Apps for a Rockin’ Conference & Tradeshow

We leave for Vegas in four days, which means I’ve been putting together a lot of content to prep for the show. We’re very excited for all we have to offer at Catersource this year. Our minds are swimming with all that’s going to be happening over the next two weeks.

Creative Director Jean Blackmer and I put the Show Guide together with the help of our awesome Catersource team.

One addition to my Catersource life in the past few months has been my lovely little iPad mini. As I move into our digital world– albeit somewhat reluctantly, since I think I’m the only Millennial who still prefers a phone call over a text– I’ve discovered a lot of different apps to help me get through my business travels. The following might help you in your trip to the 2013 Catersource Conference & Tradeshow in Vegas.

A note: Most of these are free or inexpensive. I’m assuming they are available in some form or another in Android, but I’m not entirely positive. Leave a note in the comments if you can’t find one.

My happy little Conference app screenshot!

My happy little Conference app screenshot!

Vegas Apps for iPhone and iPad:

  • Las Vegas Indoor Maps: If you’re anything like me, you will absolutely get lost wandering around some casino in Vegas. You will have no idea how you got there and no idea how to get out. Most of the casinos don’t have a ton of signs, either, but instead of resigning yourself to gambling the afternoon away and missing all the great education and events at Catersource , I’m counting on this app to help me get out unscathed. Basically you download floor plans for everything on the Strip on your phone; no 3G needed, in case you’re in some sort of mid-desert data vortex. Can you tell there is a reason this is in the upper left-hand corner so it’s easy for me to find?
  • Trip Advisor: You can download the City Guide to Vegas, with reviews of pretty much anything you need for Vegas– especially maps and restaurant reviews.
  • Most of the hotels in Vegas have an app that allows you to make dinner reservations, buy tickets to events, etc. Here’s the Mirage.
  • Planning a big night out but not sure where you want to go? Open Table will allow you to browse available restaurants and make reservations without downloading each hotel’s app.

Keeping yourself focused and organized at the Conference & Tradeshow:

  • CSES2013 App: Our new and improved Show app! Build your schedule and export to your calendar, look up vendors on the Tradeshow floor, take notes on sessions, study a map of the Conference area, check out our Twitter feed or find out more about the many, many speakers. There’s a ton of information in this app, and our marketing assistant Alyssa Brooks has worked very hard to keep it all synced and up to date. There will be updates until the show, so start exploring now! You can also let us know what you think by filling out a small survey for each session.
  • Cardmunch: Some people say business cards are out of date, but I strongly disagree. Cards are very helpful in our line of work, but at a Conference, sometimes too many cards can be overwhelming. This app lets you scan business cards and connect the information directly to your address book, and it is a godsen. You may be a little skeptical of the scanning, but it really does a pretty fantastic job of picking up what is a company name, and what is unnecessary text– and you can go in and fix it if Cardmunch gets it wrong. It’s also created by the fine people at LinkedIn, so if that’s your preferred social network for professional meetings, you can connect with those cards directly– without pesky searches and the like. There are a couple of other business card scanning apps, but this one is free and does the job well.
  • Evernote: When I’m at a Conference, I use the free version of Evernote to organize all my notes and thoughts. You can scan handwritten pages of notes, tag and sort, make audio and photo reminders to yourself, incorporate what you’re learning with your business directly, and just keep everything in one place. There are also apps for handwriting (Penultimate) and for noting what you’ve been eating (Evernote food) if you want to expand your horizons.

Get even more social!

  • Pages: Facebook’s app for company pages makes it really easy to ensure that your photos are getting uploaded directly to your company page. It also helps you stay on-task when accessing that dangerously fun social network via your phone.
  • Instagram: I’ve told you about Instagram before. This is actually strictly a phone app– there’s no real Tablet version yet. That said, Instagram is a great way to connect to potential clients with appealing visuals. You can connect it to your Twitter and Facebook accounts and use filters to make low-lit photos shine with style. Many people use hashtags to connect them with specific events; #cses2013 or #catersource will get you in front of our eyeballs.
  • Vine: Another visual sharing app that makes it incredibly easy to create a looping 6-second video and share it on Twitter. Sadly, it’s only for iPhone at this point.

Other helpful apps:

  • An expense report app. Most of these allow you to take a photo of receipts and builds a report automatically. Catersource’s parent company currently uses Concur, so that’s what I use, but if you don’t have a system in place, JetSet Expenses is supposed to be very good. It’s not free, but it’s gotten great reviews. I’ve also seen OneReceipt recommended.
  • Stuck in an unfamiliar airport? GateGuru can help you orient yourself by locating restaurants, deals or even just the ATM.

If you’re not into Apps, you’re probably not still reading this far down, but you can also find everything you need in the Show Guide. If you have a question, stop by the information desk and chat with our superknowledgable staff.

Stay tuned for more posts as we build up to leave for Vegas in… gosh… T minus four days!


One thought on “Apps for a Rockin’ Conference & Tradeshow

  1. Thank you for the great information. I don’t know if you realize what a resource Catersourse is. As a small, part-time caterer my budget will not allow me to attend the conference. I saved and was able to go to Colorado this past summer…I am ow saving for Catersource next year! The articles and photos are a great inspiration. Although I can’t be in LasVegas I know the magazine is going to bring me the best you see there… Thank you!!! When will Meryl’s new DVD go on sale on the website???

    Alease Copelin

    Sent from my iPad

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