David Epstein, content marketing manager at event management platform Bizzabo, shares tips on choosing the right event management software for you.
The event planning industry is increasingly moving to technology, in order to help organisers plan better events in less time. One of the best tools to do this is event management software.
For those who don’t know, event management software refers to a set of tools that empowers organisers to manage many, if not all aspects of an event in one place.
From selling tickets to providing a networking experience to attendees, event management software will increasingly become a key component to any organisers planning toolbox.
Depending on the type of events you organise, there are specific types of platforms available for you.
It can be confusing to understand exactly what to keep an eye out for when choosing an event planning platform, but if you ask yourself a few guiding questions while searching for a software platform, you’ll be more likely to choose the right one for you.
What are your biggest event goals?
Different platforms excel at different things. First and foremost, it’s important that you go into a discussion about event planning platforms with your main goals in mind. For example, if your goal is to sell event tickets, then an all-in-one event planning platform that can manage ticketing and registration should be something you investigate.
However, if you’re organising a free to attend academic conference, then maybe your biggest goal is managing the call for papers process, and
so you should go with a platform designed to excel in speaker management.
Create a list of approximately three main goals, and don’t be afraid to ask the companies you’re choosing between how they can help you achieve your goals.
What are your biggest time-drains when planning an event?
The one thing most event organisers don’t have enough of is, time. To regain some time, think back on recent events you’ve planned and try to identify the areas of event planning that cause you to spend an excessive amount of your time.
Perhaps creating a great looking event website took you more time to do than anticipated, or maybe sending emails to event attendees wasn’t as simple as you hoped it would be. Identify one or two of the biggest time-drains you experience when planning an event and try to reduce the amount of time you need to spend doing these tasks by choosing event management software that excels in these areas.
Are you confident the platform you chose can get the job done?
Some event management software companies require organisers to make a two or three year commitment before organisers can get started.
Before committing yourself to an expensive contract, make sure you actually try the platform for yourself. Don’t trust the fact that you experienced a great platform demo, or even the recommendation of a colleague.
Try the platform(s) you’re considering to make sure it will help you to achieve your biggest event planning goals, while helping you to save time.
If the event technology company you are considering won’t allow a trial, think twice about making a commitment.
Will the event tech company you choose be there when you need them?
It’s inevitable that you’re going to have a support question about the event-planning platform you choose. Even if everything works correctly, some event tech companies provide clients with ‘Customer Success Representatives’ whose sole purpose is to make sure customers get the most out of the platform.
Try to choose an event-planning platform that offers phenomenal support so that you will be properly trained to use the platform, and so that you won’t need to worry should an issue arise.
To test out a company’s support, make sure they have an easy to find support phone number, website chat service, and Twitter response team.
In order to determine how responsive a company’s support team is, try sending them a message on Twitter and time how long it takes for the company to respond.
Do you know how the event-planning platform will develop over time?
Any good event-planning platform will continuously make improvements over time.
If you’re thinking about using an event management platform for a year or more, then you should be sure to ask the customer representative you’re talking to, what the product roadmap looks like for that platform.
Choosing the best platform for you
Selecting the right event management software for you is not an easy task. Especially for event organisers who are unfamiliar with event technology.
However, it’s something that any planner who hopes to stay current with the events industry must eventually do.
This article was first published in the November issue of EN. Any comments? Email Annie Byrne