There’s nothing more of-the-moment than a smart-phone app. Not surprisingly, developers are all over the meeting space, creating ways for you to reach out to attendees—and to help them reach out to each other—through their handheld devices.
First up, Meeting Professionals International has launched a beta version of an iPhone app for its upcoming MeetDifferent conference, which gets under way February 20.
Developed by QuickMobile, the free tool allows attendees to access a searchable agenda, connect with other participants, read speaker profiles, integrate with MPI’s outlets on Twitter, Facebook, Pathable, and LinkedIn, and receive alerts from conference organizers. QuickMobile, whose suite of services includes smart-phone apps, text-messaging campaigns, and Web site optimization for mobile viewers, has also produced the official Sundance Film Festival iPhone app.
In January, Boca Raton, Fla.–based E-proDirect jumped into the My Mobile Meetings, an application designed to be customized to individual meetings, conferences, or hotels. Chris Wezel, chief visionary officer, says the app is geared to improving the attendees’ experience—giving them handheld access to the agenda, the exhibitors’ list, hotel and transportation information, and local resources—as well as creating a revenue opportunity for the meeting sponsor. To monetize the app, developers have designed space for banner advertising and templates for enhanced listings for exhibitors and local attractions.space with the launch of
Wezel anticipates that many meeting organizers will be able to easily offset the customization and hosting fees his company charges with revenues from ads, expanded listings, and even download fees if they choose to charge for the app. The price of a My Mobile Meeting app for a one-time event of up to 1,000 attendees is $5,000, which includes 90 days of hosting and populating the app with hotel, attendee, exhibitor, and destination information. The cross-platform app works with both iPhone and BlackBerry smart phones. For hotels that want to provide meeting apps as an added value to their group customers, the service costs $5,000, plus a $299 monthly hosting fee, with an additional $399 charge for each new meeting.
Another mobile app developer, MacroView Labs in San Francisco, is taking a slightly different approach to the meetings market. The company is currently focused on creating sophisticated smart-phone apps for hotels and resorts, with features that can include selling merchandise, providing a guest feedback system, and integrating with a property’s reservation system. Chief Technology Officer Keith Michel says the company is working with “almost a dozen customers in Las Vegas,” with the first app coming out by mid-February.
The latest feature developed to integrate with MacroView’s hotel apps is an event-management platform that launched in January, allowing event organizers to send news, music, video, special offers, meeting schedules, and presentations to attendees. According to Michel, “You can create an app that allows attendees to watch video of the breakout sessions, see up-to-the-second meeting schedules, get directions to meeting rooms, and view maps of where all the exhibitors are. People can save business-card information on their app, join raffles, play games, see FAQs, fill out feedback surveys or information requests, rate presenters, see digital samples of work, or purchase merchandise through the app. And of course you can feature the convention sponsors in hundreds of creative ways. Planners also get detailed, real-time analytics around how people are exploring the convention and what they think about everything going on.”
MacroView did not create the meeting feature to sell to meeting professionals but rather as something its hotel clients can give away or sell to group clients. That said, Michel says MacroView can put together a broad range of solutions and could build an organization’s proprietary meeting app from the ground up.