How To Choose The Right Event Management Software

Posted in Spotlights on July 19, 2017

As an event organizer, choosing the right event management software is extremely important for your success. Having spoken with organizers, many of them expressed that it had been difficult to find a software for their event. The difficulty comes from not knowing what they wanted, as well as a lot of time wasted on calls and demos with software reps that didn’t meet their needs. This guide is an attempt to help you pare down the solutions to exactly what you want.

Before I begin, I recommend finding a web-based event management software. There are some organizing tools that are available for download, but the big problem is they need to be compatible with your committee’s technology. For example, there are some resources out there that work for PC only, but not for Mac, and vice versa. If you go with a web-based registration option, your entire team can stay connected. This guide goes on to assume that you will be going with something that is on the Internet and not downloaded.

Secondly, you and your team need to choose whether you are going to go with a pre-built solution for your event, or if you are going to have a team build a website for you. You could also consider building a website yourself via Squarespace, Wix, or WordPress. This will also assist in any branding work done for your events. 

I’ll give you a list of questions you should ask as you research the available options for you and your event.

As always, I recommend that you first discuss with your client the needs that you have. This will make your research much more efficient and will save you time. I can’t tell you how many hours event planners would save if they would first read through an event management company’s feature list before hopping on a call or demo.

When you boil it down, there are two types of web-based event software:
-Basic, with templates: Very little knowledge needed. You just fill out what you need, and that’s it.
-White labeled software: This type of software will allow you to do everything that you need for your event. Branding, colors, designs - it’s all up to you! Keep in mind you may need someone skilled in coding and design to actually handle all of this.

Frequently Asked Questions:
-Can their system handle complicated events that stretch over several sessions and/or days?
I think that this is the crux of the matter for most event managers.

-Do they have RSVP confirmation abilities?
If you’re planning a corporate event, this, in particular, is a very useful feature to have.

-Can reminder email messages be sent to participants?
A basic rule of marketing and advertising is that people need to be exposed to information more than once in order to make a choice. The ability to remind attendees that an event is coming up must be enabled if you want to see a strong turnout. You can also turn reminder emails into fun ways to show attendees upcoming speakers, artists, or give information as situations are updated.

-Does their system ensure that registrants fully complete every form?
Nothing is more frustrating than requiring forms, only to see that they are not all filled out. I recommend testing out the software to confirm this on your end.

-Is their system up to date with all of the newest features and functionality?
Although most platforms should be fine for events, there are more and more events that require cutting edge features. Requests that were rare years ago such as VR and cashless event payments are now commonly asked for. Even RFID tends to be only common with larger event companies that have experience with festivals. Of course, there is the caveat that being up to date with newer features only matters if your client is actually planning on using those features. Don’t pay more or waste your time spending money on a big-name company if you don’t have to.

-Can the pages be branded with your client?
As I’ve discussed in other articles, branding is the way of the future. I think it’s even the way of the present, and not being on top of branding is an easy way to lose business. It’s why I generally recommend finding a white labeled software solution OR working with a provider that has templates that allow you to completely brand the experience without other logos. It might be more complicated, however, the benefits far outweigh the costs.

-Can the software offer secure payment processing, and can they handle payment confirmation?
When you’re looking for a provider, I recommend asking if they are PCI Compliant. PCI Compliance is a way of making sure that credit card data is not actually saved during the transactions. Ultimately, this means that any hacking attempt will yield nothing substantial.

-How is data managed?
This is a multi-faceted question, and I’ll expand upon it here. Are you able to download data from attendees? Do you own the data that your attendees have given you? Will the software platform be able to market to your attendees? The more the platform gives you complete control, the better. I would go as far to ignore any company that has the ability to market to your attendees.

Using event management software to its fullest potential is easy when you know what you want, and the questions to ask. I hope that this guide assisted you in navigating the pitfalls of finding the right software for you.

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