New smart phone apps are constantly being released. Recommending apps to your event attendees is a great way to enhance their conference experience, and it’s another way for you and your staff to increase your level of customer service. Recently I’ve been writing smart phone app articles for Meeting Planners International of Greater New York's Metroline publication. I’d like to share my findings with you, and I think you’ll discover that they’ll help you become more efficient and greener.
The first two free apps are good for helping you and your conference attendees find your way around a new city. You can also use the app to make quick updates and local recommendations in you daily conference newsletter. Poynt and Where, which are available for BlackBerry, Apple products and Android. Poynt Features: Point has six main categories which include, Map It, Businesses, People, Movies, Restaurants and Gas Prices. Each main category has sub categories, for example, Restaurants can be searched by Restaurants Near Me, Restaurants By Name, and Restaurants by Cuisine. You can also call the restaurant to make reservations directly from the app.
Where Features: YP.com (sub categories in YP.com: restaurants, coffee shops, ATMs, gas stations, hotels, airports, parking, movie theaters, Auto Repair ), News, Gas Prices, Events, Traffic, My Places, Movies, Weather, Zipcar, Starbucks, Featured Brands, Coupons, and Reviews.
Word to the Wise: Before you send a conference group to a local restaurant, call them first to make sure that they are still in business. I test the app in my hometown, and I found two local restaurants that were out of business.
Grupio – Interested in going paperless for your next conference? Do you want to put all or some of you conference materials into an app, so that your attendees don’t have to lug around a heavy program and a bag filled with brochures? Grupio is your answer. Provide your attendees with live updates, schedules, speaker bios, exhibitors, include Twitter and Facebook feeds, floor plans and attendee lists. You can also benefit from ads and sponsorships. Grupio is currently available for the iPhone, iTouch and iPad. In October 2010 they are launching the app for BlackBerry and Android phones.
Cost: The basic features that are listed above range from $3000-$5000 per event. The cost also depends on the number of users at the event. Customization, such as, adding your logo comes at an additional cost. Non-profit organizations are eligible for Grupio’s reduced rates.
Please feel free to share your favorite apps with me.