Event planners face a mind-boggling array of options, from free event apps with basic functionality to super-sophisticated paid apps with incredible capabilities.
How do you make sure you pay for the features you need and nothing more, and what can you expect to spend overall?
In this post, we’ll take you through the details so you can make an informed decision about your next event app investment. And, if you’d like to chat this through with us, we’re always here!
Choosing the right event app involves many factors, including budget, attendee experience, return on investment and data analysis.
While a provider with lower event app costs may seem like a tempting choice, it’s important to look beyond the initial price tag and consider the long-term benefits and drawbacks.
Like most things, it’s fair to say that the higher the event app cost, the more benefits and features you’ll receive.
Spend some time understanding what you need from an event app, what you would like (but can possibly do without) and what you definitely don’t need. This gives you a starting point to assess an event app’s cost-effectiveness.
Free Event Apps
When it comes to event apps, one of the biggest benefits is the potential cost savings – and there’s no bigger cost saving than getting something for free! However, before you rush to sign-up for a free event app, there are some things to consider.
Many event app providers have a free version of their paid service. They may heavily advertise their ‘fantastic free event app’; however, it’s worth checking to see if this is on a permanent or trial basis.
The trial period may be useful to see if the app is a good fit for your event – but do review the small print. Will the trial automatically roll over into a paid service if you don’t actively opt out or cancel? And how much will it cost if you do choose to keep the app on a paid basis?
There are a few genuine, permanently free event apps, but these are likely to have drawbacks, such as a cap on attendee numbers, small number of features, weak security and limited service support.
Providers may also expect the event app to carry their branding, and to have unfettered access to attendee data as part of the agreement (within relevant laws and regulations).
When it comes to free event apps, you generally get what you (don’t!) pay for. Make sure to carefully evaluate the features, limitations, and security of any free option before deciding if it’s the right fit for your event.
In summary, free event apps:
- May work for small events with a limited number of attendees.
- Are often only free for a trial period.
- Are unlikely to offer comprehensive features, security or support.
Expect to pay: £0! Unless it’s a free trial only.
Paid Event Apps
Paid event apps will inevitably offer far more features, service and support than their free counterparts. However, there’s still a range of paid event app options, depending on your event and support needs.
An off-the-shelf event app is pre-built and ready-to-use. These apps are created with the goal of providing event organisers with a quick and easy solution for their event app needs.
They typically include standard features such as agendas, maps, speaker bios, sponsor information, and networking capabilities. They may also be customisable, allowing organisers to incorporate their event branding into the app (but not always).
Generally more cost-effective than a customised event app, they can be a great option for events with limited budgets or organisers looking for a straightforward solution with basic functionality.
Bear in mind that off-the-shelf solutions are likely to offer minimal (if any) customer support. The onus is on the event organiser to upload and manage content, market the event app, and support event app users who need help. These types of event apps also may not have sufficient API capabilities to link to associated event software such as registration, ticketing and badge-printing.
In summary, off-the-shelf event apps:
- Can be great for smaller events with limited features.
- Work for event organisers who have the time and resources to fully manage content upload and marketing.
- May not offer customer support.
Expect to pay: a minimum of around £1,000/$2,000.
A custom-built event app is developed entirely from scratch to meet the specific needs of an event. You can build the app yourself, although the cost and resource required can make this an impractical option.
Most organisers will work with an experienced event app provider, like CrowdComms, who will customise a pre-existing app template that has been road-tested over many years to deliver an amazing user experience, intuitive CMS and iron-clad security.
Unlike off-the-shelf apps, a customised app offers flexibility in terms of design, features, and functionality. This means that organisers can create a unique app that matches the exact requirements of their event, such as:
- Integrating with other event technology, e.g. badge-printing kiosks
- Creating a fully branded event app with a custom design
- Delivering interactive features such as live polling and networking
- Providing comprehensive analytics
Customised apps may require a little more time to develop than off-the-shelf apps, but they can also provide a more seamless and engaging experience for attendees, increasing engagement and satisfaction.
This option is also likely to give peace of mind! For example, in addition to a beautiful event app, CrowdComms also delivers robust security and first-class service support to ensure event organisers have complete confidence in the event app delivery.
In summary, high-quality, customised event apps:
- Deliver a sophisticated event app with API integration.
- Full event branding across all relevant features
- Are backed by comprehensive support and security measures.
Expect to pay: upwards of £2,500/$5,000*
*price variables include: attendee numbers, feature add-ons, event length, number of events
A Final Note About Event App Providers
While figuring out event app costs can be challenging, finding a trusted event app provider with great service can really help.
They’ll work with you to make sure you have a great event app that genuinely meets your needs. Providers with experienced service teams, and a range of event app options, will help find workable solutions that meet your budget and functionality expectations.
Chat to other event organisers to get recommendations, or head to Trustpilot for independent provider reviews.