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HelloCrowd: Mobile Event App [Review]

By Becki Cross

HelloCrowd is a mobile event app solution for Event Planners running 1 to 1,000 events a year, with a subscription pricing model. Here is our review.

hellocrowd

The Event App Bible 2015 outlined how competitive the event app market is and helped us to identify some of the key trends in the industry. HelloCrowd have taken notice of this research and decided to reposition their app accordingly. They believe there are a number of myths in terms of mobile apps and want to change industry thinking.

HelloCrowd: What Is It?

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HelloCrowd is a do-it-yourself platform that allows Event Managers to build native event apps for all of their events, large and small.

Initally you must create your own master branded app which HelloCrowd approves and submits to the app stores. This process takes approximately 7-10 days for Apple to approve and publish and it takes a few hours to go live on the Android platform. You can still edit and add content to your master branded event app while you are waiting for approval.

The platform can be used as a multi-event app so once the master app is approved you won’t need to start from scratch to add future events; new events can be created and published as quickly as you can build them and are available immediately via your master app.

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HelloCrowd have a simple subscription pricing model which includes all features within the set price. For as long as you have one or more events live you pay the monthly subscription rate and this is upgraded or downgraded as required, based on your total number of events. If you have no events live you cancel the subscription and your app will be removed from the app stores.

Even if you have never published an event app before the set-up process is simple and the design and style of the app is clean and stylish. Their simple CMS allows event planners to build an app for their event quickly and easily. Simply populate and include the features you want for the app to fit the requirements of your event.

The Main Categories of Features Are:

Networking and Communication. Attendees can build their own profile by importing their chosen picture and profile information from 65 of the major social media platforms worldwide. Attendees can then request to connect with each other, speakers, exhibitors and sponsors. Your event audience can send invitations to “Contact Swap” and then once connected will share each other’s contact information which can be saved to their phones.

Event Planners can stay in touch with event attendees before, during and after a live event by scheduling push messages.

Engagement. Attendees can interact with the event, speakers and each other by rating sessions, participating in live polls and asking questions via their devices. Thanks to a built-in message board your attendees can chat with other attendees and connect at the event. Attendees can also take notes at sessions and save these notes for later review.

Revenue Opportunities. Sponsors can share profiles, documents, brochures and videos with attendees via the app. Sponsor Banners can be added. Exhibitor listings can also be included within the app including pictures and rich content. These features all add the potential to generate revenue and to satisfy sponsor and exhibitor requirements.

Review

It seems that HelloCrowd have listened to #eventprofs frustrations and decided to tackle the app market with a different approach to their competitors. HelloCrowd opens up the potential of using apps for a wider selection of events - even on relative small events that you would not normally have considered - as the cost and time commitments are reduced.

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It is possible to customise the app colours, icons, splash screen and backgrounds of the app. For many event planners, agencies and event management companies the appeal of having a fully branded app in the app stores, within which they can publish all of their events, large and small, will be very appealing even simply as a marketing tool and USP.

The app is a do-it-yourself platform, although the HelloCrowd professional services team will also build the app for you if you prefer at a cost.

Attendees can compare and choose which profile information and picture they wish to use from multiple profiles such as Twitter, LinkedIn and other major social profiles so they don’t have to hunt or add it from scratch. Although this is a feature found in many apps the integration with 65 platforms worldwide and the ability to choose between the information pulled from more than just a couple of networks is handy. By making this process easy attendees are more likely to bother to complete their information which makes for a better populated app.

Attendee profiles are linked to their social media accounts for easy in-app posting and sharing of content, however social media integration and presence could be deeper within the app.

The agenda can be imported to the app via a CSV file or added manually via the app. Complex multi-day and multi-track programmes can be set.

The information elements of the app will cache after accessing it online in case users need to access it offline, however if you wish to use the questions and live polling features you will need reliable wifi capacity for it to function.

The app doesn’t feature the newest technologies such as RFID and beacons, however it has a solid base of features attendees expect and demand and is focused on this core offering.

There is no reporting section currently on the dashboard so Eventprofs who value event data and analytics and want to measure ROI will be disappointed. The app can however link with Google Analytics so HelloCrowd can share a post-event presentation of your apps performance.

The session feedback element of the app uses a visual happy or sad face and a scale out of 5. Each attendee can only submit one response. A neat feature is that if your attendees have checked into a session or pre-chosen the seminars they will attend they will automatically receive a silent push notification encouraging to rate that session 5 minutes from the scheduled finish time.

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Features

-      Customizable colours, app icons, splash screens and backgrounds
-      Event security
-      Agenda
-      Personal Schedule
-      Contact Swap
-      Push Notifications
-      Maps and Directions
-      Session Feedback
-      Ask Questions
-      Live Polling
-      Message Board
-      Speaker details
-      Event Schedule
-      Documents and Videos
-      Social Profiles
-      Exhibitors and Sponsors
-      Session Speaker and Attendee Notes
-      Offline Mode
-      Messages
-      Profile Builder
-      Sponsor Banners
-      Session Check-In

Who Is It For?

The flexible pricing structure will appeal to event planners of all sizes, even those that produce smaller events that until now would not have considered using an event app.

The best value for money may actually be for busy, larger agencies with multiple events per year but not looking for a bespoke app investment.

Pros and Cons

Pros
- Once your branded app is approved (approximately 7 to 10 days) events can be published live within a few hours.
- The social profile integration with 65 worldwide platforms encourage attendees to complete their profile quickly and easily which means your app is more likely to be populated and used.
- The developers have worked hard to keep the file download size minimal so it doesn’t demand too much storage space, which is often at a premium.
- The app is responsive and will automatically resize to work on Apple and Android tablets and phones.

Cons
- No reporting section is built into the app dashboard
- The app includes the standard features you would expect from an event app but no fancy features such as beacons and RFID
- The indoor map/floorplan is not interactive (PDF format)
- There is no web app so those with Blackberry or Windows phones will not be able to use the app

Pricing and Plans

A free 30-day trial is available, with no limitations.

Every package comes with a branded multi-event app in the app store and all features. Pricing is based on the number of live events you have in your app during the month and this grows and shrinks automatically with your event requirements, with no minimum term.

The lowest priced package is for up to 5 events:
$USD 299 / £GBP 249 / € 299 per month

For up to 10 live events this rises to:
$USD 399 / £GBP 349 / € 399 per month

There is a tiered pricing structure and the top package for unlimited events is:
$USD 899 / £GBP 849 / € 899 per month

Customers automatically get new features as they are developed, free lifetime support and free lifetime app updates (with subscription).

Full pricing information can be found here.

In Conclusion

HelloCrowd have listened to feedback from the event community to re-position their mobile app.

If you are looking for detailed data or the most innovative and newest fancy features on the market such as beacons and RFID this is not the app solution you are looking for. However if you need a robust package of features to suit most events, and if budget or time constraints have been the main factors preventing you from using an event app, HelloCrowd is well worth investigating.

Find out more about HelloCrowd here.

Disclosure: Startup Reviews are paid for placements. While Event Manager Blog receives a fee to extensively look at the tool and review it in detail, the content of the review is independent and by no means influenced by the startup. If you have any question please use the contact us section.

about the author

Becki Cross
Becki Cross is Managing Director of Events Northern Ltd, a UK event and conference management company established in 2004. Becki set up the business in her early twenties and is particularly passionate about conferences, innovation, entrepreneurship and the legacy of events. Becki is also the Deputy Editor, Community Manager and Contributor to EventMB, her dream job alongside event planning! Follow Becki via @beckitrain.
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