2 Trends In Event Registration Software
Posted in Spotlights on September 7, 2016
"The future is already here - it's just not very evenly distributed."
-William Gibson, author of Neuromancer
The more things change, the more they stay the same. You might find that funny as an intro for a piece about trends in event software, but it’s true. When you think about why event registration and ticket sales software were invented, it was for one purpose: to make it easier for organizers. At the same time, it was devised to make it easier to count and check in attendees.
Trends in the event software space are still pointing towards the goal of making it easier for organizers and attendees alike. As a writer at Ticketbud, I keep my eyes on trends not just in the event space, but in the overall software and technology spaces. For this particular piece, I have been working with Justin Guinn, Market Researcher at registration software reviews company Software Advice. I spoke with him briefly on two trends he's noticed.
Trend 1: Social Marketing
Sean: "You spoke of two big trends that we're seeing in events. What's the first?"
Justin: “The first is already happening every day...or really every second. Social marketing is growing into a hugely viable attendee acquisition channel. Event managers can leverage social to engage not only with targeted professionals but also with brands and industry thought leaders in the event’s respective space. And with some event registration software offering integrations into social platforms, attendees can convert right where they are without having to visit an event’s registration site.”
We’ve been seeing this more and more with Facebook, who’ve announced that they are now working with ticket providers to sell tickets directly through their event pages rather than having to go to the website of the event. Ticketbud is one of the few companies that actually has a widget that integrates directly with Facebook.
Make no mistake: Facebook in particular has created a complete ecosystem replete with social interaction, pages, news, shopping, and events. If you're creating an event, it's a smart idea to go with a platform that gives you the ability to sell tickets on Facebook. Advertising with Facebook is also a smart use of marketing dollars, as it can be extremely cheap as well as targeted. One thing that our Event Success team at Ticketbud has noticed is that events selling tickets on Facebook always end up selling more, simply due to the fact that they're reaching more people.
In the same vein, you'll be wanting to choose event ticketing platforms that allow you to do more social marketing. Some event platforms allow you to input analytics code so that you can track where buyers are coming from so that you can attribute marketing money more accurately.
Trend 2: iBeacons
Sean: "What's the second big trend that you've been seeing amongst event registration companies?"
Justin: “The second tool is the highly innovative iBeacon technology. iBeacon technology uses Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE) signals to engage with iOS and Android smartphones that come within a designated location."
Sean: "That sounds neat, but what would you use it for?"
Justin: "These beacons will be huge for the event space because they can prompt attendees to take certain actions and just offer a differentiated experience. For example, let’s say a beacon is placed by the entrance to an event. As attendees enter for the morning, a prompt could be sent pointing them in the direction of coffee, which happens to be right next to a sponsor booth. So the beacon could also send attendees fun information on the sponsor to help promote conversation as they’re getting their coffee.”
As you can imagine, iBeacons are without a doubt the way of the future. In my opinion, it's the one piece of event tech that will have the greatest impact on events and has applications in many different industries. Imagine there no longer being lines for checkin in, because everyone checks in themselves. After checking in, they are directed to sponsor booths or are alerted of the speakers they have signed up for. We are moving into a space where technology reduces friction for the attendee as well as for sponsors. Everybody wins, especially the organizers that now no longer need to hire people to check in attendees.
Of course, with the trend of iBeacon comes an increased need for attendee app tools. If you're running a conference or convention or anything that requires attention of attendees, you're going to want an iBeacon. You're also going to need an app that makes the best use of the iBeacon. Many events already have attendee apps, so this is another logical progression.
In conclusion, the newest trends in event registration software aren't out of left field at all. Instead, they are trends that are following where people are spending time (online), and moving to reduce the friction for attendees. The best part? These are all things you can take advantage of, now. As Gibson said in the quote at the beginning, the future is already here. While these may be trends, you can, as an event professional, be an early adopter and make your events even more successful.