There are many areas to consider when looking to select a meeting and event application. An app makes your meeting more tech friendly and you can save on program/agenda printing costs. An app can also positively impact your sustainability efforts but you need to keep in mind that your attendee facing app has an incredibly short shelf life. The vast majority of attendees won’t download your app until they are at the event and they will probably never open your app again after your event is over. However, in an era of increased technology and communication many clients are willing to invest in an app for their meeting and event.
Here are 10 things to consider when looking to select a meeting or event app.
1- Cost: Most events are planned on a strict budget. Some Event apps are free or they can cost you tens of thousands of dollars if built from the ground up. Make sure the hard costs are reflected in the initial budget.2- Speed: Most native apps have local device storage but your attendees will want updated information. Add to this that most venues have slow Wi-Fi connectivity so updates load very slowly. Ensure that these updates can take place easily.3- Native vs Web: Does your event even need a more expensive native app? Many of the same outcomes can be accomplished via mobile web apps (i.e. through the browser) at a much lower cost than native apps. Consider investing time and money in a mobile website before considering more expensive native mobile apps.4- Management: Just because an app is free doesn’t mean it’s worth it. It’s important to consider the amount of time required to manage and update your app. Most apps are not connected to existing content management systems and will require additional work from you and your staff to update the content within the app.
5- Sponsorship: Most apps are not cheap so consider how you can incorporate new or existing sponsors into the app. Can a sponsorship be sold to help defray the app cost? What additional advertising opportunities are available within the mobile app to increase off-set revenue?
6- Content Updates: Event content (schedule of events, speaker lineup, agenda) updates should be seamless and updated in real-time to the app. Otherwise, you’ll be doing double work and increase the potential for input errors.
7- Marketing: Creating an app is only the first step. The app must be highly marketed to attendees beforehand in order to get them to download it. Even though most attendees won’t download your app until the start of your event, you need to build awareness leading up to your event with increased communication.
8- Bandwidth: Increasing the amount of bandwidth available for app usage at your event’s venue will help make the actual experience smoother.
9- Reporting and Analytics: Reporting is critical to document your success as a planner. Study what kind of reporting is needed and available through the app. Determine how will you assess whether your app was successful or not?
10- Customization: Some apps have little to no event specific branding while others allow complete and total customization. Generally speaking, the more available customization, the higher the price tag.
When selecting an app, the main factor for meeting planners is usually hard cost. If you and your client have decided to move forward with an event app these additional considerations are critical for its success.