It’s the Catch-22 of event professionals everywhere: They’ve got less time and money, but more events on the calendar.
In Event Manager Blog’s 2018 State of the Event Industry Research report, 57 percent of planners said budget dilemmas were their biggest overall concern. In fact, almost 82 percent of them shared that staying within budget was a key priority, and 52 percent noted it was a major factor in calculating event ROI.
On the flip side, the 2019 Global Meetings and Events Forecast from American Express proved that the dramatic slowdown the meetings and events industry experienced a decade ago is a thing of the past. Not only are event professionals producing more meetings, they’re planning meetings that are longer and host more attendees.
This one-two punch—less lead time between functions and a laserlike focus on hitting budgets—has resulted in event professionals looking for innovative ways to do more with less. They’re increasingly investigating event apps as a solution for streamlining communications, boosting attendee engagement and delivering actionable data that leads to long-term ROI.
If the above scenarios are sounding startlingly familiar to you, and you’re in the market for an event app to bridge the gap, we (okay, not totally selflessly) congratulate you. Here’s why considering an event app vendor with a solid container-app option is so important.
What’s a container app?
You’re asking yourself what a container event app is right now, aren’t you? Here goes: In the world of event technology, there are two ways to set up your event app. The first is as a “branded app,” which is downloadable from the app stores under your organization’s own name and logo. The other is as a “container app,” where your event is housed in the same app as other events from different organizations. In the latter instance, attendees would access your app by:
- Going to the app store
- Looking for the name of your event-tech vendor’s app and downloading it
- Searching for the name of your event within the provider’s app, and
- Joining your event from there
Here’s what this looks like:
Why “branded app” is a misnomer
While the terms “branded app” and “container app” are standard lingo within the event-tech industry, they can cause a lot of confusion among event professionals. So let’s clear up a major misconception right now: Container event apps—at least those offered by best-in-class event tech vendors—do offer a rich array of branding options inside the interface of the app. With intuitive, drag-and-drop functionality, you should be able to personalize your app’s interface with your logo, pictures, videos, downloadable content, and more, no design experience required. The only place you won’t be able to represent the look and feel of your brand is as it appears in the app store; it won’t be directly searchable under your organization’s name and logo there. To sum it up: You are able to brand a container app; the branding just starts a little later in the attendee journey.
It may sound complicated, but with some simple messaging, it’s actually very easy for your attendees to find and download your app. Ask your event-tech provider for helpful guides and templates that show you how.
Time is on your side
A recent study showed that the average event professional plans 12 meetings per year. So time and access to internal resources like technologists are luxury items to most planners, and should be a major point of consideration when choosing which type of event app to set up.
In order to build a branded event app, an organization must already have their own Apple developer account and submit their app to Apple for review prior to publication. This is a process that can take from three to seven weeks, and will most likely require multiple ongoing assists from both your internal development team and event-tech provider. Container apps, on the other hand, do not necessitate an Apple developer account or review period to go live. You can publish your event the same day you build it.
The price is right
Cost-conscious event producers can’t beat the price point for container apps. Because they require a fraction of the resources involved in the submission and publishing process, they often cost as much as 50 percent less than branded apps, while sustaining a nearly identical feature set. Look for solution providers that offer the flexibility of both a-la-carte pricing and package-based discounts. Many will allow you to save by purchasing multiple event apps or pairing your app with their registration platform.
It’s also smart to seek out a vendor that allows you to build your app for free before you buy, so you can experience the full flavor of the platform prior to committing. Is the interface intuitive? Does the private social network meet your needs? These are things it’s better to find out sooner than later.
Container Apps vs. Branded Apps
The bottom line? If you’re in the market for an event app, and don’t have strict external branding constraints but are feeling the pinch of time and a limited budget, then a container app might be the perfect fit. Since no two events are alike, be sure to explore your specific needs with a reputable event app vendor. Good luck in your search!