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« Tips for coordinating guests’ travel to your event | Main | Online tools for interactive and engaging events »

Efficient tool to build Mobile Apps for your Events 

"Mobile" is no longer just a buzzword, it's a reality. Heck, there's even a pretty good chance you're reading this on a mobile device right now. But did you know that this year mobile web traffic is expected to exceed desktop usage for the first time ever?

For event planners of all kind, this shift means you should expect most attendees to show up to events with their devices in-hand. Or pocket. Or purse...you get the idea.

More importantly it means that if you don't engage attendees on their beloved smartphones and tablets, you're missing a huge opportunity to reduce your printing, collect feedback in real-time, and generate more revenue from sponsors.

Luckily connecting with your audience on their hand-held devices is pretty easy these days thanks to a Palo Alto based company called Guidebook. They offer a really easy-to-use content management system that makes creating a custom mobile app as easy as dragging-and-dropping icons and uploading your agenda via spreadsheet. Best of all, Guidebook's apps are optimized for all platforms (iOS, Android, BlackBerry, etc.) and don't require connection to the internet, which can be critical in a crowded event venue with spotty wifi.

If you're still handing out printed materials at your events, putting all that information into an app is a no-brainer. But in addition to the obvious eco-friendly and cost-savings benefits, Guidebook offers a host of interactive ways to connect with your attendees that simply weren't possible before. Take for example the ability to include surveys in your app and gather feedback in real-time. There's also a scavenger hunt feature that gets attendees moving around your venue in search of strategically placed QR-codes, and a networking module that allows attendees to digitally exchange contact cards with others who've checked-in.

Creating a mobile event app can also help generate more revenue. In their mobile sponsorship guide, Guidebook details a number of ways to monetize your app via things like in-app banner ads, sponsored push notifications, premium exhibitor listings, and other features that offer sponsors increased visibility. Planners who pull these levers effectively often recoup the entire cost of their app and potentially even turn a profit.

So all this sounds great, but what exactly does it cost to create an event app with Guidebook? Price depends on customization and branding. They actually allow you to publish a basic mobile event guide for free, but of course you'll have to upgrade for more advanced features like multi-track schedules, social media, attendee feedback, or gamification. (Pro-tip: they offer 20% off for non-profits.)

Whether you're just looking to print less and efficiently provide attendees with event logistics, or you want to engage your audience in innovative ways and increase revenue, Guidebook makes it really easy to leverage mobile at your events. Due to the rapid growth of the mobile web, apps have already become the norm at larger conventions and conferences, and soon attendees may come to expect mobile guides at events of all sizes. Guidebook makes this transition shockingly easy and is free to try.

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