Dec 21, 2023

How to build a marketplace for event planning

Creating an online platform for event planning presents a promising business venture with immense potential. For those contemplating building such a website, this guide is tailored to explore the reasons and methods behind establishing a marketplace for event planning.

What is a marketplace for event planning?

Online marketplaces for event planning are platforms where individuals or businesses can find and hire event planners for their specific needs. 

These marketplaces typically have various event planners with different specialties and experience levels. Users can browse through profiles, portfolios, and reviews to select the most suitable event planner for their event. 

These platforms often provide a secure payment system and communication tools to facilitate the planning process. Overall, online marketplaces for event planning offer an easy and efficient way to connect event planners with clients. 

The biggest company in this market is a marketplace called Cvent, which has been in business since 1999 and has grown from a startup with six employees to a global powerhouse with over a hundred employees and a valuation of $4 billion. 

Other notable firms like Meetup and Eventbrite have achieved great success in this niche and are worth over  $500 million each.

Why build a website for event planning?

According to Custom Market Insights (CMI), The Events Industry market provides an interesting opportunity for aspiring founders. In 2023 the market size was estimated at $1.75 trillion. Online platforms make up a significant portion of the market-share, unlocking great opportunities for marketplaces in this niche.

The market is also poised to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12% from 2023 to 2032. 

Marketplaces can really thrive here, because they can create a win-win-win situation for all sides: the sellers, the buyers, and the marketplace owner. Let's look more closely at the benefits for each side.

What are the benefits for buyers?

Buyers on the event planning marketplace can enjoy a wide range of benefits. 

Firstly, they have access to a diverse pool of event planners and vendors, allowing them to find the perfect fit for their specific needs and preferences. Secondly, buyers can compare prices, services, and reviews from different sellers, enabling them to make informed decisions and get the best value for their money. 

Lastly, the marketplace provides a convenient and streamlined platform for buyers to communicate with sellers, negotiate contracts, and manage all aspects of their event planning process.

What are the benefits for sellers?

Sellers on the event planning marketplace can leverage several advantages to grow their business. 

Firstly, they gain exposure to a large customer base actively seeking event planning services, increasing their chances of securing more clients and bookings. Secondly, sellers can showcase their expertise, portfolio, and customer reviews on their marketplace profile, establishing credibility and building trust with potential buyers. 

Lastly, the marketplace offers sellers a centralized platform to manage their bookings, contracts, and payments, simplifying administrative tasks and saving time.

What are the benefits for the marketplace owner?

The site owner enjoys various benefits from operating an event planning marketplace. 

Firstly, they earn revenue through transaction fees or commissions charged to sellers for each successful booking, creating a sustainable business model. 

Secondly, as the platform grows and attracts more buyers and sellers, the owner can establish partnerships and collaborations with event-related businesses, generating additional revenue streams. 

Lastly, the marketplace owner facilitates connections between buyers and sellers, fostering a thriving community and becoming a trusted authority in the event planning industry.

Successful marketplaces for event planning

Here are a few thriving online marketplaces specifically designed for event planning. Analyzing these platforms can provide valuable insights into the market and assist you in finding your own path within it.

  1. Eventbrite: Eventbrite is a popular online platform that allows users to discover, create, and sell tickets for various events. It provides event planning tools, ticketing options, and promotional features for event organizers.

  2. Cvent: Cvent is a comprehensive event management platform that offers tools for event registration, venue sourcing, event marketing, and attendee management. It caters to both small and large-scale events.

  3. Meetup: Meetup is a social networking platform that connects people with similar interests and facilitates event planning and organizing. It allows users to create and join groups, schedule events, and manage RSVPs.

  4. Peerspace: Peerspace is an online marketplace that enables users to find and book unique event spaces for various occasions. It offers many venues, including meeting rooms, studios, lofts, etc.

  5. Splash: Splash is an event marketing platform that provides tools for event planning, ticketing, and promotion. It offers customizable event websites, email marketing, guest list management, and analytics to help organizers create successful events.

What features does a platform for event planning need?

The most critical functionality of a marketplace for event planning would be:

  1. Vendor selection: The marketplace should provide a wide range of vendors and service providers for different aspects of event planning, such as venues, caterers, decorators, photographers, etc. It should allow users to easily browse and compare different vendors based on their offerings, prices, reviews, and ratings.

  2. Booking and payment: The marketplace should facilitate seamless booking and payment processes. Users should be able to directly book vendors and services through the platform, with options for secure online payments. This functionality should ensure a smooth and efficient transaction process for users and vendors.

  3. Reviews and ratings: The marketplace should have a robust review and rating system that allows users to provide feedback and share their experiences with vendors and services. This functionality helps users make informed decisions and ensures transparency and accountability among vendors.

  4. Communication and collaboration: The marketplace should provide a platform for users to communicate and collaborate with vendors. This could include messaging, video calls, and file sharing, allowing users to discuss their requirements, negotiate terms, and share necessary documents or files.

  5. Event management tools: The marketplace should offer tools that help users plan and organize their events effectively. This could include features like budget calculators, task trackers, guest list management, and event timeline creation. These tools should simplify the event planning process and provide users with a comprehensive overview of their event.

  6. Customization and personalization: The marketplace should allow users to customize and personalize their event planning experience. This could include features like filters and search options to narrow down vendors based on specific requirements, personalized recommendations based on user preferences, and the ability to save and compare vendors or services.

Overall, the most essential functionality of a marketplace for event planning is to provide a user-friendly platform that connects users with a wide range of vendors, facilitates seamless booking and payment processes, enables communication and collaboration, offers event management tools, and allows for customization and personalization.

What are the options & costs of creating an event planning platform online?

Costs of building from scratch

Developing a marketplace for event planning from scratch can be complex and costly. The costs involved in this process can vary depending on several factors, such as the desired features, platform, development team, and infrastructure requirements.

The initial expenses typically include hiring a team of skilled developers, designers, and project managers. The development team would be responsible for building the platform, implementing the necessary features, and ensuring its functionality and usability. Additionally, costs may arise from acquiring the required technology stack, such as servers, databases, and other infrastructure components.

Ongoing costs would include maintenance, updates, and server hosting fees. It is crucial to consider the expenses associated with marketing and promoting the marketplace to attract users and vendors. Furthermore, ongoing support and customer service expenses should be considered to ensure a smooth user experience.

Overall, the costs of creating an event planning platform online from scratch can range from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the complexity and scale of the project. It is crucial to carefully plan and budget for these costs to ensure the successful development and sustainability of the marketplace.

Alternative options for developing a site for event planning

Creating an event planning platform online from the ground up is a substantial, costly endeavor. However, nowadays, numerous alternative methods exist to construct a marketplace that does not necessitate a significant budget.

The choice you should make depends on the following:

  • The features you believe your marketplace requires

  • Your technical abilities (or the skills of your team)

  • Your budget

  • The amount of time available.

The various methods to construct a marketplace include:

  • Utilizing WordPress and extensions

  • Constructing on top of open-source software

  • Using a combination of no-code tools

  • Utilizing a specialized no-code marketplace SaaS tool

  • Developing on top of an API-based marketplace SaaS tool

In addition to your limitations regarding abilities and budget, you should also consider the learning speed. Launching your event planning platform quickly allows you to gain insights about your audience rapidly. These insights assist you in creating a platform that users prefer over any other existing solution.

Sharetribe's marketplace software is designed with this iterative learning process in mind.

Firstly, we assist you in launching an event planning platform in just one day without any coding. Use the two-week-long free trial of Sharetribe's Build plan to get your marketplace ready fast. When you're happy with your marketplace, you can subscribe to go live.

Once you have launched, you can learn about the additional features and functionality your platform needs to cater to your audience. You may wish to change the design and workflow completely, integrate numerous third-party services, or develop a mobile application. With Sharetribe, you can easily customize all of these changes and much more, either independently or with the assistance of our Expert partners.

At Sharetribe, we have been constructing marketplaces for over ten years. Our experience and expertise are available to you through our content resources, which you can access and utilize regardless of how you construct your platform.

Best of luck with your event planning website!

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