My friends at Social Tables, the fabulous event software company, have come up with a great resource for event planners and non-planners alike: the Pocket Planner mobile app. They teamed up with the Convention Industry Council to create a neat little calculator app that’s really like having an event planner in your pocket. The best part about the app – it’s FREE!
I had the opportunity to take the pocket planner for a test drive. There are four different categories – Food & Beverage, Service, Tables, and Other, which is kind of the miscellaneous category and includes number of screens, portable toilets (who said event planners’ jobs weren’t glamorous!), trash cans, dance floor size, bandwidth and fire code. For each section it is automatically set to 50 attendees, but as you edit the number of attendees, everything changes proportionately. For example, if you go from 50 attendees to 100, your gallons of coffee you should order goes from 4 to 7, the number or bartenders goes from 1 to 2, and so on.
The app calculates these numbers based on the CIC’s guidelines and best practices, but you can also adjust them yourself to meet your needs. For example, the CIC calculates that guests will consume 2 drinks per person during a 1 hour reception, but if you know your group is made up of light drinkers you can manually change that to 1 drink per person, or even 1.5 drinks per person.
The app functions as a calculator, so it doesn’t store your data. I would recommend using it like a calculator, and having a pad and paper nearby to write down your figures so you don’t have to start from scratch.
One of the best parts about the app is how easy it is to use – the interface is user-friendly and I liked the simple color palette. There aren’t too many bells and whistles, but you don’t need them. The app links to the CIC Manual and Apex Glossary. The glossary is useful for new planners and you can access a mobile version right on your phone. The CIC Manual requires a purchase and the app didn’t link directly to buy the book, but rather just the main CIC website, so I’m not sure if that’s a glitch.
I’ve used the app quite a few times to check my own work. I find that I have a lot of these numbers in my head already, but this would be a great teaching tool for those who are new to event planning, or for people who aren’t professional event planners but find themselves planning a wedding or a large party.
The app is available for free on ios and android., download here.