This article was originally published on Forbes.
For every flower-crowned, hippie-flavored photo that hit your Facebook feed this year during Coachella, you have an event organizer to thank. For every dinner party that you brag about on Instagram, or every free gallery that you tweet about, an event planner somewhere deserves a pat on the back.
American students, entrepreneurs and artists each seek the occasions and communities in which they do their best work. In the bars, lecture halls, and hotels where these individuals gather, there is evidence for a growing sector of the American economy.
This economy includes the smartphone technologies that make taxi rides more productive and cute doggies more shareable. It also includes the job sector responsible for organizing the food, Ferris wheels, and tech celebrities that may appear at your next work event.
It is the marriage of these developing sectors– that of mobile technology and event organization– which will define the next five years of how you attend social and professional functions.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics ranked ‘Meeting/Event Planner’ as the fourth most-rapidly growing job title in the United States in 2012. Labor metrics have also indicated sustained growth in the events market since 2003, and with the help of a burgeoning tech-sector, domestic event planning is projected to grow by an additional 31,000 jobs through 2020– an increase of approximately 43%.
Most Americans will attend (or plan) a variety of professional, academic, and commemorative gatherings during fiscal year 2015, and a growing majority will do so with smart phones in-hand.
“I think we’ve chosen correctly in our focus on mobile… Smartphone penetration has already surpassed two-thirds of all US mobile subscribers [and] this trend will only continue to grow,” Todd Goldberg, a cofounder at mobile-app Eventjoy said. “It means exciting things for both attendees and organizers.”
Goldberg and partner Karl White founded Eventjoy in 2013 to coordinate event hosts and attendees through their smartphones. Eventjoy has recently added an ‘organizer app’ to their offering for planners, including a simple interface with which to check guests in, track sales, and receive push notifications.
Eventjoy serves as a fee-free ticketing solution for planners, and has predominantly focused on attendee-users in the past. It has been implemented at more than 2000 events in 14 countries, and takes advantage of new, smartphone-enabled planners in the workforce.
“We reach out to organizers and offer our mobile product for free, as a way to complement their ticketing solution,” Goldberg said. “Very few events offer a mobile app for guests to stay connected, and there are naturally higher expectations at tech events because attendees are more of the early-adopter type.”
There are also naturally higher pressures on attendees who don’t want to be at an event. These are the attendees who would rather be at the hotel after a day of conference participation, than attending the non-mandatory procession of stand-ups, happy hours, and executive-led flash mob dances that often occur in the wake of a long workday.
“If you can better organize the small activities that accompany a big conference, it alleviates a lot of stress for the attendee,” Goldberg said. “We’ve been successful in [conference-organization] by meeting attendees on their phones, and we want to do the same for organizers.”
Eventjoy gives attendees and hosts the ability to prioritize events while on the go, and accurately judge the time commitments of their schedule. They can use the app to provide feedback to hosts, navigate unfamiliar workspaces and interact with a team’s holistic schedule of events. Goldberg also noted that when planners oversee a series of events, mobile coordination with their clientele works to increase engagement.
Eventbrite, a forerunner and direct competitor in ticketing and curating events, has recently diversified into hardware and field support for event organizers. Like Eventjoy, Eventbrite allows users to search, buy admission to, and follow the events of their choice.
“We operate in a competitive space,” Goldberg said.“We observed ‘a race to the bottom’ in regard to ticket fees, and saw the fee-free option as a great opportunity…[additionally] it’s our focus on mobile that sets us apart.”
The event-planning sector will predictably continue to search for easier ways to gather feedback data, and lower the cost of administering events in a crowded market. Mobile is poised to offer event planners an easier means of oversight, and event attendees an easier means of saying thanks.
And while this might not make going to Coachella any cheaper, it may help develop a next wave of technologically integrated social events.