How You Can Cut Out Event Printing Costs Entirely (And Why You Should Try It)

Event printing costs are near-impossible to predict, and they always seem to spiral out of control. You find yourself having to reprint to correct late-in-the-game changes or suffer the consequences of giving your attendees out-of-date materials.

I recall a specific moment in particular: standing in the conference center print shop, forking over more than our entire team lodging budget for rush-order, low-quality programs… so that we could correct ONE mistake.

As you can probably tell, event printing costs are a bit of a personal “pain point” (forgive me for using that term). And I bet they are for you, too.

Why You Should Quit Printing


Event printing costs can compound and pop up in unexpected places. And paper printing costs two times as much as a mobile app.


You can’t make last-minute changes to printed materials. You can’t even make mid-term changes. Unless you go through the stack with a red pen, your paper programs are obsolete the moment you confirm with the printer.

cut event printing costs by 100 percent

Personally, I am a big fan of trees!


According to the Center for Sustainable Tourism, the average conference attendee can take home as much as ten pounds of paper. That seems… wasteful.


“Removing the printed guide in lieu of the mobile app basically secured the adoption rate for us.”

– Marc Fishman, Livetext


You’ll get the highest possible app adoption rate.

Planners who use mobile apps are always looking for ways to increase the number of people who use the app. But I’ve visited conferences where I was greeted with an inviting-looking stack of programs, while the app details were barely displayed. We’re only human–I found myself reaching for the old-fashioned paper too.

If you’re looking to get at high return on your app investment, cut out printing–or at least provide programs only upon request.

It Starts With Reducing Printing

“I never touched my paper program.”

– Real attendee, 2014 Rotary International Convention


A mobile event app can free you from the cost, hassle and waste of printing programs. In fact, according to the State of Mobile Event Technology Report 2014, 82% of planners who use event guides said that they were able to remove or reduce printing.

no more event printing costs

A mobile guide gives your attendees so much more, too: they can build personal schedules, interact socially, share their opinion in live polls, give feedback, swap contact information, download documents and much more.

How You Can Cut Out Event Printing Costs Entirely

Yes, it’s possible to go entirely paperless with a mobile guide. I recommend that you follow these steps:

1. Analyze your current app usage

Take a look at the download rates from your last event, and ask yourself honestly if you’re doing everything you can to promote your guides. (Most planners report that they know they aren’t doing enough to promote their guides, according to the Mobile Event Tech Report.)

2. Talk to your attendees

Use a post-event survey to ask your full constituency whether they’d be willing to forego printing altogether. (Perhaps you could even consider passing on a portion of the savings to them, or at least calling attention to the reduction in waste.)

3. Make sure everyone knows about the guide beforehand

Attendees who begin using the guide before they arrive will love that they can plan their experience. They can also take advantage of travel information like shuttle times and airport info.

Your Concerns With Going Completely Paperless

I understand– a lot of planners feel like they can’t remove event printing entirely just yet.

“My attendees aren’t tech-savvy.”

Totally understood. Tons of people aren’t! That’s why a mobile event app is created by world-class user experience designers. Their job is to make someone feel at home, and able to navigate, instantly. There is no breaking-in period.

cut event printing costs with a mobile app

Your event app will work great in this bank vault!

“The wifi in my venue isn’t good enough for an app.”

Once your attendees have the app, they can use it offline–in a concrete bunker, a remote mountaintop, an underwater lair, or wherever you’re holding your conference.

“I can’t afford the event app.”

Did you know that the average cost of an event app is less than 1.2% of your per-attendee budget? When you cut out printing, you’ll literally cut your costs in half.

“My attendees don’t all have smartphones.”

This is a possibility. The vast majority of American adults do own a smartphone or tablet–and that number is much higher for business professionals. But it’s possible that some of your attendees don’t have a compatible device. My suggestion, however, is to send out a survey and ask them.

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