Snappening Makes Event Planning a Snap in Indy

October 26, 2012

9:00 am

Indianapolis-based Snappening‘s mission is simple:  to be the most comprehensive listing service and database tool in Central Indiana (and eventually beyond) for all special events and private functions. After only a little over a year of active site time, the young startup is well on its way.

Snappening is an online event planning service application that aims to make great events easy since it is designed by consumers, for consumers. President and CEO Crystal Grave conducted extensive market research to design a forum and tools for quick and cost-effective event planning.

“Snappening was born out of a real-life need by a real-life consumer, doing what we all want to do most – plan an exceptional event to create a lasting memory,” says Grave.

While helping a friend plan her wedding reception, Grave realized she was able to navigate this process with little effort, mainly because she was familiar with the venues in her city. She realized how daunting this type of task could be for someone who wasn’t familiar with the industry or the local venues. Someone unfamiliar with the event planning landscape in her city could spend hours – if not days – trying to wrangle the resources they needed to plan a successful event.

Grave knew there had to be a faster and easier way for people to connect the dots. So, she created Snappening to relieve the burden of event planning so people could just focus on having fun and creating memories at their events.

Snappening President and CEO Crystal Grave

Snappening President and CEO Crystal Grave

But with major competitors – like,, and – already existing in the event planning space, Grave needed a way to make Snappening stand out from the crowd. “Snappening wanted to shy away from being either so event-specific that users didn’t return to the site, or so sophisticated that a user who doesn’t plan events professionally would be intimidated,” she says.

So, we met in the middle. We created a site that is easy to use, has the most complete number of records in any market, and collects the widest range of data for each profile. Snappening has already become a trusted resource by industry professionals in Indianapolis, and has excited new market users in Bloomington, Fort Wayne, South Bend, and Louisville.

The company generates recurring revenues through three main subscription channels – consumers, professional event planners, and venues. These main revenue streams are supplemented by a variety of advertising options, ranging from online banner ads, to reservation confirmations and specialty target couponing.

For Grave, Indianapolis was the ideal place to launch her company. “Indianapolis provides a great opportunity for profitability and growth for this startup for a number of reasons, the first and foremost being its spotlight associated with the 2012 Super Bowl,” Grave explains.

Snappening served as a primary resource for all out-of-market event planners and was recommended by the Super Bowl Host Committee. Snappening helped thousands of visitors find party and event venue locations for this momentous event. Snappening served a similar role for the Indianapolis 500 and serves thousands of localized users each month.

But, starting up in Indy has presented some challenges as well. “Our biggest disadvantage thus far has been a limitation of resources in both human and technical areas,” says Grave.

We have a strong idea about the types of people we’d like to add to our team to increase our technical sophistication and bandwidth, but most of those sorts of individuals are spoken for in Indy. So our hunt continues! We also have been challenged to find appropriate sales personnel per market, but we suspect this is probably true for any new company.

As you can see, Snappening – like most startups – has had its share of challenges. But, Grave has never let these challenges deter her from turning her entrepreneurial dreams into reality. “We’re still pretty new, so those crucial moments happen each day, it seems,” she says. “We are confronted with all sorts of new things to figure out – sales training, support materials, best practices for profile adoption, database support, client support, multi-market strategy, multi-channel strategy, etc.”

Facing these challenges head-on is not as daunting when you have a solid vision to guide you. “Our model pretty much involves trying to spend the time we need today to do the best we can in creating the materials and protocol needed to minimize the issue in the future,” says Grave.

We also believe very strongly in really keeping each client as satisfied as possible and supporting their businesses the best we can. We feel like we’re an extension of their marketing team, and that means doing our best for them each day. If we’ve done this, then we’re moving in the right direction – forward.

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Meg Rayford is a communications consultant based in Northern Virginia. She previously spent two years as the Director of Public Relations for a nonprofit startup, where she learned a lot about providing clean water for impoverished countries, even within the confines of a bootstrapped startup.

She is the editor of Tech Cocktail, and she develops media strategies for companies in Washington, DC and Virginia. You can read her most recent work in the marketing chapter of the upcoming book, “Social Innovation and Impact in Nonprofit Leadership,” which will be published in Spring 2014 by Springer Publishing. Follow her @megkrayford.

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