Beekeeper Group Works to Create a “Paperless Fly-In”
The International Franchise Association planned to host its Public Affairs Conference from September 10th to 11th. The organization expected nearly 500 attendees for the event. The fly-in was just like hundreds of others held yearly in Washington DC.; conference rooms on the Hill had the potential to change, messages had the potential to shift, and attendees required information. IFA wanted the ability to push information out to its attendees instantly, giving them the information they needed at their fingertips and allowing them to forgo a thick binder filled with reams of paper.
Additionally, Tom Epstein, CEO of payment processing company Franchise Payments Network, wanted to be the first to use the Lobby Day app for a large event. (A small group from the American Heart Association piloted the app at an event in June).
Beekeeper Group partner Mike Panetta developed the idea for the app during a presentation on social media. He realized one single app should exist to help people share their visits to Capitol Hill. The app may be ground breaking; the first one created specifically for lobby efforts on the Hill.
The App, “Lobby Day,” allows organizations to coordinate all information associated with the event, and keeps users up-to-date on new information. Organizations can load schedules, directories, photos, videos, and talking points into the app for event participants to see. The app is integrated with Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare to facilitate use of real-time status updates, hashtags, and check-ins that engage attendees. The app, which is available in the iTunes App store and the Android Marketplace, can be set up in less than 24 hours
IFA did not have much time to promote the app, as it became available in close proximity to the day of the fly-in. The organization decided to use Lobby Day because it is significantly more cost effective than printing 500 congressional directories that would only be used for a single event, among other reasons.
According to Matt Haller, IFA vice president of public affairs, almost 50 percent of the 450 attendees downloaded the app. Haller said that those who used the app enjoyed it very much. He noted these early adopters will encourage others to use the app in the future. Participants said that they appreciated having all of the information in one place and not having to carry around binders or papers. Haller also mentioned that his organization will “definitely” use Lobby Day again in the future.