Eenie meenie miney mo. Event planners searching for an event app might be tempted to fall back on this childhood-tested selection method. With all the options available, selecting the right event app for your organization can be overwhelming. But, don’t worry, our event app checklists will help you make this tough decision.
First, before you start browsing vendor websites or asking peers for recommendations, make a list of your event app requirements so you don’t get sidetracked by products that don’t meet your needs. To make this task easier for you, this three-part series will help you narrow down your search to event apps that enhance the attendee experience, give you an easy-to-use platform, and are supported by an industry partner who has your back.
This post (part 1) will show you how to find an event app that will help you enhance the attendee experience. Part 2 will describe which administrative functions will make your job easier. And in Part 3, we’ll show you what to look for in an event app partner.
Provide Easy Access to Your App
It’s hard for most of us to imagine attending a conference and not using the event app. But some attendees may forgo your app if they run into obstacles or have concerns about the app’s integrity. Here’s how to increase the chances that every attendee will download and use your app.
- Availability: All your attendees must be able to download and use your event app because it works on their Apple and Android devices. It’s even accessible without an internet connection so you don’t have to worry about venues with a spotty Wi-Fi signal—in other words, it’s a native app. Review our Event App 101 post before you start your research so you understand event app basics, such as the difference between a native app and a web app.
- Security and privacy: The app developer must have controls in place to ensure data security and privacy, so attendees don’t have to worry about the app being an entry-point for hackers. Attendees can adjust their privacy settings to either display or hide their bio and contact information.
- Familiarity: Once attendees download your app, they can use it for all your events. In fact, they could use your app year-round to keep up on association and industry news, and connect with fellow members.
Help Attendees Stay Organized
Remember how we used to lug around thick conference programs? Now, attendees have room in their bags for more swag because everything they need is on their phone.
- Session information: Give attendees the information they need before and during the event to make the best decisions about how to spend their time. Session tracks are color-coded. Session descriptions include links to speaker information and session materials.
- Personal schedule: Help attendees organize their time by giving them the option to create a personal agenda for the event. They can build their own schedule by bookmarking sessions and events. They can also add items to their phone’s calendar if they want to receive reminders.
- Device sync: Allow attendees to sync their schedule and appointments between their mobile devices.
- Document attachment: Attendees can access handouts, presentations, and other documents from the app and share them by email or text.
- Note-taking: Attendees can take notes on every profile page—event, speaker, attendee, and exhibitor. They can even email their notes from the app.
- Exhibitor information: Attendees can read about exhibitors, tag the ones they wish to visit, add notes, schedule visits, check out their video or website, connect to them on social platforms, and download sales sheets and other marketing materials.
- Search: A global search function allows attendees to search for speakers, attendees, sessions, sponsors, and exhibitors within the app.
- Maps: Help attendees get around by including an interactive map that directs them to their destination, for example, a meeting room, booth, or off-site event.
Keep Attendees Informed
Event apps give you the ability to make changes in real-time to event information and communicate with your attendees, exhibitors, and other targeted groups.
- Push notifications: Keep attendees updated with the latest news by sending out a push notification. You can also pre-schedule push notifications and sell them as part of an advertising or sponsorship package. Push notifications can be sent to all attendees or to any targeted group, for example, leadership, first-timers, or exhibitors.
- Instant updates: When you make changes to the app’s content, for example, a speaker or room change, the content refreshes right away. Make sure attendees don’t have to reactivate the app or log in again to see refreshed content.
- Help Attendees Make Connections: Attendees come for the education, but what they remember is the time they spent with friends and acquaintances and the connections they made.
- Attendee profiles: Attendees can choose to display their contact information, including a bio and social media links, on their profile.
- Get social: Attendees can upload photos, “like” and comment on photos, and follow other attendees. The app integrates with popular social media platforms.
- Connect with other attendees: Help attendees expand their network by using a matchmaking tool to connect them with attendees who have similar interests. Attendees can chat with each other, without revealing their contact information, and arrange to meet in person.
- Connect with speakers: Speaker profiles include contact information so attendees can follow up with them during or after the conference.
- Connect with exhibitors: Attendees use a matchmaking tool to find exhibitors with the products/services they’re looking for, and can request a meeting with those exhibitors.
Compare the event apps you’re researching to this checklist to ensure your attendees have the best conference experience possible. Stay tuned for our next post on the event app features and functionalities that event planners most appreciate.