5 Things to Consider When Choosing an Event App

The number of organizations using mobile event apps at their meetings has grown dramatically in the last 5 years and it literally makes "cents." Moving from print publications to digital through a mobile event app can save as much as 60 percent. Surveys also show that meeting attendees are thrilled with the ability to have all of their information at their fingertips on their mobile devices rather than lugging around pounds of written material. But what should you look for when considering a mobile app? Here are the top five in my estimation:

1. Will it work Off-line?

Relying on an event venue's internet coverage for the operation of your mobile app is just asking for trouble. Internet coverage in large meeting areas can often be spotty and unreliable, leading to dropped signals and frustrated users. To avoid this, look for mobile event apps that are able to make the vast majority of the app's functions and data available without the need for an internet connection. 

2. Should I use a Native Mobile App or a Mobile Web App?

There's a big difference between mobile web apps and native mobile apps. Mobile web apps are just that -- apps compiled essentially the same way a website is constructed using traditional web-based HTML, CSS and Javascript coding. Depending on the needs of your event, a mobile web app may be satisfactory. However, if speed and performance are important, a mobile app written in "native" code, specifically for IOS and Android mobile device platforms, will give you a far better user experience. Native mobile apps are also able to operate in "off-line" mode, critical when considering the frequent loss of wireless internet service in large convention halls and meeting areas.

3. Event Specific or Year Round Use?

With the ever increasing use of mobile devices as the preferred method for accessing digital content, more organizations are moving to the use of their mobile event apps throughout the year. Once your attendees become invested in the mobile experience for an event, expanding its content for year-round use can prove very popular. You can also use the same app and tie it to all of the events your organization holds. Additionally, a year-round mobile app can also be used to access into critical association programs like membership and advocacy, thereby increasing your membership's interface with the association all year round. 

4. How Much $ can I Save on Written Publications?

We've all been there in the past, arriving at a meeting to receive programs and pounds of other written material at registration. Material that you either must carry around or leave in your room because it's too much trouble. A mobile event app can eliminate this problem and dramatically reduce your printing costs at the same time. Savings estimates of 60% and more are typical. 

And a mobile event app gives attendees far more than they could ever receive with printed publications. They can create personal schedules, share opinions on issues, evaluate speakers, network with other participants, provide immediate feedback, track their continuing education credits, view documents and much more.

5. Going Green is a Winner with your Members and Customers

Organizations that are dedicated to making a positive environmental impact also create goodwill for their brand. According to Nielsen’s corporate social responsibility survey, the majority of consumers said environmental responsibility is a significant factor when using or buying a product or service. In fact, more and more consumers now expect organizations to be socially responsible and they will often choose to support an organization or brand because of its ‘go green’ credentials. Many will even pay slightly more for a "green" product or service even though it's slightly more expensive.

For associations, a "green" approach to its overall operation can reflect very positively in how the organization is viewed by its members, staff and public. An organization that cares about the environment is generally seen as a responsible organization that does "the right thing." More frequently than not, the extra effort taken to preserve natural resources will pay dividends down the road.