by Stephanie Miles
Published on 2 October 2013
When conference organizers spend all their time working on the logistics of their events, they miss out on the real reason why people attend industry gatherings-the networking opportunities. Industry events can be an excellent place for attendees to meet fellow professionals and make new business connections. Attendify is a tool that conference organizers can use to make their events more social.
In this Attendify review, I will take the event management platform out for a test drive and find out how easy it is to build an events app from scratch. I'll then look at how well the apps that users create actually work, in terms of being able to engage attendees and keep large events running on time. The final component of my review will involve looking at the costs associated with building an event-specific app with Attendify.
Event organizers can use Attendify to build mobile apps that attendees at their conferences can use to make personal connections. The apps that event organizers create can replace printed guides, with features that include conference schedules, venue maps, speaker bios, sponsorship information, and exhibitor profiles. An internal news feed keeps attendees updated on the latest announcements-for example, the news feed would include information when a specific panel discussion has been moved or if a keynote speaker has been cancelled. All told, Attendify aims to help people get more out of the events they attend.
Event organizers can choose from one of two apps-social or guide apps. Guide apps are the more basic of the two options, providing users with a simple interface meant to replace printed guides. Organizers can include customizable schedules, speaker lists, and sponsor profiles. Attendees who download the guide app for an event can get help navigating the exhibit halls. Guide apps can also be set up to pull content from Twitter into the event newsfeed.
Social apps include all the features of a guide app, but with an added layer of networking tools. Tagged photos are included in the conference timeline. Attendees who download the app can create personal profiles that other attendees can search and view. These profiles can be built to include links to an attendee's social networking pages, along with a "personal objective" for attending the conference. (For example, an attendee might list his personal objective as: "Looking to meet fellow CEOs to form strategic business alliances.") Attendees who are intrigued by a specific profile or objective can send a private message through the app and schedule a time to meet one-on-one.
Attendify serves two primary purposes for event organizers. Firstly, building a mobile events app with interior maps, schedules, and speaker profiles can be cheaper than printing a paper guide. Last-minute changes to the speaker lineup can be quickly changed with a few clicks in Attendify, allowing organizers to make seamless updates at any time. Organizers can also send push notifications to their attendees' smartphones to announce when important sessions or keynote speakers are about to begin.
The other real benefit to creating an official event app with Attendify is that it makes it possible for organizers to add more value to their conferences. Attendify's social app helps attendees forge deeper connections with the people around them. As a result, organizers can charge more for tickets to their events because attendees are getting more benefits from attending. They can also review analytics to find out how people are using the apps that they have created, and how they can improve their events in the coming years.
Creating apps is always free. Users can create as many as they like and test them all out using the live preview tool Attendify Studio. Users only pay when they publish a given app, not before then.
Apps should be published well in advance of your event, since it can take up to 10 days for a published app to be available for downloading. Attendify lets you test the app you're building instantly using Attendify Studio. There are two versions available, for iOS and Android.
Add basic information to your app (like a name, label, description, and smartphone icon), and then select which tabs you would like to include. Make sure to include tabs for each feature you want to have in your app, like speaker lists, Twitter integration, an About page, a schedule, and an exhibit map, to name just a few.
Information like speaker profiles and sponsorship information can be typed directly into the Attendify platform or imported at no additional charge. To import your conference information into Attendify, download an Excel template and then upload the completed XLS file.
Attendify encourages you to preview the app you're building using your own smartphone. To do so, just download the Attendify App Studio. The company offers a robust support center with a detailed knowledge base that includes articles on creating, publishing, and promoting Attendify apps. For answers to questions that are not covered in Attendify's detailed knowledge base, users are encouraged to submit an online request for assistance.
Attendify offers straightforward pricing. Users can build their apps for free, and they pay only when they decide to publish. Guide apps cost $399 per event, per year. Social apps cost $599 per event, per year. Annual subscription rates cover iPhone, Android, and web versions of the mobile app. Users have unlimited content updates and unlimited downloads while their annual subscriptions are valid.
By creating a mobile app with social elements, event organizers are adding real value to their conferences. Attendees are more satisfied with conferences when they are able to make personal connections with their colleagues in the industry. Not only that, but they can oftentimes save money, when compared to the cost of printing a traditional paper conference guide. Maps, schedules, and speaker lineups can all be adjusted at the last minute, and push notifications can easily be sent out to notify attendees when the location of events have been changed or when certain presentations are about to begin.
Ratings: ease of use 5/5, features 5/5, value 5/5