App, App and Away: Understanding Planners' Event App Needs
By Mike May President, Spear One | September 08, 2013
Of all the mobile apps on our smartphones, very few are for business use. Most apps are personal, consumer applications. Many in the hotel and meeting planning industries have probably used an event app, but mostly likely, only a handful of times.
Growth in Mobile Apps
Mobile app developers claim they have been creating event apps for 5 years, but 2013 is merely the second year of meaningful commercial deployment, with exploding growth expected over the next 3 years. A Meetings & Conventions magazine survey indicated that 17% of meeting planners offered attendees an event app in 2012 and predicted that statistic to jump significantly to 28% in 2013.
As with all new technologies, the costs are high for early adopters with most apps ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 on the low end and increasing quickly to $20,000 or more, especially for complicated integration with other systems or the addition of custom features. Leading app developers include QuickMobile, EventMobi, and CrowdCompass (now owned by Cvent), while dozens of second tier developers own certain niches.
Be careful when evaluating lower cost apps, as they are likely web-based apps, or "waps". Waps are actually mobile friendly websites that look very similar, which skinny down HTML formatting to better display content on mobile phones. On the positive, the mobile website is accessible from a wide variety of mobile devices and no download is required. A wap requires a single site development, whereas native apps usually have four developmental versions – iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, and iPad. But, unlike a true native app, waps will not work in airplane mode and no data is stored on the device.