Event Apps Are Here to Stay

With more than 80% of attendees downloading an event’s app on average, it’s clear that the print programs are taking a back seat to digital for the foreseeable future. We believe it’s for the better.

Attendees want to go green and pitch that 40-page program (that’s likely out of date anyway). There’s also no better platform for delivering relevant, critical information to attendees throughout the duration of the event.

For attendees, a well-designed mobile app becomes a digital journal, capturing highlights of the conference from start to finish. It should be their Swiss Army tool… specifically designed to add value to their conference experience. When they’re back at the office, the app becomes a powerful tool to quickly recall, implement or share the experience with others. Never again do you have to ask yourself:

  • Which education sessions did I attend?
  • What were the actionable takeaways?
  • What additional insight (slides, handouts, notes, etc.) can I use to improve my work, position or contribution?
  • Which breakthrough ideas should I share with my team?
  • Which exhibitors did I like most and want to follow up with?
  • Who did I meet at this conference?
  • Which new contacts are high on my follow-up list?

It’s all right there on your phone.

With the wide range of possible features that can be implemented, there is always the lingering question between developers and event managers: “how much is too much?” So what are the features that are most highly sought after in an event app?

The Five Core Features

While each technology developer uses slightly different terminology, these are the 5 most important features included in any event app:

1. Smart Schedules

The absolute strongest case for event apps over print programs. Smart schedules allow you to plan your entire event experience on the fly and share it with others. Pick the exhibitions you want to check up on, listen to the speakers that are relevant to you, and even set up lunch appointments with fellow attendees or exhibitors without having to crack open a marked-up program page with a giant block schedule.

2. Speaker Bios

You made a lot of effort in finding the perfect speakers for your event, make sure your audience knows what they can learn from each. There’s nothing worse than seeing every speaker but the keynote walk on stage and gaze out onto a sparsely populated auditorium or convention hall. Adding speaker highlights and biographies linked directly to a scheduled appointment in your event app will help attendees know exactly how they can benefit from hearing what they have to say.

3. Exhibitor Info

In the same vein as the speaker bio, exhibitor info provides the same channel for generating interest with the added benefit of connecting exhibitors to those interested in their booth. While it is likely that an interested attendee will at least step up to a booth, it’s less likely they have time to get into the background of the exhibitor AND details of what they’re offering in that one meeting while parading around the entire floor. Exhibitor info gives attendees an opportunity to highlight booths that are most relevant to their reason for being at the event.

4. Profiles

One of the more recent trends we’ve seen in event apps is personal profiles for each attendee and exhibitor. Never again will you have to fumble through the stack of business cards or struggle to link faces to names. Like an isolated social network, you can simply save their profile for later and have their info whenever you need it, and even message them through the event app directly! This is an invaluable tool for exhibitors trying to generate meaningful relationships with interested attendees and is a highly sought after value-add.

5. Push Notifications

While deemed annoying by some, this previously optional feature has become increasingly necessary for every event app. While it’s nice having the ability to notify an attendee that they have a scheduled appointment in fifteen minutes or that they received a message in the app, app-generated notifications have a more important role in today’s event apps. In a world that is becoming more prepared for the worst, push notifications are the best method for alerting event participants of anything from simple schedule changes to potentially dangerous emergency situations. Event security is never something that can be taken lightly, and instilling the proper precautions in your event app is a big step in the right direction to ensuring the safety of your participants.

For more information on how Brightspot can help you create unforgettable events with seamless digital solutions, have a look at our corporate event planning services.

Footnote — Mike was asked to write an article for HBR, Hotel Business Review, on meeting planner’s event app needs and how hotels can help.  See full article at:


Mike May

Author Mike May

President | Author of 12.5 Steps to a Perfect Incentive Program and recognized as one of the Top 25 Most Influential People in the Incentive Industry. Expertise: bucket-list incentive trips, motivational incentive program design, matching event goals with the perfect destination & hotel, cost savings strategies, global channel reward programs, and targeted communications.

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