In a past life I helped coordinate large conferences that saw over 10,000 attendees cross the gates every year. As with most events, the conference schedule was subject to multiple last minute changes, and every year, communicating these last minute changes to attendees proved to be a significant challenge.
Well, after a bit of hiatus from conference duty, I’ve returned, and I’m happy to say I’ve found the solution in the form of a mobile application called Guidebook. The app solves the vast majority of the problems encountered in scheduling, all on a tight budget.
For starters, you can download the schedule and all of the convention information directly to the phone, so no need for a battery-draining, always-on connection. Once the application starts, it downloads all updates that are available to the schedule.
The second big feature that impressed me was the ability to create your own schedule. By viewing events on the master schedule, you can add those events to a schedule and basically plan your afternoon based on what you want to see.
Last and certainly not least, social sharing functions are available within Guidebook. The app has links to the conference Twitter feed for updated information, plus a Pinterest-like photo sharing application in which all app users can take photos and share them with other users in real-time.
The application is free for users, but for the conference organizers there is a cost. The premium plan is $2,500, and the support team for Guidebook will build the modules in the app for you at that price level. That price point pales in comparison to printing program books and materials at the last possible second. While larger conferences (such as SXSW and C2E2) have the budget and manpower to create their own branded applications, Guidebook can provide a similar service for smaller events.