Event planning is a challenging but rewarding job that requires a very special kind of person. It requires a keen eye for detail, meticulous organization, and saint-like patience. It can be tedious, unpredictable, and even dangerous – but there’s an app for that. Several.
Despite the inherent advantages of mobile technologies built specifically for event planning, a recent survey showed that 59 percent of event professionals do not use mobile apps in their event planning, but that 53 percent of those were interested in getting one. That’s a sure sign of a market on the brink of explosion.
What is too often missed is that mobile apps for event planning can be used for more than just planning. They are also an excellent way to market upcoming events. For instance, if you’re trying to drum up interest in an event, why not offer an admission discount for downloading the app? Once you have the app on their phone, you have a way to market the event to them directly – especially if you can get them to join a mailing list or provide other contact information.
Ask anyone who has been there – weddings are a veritable nightmare of planning. If you are a wedding planner by trade, you know just how much you have to juggle to pull off the big day. Planning, budgets, gift registry, RSVP – there are dozens of things to keep track of over an extended period of time, and the potential for disorganization is massive. That means the list of features that could be improved with a mobile app is equally huge. Mobile apps can synchronize scheduling and allow you to handle business quickly, efficiently, and transparently.
Wouldn’t it be great to have an app that could send push alerts to remind people to RSVP? Or to have a gift registry in one place – even if the couple is registered at ten different stores? Or to let the wedding party what to do and where to be, and when, without having to call everyone individually? That’s the kind of organization we’re talking about here.
And you can’t forget that you are more than just a wedding planner. You have a wedding planning business. So, in addition to organizing and spearheading your clients’ big days, you also have to market what you do so that you can stay in business. A mobile marketing strategy is an efficient, affordable, and effective way to allow you to keep your focus on the weddings.
Every time you have someone downloads your app to RSVP for a wedding, you’ve opened the channels to market to that person as well. You can quickly set up a few push notifications around the holidays to share what type of party planning services you offer. You can also sell ad space to your vendors or caterers. The list of potentials goes on and on. A mobile app is a long-term solution for many facets of your business that are hard to manage.
Having a mobile app for a major conference makes it easy for people at the event to do one of the most valuable things to them – networking. Creating a social app specific to conference goers is a great way to let them talk with each other, get in contact with particular people at the conference, or group around certain shared interests. In fact, one of the best features of a conference app is that it allows people to see who is attending, and arrange meetings ahead of time, rather than scrambling to make plans off a chance encounter.
Even better if you can manage to get that sort of functionality in an app that also includes critical information like a schedule, map, and local accommodation information. Logistics are a huge benefit to the event planner as well, since an app that provides potential attendees with the chance to shore up networking opportunities is sure to increase attendance at said event. They also happen to increase lead generation for exhibitors at trade shows.
Again, you need to keep in mind that mobile is not just about making things easy; it’s about marketing. In-app features like punch cards make it easy for you to track what workshops had the best attendance so that in the future you can use these titles and these presenters to market your conferences. Mobile is without a doubt convenient for your customers, but the benefits it brings you are equally important.
Small Groups Events
Elite sports leagues are a lucrative business–one that places you in the line of fire of parents. If they aren’t getting the information they want, and if it’s not being delivered in convenient fashion, all I can say is good luck with that.
If you run a youth sports league, mobile apps simplify everything from parents, to coaches, to players. It’s important to get everyone on the same page when it comes to kids; otherwise, you get angry parents and frustrated volunteers. A mobile app can put all of that frustration behind you. And it can simplify all the recordkeeping you have to do.
How many times have you had to run back to the field to do late registration? How annoying is it to send all the reminder emails for the volunteer lists? Scheduling concession and ticket takers is a logistical nightmare. But, with a mobile app, you can put it all in the parents’ hands, and they can coordinate their schedules.
Location features are another convenient tool for small group event apps. Calendars directly linked to sites are an excellent way to keep everyone on the same page.
Even smaller venues or get-togethers benefit with communication via an app before an event begins. Throwing a little poker party at your apartment every week? Planning a large holiday party for your office? Use a mobile app to set up transportation arrangements, put a schedule online, or track what people are bringing so you don’t end up with three different bowls of potato salad.
Mobile games are a huge market, but that’s not what we mean here by “entertainment.” Concerts, film screenings, conventions and other entertainment-focused events can use mobile apps to keep the pieces of the event together. These events can often become logistical nightmares, with security, safety, and presentation all being on the front end of the planner’s mind.
Depending on the size and scope of the event, an app customized specifically for your needs is the ideal solution. If you are repeatedly planning for a particular venue or touring to put on similar shows at multiple shows (with a band, for example), and app designed to match your process and procedures is the perfect efficiency tool.
Again, when you have your app on the phones of your potential clients, you now have a direct line to your audience. There’s no better way to let people who enjoy what the entertainment industry has to offer to know a new band is playing this upcoming weekend then by sending them a push note or an invite to their phone. You can share your calendar of shows with the people who are likely to see them instead of blindly wasting money and advertising to people who are not into being entertained.
Recent studies have shown that people spend an average of 90 minutes a day on their phones – and it’s likely that number is increasing as mobile apps become more useful and ubiquitous. Now consider, how much time have you spent trying to get everybody in your office on the same page for a meeting or a conference call? What if you could introduce a scheduling app that everybody in your office could go to know exactly what’s happening and when?
There’s a good chance the people in your office are already using mobile apps, and several of them even for work purposes. If they’re going to be checking their phones anyway, put something there that keeps them on the same page with you. You can even set up the app to send push reminders when important events are coming up, or communicate directly with the entire office if something substantial or sudden is happening.
Apps are the way of the future; despite what industry you call yours. They offer affordable, direct way of marketing, communicating, and providing valuable information to the people who need it most. If you are an event planner, you would be wise to look into developing an app with a company that also offers mobile marketing to accompany it. You want to make sure you are not only getting a tool to help your clients but also getting an instrument to help you as well.
Author Bio: Erin Schollaert is the founder and CEO of Main Street Mobile Apps, a mobile app development company with a vision of giving small businesses affordable 21st century marketing tools. Her goal is to develop and create solutions that support small and medium size businesses in small communities. Erin and her company truly believe a successful small business fosters a sense of community and face-to-face relationships that are vital in today’s rapidly evolving technological world.