Event planners and organizers usually have their hands full. And when it’s time to select an event app, many turn to RFPs (Request for Proposals) in order to save time in selecting a vendor. But let’s be real, by choosing an event app provider, you’re selecting someone to begin a trusted relationship with. Before selecting a company to create your app, it’s crucial to know how your potential app provider works, what the finished product will look like, how issues are handled and—most importantly—whether your new event app provider will be a good fit. When it comes down to it, everyone can look good on paper, but only a few stand out when it’s time to operate in the real world.
The reason event organizers run into trouble when requesting RFPs is that there is a big disconnect between RFP responses and the actual finished product. When shopping for an event app, here are 3 key reasons to skip the RFP and request a sample app instead.
Build a Business Partnership
As mentioned, selecting an event app provider means starting a trusting relationship. The RFP process is extremely impersonal, and some event organizers send requests out blindly without ever talking to their potential app builders. The downside to this is not experiencing your potential app providers in action: Will you be assigned an account manager? Do they offer unlimited support? How responsive are they? Do they have transparent pricing? Starting a conversation directly with your potential app builders and requesting a sample app can give you the answers to all these questions. Most halfway-decent providers can use your existing event website to build a sample app.
You Don’t Know What You Don’t Ask
While an RFP gives you an idea of the initial project scope, it may not be a good indicator of the project as a whole. As an event planner, you may not know what exact functionality will best suit your needs. Additionally, your initial list of “needs” may be missing essential features you’re unaware of that will help drive attendee engagement.That’s why it’s best to connect directly with your potential mobile app providers to plan and build the best app for your event. This will give you a sneak preview of the vendor’s support and responsiveness should you have any questions.
Save Time—Get Answers
Let’s not forget that the process of writing an RFP is time-consuming and generally requires a team or at least input from various stakeholders. Depending on the complexity of your RFP, you’ll need to start the process very early. Especially given that you have to wait for all the potential candidates to respond. And once you get a response, you might have to pull together several meetings and reviews with your internal team. If there are additional questions, you’ll have to go back and forth with your respondents and if you don’t get exactly what you need, you might have to start the process over entirely.
There’s a Better Way
By requesting a sample app instead of issuing an RFP, you’ll be able to work directly with your candidate app providers and get all your questions answered up front. You’ll also have a reasonable idea of what the turnaround time will be for your app, and you’ll get a head start on spotting vendors that not only provide a fantastic app—but also great service and support. Best of all, you can preview the app live before making a commitment, and see exactly how it will operate on different mobile devices.
You’re Not Alone
If you’re concerned about handing over the reins to a potential app provider, rest assured that good vendors will be willing to guide you through the process. You can even request an initial demo so you see exactly how the back-end works. This will save you tons of time and instill confidence when entering into long-lasting business relationship with them.
According to our 2016 Event Industry Research Report, a whopping 70% of event planners said their top priority is ensuring attendees have a delightful experience at their event. Another 45% of event planners say they need help coming up with ways to engage and enhance the experience of attendees. Having the right event app can help with these two vital areas, and the best way to ensure you and your provider are a good match is to see their mobile app in action. So, ditch those RFPs and employ a more hands-on approach by requesting a sample app to take for a test-drive.