As a full-service technology solutions provider for the events industry, Core-apps works to stay at the forefront of new and innovative ways to help trade show clients better meet the needs of their attendees.
One of those clients is SHOT Show, the largest trade show and conference for the firearms industry, held annually in Las Vegas.
With its wide array of firearms-themed tchotchkes and giveaways, SHOT Show is one of several Las Vegas trade shows known to cause TSA security delays at McCarran International Airport when attendees attempt to bring items home with them that might need a second look in their carry-on luggage.
So, when Core-apps approached McCarran officials about shooting a marketing video at the airport highlighting SHOT Show’s app, which included a geo-fence alert reminding attendees to be checkpoint ready upon arriving at the airport after the show, a light bulb went off.
“SHOT Show uses all of our technology platforms, and we wanted to film sort of a day in the life of a SHOT Show attendee from the time they land at the airport through when they leave after the show,” Jay Tokosch, CEO of Core-apps explained.
He continued, “During the discussion with McCarran, they said that one of their biggest problems with trade shows is people bringing things back with them that can’t get through TSA, so could we integrate an alert into the SHOT Show app that would educate people about this? We checked with the show and they said absolutely, anything to help their folks.”
McCarran officials agreed to allow Core-apps to film their marketing video at the airport in exchange for a more detailed “Be TSA Checkpoint Ready” text alert that SHOT Show attendees would receive via the app at the end of the show, marking the first time the airport had ever worked with a trade show app to communicate with attendees, and the first time Core-apps had partnered with a show and an airport to create targeted safety alerts.
“When this opportunity came to us I thought, it can’t hurt, as it’s one more opportunity to get in front of people, and it’s actually a really savvy opportunity because in this day and age everybody lives on their digital device,” said Chris Jones, chief marketing officer for McCarran International Airport.
He continued, “Really it was quid pro quo – we were able to help them with their case study, I agreed to do the video they wanted and talk to media, and for that they gave us messaging that reminded people to understand the TSA guidelines before coming to the airport.”
Attendees not only received a detailed alert at the end of the show that clearly explained what items they could and couldn’t pack in their carry-on luggage, but also a geo-fence alert that went off a few miles outside the airport offering a second reminder for being checkpoint ready.
While TSA reported only a very minor reduction in security citations after SHOT Show, Jones believes the alerts were worth a try and could be valuable going forward, especially for shows known for large amounts of giveaways and collateral that could slow down security lines.
“There’s no way to tell, but I can say that we had a very smooth experience at the airport after this year’s SHOT Show,” Jones said. “Whether or not it was the app alerts that did it, a combination of this and a lot of other outreach, it was a good experience for the people who were leaving the show and that’s really what we care about.”
He added, “I think going forward Core-apps will have some empirical data and then we can compare it, but if this alert makes one person do the right thing, it’s probably worthwhile.”
Now that Tokosch and his team have demonstrated that trade show apps have the capability of being used for broader messaging, serving as a central point of communication between airports, attendees and trade show organizers, the company is looking at offering airport security alerts to more show clients and airports in other cities.
“With so many trade shows going in and out of Vegas, there are so many possibilities,” Tokosch said. “There’s such an opportunity not just for McCarran, but also for airports around the world to deliver messaging to attendees through show apps. It’s real-time, it can be geo-fenced and we can also see the analytics to a certain extent after the show.”
Going forward, Jones is looking forward to potentially working with Core-apps on additional airport alerts for other shows that call Las Vegas home.
“If someone can get that reminder when they get out of their cab on the way to their flight, and they have that option of not putting something in their checked bag or in their purse, that reminder may be the difference between them getting stopped and having a smooth experience at the check-point,” Jones said.
He continued, “It’s a win-win-win for (the trade show), as it allows their attendees to have a better experience, because they don’t want people leaving the airport angry or upset that they had to forfeit an item. It benefits the show, and it benefits us when people come to airport with a better idea of what to expect, what they can carry and what they need to check. So, it’s a win for us, too.”
Check out the Core-apps/McCarran Airport alert video here.