“The whole process has changed dramatically and for the better,” he said. “It used to be long lines and business cards.”
Susan Stark Schall, a real estate agent who works in the Bay Area for Venture Sotheby’s International Realty
, attended a company event last year in Las Vegas with 2,400 others. She said she appreciated the ability to send messages and share photos with other agents there using a mobile app. If a client was looking for a property in another city, “you could post your need and you’d get a lot of responses,” she said. Ms. Schall said she also liked the ability in the app to see which classes were full and which ones still had space.
Ms. Shackman said technology offerings need to be intuitive. “Boomers, millennials, everyone needs to understand how to use it with a minimum of effort.”
Some organizers prefer to use social media rather than a special app. Jonathan Meyers, general manager of events at CNBC
, said that asking people to download and figure out how to use a special phone app for a one-day conference could be a challenge, so he prefers to connect with attendees on the platforms they are already using, like LinkedIn and Facebook.
“We can invite attendees into social media groups to communicate with them and use hashtags for social posts,” he said.
Mr. Meyers said he had also found that event-specific apps were rarely opened after the event. “It’s easier to continue the conversation,” he said, through groups created using popular social media platforms.
Connections can be as important as content at an event, and networking tools are designed to help attendees find new customers, suppliers or partners. An app called Braindate
lets participants share topics they would like to discuss and then meet in person at a Braindate Lounge, where facilitators act as hosts. A recommendation algorithm also offers suggestions of whom to meet. Eventgoers who are using the networking app Klik
, and who have agreed to meet, will see their wristbands light up the same color when they are near each other.