grip was the ideal solution to introduce both an app and a matchmaking solution to the young and mobile Imbibe Live audience. We needed a solution which would work easily through their phones, especially as due to the nature of their jobs they are not at their desks very often.” — Sonja Van Praag, Publishing & Events Director, Imbibe
Most of the hard work in networking involves that element of uncertainty – trying to get the right connection in the right place and time. With the right app, attendees won’t have to leave their networking to random chance. Grip, in fact, uses Artificial Intelligence to make a science of serendipity, ensuring that attendees not only meet the most relevant people to their business, but also – potentially – unexpected connections that are useful.
“Usually I’m struggling to find the right person at the right time… Now, with the app, I’m not only setting up meetings with people who wanted to meet, but also meeting new people whom you might not have otherwise bumped into, which is revolutionary.” — Philip Harding, Founder, Dingle
As an events professional, you’re likely to be more of an extrovert — you like to get out there, meet people and get things done. But not all attendees are the same. For some, ‘networking opportunities’ at an event can sound more like a threat than a promise — even if networking is part of their job. And who doesn’t have days when they aren’t up to the demanding task of meeting and mingling?
Cover all the bases with a networking app that ensures parties mutually interested in each other can connect without an awkward handshake or spammy meeting request in sight. A ‘Handshake’ in the Grip app signals to both parties that there’s interest to meet on both sides.
Tip – This works really well with VIP attendees too – they get to define how much networking they want to do, and with whom.
“It’s quite easy to meet up, because they have an interest in you, and you have an interest in them. You have the Handshake, so you assume you both have an interest.” — Caitlin Frost, Sales Manager, GlassCo
Of the million and one things to do for an event, the ‘UX’ – User Experience – of an event app is rarely on organizers’ priority lists. But attendees now expect more, and appreciate a well-designed app. Good UX makes the difference between an app that attendees download – and then promptly ignore – versus one whose interface is easy to understand and fun to use.
“Grip is very easy to navigate, and connecting with people is quite a low barrier process; very few obstacles… This is one of the best experiences digitally, both in terms of correspondence but also in terms of UX.” — James Sandrini, Director, Eight Point One
Grip empowers attendees, exhibitors and hosted buyers to make meaningful connections at events. Contact us to see if we can provide an event app and professional matchmaking solution that suits your event.
A leading global association of tradeshow organizers and the exhibition industry has recognized Grip as one of the top event apps this year.
UFI, which comprises 725 member organizations in 85 countries worldwide, awarded Grip its 2017 ICT Technology Award in July. The Technology Award honors outstanding digital tools designed to make the next generation of exhibition professionals fit for the future, and recognizes new technologies that support the exhibition industry. The theme for this year’s Award was: “Digital Innovation – What will be our solution for the future?”.
Grip, which also won last year’s IMEXPitch, stood out from the competition with an innovative product which offers an event networking app that has established more than 60,000 connections (and counting) for thousands of professionals.
Presenting at the UFI European Conference, Co-Founder and Grip CEO Tim Groot explained that the idea for the product emerged when the organizers of Cannes Lions 2016 wanted a smoother and more engaging way for attendees to network. Grip’s solution was to design a standalone custom event app using Artificial Intelligence to power a matchmaking API (Application Programming Interface) to deliver the best networking recommendations in a fast and friendly way.
Put to the test at the 15,000-attendee event, the Cannes Lions networking app established an average of 8.4 connections per user and more than 20,000 connections over a few days, enabling hundreds of face-to-face meetings, meaningful connections, and creating a huge positive impact on the event experience.
Also presented were
According to UFI, “presentations from the finalists were of an excellent standard, making the selection of an overall winner a very challenging assignment”. However, Grip’s presentation was “clear, comprehensive and met all the requirements needed for the tool to be considered a winning solution”. Other finalists presenting to the UFI’s Digital Innovation Committee in Cologne, Germany, included Messe München GmbH, ExpoPlatform, and Messukeskus Helsinki, Expo and Convention Center.
“The UFI Technology Award is one of the most prestigious technology awards in the trade show world.” says Tim Groot. “We feel honored to be chosen as this year’s winner among so many great companies, and it’s great to see that the judges share our belief that technology can vastly improve networking and deliver an improved return on investment for exhibitors by leveraging the power of Artificial Intelligence.”
“We are looking forward to presenting our solution at UFI’s Global Congress in Johannesburg later this year and will continue to push the boundaries of technology at trade shows.”
Grip’s win comes hot on the heels of last year’s IMEXPitch award, a competition for event tech startups to showcase themselves to event organizers and marketers from around the world. It’s run as part of IMEX America, the US’ largest annual meetings industry trade show, featuring the largest hosted buyer program in North America. Grip also won the standing-room only audience poll at IMEXPitch, and will be displaying at IMEX later this year.
UFI’s Awards recognize and reward successful result-oriented initiatives in the exhibition industry in areas ranging from digital innovation, human resources, marketing and operations and services to trade fair poster design and sustainable development. UFI represents around 50,000 exhibition industry employees globally, and works closely with its 58 national and regional association members. Over 900 international trade fairs bear the UFI approved label, a quality guarantee for visitors and exhibitors. UFI members continue to provide the international business community with a unique marketing media aimed at developing outstanding face-to-face business opportunities. More information on the UFI is available at www.ufi.org.
It’s been a busy year at Grip. The event networking app, with its ground-breaking professional matchmaking API, is looking to welcome its 50,000th ‘handshake’ – when attendees agree to connect with each other – very soon.
This, after breaking through the millionth ‘swipe’ milestone in August, signals the massive adoption by event attendees happy to use its unique, artificial intelligence algorithm.
Says CEO Tim Groot: “Event attendees are realising that networking at an event is no longer a lottery where finding the right business contacts to meet is left to chance. With Grip, people make connections with those they can collaborate with and often go on to do business together.”
Award-Winning AI Matchmaking
In October, the company won the prestigious #IMEXPitch America award, winning both the judge’s award and the (standing-room-only) audience poll for its practicality, innovativeness, and ease of implementation, amongst other things.
Miguel Neves, Digital Content and Community Manager at IMEX Group, said, “Grip stood out as both advanced in terms of the technology used and the design of the software. It is the best of both worlds when you can use a powerful tool that feels easy to use and can really help you make the most of the time and resources put into participating in each event.”
Grip also bested 60 other entrants to feature as a finalist at the 2016 ibtm world Technology and Innovation Watch Award, a significant technology award for the meetings industry, in November.
New Application Programme Interface (API)
This came after the team launched an API that allows Grip’s matchmaking functions to be used seamlessly by any company’s website or existing digital apps. For events needing a quick plug-and-play for more than networking, Grip partnered with five companies — Attendease, ITM Mobile, Loopd, Goomeo and Eventfuel — offering event management, indoor event navigation, and event app specialist integration opportunities.
“It provides a seamless and simple solution for companies keen to use our matchmaking engine in the optimum way and who want to integrate it with their existing solutions,” says Tim.
Scale Not An Issue
In June, Grip was the networking app of choice at the 15,000-attendee Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, and in May, at the 350+ exhibitor, 16,000-attendee Retail Design Expo in London.
“Networking at (big events) can be a nightmare, especially as a startup.” said Nicholas Oliver, founder of people.io. “Grip connected me with some great people including the CEO of a major global agency group, whom we’re now working with on a significant partnership for people.io.”
For the touch of exclusivity on a smaller scale, Grip was also responsible for curating the networks — while respecting the privacy — of celebrities and VIPs attending the invite-only Founders Forum in London in June.
“Our delegates really enjoyed the networking app, with some even approaching me to compliment its use at Founders Forum.” said Anaïs Benazet, Head of Events at Founders Forum.
The Future Is AI
The year ahead will see event technology and artificial intelligence featuring prominently in the way attendees engage with each other and their events.
With its combination of natural language processing, advanced algorithms and deep neural networks to “match” people at events, Grip is already at the forefront of event networking. But the work is hardly complete.
“We’re constantly improving ourselves, building a robust and innovative system that can be relied on to deliver excellent networking experiences for your attendees, exhibitors and sponsors to make event technology as it should be for organizers — seamless, dependable, and brand-enhancing,” says Grip’s CEO Tim.
“Much the way our artificial intelligence learns what attendees prefer in the course of their event, and makes better recommendations, we’re looking forward to unveiling new features and services to better serve our clients as we go along.”
Watch this space!
An Event Networking App is the perfect tool to make your attendees network fast and efficiently. High adoption among attendees is crucial if you want to successfully use an event networking app like Grip at your event. Through the hundreds of events that we’ve worked with we have learned a thing or two about how to promote the app that we would like to share with you.
Besides an networking app being able to increase attendee engagement they’re also fantastic tools for gaining deeper insight into your attendees. However it all starts with getting high adoption, follow the steps below to achieve just that!
The majority of your attendees will check your website before the event. Positioning the App under “Attending Attendees” can help you get a better adoption rate.
You can use the images we provide in the “Marketing Pack” and add short description explaining the benefits of the App. We will also provide you with a smart marketing link to provide to your attendees, so they can download the app quickly.
Write a short, informative blurb for your website that clearly answers the question: “Why should they download the networking app?” by describing the benefits of the app.
Benefits of Grip for attendees:
Make it easy to download the App:
At Grip we will provide you with a smart marketing link that will send attendees straight into your event on the app without the need to enter a reference code or password. We’re seeing significantly less drop-off from click to joining of the event because of our smart marketing links.
At Grip we will provide you with designed promo banners to place on your website. This will generate excitement about your event letting your attendees know that they can network with each other before, during, and after the event.
A large part of downloads to our apps come from emails and for many organizers it is the preferred way to communicate with their attendees. Used effectively, it can drive a significant number of people to your app in a short period of time. We suggest a two-step approach to introduce networking at your event:
Email Your VIP & Influencers First
Get your VIPs on the app first to encourage others to join. Ask speakers and exhibitors to send pre-event social media posts to their followers, fans and connections to announce the app and encourage downloads. Before, during and after the event. Speakers can connect with other speakers, influencers and attendees.
Email the rest of your attendees
Leverage the high-profile people that have already joined the app to attract more attendees to join. An example text could be to use an image of one of the speakers or VIPs in your email or mention their name. It creates urgency for the attendee to join and has a significant improvement on your app downloads.
When your Event inside the Grip App or your event networking app is ready to be downloaded, make announcements on social media ensuring you convey the right tone of voice on each platform:
Linkedin & Facebook
Add a post and upload screenshots to Facebook to promote the fun and engaging aspects of your event networking app, speaking in a more casual tone of voice to get people excited. Choose images from your “Marketing Pack” that clearly display your app to give people a sense of what is coming up. Don’t forget to include your smart marketing link to make the app accessible.
Twitter & Instagram
At least one month prior to your event, start sending out tweets to your followers and continue to tweet with different messages at least 3 times per week leading up to your event. Leverage your event’s hashtags and Grip hashtags for keywords so that anyone who does a search will find your tweet. Telling them that they can network before the event this will also increase attendee satisfaction.
Grip handle & hashtags:
Making sure your staff knows everything about the networking app seems trivial, however, they are at the forefront of the event. Making sure they are advocate of the app and you will be sure to have a successful networking event.
Host a mobile app support booth and create a networking bar where attendees can meet and share business contacts near the coffee and food stand is usually a good place. Place support staff at phone charging hotspots throughout the conference centre to help people who might ordinarily shy away from new technologies or might need some extra help. Giving your support staff recognizable shirts will help them stand out from the crowd – sending a clear message about your commitment to customer service at your event.
To gain maximum visibility on-site at your event, create banners and tabletop signs that reinforce the messages you’ve already sent out through email, social media and the web.
Announce the mobile app in as few words as possible and clearly show how to download it. Use bold imagery that catches the eye and try varying your messages on different banners and signs throughout the conference centre.
Place your tabletop signs and banners by the registration area to greet attendees as they arrive and ensure that banners are located throughout the event centre in highly visible areas. Make sure to have tabletop signs for all keynote sessions, breakouts and social gatherings.
During your welcome reception, have your keynote speaker generate excitement about the mobile app in his/her presentation. Make sure your speaker gives attendees a sneak preview of the app and clearly displays a link for attendees to download it.
Monitor the app adoption in your Grip dashboard and promote the app accordingly. We can also provide you with a list of who has already joined the event. Sending emails only to the people that haven’t joined the app yet.
Event organizers are the first to tell us that their event was created to bring the best and brightest people within a particular industry together to learn and connect with their peers. This resonates, with what Attendees tell us. 84% of them say that finding meeting new people at the event is very important to them.
The Grip Networking App allows anyone at an event to connect with other attendees, resulting in a significant increase in attendee satisfaction. The Grip App was designed to connect your attendees with the people they desire to meet at your event fast and efficiently.
In the Grip App attendees simply login with LinkedIn or Facebook and if both attendees swipe right on each other they will have a Handshake. This will allow them to chat and meet face to face at the event.
Why do both attendees have to swipe right on each other?
This eliminates the spam messages from unwanted attendees. This means that also your VIPs and speakers can use the Grip networking app without being spammed.
What if my attendees need to speak to specific people at my event?
With the attendees previous behaviour the Grip AI recommends the right people to meet. The AI will learn from the attendee previous behaviour and recommend people to meet, this happens seamlessly in the background.
Where traditional attendee lists inside event apps offer a static and cumbersome experience, Grip is everyone’s personal matchmaker. Constantly looking for the right people to connect you with in a fully personalized experience. The problem with an attendee list is that many people often search for a particular job title. However, many job titles can describe the same job. With an attendee list event goers often miss out on the most valuable connections they could have made during an event.
An attendee often looks at the attendee list to be able to find a particular set of people to meet at the event with our tool we remove the effort an attendee has to make in finding the people to meet and then having to find them during the event. Enabling more time to talk with people face to face at your event.
Our App was designed to make it fun and easy to use for your attendees to connect with others without them having to fill in a ton of information within the app. With our simple one click login system with LinkedIn and Facebook, the attendee’s profiles will already be pre-populated making sure they can network as soon as they have signed up to Grip.
Why a networking App if my attendees can exchange business cards face to face?
We know that your attendees understand the advantage of face to face communication in business. Attendees are 5 times more likely to come back to an event if they find the right people to meet. This is why we know that Grip increases attendee satisfaction. Grip is there to facilitate networking at your event.
We all heard the stories your attendees have prepared their business cards look at the attendee list and had a list of people they wanted to target. However, when they arrived at the event they become disappointed because they can’t find the people they wanted to talk to. Grip changes all that, our AI helps attendees connect quickly so they can make the most of the event.
When others speak about live event engagement we speak about real life engagement by that we mean that your attendees will be more engage in your event by making the right connections.
We maximise the connections an attendee can make at an event giving you the assurance that your attendees have a productive event. Attendees are 5 times more likely to come back to an event after making connections at that event.
The Grip app is integrated with Slido for event polling and other event App making sure event organizers get the features they want. This also removes the needs of having multiple apps.
We recognise that event apps are not adopted by everyone this makes it even more difficult for event organizers to know if attendees had a successful event.
Our event analytics focuses on “connections” giving you peace of mind that your attendees have made the right connections during the event, enhancing their experience of the event and most importantly giving you a clear view of how many connection were made during the event. The analytics gives a clear breakdown of who came to the event helping you get the right sponsors.
Our App facilitates word of mouth about an event by getting your attendee engaged with other attendees by facilitating networking at the event. An attendee that has made great connections at an event is 10 times more likely to recommend the event to its peers. This is why we know that our app can boost ticket sales on a recurring event.
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We are Grip, a professional networking app for events. Grip empowers professionals to achieve their networking potential. The Grip matchmaking app connects delegates, speakers, and exhibitors in a fast and simple way.