Why Event Apps are the Must-have Tool for Event Organizers

Why Event Apps are the Must-have Tool for Event Organizers

In-person events are back in full force. As attendees return to in-person meetings and conferences, event organizers can finally turn their thoughts around to enhance the physical event experience again.

An increasingly popular tool for event organizers is event apps. These are used throughout your event to keep attendees informed, inspired, engaged, and entertained and are particularly useful for large or complex events.

What is an Event App?

Put simply, an event app is a dedicated app supporting the details of your event. A typical event app will include features such as an agenda, speaker information, venue information, and more. It is fast becoming one of the more common forms of event technology.

Apps help attendees and hosts organize and manage their events, with hosts giving access to important event information and attendees being able to plan their time, build a personalized schedule and choose how best to use their time at your event.

The Benefits of Event Apps

Event apps are a great way to keep attendees fully updated before and during your event. You can inform everyone of real-time changes such as a change to a seminar theater, an overrunning session, or a replacement speaker. Push notifications directly from the app mean that attendees don’t need to stay glued to their emails all day and they also ensure that the appropriate attendee group gets the same update at the same time. For example, registrants for a particular breakout session will all be informed of a room change through a common push notification sent directly to them.


Event apps are great for push notifications, and they give attendees so much information right at their fingertips. From floor plans to speaker bios, attendees can access everything they need with minimal disruption. Some event apps even allow people to join sessions remotely, allowing for late changes to scheduling and maximizing attendance.

Andrea Velasquez

Head of Technology, American Meetings, Inc. (AMI)

Another major benefit is the sustainability of event apps. “Providing all of your information digitally via an event app saves a lot of printing and paper,” says Velasquez, “making it a sustainable alternative to traditional printed agendas and event information packs.” It also means that if information changes occur last minute, it’s just a case of updating it on the app rather than replacing a bunch of printed materials.

The Drawbacks of Event Apps

Not every event will benefit from an event app. For instance, a small, informal event probably won’t require an event app, as the host can simply keep everyone informed about the schedule and any changes to the day. In this case, it will likely be an unnecessary expense, and you will likely be better off spending the budget elsewhere.

Event apps also won’t appeal to every audience. If your attendees aren’t particularly tech-savvy, they may not want to download an app onto their personal devices, meaning adoption may not be as high as you would expect.

Another consideration is the quality of the connection in your event venue. For venues commonly used for events, such as conference centers or hotel business suites, connectivity isn’t likely to be an issue, as they will have good-quality Wi-Fi that can handle a lot of users. However, if you’re choosing a smaller venue not typically used for corporate events, such as a bar or a restaurant, you may find that the Wi-Fi is patchy or non-existent. In this case, an event app will just create frustration and attendees may not be able to access the information they need when they need it.

What’s the Best Event App?

The right event app for you depends on factors such as your event budget, event complexity, the technical know-how of your attendees, and your personal preferences.

AMI, for instance, offers event app technology that makes it simple to build your event app from scratch, whether it’s for 30 people or 30,000. From building the app to pushing information to attendees and from getting virtual attendees involved to measuring engagement in real-time, you have the power to do everything from an all-in-one app.

Tips for Creating an Event App

The good news is that if you’re considering an event app, it’s a straightforward process with a great payoff. All you need is the information from your main event page (which may be your website or your event platform) and someone to keep the app updated before and during the event.

Some key tips for making your event app as successful as possible include: 

  • Branding your app – many event apps allow you to add relevant logos, colors, and imagery to ensure your app looks and feels like part of the overall event branding
  • Integrate the app into the event – conduct real-time polls through your event app for a more interactive, engaging approach, or run contests or treasure hunts through the app during the event to keep attendees interested.
  • A one-stop shop for your event – make attendees’ lives easier by allowing them to store tickets, personalized agendas, maps, and any 1-to-1 meetings in the app, making it a must-have for your event.
  • Turn on push notifications – attendees will appreciate being kept in the loop about what’s going on at the event, whether adjustments to the schedule, the arrival of a special guest, or additional speakers joining a panel.
  • Exclusive content – get your attendees intrigued with app-exclusive content, such as bonus videos from your speakers, extra downloadable resources, or information about “secret sessions.”
  • Pre-and post-event content – get attendees excited about your event with sneak peeks and preview content. And follow up after the event (before they delete the app) with an attendee survey, slides from the seminars, and social media contacts for key speakers.

If you need support with creating your event app, we’re here to help!

American Meetings, Inc. has dozens of ideas for increasing audience engagement. Our number one goal is to deliver an event that attendees find relevant, educational, and most of all memorable.

Simply get in touch with AMI today, and we will be happy to assist.

How Zoom® Got It Wrong and What They are Doing About It

How Zoom® Got It Wrong and What They are Doing About It

By Andy McNeill, CEO, American Meetings, Inc.

Well, Virtual Meetings are here. At AMI, we provide meeting support services around numerous platforms based on our clients’ needs including WebEx®, IMEET®, GoToMeeting & Adobe Connect®  just to name a few. In addition, almost overnight, Zoom® has become not only a useful tool but a cultural phenomenon. The meetings community already knew that Zoom was a powerful and useful collaboration tool. Now it seems that the rest of the world has been introduced to Zoom as a free user software. It went from 10 million daily users to 200 million seemingly overnight.  The scrutiny of such an offer was swift and glaring, and justifiably so. Zoom was offering its platform, not only to businesses but to individuals and the entire educational system. Over pancakes, my 9-year-old twins were asking me to download Zoom to their Chromebooks for their morning virtual class meetings.

With popularity, come study and inspection, and boy did it.

We all know now Zoom got it wrong…way wrong. However, let’s take a step back and look at the software objectively and with a little hindsight.  The software, when used with all of its tools, is quite secure. Implementing the waiting room and password functions alone will stop any “Zoombombing” and unauthorized access. As their CEO, Eric S. Yuan, communicated in a recent post:

Organizations ranging from the world’s largest financial services companies to leading telecommunications providers, government agencies, universities, healthcare organizations, and telemedicine practices…have done exhaustive security reviews of our user, network, and data center layers and confidently selected Zoom for complete deployment.”

AMI being one of them. With the correct management, the software is very secure. In fact, they state:

“Where all participants are using the Zoom app, no user content is available to Zoom’s servers or employees at any point during the transmission process. However, that is a big asterisk, and in today’s world of IT and data security, is not acceptable for a world class software.

So how did they come so off track so quickly?

First, Zoom had allowed for 3rd party plug-ins like Facebook and LinkedIn Sales Navigator to glean user data. With that said, as a public company, they have also stated, “that we do not sell our users’ data, we have never sold user data in the past, and have no intention of selling users’ data going forward.” Zoom has removed these integrations, but the damage to their brand is significant.  Second, they did not have specific K-12 policies in place and were offering this product to the world’s educational institutions. This is now in place, but the lapse in judgment was significant. Finally, there were numerous fixes and patches that needed to be addressed, that were unknown to them, but identified by the broader tech community. They have addressed our promise to address over the next 90 days.

Photo Credit: Zoom®

So, where do we go from here?  Well, that is up to each individual, company, and organization.  Zoom remains a powerful collaborative tool. Its ease of use and simplicity are the biggest benefits. It does have strong security settings, and when used correctly, it meets the needs and security standards of many global corporations. The key phrase there is “when used correctly”. This is also the user’s responsibility.

Zoom sits at a key turning point. If they address the issues, it will make them, a better, more secure, and more desirable communication tool. If they fail to address, they will lose the confidence of the tech community, and the world with it.

For more information on what Zoom is doing, see these recent blogs from the corporation:

A Message To Our Users

The Facts Around Zoom and Encryption for Meetings/Webinars

Updates from Zoom® as of 04/10/2020

Zoom Product Updates: New Security Toolbar Icon for Hosts, Meeting ID No Longer Displayed.

By: Deepthi Javarajan

Visible only to hosts and co-hosts of Zoom Meetings, the Security icon provides easy access to several existing Zoom security features so you can more easily protect your meetings. Last night we implemented an important update to help make your meetings more private and secure. The most visible change that meeting hosts will see is an option in the Zoom meeting controls called Security. This new icon simplifies how hosts can quickly find and enable many of Zoom’s in-meeting security features.

By clicking the Security icon, hosts and co-hosts have an all-in-one place to quickly:

The Security icon is available in our latest release (version 4.6.10) to all Zoom hosts and co-hosts in all free and paid account types on desktop (Mac & Windows), mobile (iOS & Android), iPad, and in the web client.

Read more about the Security icon update on our support page.

Meeting ID no longer displayed

Additionally, the Zoom Meeting ID will no longer be displayed on the title toolbar. The title will simply be “Zoom” for all meetings, preventing others from seeing active meeting IDs when, for instance, Zoom screenshots are posted publicly.

Additional security updates

The Zoom team also updated several features for specific account types:

  • Waiting Rooms: The Waiting Room feature is now on by default for free Basic and single licensed Pro accounts, as well as education accounts enrolled in our K-12 program.
  • Passwords: Meeting passwords are on by default for free Basic and single licensed Pro accounts, and for education, accounts enrolled in our K-12 program. The default setting cannot be changed for those education accounts.
  • Domain contacts: For free Basic and single licensed Pro accounts with unmanaged domains, contacts in the same domain will no longer be visible. We’ve also removed the option to auto-populate your Contacts list with users from the same domain. If you would like to keep those contacts, you can add them as External Contacts.
  • Renaming participants: In addition to the above in-meeting renaming control, account admins and hosts can now disable the ability for participants to rename themselves (for every meeting) at the account, group, and user level in the web portal.

To update to the latest version of Zoom, visit our download page. To get more tips and tricks for securely using Zoom, check out Zoom’s YouTube page or the Zoom Blog.

How to Prevent the Most Common AV Disasters from Happening at Your Next Event

How to Prevent the Most Common AV Disasters from Happening at Your Next Event


Any time you prep for a meeting, conference, or event, you’ll have to rely on a number of specialists to bring your vision to fruition.  While you can see the venue and sample the food, you might have to put a lot of trust into the AV specialists you hire, hoping that they can deliver what you want when your event rolls around.

Unfortunately, a lack of knowledge can lead to some truly awful disasters related to your events.  For example, you might end up with a venue that doesn’t offer sufficient access to power, WiFi, or streaming capabilities.  You might end up paying outrageous fees to both the AV vendor and venue because you don’t know what you need.  Or you could suffer epic presentation fails like videos that are incorrectly formatted, that freeze while streaming, or that completely crash.

None of these are desirable outcomes, but you can avoid these snafus with a little knowledge and some help from an experienced and reliable event management services provider like American Meetings, Inc. (AMI).  Here’s what you should know if you want to prevent the most common AV disasters from happening at your next event.

Get Event Management Services and Vendors in Place Early

Like most tasks related to planning a corporate meeting or event, getting the major players in place early on can help you to avoid all kinds of issues down the road.  Your first step should be to compare corporate event planning companies to find a meeting services organization like AMI that offers the strategic planning services you need to brainstorm your next big event.

From there, experienced professionals at your event management services company can help you to find the perfect venue and get all your ducks in a row.  One of the first tasks, however, is hiring reliable AV specialists.  When you have this key player in place early on, your AV representative or team can help you to pick a venue that has the right foundations for your needs, including adequate power, internet services, and so on.

Go Over Every Detail

One of the biggest problems many companies face is not understanding what they’re getting.  When you don’t really know the lingo, it’s all too easy to end up paying for a bunch of equipment or services you don’t need, both from the AV company and the venue.  If you want to make sure you get just what you need and avoid paying excessive fees, it’s best to work closely with corporate event planning companies to fully understand what you’re paying for and whether or not it’s necessary.

This could mean having your AV specialist walk you through your contract line by line to explain each piece of equipment you’re renting, why it is necessary, and what it’s going to cost.  It could mean setting up a meeting with the venue and the AV specialist to make sure there are adequate power outlets and other resources available on-site.  You should plan on negotiating fees for everything from internet access to add-ons like additional mics, just for example.

Says Tarique Stanley, AMI’s Senior Event Technology Specialist, “If you don’t know what you’re doing you could end up getting nickel-and-dimed with fees, especially after the fact, when they know they can charge you like crazy for oversights.  It’s easier to make vendors accountable by negotiating for possible extras ahead of time.  This will help you avoid hefty fees later on.”

Find Reliable Corporate Event Planning Companies and Vendors

The worst-case scenario is a presentation failure at your event.  This could be something relatively small but nonetheless vexing like a video in the wrong aspect ratio.  Or it could be a much more devastating outcome like inadequate bandwidth for streaming that causes video presentations to stall.  It could be a disc that won’t play.

There are a few ways to ensure these epic fails don’t happen at your event.  One is to choose an event management services company like AMI that has the experience to prevent such problems and works with technical experts that have a proven track record of success.  You’ll also want to test early on to make sure venue resources are adequate to handle power and streaming needs, as well as test materials like presentation videos to make sure they’re working properly.

Don’t forget to create backups.  If something goes wrong, there may be a way to salvage your presentation with a proper plan B or C in place.  Not all corporate event planning companies have the experience and reputation to help you avoid AV disasters, but with the experts at AMI on your side, your next event should go off without a hitch.

Snapchat vs. Instagram: Which is Right for Your Event?

Snapchat vs. Instagram: Which is Right for Your Event?


There are so many social apps that could create opportunities for event attendees to connect with each other and share their experiences via dedicated event accounts.  It can be difficult to decide which ones are going to best suit your brand, your event, your goals, and of course, your audience.  After all, you don’t want to spread yourself too thin and divide your efforts by providing too many options for attendees to choose from.

Says Annie Fernandez, Director of Marketing at AMI, “Utilizing Facebook is pretty much a given, and many companies still incorporate Twitter, as well.  If you want to add another trending platform, you might find yourself torn between Snapchat and Instagram.  Adding an image-sharing forum, especially one that encourages creativity and personalization, is a great way to facilitate engagement and allow attendees to contribute in social and experiential ways.”

Really, though, you might have some trouble telling the difference between the two photo-sharing platforms these days.  Snapchat had a novel idea when they started thanks to photos that self-delete, generating near-instantaneous FOMO.  To compete, Instagram, already a powerhouse in its own right has seized upon some of Snapchat’s desirable features and developed its own version.

Is Snapchat nearing expiration, or does it still have something to offer?  Does Instagram do it best, or have their efforts to clone Snapchat’s successes fallen short?  Which one is better for your event and your audience?  Here are a few things you’ll want to discuss with corporate event planning companies before you decide.

What’s the Skinny on Snapchat?

Snapchat’s 16 million daily active users are nothing to sniff at, especially since they tend to fall into the tech-savvy and socially influential millennial group (the majority of users are in the 12-24 age range).  This can be a difficult group to engage at events, but connecting is made easier with an app they already use and enjoy, especially since the average user is engaged 25-30 minutes per day.  This means you have ample opportunity to increase visibility and connection with users.

Of course, Snapchat isn’t just for youngsters.  It turns out more than half of new users are 25 and older, which could mean this social app is simply catching on later with a more mature audience.

What features recommend Snapchat?  The photo deletion feature may not be particularly appealing for brands that want their content in front of users as long as possible, but the fleeting nature of the content means users are likely to look at it sooner rather than later for fear of missing out, and this can work to your advantage if you string out narratives through pictures and videos via Snapchat Stories.  You and your event management services team can also create geofilters unique to your location and your event, creating further exclusivity and FOMO.

Corporate Event Planning Companies Like Insta Gratification

There’s no denying Instagram has the upper hand in this race with exponentially more users, numbering 500 million.  The average age of users is slightly higher at 19-29, which means for the most part, they’re old enough to attend your events.  However, only about 20% of those users are in the U.S. – not necessarily a problem if you cater to an international audience.

If you and your event management services team are interested in opting for Instagram, there’s a lot to love, starting with the fact that Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, allows for cross-posting, so that you can post pics to Instagram and Facebook simultaneously.  This time-saving bonus is great for harried hosts and corporate event planning companies.

Instagram also blatantly snaked the stories feature from Snapchat and made it their own with Instagram Stories, where photos and videos can be posted for 24 hours (with no option for likes or comments, unlike other Instagram posts).  Geofilters aren’t available, but geotagging is, and this can make your posts easier for a target audience to find.

Of course, the thing that really pushes Instagram over the top is hashtags, which make content more shareable and searchable.  The use of trending and event-specific hashtags can expand your reach and increase engagement.

Ask Event Management Services Pros Which Platform Suits Your Event

Experienced corporate event planning companies can help you to determine whether Snapchat or Instagram is better suited to your upcoming event by considering your audience and what you hope to accomplish.  Even better, these event management services professionals have the know-how and connections to help you implement effective marketing and engagement strategies on your social platform of choice.

When event budgets are restricted, turn to AMI Virtual Platform.

When event budgets are restricted, turn to AMI Virtual Platform.

Click here to download info-sheet.

We all love to travel, but travelling can be expensive, between attendee flights and accommodations often event owners may have to reduce the number of invitees due to costs constraints.

Incorporating a virtual component as part of your project can add great savings. In this article we will share all the advantages of including a webinar element and how you could easily turn your live event into a hybrid event using AMI Virtual Platform.

Learn how by adding a webinar component to your live event you can save on travel costs while increasing your audience reach:


Increase Audience Reach

Traveling can be inconvenient for both attendees and colleagues. A lot of time is spent at the airport, between flights, checking in and out of hotels, waiting for taxis…..not to mention the time that is required for travel preparation, packing and so on.

By webcasting your live event, you could recapture the audience that might have travel restrictions, or do not have time to travel to an event outside their city.  This audience could join from the convenience of their office or home, allowing your event to have a regional, national or event global impact.

With the AMI Virtual Platform, you have 1,000 remote attendees included in the standard package and larger audiences are easily supported, indeed the platform supports up to 100,000 remote viewers.



Now let’s discuss Audiovisual setup. The good news is most of a standard live event setup can be re-purposed for the live webinar stream. More and more companies are now broadcasting their live speaker events as such audiovisual vendors are becoming proficient in providing this service and the additional equipment required.

This equipment includes a professional video camera, an encoder, slide control and monitoring of the webcast transmission. By requesting these from the event AV company directly, they will often bundle them with the other required equipment at lower cost.

Most event AV company’s equipment will be compatible to stream live to the AMI Virtual Platform. Our platform is encoder agnostic which means it supports both hardware and software encoders. To verify compatibility simply contact BD@americanmeetings.com and have your existing AV vendor on-boarded into the AMI Virtual Platform.


Save on Travel Costs

It is not uncommon for companies to restrict travel costs, in a bid to cut budgets. An average national ticket can cost around, 500 USD per attendee, that is before you factor in the additional costs of ground transport, accommodations and food & beverage, etc.

The cost of the equipment and labor needed to broadcast your live event equates to approx. the same cost of just 10 attendees. Not only could these 10 attendees still join the event remotely, but you could invite as many as 100,000 attendees to watch remotely by increasing your audiovisual overall cost by a small percentage.


Detailed Analytics and User Feedback

Client feedback is invaluable, but getting and audience to fill out and return feedback forms is not always easy. Capturing questions submitted from live audiences can be challenging.



On the topic of translations…Live simultaneous translations can add huge expense to your live events, requiring additional equipment, tables and head counts to distribute the translations head sets to attendees. When streaming your event these translations can be broadcast for a translated live stream, reaching not just a few international attendees at the venue but an entire market.

Alternatively, if at the live event all attendees listen to the presentations in one language only, incorporating a remote translation solution will not only save you money it means you can still reach multiple markets.


Support Team

AMI has a team of dedicated project managers that can guide you to turn your live event into a hybrid event leveraging all the benefits of the AMI Virtual Platform. Just email BD@AmericanMeetings.com to request a Webcast component for your events schedule a qualifying call with a dedicated project manager.

For these and many more reasons AMI Virtual Platform is a great complement to your events. With a fraction of the investment you could add 1000 attendees or more to your next live event.

5 Essential Live Streaming Best Practices for Your Next Event

5 Essential Live Streaming Best Practices for Your Next Event

In the online world, video rules supreme when it comes to grabbing attention and engaging viewers.  As a company hosting meetings, conferences, and other events, you want to make sure to find ways to include video elements, and this could mean adding live streaming services to your upcoming events.

Should you add live streaming, and if so, how do you go about it in order to optimize results?  The right corporate event planning partner can help you to strategize appropriate uses of live streaming, as well as manage implementation.  However, you should be aware of a few best practices going into the process.

  1. Select a High Quality Service

What’s the best avenue for live streaming your event?  There are many to choose from and a misstep could leave you floundering in technical difficulties.  In other words, you’ll need to ensure you have the right tools for the job.  If you plan to do this more than once, spend the money and have your event management services partner help you choose the most appropriate, high-quality streaming service for the event type.


  1. Ask Event Management Services to Test Capabilities

Corporate event planning companies can not only advise you when it comes to choosing the right streaming service, but they can test to make sure everything is running smoothly in advance of your live streaming timetable.  This is imperative if you want to avoid hiccups during your live event.


  1. Stick to Your Timetable

Video tends to be more engaging than print and static images, but that doesn’t give you free license to bore the heck out of your audience.  You and your event management services pros need to tailor presentations to your audience, both in-person and online, and this means considering how planned content will play, sticking to a planned timetable as much as possible, and remaining somewhat flexible, since editing is not an option.


  1. Engage with Your Audience in Real Time

According to Nathan Von Garin, VP Account Management, “Engaging with two separate audiences simultaneously is no easy feat for event hosts and corporate event planning companies.  You’ll need to strategize ways to interface with both your in-person and your online audience members, and this could mean asking questions, noting comments, and taking questions from both audiences throughout a presentation, panel, or workshop.”


  1. Make it Count

Let’s just be honest – not every event should be live streamed.  Some presentations simply don’t lend themselves to the format.  You need to consider the potential benefits and drawbacks of live streaming before you simply broadcast your event.  Is there even an interest in watching aspects of your event live?

If you have a notable speaker or workshop in such high demand that there’s a waiting list for attendance, you probably have a built-in audience for live streaming content.  The same could be true if prospective registrants complain that the remote location or expense of your event precludes them from attending.  If, on the other hand, you’re struggling to round up attendees, live streaming may not be the solution.