• Zerista: A Deeper Dive into the Winter 2017 Infographic

    POSTED December 22, 2016
  • Zerista: A Deeper Dive into the Winter 2017 Infographic

    POSTED December 22, 2016

In our Winter 2017 issues, we’re featuring the tech companies that were part of the 2016 ibtm America TechCollective in partnership with DAHLIA+. Because we can only fit so much in print, read on here for our full interview with Dade J. Gaylord, vice president of operations, Zerista, by JackRabbit Systems, Inc.

Zerista is an event management website and mobile app that allows event organizers and attendees to manage schedules, set up meetings, generate leads and participate in games that encourage event learning, discussion and collaboration.

What are some of Zerista’s outstanding features for meeting/event planners?

Thanks to Zerista, event professionals and attendees are no longer restricted by the technological borders of different platforms, devices, web browsers and apps. With Zerista, these borders have been shattered, and a seamless experience across all platforms has been made available! Rise out of the digital quagmire and into a unified experience.

Zerista is everything an event professional could want, all wrapped up in one easy-to-use app. This ease of use carries over into the attendee experience to make it more valuable, connected and measurable. Zerista also unlocks new business opportunities for exhibitors and sponsors through its system’s connections-focused framework.

Some of the key features found on Zerista include intelligent matching, conference programs and schedules, personal agenda, social sharing (so important nowadays), surveys and polling, speaker profiles and much more. Zerista’s recent merge with JackRabbit Systems Inc., means that event professionals can benefit from their tourism and travel expertise for venue selections and destination management.

As anyone in the industry will tell you, variables are constantly changing during an event, so Zerista’s ability to be edited easily on site makes it invaluable to planners and their team

Built around Zerista and JackRabbit’s app is Event › Direct, a powerful marketing platform that cities can use to convert business travelers to leisure travelers. Before and during an event, Event › Direct provides the Book › Direct City Guide search functionality, city-branded splash pages and in-app banners ads to encourage increased attendee spend on leisure activities while in market. After the event, Event › Direct utilizes the Book › Direct hotel and flight search engine tied-into email campaigns and retargeted ad campaigns to further inspire travel. Planners are able to measure where users go outside of the venue and determine other areas of interests that they have about the city.

With a reputation for going beyond support to help guide clients to successful app experiences, Zerista’s team is built with event industry veterans. Zerista is based in Denver, Colo., with offices in Orlando, Fla.; Santa Fe, N.M.; Dallas, Texas; and a new office in London. The mobile app landscape is a crowded one, but amidst the countless event apps, this team stands above and beyond thanks to their unique approach to event management. Their alliance with JackRabbit Systems and Event › Direct creates a major advantage for planners, travel professionals and attendees.

What was the inspiration for starting Zerista? When was it founded and where are you based?

Zerista was founded as an online mapping company and community app in 2008 in Denver, Colorado. The company gradually transitioned into an event management website and mobile app that allows event professionals and attendees to do everything across platforms and with ease. This transition and focus on events was inspired by our trademark: “Customer-Centric Events,” which is geared to make it easier for everyone to engage with what’s most valuable – anytime, anywhere and on any device. Early adopters of the Zerista we know today included the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Denver!

It’s all about the desire to change the way meetings work. By combining software and strategy, Zerista’s aim is to trim the fat inherit to live events and focus solely on streamlining and giving planners, attendees, sponsors, and exhibitors exactly what they need.

A lot of other apps started out as simple digital program guides. Zerista’s origins as a community app gave it the groundwork for smart connections between attendees and the event content, planners, and solutions. From the start, Zerista’s team was focused on taking broader trends like social media, data intelligence, and targeted advertising and applying them to the event industry. This led them to design Zerista with an unbroken concentration on ease of use, one step navigation, focused meetings for attendees and exhibitors and exposure for Sponsors.

Do you have any numbers/figures/percentages you can share related to the technology that would interest planners?

Across Zerista’s desktop and mobile platforms, usage ranges before, during, and after an event. Beforehand, desktop usage is nearly 100 percent. During the event, it shifts to being almost completely mobile. Afterwards, when the crowd has gone home, there’s a solid mix between both platforms.

On average, Zerista fuels more than two hours of digital engagement per event. Some meetings have even seen engagement of well over six hours of measured time.

Zerista was the first event app to work across every device, including desktop computers, resulting in an average of 40 percent more engagement per event. It features the broadest set of integrations, which improves data and reduces the workload on event planners and their team. The Zerista team itself is designed to partner with enterprise clients and help guide them to more successful events.

Zerista's scheduling and brain dating "smart" matches event participants together, ensuring networking and engagement amongst attendees are much more valuable. This saves time across the board!

Zerista is focused on content-heavy conferences in technology, life sciences, and publishing. No matter the conference, Zerista has the flexibility planners need to ensure things go off seamlessly every time.

When asking for news from the U.S. Mountain West, I hit the jackpot with three suggestions for truly memorable venues for meetings and events. You might want to get booking quick, as they’ll go fast!  


Set on 640 acres amongst central Oregon’s 1,000-year-old juniper forest and surrounded by the Cascade Mountain Range, Juniper Preserve and its boutique hotel Juniper Lodge in Bend have two of the most unique event spaces in the Pacific Northwest.


Over the years, any corporate event planner can admit to spending countless hours researching the perfect venue or vendors for their gatherings. After attending or hosting hundreds of events, New York-based Daphne Hoppenot was no stranger to this research and was frustrated by its repetitive nature. However, it was planning her wedding in 2018 that pushed her to realize the lack of resources in the corporate events market compared to the wedding industry, and set out to see if other meetings and events professionals were struggling with the same problem.  


Freelancing has become a new ball game since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, as many companies cannot afford to keep full-time positions, but still need those tasks completed. Although many more professionals have had to join the freelancing community since March, Tracy Judge had the passion for the freelancing community two years ago–long before the pandemic hit–and founded her company Soundings Connect in order to directly connect meetings and events industry freelancers with customers.