by Michael J. Shapiro | October 01, 2014
Almost two-thirds of planners (63 percent) use mobile apps to organize and run their events, according to a survey of 382 members of Meeting Professionals International. The research, conducted by MPI and prepared by app developer DoubleDutch, comprises The State of Event Apps, released this week. According to the findings, app use is expected to grow rapidly: Within the next six to 12 months, the research indicates, there could be an 85 percent or greater mobile-app adoption rate among event professionals, in a variety of different industries. To date, app deployment has been highest among association and nonprofit meeting professionals, with 71 percent of respondents indicating they either currently offer or have developed an event app. Sixty-one percent of corporate meeting professionals have done so, while half of government planners are using or have used apps for their events. Among respondents who are not using mobile event apps, one-quarter said it is because apps do not currently meet their needs, while 21 percent said simply that apps are too expensive. Fourteen percent cannot get budget approval, and another 14 percent said apps are too much work for their teams to manage. As for the obstacles planners face in getting budget approval, the top two reasons were Wi-Fi availability on-site and generational differences, or selling the less tech-savvy attendees on the benefits of using an app.

Responses varied considerably when it comes to preferred app features, with the most popular, session descriptions, getting just one-fifth of the vote. Slightly fewer respondents (19 percent) named schedule-building as their most important feature, and speaker profiles and attendee networking were each named by 10 percent of those surveyed. The top future uses of event apps were: voting and polling (19 percent); making content and connection recommendations (14 percent); and an in-app activity stream of trending sessions, most popular comments, etc. (13 percent).