How to Make a Successful Event or Conference App

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09/09/2020
11 minutes

According to the Bizzabo report, 60% of smartphone users are using their devices at social gatherings and events. The majority of event marketers (86%) believe that technology can enhance the success of their events.

Today event applications can basically do it all from helping users navigate through the venue to offering additional networking opportunities. Event apps can level up your conference or meetup.

Types of event apps

There is a great variety of event and conference management apps, which can be roughly classified by these four main factors.

  1. The purpose: Event aggregators (for example, local event apps like Eventbrite), apps for specific events (like the iBurn app for the Burning Man festival).
  2. The implementation: White-label solutions that can be customized for any event or custom-made event apps.
  3. The audience: Attendees benefit from apps that focus on networking and schedules, while organizers get the apps that focus on event management.
  4. The event type and scale:
    • conference planning apps
    • company event planning apps
    • party planner apps
    • wedding event planning apps
    • festival guide apps
    • web conference software, etc.

And that’s not all. Event apps can be used for selling tickets, helping attendees to find their way around, and delivering information on schedule changes. The opportunities with developing an event app are endless, what you need to do is to find your niche and start building.

Event app development explained

How to develop an event app? Every event planning application is different and has its own unique terms of implementation. If your goal is to create an event app, the first thing you should research is the basic steps of an event app creating process.

To make your life a bit easier, we summed up the most important information. So here are some basic guidelines to create a conference app or event planning app.

Determine the purpose

With building mobile apps, first, determine what you want to build and why. Cover the basics like the main concept, target audience, and their needs. Create a business model canvas for your app.

Choose the implementation options

Do you want to build a progressive web app or mobile app, or both? For example, a ticket-selling app can be convenient both as a mobile app and a progressive web app, but with the one that requires people to use it during the event, preferably, go for the mobile option.

There is one more argument in favor of a mobile application: it can work offline. While the information on the event, maps, schedules, and speakers can be stored locally and available for offline use.

Pick an approach

Before diving into the specifics, let’s see your options. Today’s technologies give you an opportunity to choose between four main approaches:

  • Native app development
  • Hybrid app development
  • Compiled app development
  • Web app development

Hybrid app development

Web application development

Compiled app development

Native app development

You create a web app that’s then hosted in a native Webview component (Wrapper)

Use a Hybrid App (Cordova, Ionic, PhoneGap)

Basically, a mobile website that runs inside the browser and doesn’t get published in app stores

Use Web App (Mobile website)

You create an app that’s compiled to native code (UI Components, APIs are compiled)

Use Compiled App frameworks (React Native, Native Script)

No compilation step needed, you write the app in the native language for the given platform

Use Native Languages (Java, Swift, Objective C)

More on this topic: How to Choose a Mobile Development Platform – Startup Hacks

Finalize the requirements

This step of mobile event app development is where you research all the features that different event planning apps have and determine specific ones that will be suitable for your application. After finalizing the feature list, arrange all the requirement you have in a form of specs for convenience.

Design, build, test

After finalizing the requirements, you can finally start the conference app development process. The process of developing an app is quite basic, but we have a few aspects picked out for you to pay attention to:

  • Create a visual prototype to see your project “in action” and test it with real users.
  • Divide your project into small and manageable pieces and move step by step. This way, you will be able to implement changes throughout the way with no need to rewrite half of the app’s code.

Know your competition in the event apps market

There’s no such thing as a typical model on how to make an event app, and the reason for this is that there are different types of event apps according to their purpose, features, and target audience. So, to create an event app you need to know what is out there.

Now, let’s try to figure out how different types of event apps work and what is the difference between them. Here are examples of different types of event apps.

Eventbrite

Eventbrite is an event management application. With its help, users can arrange all sorts of events from simple BBQ parties to concerts and business conferences. It also allows its users to buy and sell tickets for the events through the app.

Special features:

  • In-app payments. Buying tickets through the app.
  • Wait-list. Allows users to know when a free spot for an event opens up.
  • Social notifications. The app sends users an email if their friends registered for an event.

EventBoard

EventBoard is a conference event app for planning and organizing business conferences as well as communication between attendees. EventBoard has a newsfeed, the opportunity for making schedules with tasks, and creating surveys for conference attendees. This app is more suitable for business people.

Special features:

  • Conference room searching. Users can find a free and appropriate place for business meetings through the app.
  • Insight dashboard. A dashboard shows detailed information like a number of the attendees, how much time is needed and what equipment is required.

DoStuff

DoStuff is an event planning app for tracking local events. With DoStuff, users can find interesting events nearby and add them to their calendar.

Special features:

  • Event previews. Detailed information about events.
  • Tickets giveaways. DoStuff usually has discount tickets for its users.

24me

24me is an event calendar app for scheduling tasks and events of everyday life. It’s usually used for reminders like paying bills or attending some meetings.

Special features:

  • Invites. Users are able to invite friends to join an event.
  • Event calendar. Users save events to a calendar on their mobile.
  • Notifications. Users can set reminders for events.

Basic features for an event app

User registration

All apps have user registration and event apps are not an exception. You can integrate registration feature in a few ways, for example, register through email or phone number or through social networks. Note that today’s user prefers registration via social media.

Profiles

The profile is one of the most basic and important features that any app should have. You can learn some personal information about your app’s users and make their experience with the app more convenient and useful. So ask for some personal information on the registration step like name, location, and interests.

Geolocation and maps

Lots of people use event apps to find events in their area. So maps with geolocation are the essential features for every event app. Geolocation can also be used for providing a city guide for users. Consider making maps for venues and indoor navigation, you can even use AR for this purpose.

Scheduling

Event apps are usually used as a management tool. Schedule feature helps users to add their events in one place. A good idea would be to add customization options, for example, users could choose the event they want to attend and add them to their schedule.

Search

Users sometimes look for a specific event and they do not want to waste their time by scrolling that long list of events. Searching tools are crucial when it comes to improving users’ experiences. Add information filters to your app, so users could get exactly what they searched for. You can use the Google Search API for Android or the Lookup API for iOS. These solutions allow you to discover and show search results in the app interface.

Here are some common search filters for events:

  • by location;
  • by type;
  • by duration;
  • free or paid;
  • by popularity.

Event feed

To help a user navigate through a sea of information about different events, add the event feed API, which can organize and suggest events based on a user’s interests. APIs can aggregate, rank, and personalize event information in real time based on user interests.

Payments

People want to book events and purchase tickets. To implement it in your app, you need to integrate third-party services like Stripe, Braintree, or PayPal.

But, that’s not all. Provide users with a good order managing tool, that will show a list of all tickets purchased and give users the opportunity to cancel orders and refund tickets. For example, Eventbrite has a list of reasons why users can ask for a refund and then notifies a user when tickets have been refunded.

Nice-to-have features

Above we have a list of basic features for event planning apps. But by adding other useful features, you can benefit. Consider adding the following features:

  • A chat where attendees can communicate with the speakers about the event, ask questions, etc.
  • A live-streaming feature will be useful for those users who bought tickets but couldn’t come.
  • A mobile wallet for purchases at the venue. This feature can be useful at events like festivals.
  • Gamification features like quests and polls can help you improve the engagement.
  • Mobile check-in will let people use the app as a mobile pass.
  • Push-notifications remind your users about scheduled events.

The features we mentioned above are directed towards customer-facing apps. As for the organizer’s staff, here are some examples of what would be useful for them:

  • Access to user data.
  • The ability to manually check in users who don’t have the app.
  • Run polls and surveys during the event.
  • Respond to the users’ requests in real time.
  • Communicate with each other for better coordination during the event.

How to make your event app stand out

If you want to create an event app, here’s a little list of trends in event mobile apps that will be useful for making your app better.

event app development

Event App Development Cost

Here are some estimates of time & money you may need when developing a mobile event app for iPhone/iPad or Android:

  • Simple event application. Consists of basic features, no database, and no social media integration. The development takes about 1-3 months. The price is $5K-$15K.
  • More complex event application. Usually has integration of APIs, databases and social media. The development takes about 3-6 months and a team of 3-5 developers. This type of mobile event app cost from $40K.
  • Complex event application. Enterprise level event app has a large database, high-quality graphic and the integration of commerce needs about 6 months of development time with a team of 3-5 developers. This type of mobile app can be priced at about $50K.

How to Monetize Your Event App

Now that the app is ready to launch, it is time to think about ways to monetize it, so it could bring revenue. Here are the most common monetization options for event management apps:

  • Paid model. The most obvious way to monetize your event app is to make it paid. But with this option you need to bring good value to the users, so your app is worth the money. For example, add features with AR/VR integration, give your users additional perks or discounts.
  • Service fees. Event apps can get revenue from adding small service fees to their ticket sales. This model is widely used among event apps.
  • Advertising. One of the most basic ways of monetizing an app is to place advert banners into your app so people could see them while navigating through the app.
  • Capitalize on partnerships. Get partnerships from other apps or businesses. For example, you can integrate with taxi apps like Uber or Lyft so that the users of your app could get a ride to or from the event right through your app.
  • Additional features. Use a freemium monetization model and offer you, users, additional paid features.

conference app development

Conclusion

Now you know the basics of building an event planning mobile application. Don’t forget that in order to bring your app success, you need to add a spark to it, something that would differentiate your event app from any other app out there.

How much does it cost to build an event app with CodeTiburon?

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