Event Apps

There’s an App for That…But Which One?

Want to bring your event into the smartphone era? As with everything else, “there’s an app for that.” Well, actually, there isn’t just “an” app for that—there are dozens of event apps for that.

You may have heard of some of them: Guidebook, Bizzabo, EventMobi, even popular planning sites like Eventbrite have introduced apps. The overwhelming number of choices may explain why a recent survey found more than two-thirds of event planners aren’t using apps. It’s not for lack of interest—of those not using apps, more than half said they planned to start. But with so many options, choosing the right one can be intimidating.

After all, “good enough” doesn’t exist in your line of work, you want to find the right app to meet your needs.

To help you get started, here are three questions to consider:

1. Priorities Matter – What’s Your Objective?

Why are you interested in an app for your event? Do you want real-time communications with attendees via push notifications? Are you looking to lower your carbon footprint? Want to make it convenient for attendees to give feedback? These are just some of the many possible features of event apps. Determine your “must haves” before you shop.

2. Cost and ROI – Is It Worth It?

Make no mistake, custom mobile apps can get pricey. For big-ticket apps geared towards large events, you might be thinking about getting yourself a Honda Civic for that kind of money and calling it a day. Before you do, consider what you might get out of your investment. For example, you may make up that cost in other areas, like printing. Some apps offer the possibility of sponsor banner advertising. Then there are the less tangible returns, like attendee feedback and online “buzz.” When in doubt, there are low-cost or even free options out there, which can work with smaller-budget events. (For a great cost comparison chart of the apps out there and their features, check out the Event App Bible on the Event Manager Blog!).

3. Know Your Audience – Will They Use it?

A complaint in that survey linked above? Not enough attendees using the app. Prior to purchase, consider the audience for your event. Think about their age, industry, and social media usage, which factor in to the likelihood of attendees using your app. Early promotion will be a key—you don’t want registration day to be the first time attendees are hearing about the app. Instead, discuss it at every step of the process. For more tech savvy audiences, you can use QR codes in your promotion materials to pique their interest.

New event apps and other event tech options are always emerging. Explore other technology ideas in our Event Tech series.

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