Do you need an app for your business? with VenueX for the Wedding Business Solutions Podcast with Alan Berg CSPDo you need an app for your business?

Almost every day my inbox has someone offering to make an app for my business. I’m sure you can relate. So, I started thinking about my clients, wedding and event businesses, like you, and when you might decide that an app is the right way to go, and when a website will do. So, I invited my favorite tech guys, people who’ve designed many apps for wedding and event venues, Abed Elsamna and Hassan Mahmoud, founders of VenueX, to join me for this special Bonus Episode of the Wedding Business Solutions Podcast. (only 18 minutes)

Here’s more info and the links I promised in the episode for you to connect with, and find out more about Abed, Hassan and VenueX:

The VenueX mobile and web app helps venues optimize venue – host collaboration and enhance the guest experience through a suite of custom branded tools – all from a single platform. In one platform, venues can manage events, track payments, work on floor plans, store documents, provide their clients with their own portal to finalize their event details and much more.

To learn more, please visit www.joinvenuex.com or sales@teamvenuex.com to schedule a demo.

Listen to this and all episodes on Apple Podcast, YouTube or your favorite app/site:

Below is a full transcript. If you have any questions about anything in this, or any of my podcasts, or have a suggestion for a topic or guest, please reach out directly to me at Alan@WeddingBusinessSolutions.com or contact me via textuse the short form on this page, or call 732.422.6362

Please be sure to subscribe to this podcast and leave a review (thanks, it really does make a difference). If you want to get notifications of new episodes and upcoming workshops and webinars, you can sign up at www.ConnectWithAlanBerg.com

– If your inbox is like mine, then not a day goes by that somebody isn’t offering to make an app for you and your business. So, I was wondering, when do you need an app, and when is a website going to be fine? So, I invited some of my techie friends to come on and talk about this. I hope you enjoy this episode.

– Welcome to the Wedding Business Solutions podcast. This is one of my special bonus dialogue segments. And I had this question I was thinking about, when would somebody want to use an app for their business versus when would you want to use a responsive webpage? And I’m thinking, who do I know about this? So, I invited my resident techs for me. My friends, Abed and Hassan from VenueX. Hey guys, how you doing?

– Hey, Alan, what’s going on? How are you?

– I’m doing great, thanks. So, this was just one of these random thoughts I had and I’m thinking, well, I can’t answer this because I don’t build apps, and I talk about website strategy and stuff like that. But you guys with VenueX, you actually have an app and you have responsive webpage and obviously desktop for your clients. So, just real, real quick, one of you, Abed, just what is VenueX and what do people use your app versus webpage for?

– Sure, so VenueX is essentially, it’s a collaboration tool for venues to work with their clients directly in one platform, both on web, as well as on mobile. So, we help them just make a better experience with their guests it’s their floor plans or documents, everything related to the event, all in one place. Now, when it comes to thinking about a web app versus a mobile app, there’s a bunch of differences there. A web app is essentially just a piece of software that runs on the web, runs on the web browser. So, the internet is driving it completely. Versus a mobile app, which is a piece of software that’s living directly on the device itself–

– Okay, so let me stop you for a second. So, I think ‘app’, that phrase ‘app’, is what confuses people here. So, a web app is just, it’s a webpage. You don’t need any special software. You don’t have to download anything. If you have a browser on your phone, you can access it.

– Yeah.

– That’s just like facebook.com, right?

– Okay.

– So, you go to facebook.com, that’s a web app, right? But then you can access facebook.com on your phone. That’s still a web app.

– Right.

– But then you can download the Facebook app from the App Store. Now you have just what I think what people think of as just the adjective-less ‘app’.

– Okay, got it. So, like I have Facebook Messenger, the ‘app’ on my phone but I can go to facebook.com on my phone and go to Messenger and I’m still getting all the same stuff. So, because you can access this same stuff both ways, Hassan, if somebody is thinking, why would I want to create an actual mobile app, something someone would have to download, somebody in the wedding and event industry? What would it be that either you couldn’t do on the web app or that will be better served for mobile app?

– Yeah, it gets a little bit technical but you always want to think about the app, when you do a mobile app, there’s always a little bit more friction. So, that’s something you would download from the App Store.

– Okay.

– Now people have to go find it on the App Store and they have to download it. So, you always want to make sure that you’re doing that for a good reason. So, you don’t want to do a mobile app just to have somebody look up your phone number. That wouldn’t make any sense. You know, a website is perfect for that now.

– Okay. What we do, we have the mobile app for the, a venue’s guests can download the mobile app and take photos and have a shared gallery in the app from the venue. That makes a lot more sense because things like taking photos using the camera, downloading large files, things like that, can be done much, much, more easily on the app. So, that makes sense. Hey, you know what, there’s a technological limitation on the web side. So, that’s where it’s worthwhile to download something onto your phone.

– Now does an app have to have an internet connection to work?

– It does not.

– Okay.

– So, there’s another advantage if somebody let’s say is in a more rural location or a spotty internet, which is funny because we’re going to all laugh here because we had tech issues trying to get on talking about tech which is always a funny thing there. But there are a lot of people that don’t have a strong internet connection. I saw somebody recently online, they have a venue, that’s another building that’s separate from their main building. And they’re asking, how do we get good internet over there, right? They’re going to dig a trench and run a wire or they going to do a wireless? So, there’s a really good reason, there is offline you can use this, all of this technology there, and then I guess when you get online, it’ll upload or update or stuff like that.

– Yep.

– Yeah, that’s exactly what we do.

– Okay, so if people, guests that are at a wedding, take pictures through the app, they don’t have to have a connection. And then when they get to a reliable connection, it uploads automatically?

– Yep, exactly that.

– Oh, very cool. That’s very cool. All right, so that’s actually making it really clear now. So, if somebody is thinking, hey, I want to have these features, but I don’t think we’re going to have a reliable internet connection or I don’t want everybody getting on my internet at once, because that could also be a problem. Bandwidth is definitely a problem. That would be a good reason there. What other reasons, Abed, what other reasons might somebody want to go app versus web?

– The use-case is really important. So, just kind of taking a step back, the cost of building a web application and deployment of it versus a mobile app is, it’s much faster to deploy a web app and it’s much cheaper to deploy a web app. And also the maintenance of it going forward, you can make real-time updates, you can make changes pretty quickly if there’s bugs, you can squash those bugs pretty fast, versus a mobile app, you have to go through an app store approval process. So, for the device itself, whether it’s for the iOS App Store or it’s for Google Android Play Store or if it’s for Microsoft or whatever the case may be, there’s an App Store approval process there. So, there’s a lot of friction to get an update out. So, thinking about the use case, for the particular person who’s looking to build an app, are you building an app for one-time use to gather static information or to do something one time for the customer? And is it worth the kind of headache of building it out and the cost of that? Probably not. Now, if somebody’s building out a mobile app for an extended period of time for their customers to be using and they know that there won’t be any friction for them to download the app and actually use it for an extended period of time, it’s worth the investment in it because you’re always going to have a better experience, mobile versus web, if it’s going to be used for an extended period of time. The offline capabilities, just the user experience, we call it the UI, the UX, the user interface, the user experience, and also kind of something called a native experience where you have a kind of the designs and the user experience of the app itself on your actual device will be specific to that device. So, you’re going to have a better experience using it.

– Okay, so you talked about getting updates and we have to get approval process. You obviously have to get an approval process to get the app in the store to begin with.

– Yep.

– Not talking about dollars because every app is going to be different, what’s the timeframe for somebody who, once they’ve developed this app,

– Yeah.

– to get it into the Google Play store or the Apple store, how long does something like that take?

– I love that question. So, we deal with this every single time we deploy to a new client. So, the app stores, they operate a little differently from each other. So, just Google specifically tends to be a little bit more lenient on the deployment of a mobile app. There’s less restrictions, less friction to get the app out. There’s not really much of an approval process. They’re going to look at the app, they’re going to make sure it fits a certain criteria. And once that is the case, that’ll probably take about two weeks or so.

– Okay.

– Sometimes a little less. For iOS for the Apple App Store, it’s a little bit more different depending on whether or not you’re going to be registering as a company versus an individual.

– Okay.

– There’s different processes in place. So, if it’s a company, you have to go through an approval process of the company first. So, the legal entity in which you’re putting the app on the App Store, that tends to create some friction because if there is something, if you don’t have something called the DUNS Number which is just a specific code from Dun & Bradstreet, who’s kind of like the over body of companies and businesses. If you don’t have that, you won’t be able to actually deploy to the App Store. So, you have to get the DUNS Number first, once you have it, Apple has to approve it and make sure it links to the legal entity. And then once it’s time for them to approve the app, they do a verification process where they have to verify that the person who’s uploading it, it has to be on the phone, the person who’s uploading it is the, has the legal authority to bind the app.

– Okay.

– So, once that’s in place, then they go ahead and you submit it to the Apple, to the App Stores, with screenshots, with the actual build, with descriptions and everything you need.

– Okay.

– And that typically takes probably, after all that’s done, Apple approves it usually within about a week or so.

– Okay, so a few more hoops to go through. A few more hoops. Okay, versus again, a web app or creating a website with the features that you want here which is basically when you’re done, you push, publish and it’s up. And that’s it. And then you want to make a change, like you said, you make a change & the next person that goes to that page, that site, they have the changes. It’s already done there. So, obviously a lot easier, probably a lot less expensive to go through web but we do have some restrictions here. If you don’t have a good connection, that’s going to be a problem. Things like that. So, now, again, you’ve gone through this and you mentioned, you kind of glided over something, so you have a mobile app.

– Yep.

– But every time you launch for a new client, your case being a new venue, you create a new app for them as opposed to everybody’s using your one app at every venue?

– That’s correct.

– Okay, so Hassan, what’s the thinking there versus we have the VenueX app that everybody would use?

– Yeah, that’s a great question. So, at its core, the idea is with something like an event, when you’re talking about a wedding venue, something so important, the branding is really important. So, and it actually, you know, so we what we call it, ‘white-labeling’. So, we white label the web application or what we call the ‘client portal’. And we white label the mobile app or the guest mobile app. And the thinking there is, okay, when someone comes, now they’re going to search for your venue’s name on the App Store. So, it’s branding and recognition and people come and start to recognize your brand. And you can do different things with it. You know, you can do SEO where now people are coming across it just on the App Store, might be a new source of leads, things along those lines. And then most important of all, it creates a level of trust. They know where that app is. VenueX, venues know who we are, but the people attending the wedding may not have heard of us. We’re talking to venue owners. So, but they do know the name of the venue that they’re getting married at, the place that they’re actually attending. So, there is a great advantage there. And then once they’ve downloaded the app, you also have the ability, we put in a nice description about each venue, and then you can drive traffic, you can track different things. And that’s where apps kind of really stand out from the web side in that you have that ability to brand and present yourself just a little bit differently than you can on the web.

– So, it sounds like for a venue, that it’s a lot less crowded of a space. If I have ‘Alan’s Wedding Venue’ in wherever I am, say in Oklahoma City, there aren’t going to be a lot of my competitors that would have apps.

– Right.

– So, that could be a point of differentiation that might be worth the extra effort. Is that, do you hear that from your clients?

– Oh, yeah, absolutely.

– Yeah, I think our clients may not know exactly just about the extra effort because we do all of this stuff behind that I mentioned, so we take care of that for everybody.

– Right.

– So, I think that’s kind of at the core of the whole thing is it can be worth it. It’s the effort, for us as VenueX, we deploy multiple apps a week, it’s no problem. We’ve got it into a process. Somebody doing it for the first time, it may not be worth it to do that. But when you have something, hey, it’s a little bit easier. It makes sense.

– So, in other words, because all three of us happen to be in New Jersey right now, is ‘you need a guy’, is what you’re saying.

– Yeah.

– You need a guy. And I have, I needed a guy for this and I have two guys. So, there you go. But I know we laugh about it, but it’s true. If somebody has tried to go through that process or said, okay, I got an email from somebody who said they can build me an app, it’s not just building you the app, it’s building you the app, getting the approvals, getting it into the right place. And then of course, it’s the upkeep on it. So, with, with what you guys I think have done with VenueX is say, listen, you’re not going to have to go through the time or the cost on that. We’re going to take care of all of that. You’re going to pay for the using this product as opposed to development, which is I think, one of the hardest things I’ve ever seen with people do, is how do you start with a blank sheet of paper, right? So, you already have that done there. So, you’re getting them a lot further. We’re already across the 50-yard line and we’re a lot further down the road there. So, summing this up for people. Web, easier, probably cheaper, faster to market with it. You do need a good connection, and if you’re going to have a lot of people on it, certainly if you’re a wedding and event vendor, if you’re going to do it, again, you said photographs, now we’re talking about large files because everybody is carrying a high-definition camera in their pocket now. As a matter of fact, my high-definition has three cameras on it. So, let’s go here. Those of you listening didn’t see me take out my iPhone 11 Pro with the three cameras on it. I think I saw a commercial the other day, I think it was an Android phone that had four cameras on it. I mean, it’s just–

– Looks like it’s Android.

– It’s crazy! But photos take up a lot of room, videos take up a lot of bandwidth, a lot of room. My dad who’s 90 years old, he’s got an iPhone, I don’t know, seven or six or whatever he’s got there with 16 gigs or 32 gigs or something. He’s like, how do I know if I’m running out of room here? So, I had to go in and show him over there. But again, bandwidth and space and stuff like that, you might want to lean towards the app if you’re going to have a lot of people using it at once in a space with little or no bandwidth. So, I think that’s a big bucket right there. If that’s your bucket, if you’re listening and your bucket is “we’re not going to have a good connection and we want to have all these guests using this” for whatever reason, a mobile app sounds like it might be some way for you to go. Okay, just as we’re wrapping up here, if anybody wants to find out more about you guys I’m definitely going to put it into the show notes, but just to say it here for the recording, how would somebody find out more if you have a venue? So, this is specifically for venues, you are VenueX, so it’s specifically for venues, where would somebody to go to find out more information about VenueX?

– They can go to our website, joinvenuex.com —

– Okay, join, J-O-I-N-V-E-N-U-E-X.com, okay.

– That’s our website. Or you can reach out to us at Sales@TeamVenueX.com

– Sales@TeamVenueX.com And again, I will put this into the show notes. So, Hassan, Abed, thank you so much. My techies, my guys, I got my guys. I got my guys over here. We appreciate it. If anybody has any questions, please reach out to me, reach out to the guys over here. There’ll be more than happy to answer your questions. Even if you are not a venue, I’m volunteering for them, but they’re more than happy to answer your questions over there. And thanks so much guys. And we will see you on the next episode.

– Awesome.

– Thanks so much, Alan.

– Thanks, Alan. Bye.

I’m Alan Berg. Thanks for listening to this special Bonus Dialogue Episode. If you have any questions about anything in this, or any of my podcasts, or have a suggestion for a topic or guest, please reach out directly to me at Alan@WeddingBusinessSolutions.com or contact me via textuse the short form on this page, or call 732.422.6362

Please be sure to subscribe to this podcast and leave a review (thanks, it really does make a difference). If you want to get notifications of new episodes and upcoming workshops and webinars, you can sign up at www.ConnectWithAlanBerg.com

Listen to this and all episodes on Apple Podcast, YouTube or your favorite app/site:

©2021 Wedding Business Solutions LLC & AlanBerg.com

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