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An event that has benefited from using online marketplace Delegate, a one-stop resource that links people in need of event planning guidance to high-quality vendors that have been vetted in detail.

Event planning made easy

Delegate aims to demystify the planning process with its free, efficient and user-friendly online platform.
Nov 20, 2015 5:50 AM

"PARTY planning is fun!" said no one, ever. If you've ever had to organise an event from start to finish, you'd have experienced the struggle of seeing the same vendors hawking the same portfolios, without the slightest idea of their true capability.

You might choose to hire an event planner, who can navigate through the tangled mess for you. Or, you could try Delegate, the newly launched online marketplace that aims to demystify the planning process for their users.

Co-founder and community lead at Delegate Jacqueline Ye says: "We initially thought of going into the more traditional model of having an event planning company, but decided we didn't want to focus on the actual execution. There are current practices that are just too inefficient and we wanted to build a business that has a greater impact on the events industry as a whole."

Ms Ye and her business partner, co-founder and vendor relations Melissa Lou, were colleagues at luxury lifestyle management company Quintessentially Lifestyle. The 29-year-old says: "In addition to planning events for Quintessentially, we also have a lot of experience in our personal lives. Being in our late 20s, a lot of our friends are getting married and settling down, and because of the nature of our work, we've always been involved in their celebrations."

The duo came up with Delegate last July, and took on different projects as a traditional event planning company, before deciding to shift their focus. Ms Ye recalls: "We started brainstorming ideas on how we could best automate the event planning process which has traditionally been a very labour-intensive industry. It took us about two months to pivot from there and reinvent ourselves as a tech start-up with a focus on event planning."

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They revealed their proof of concept at the first ever technology summit Rise Conference in Hong Kong in August this year, and armed with great feedback and rigorous rounds of testing, launched their online platform to the public at the end of September.

Delegate is the solution to fruitless hours of trawling Google to find suitable vendors with the right portfolio, vision, and price. Vendors listed on the platform are subject to the "Delegate Standard". Ms Ye explains: "They have to have an extensive and varied portfolio of past events, a business lifespan of at least a year, and they have to submit client testimonials and references to us."

When a new user signs up for the service, at no cost, they are taken through a four-step event planning journey which prompts them to disclose the essential information all vendors ask during the enquiry process.

Based on the type of event they are planning, Delegate, which garnered 4,000 users in their first month, generates a list of vendors they could hire. "What makes us different is that we provide our own internal messaging system which allows users to track and manage the numerous correspondences they have with vendors in search of the most suitable quote. This is our way of streamlining the process as much as we can," the Australia National University graduate adds.

To simplify the process further, Delegate provides a comprehensive amount of information about each vendor; a user can download menus, blueprints, as well as identify the minimum spend it would require to hire a vendor.

For users who aren't sure where to begin, Delegate also provides a wealth of information. Ms Ye says: "A lot of people don't know the best way to approach vendors or about the usual industry practices. As a resource for all things event planning, our blog and social media feeds are full of inspiration and tips and tricks for everyone."

The platform currently makes money through subscription and success fees from their vendors, but Ms Ye says there are plans to introduce affiliate marketing and advertising features in the future. She emphasises: "But ultimately, Delegate will always remain free for users."

Though the service is currently only available in Singapore, Delegate is set to launch in Hong Kong in January next year. She explains: "Singapore's a good market because the population is very tech-savvy and quick to adapt to online products. The events scene here is also incredibly dynamic. Hong Kong has a similar market to Singapore, which makes it easier for us to replicate the platform there."

While it is looking to transform the industry, Delegate is by no means trying to compete with traditional event planning companies. Ms Ye says: "We understand that the human touch can never quite be replaced, and the execution does require an actual person. What we hope to achieve is to improve upon existing processes and practices, and to make our industry more competitive and transparent for users."

She adds: "Delegate is a deliberately simple interface. We think like event planners, so we wanted to give users a platform that is intuitively understandable and relatable."