Casino gaming is all about nonstop action fueled by pulsating lights, the sounds of electronics and endless entertainment, and the Global Gaming Expo (G2E)—the largest annual gathering of global, commercial and tribal gaming professionals in North America, according to organizers—certainly mirrors that experience for its nearly 30,000 attendees.

But with all manner of distractions competing for attendees’ attention, how do show organizers provide a method in the seeming madness?

“As the shows continue to grow, it becomes more challenging to know where to spend your time as an attendee,” said Allie Barth, vice president of industry relations of G2E organizer American Gaming Association. “Much in the way we have an oversaturation of information coming at us in the form of cell phones and computer screens, you can be faced with an overwhelming number of options of where to spend your time at G2E.”

Innovation Incubator Panel Discussion at G2E 2018
Innovation Incubator Panel Discussion at G2E 2018

According to Barth, the secret of keeping both G2E buyers and sellers happy is in offering a robust scheduling platform that results in attendees being empowered to more precisely control their schedule to maximize the return on their investment of time and money.

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“Our key buyers tell us that seeing product demonstrations and meeting with knowledgeable salespeople is a top reason for attending G2E, so we wanted to provide a seamless experience for their customers by leveraging our technology offerings to create a positive customer experience when they come to our show,” Barth said.

“In my mind it goes back to that seamless experience through technology and digital platforms for improving navigation through the show,” she added.

How G2E Leverages Its Show App to Maximize the Attendee Experience

G2E, which will be held October 14-17, 2019, at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas and managed by Reed Exhibitions, leverages Sherpa Solutions for its mobile event platform.

G2E 2018 Exhibit Show Floor
G2E 2018 Exhibit Show Floor

Sponsored by global gaming machine and technology systems giant Konami Gaming, the primary benefits of the smartphone app include:

  • A matchmaking feature that pairs buyers with the most relevant sellers before the show begins.
  • Geolocation capability that provides attendees with a visual pin showing where they are, and then booth-by-booth turns to lead them where their next appointment or area of interest is.
  • A real-time question and answer function that facilitates communication between show staff and attendees, allowing for queries to be answered rapidly by a real person via text messaging.

Precise matchmaking and geolocation technology—facilitated via the user-friendly interface of attendees’ smartphones—are critical for such a large show with so many moving parts. Assessing the features of an event app before making an investment is also crucial for meeting and event planners.

“It’s familiar, and it’s something that we’re excited to be able to offer in a way that reduces the amount of effort the attendee has to do on the front end to literally find what they’re looking for,” Barth said. “We’re hopeful that it will save some of the time they spend in preparation for the show—it’s much more efficient for attendees.”

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Barth added that the association hopes to use data collected from the 2019 event to expand its technology to provide a heat-mapping capability, which will benefit attendee flow and increase exhibitor and sponsor ROI.

“Activating all these solutions through a mobile app will allow us to have heat mapping to analyze traffic flow,” Barth said, “so we’re excited to see the output of this year’s show to help us inform decisions in the future.”

The Mammoth Scope of G2E

The sheer logistics of G2E provide an ideal testing ground for any convention app.

Besides a show floor with more than 400 exhibitors—with an additional 90 expected for the 2019 edition—and appearances by gaming destination entertainers and celebrities such as Penn & Teller, G2E also offers 19 special events such as networking receptions and parties.

And that's not counting the 110 educational sessions during the conference.

G2E 2018 Exhibit Show Floor
G2E 2018 Exhibit Show Floor

A full day dedicated to education is offered on the first day.

Much like the use of smartphone app tech is transforming the meetings and events industry, many G2E educational sessions will focus on how technology is disrupting the gaming industry, which has always been at the forefront of tech advancements. Examples include:

Embracing the meetings industry trend of offering educational content both on and off the exhibit hall floor, G2E also realized the need to schedule education and exhibit floor hours simultaneously—further increasing the need for a robust scheduling platform.

G2E also stages its opening keynotes on the exhibit hall floor.

“We open the floor following an educational keynote session every morning from 9 to 10—we moved it to the trade show floor a number of years ago,” Barth said.

“A number of consultants told us that was crazy to do, but we found out that colocation and proximity was a benefit to both attendees and exhibitors, so they could get education and then take a few steps to get knowledge at an exhibitor’s booth,” she added.

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One challenge G2E hopes to continue making strides to overcome is enticing attendees to stay through the last day of the event.

Any regular convention-goer knows this goal can be decimated by exhibitors packing up their booths and leaving early, along with buyers exiting to beat the travel rush.

G2E 2018 Exhibit Show Floor
G2E 2018 Exhibit Show Floor

“We’ve been very fortunate that traffic has been good up until the last day of the show,” Barth said. “We’ve added in recent years some very robust programming to entice attendees to stay for the final day, and we’ve been pleasantly surprised as to how well that has paid off.”

“For example, we’re offering a Shark Tank-like presentation with a winner on the morning of the final day of the show, and we had Magic Johnson the year before that,” she added “Marquis speakers have really created a stronger value proposition for attendees to stay.”

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