Mobile Apps for Events: Q&A with Bill Finn

You hear it again and again: “You need an app for your ______” (event, conference, meeting, etc…). The statement sticks with you during the planning process, but you are never quite sure how to include mobile apps for events. The digital world moves at the speed of light and can seem like a frightening place, but today we are teaming up with industry leader Bill Finn of BoothTag to help answer some basic questions about apps and how they can significantly benefit your meeting or event.

Q: Mobile apps – where to begin?

A: There are lots of mobile app providers, so there are lots of options, and that’s a great benefit for you as an event organizer. Because BoothTag differentiates on the gamification of the event experience to drive business value for attendees, exhibitors and organizers, we believe in identifying the problem, business need or goal you’d like to achieve. Then, work with a provider that listens to you and works with you to achieve your goals. Features offerings are often similar from provider to provider, so research online  based on your goals, then talk to your provider to establish a fit. Onsite support and customer service are important go-withs that make your life easier before and during an event, so make sure the provider offers service to your level of need.

Q: Why is it important to incorporate mobile apps into my event?

A: Mobile apps are quickly becoming a must-have for events. In many cases, the mobile app ‘greens up’ the event, displaying schedule details, exhibitor directories, attendee contacts, maps, lead capture, note-taking tools, social sharing tools, scavenger hunts, QR code scanners, and more – all in the palm of the attendee hand, at the touch of the screen. In some cases, we’ll see print materials eliminated completely because the mobile app contains all the necessary information.

Our app, BoothTag, goes a step further in generating business value – person-to-person networking and total event engagement, powerfully incentivized with gamification, drive traffic to exhibitors, sessions and key destinations at your event. Apps not only deliver information, they can ramp up the business value of your event with relevant personal connections – all of which you can track with analytics.

Q: How does the type of meeting or event influence the type of app I use?

A: While events often have similarities, every event is unique. Your app should be able to flex or configure to your event type. For example, a small corporate conference of 150 may demand more social sharing and interpersonal connection features. An expo with several hundred exhibitors should allow exhibitor directory browsing, to-do lists, note-taking. Conferences of 75 exhibitors and 1,000 attendees demand an app that blends interpersonal business networking, lead qualification, notes, to-do lists, schedule of activities and gamification such as scavenger hunts and bonus incentives to visit sponsors and special experience areas. BoothTag’s platform configures to meet all these scenarios.

Q: How do I get attendees to use the event app?

A: Make sure you have your app in place well in advance of your event – we recommend at least one month in advance. With advance availability, you can then promote the use and benefits of the app in every email communication and marketing collateral item. Focus on the benefits that features deliver. Be clear that attendees can find the app in Apple App Store, Google Play, or other store by searching on a specific keyword or phrase recognizable to all attendees – your event name or organization name or a common nickname work well. Tell registration desk staff to ask attendees if they’ve downloaded the app, and what specific key benefits it will deliver. The most effective way to promote app adoption is to announce the app and (in BoothTag’s case) recognition for participants right from the podium during general sessions, lunch announcements or other focused common area activities. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the level of adoption you achieve.

Q: How do I create a new revenue stream from my app?

A: App adoption – getting attendees to use your app – is key, because adoption increases the value of exposure to sponsor advertising or logos displayed in your app. With a recent BoothTag client, the event organizer structured app sponsor advertising packages that would generate a positive income stream well beyond the investment made in the app!

Q: What happens after my event is done?

A: After your event is over, your app provider should deliver detailed access to your event data and statistics. At BoothTag we use this as an opportunity to conduct a mutual post-event evaluation with the event organizer team. The discussion should validate assumptions about event performance and value to attendees and exhibitors, as well as overall profitability for event organizers. The real-time activity data and reports BoothTag delivers consistently tell an informative story about the event, user participation and exhibitor satisfaction. Action items based on success or improvement areas can then be immediately noted and positioned for implementation in the next event.


At the end of the day, it’s all about providing a great experience for the attendee, so that exhibitors return year after year, and the organizers mission and goals are achieved!

Do you have other questions (specific or generalized) about apps for your event? I’ll be happy to answer them personally by email or phone – or 414-292-2900.


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