When purchasing an event management software solution what should I look for?There are many solutions on the market, annual dinner company but some are more comprehensive and technically advanced than others. Event managers must ensure that the investment they make is future proof – in other words, the software must be able to grow and adapt as the organisation grows and as technology develops. More specifically, the particular features that make a quality event software solution include:
Integration into back end office systems
Being able to integrate the event software into the solutions used within the business already makes for a more efficient package. Business systems such as CRM solutions, finance packages and HR solutions all contain data that will need to be updated with every event. The customer data on CRM solution will need to be updated with their latest activity, the finance system will need to process any payments and the HR solution will need to update employee records if the event involves staff attendance. Automating this process through integration eliminates any errors and makes the process of updating other platforms far more efficient. Effective event software solutions will have flexible technical architecture, allowing them to integrate with all your current and future systems.
Integrating the event software into the organizations own website, means that not only does the delegate gain the benefits from a familiar website, but the event organizers can retain full control over the content and branding of the registration page. Customizable booking forms should be able to be created with ease. The booking forms will be integrated with the back end office systems, updating the records automatically as soon as a delegate registers for an event.
Event management software can also make it easy to organize repeatable events, by storing booking forms and other event tools as templates, ready to be used over and over again.
Comprehensive Email Marketing Tool
The event management industry now relies heavily on email marketing. Emails are used to:
- Promote events
- Send invitations
- Update delegates on event changes/developments
- Reach delegates for post event surveys
The email marketing tool that comes within the event software must be technical enough to be able to track major KPIs. These include the number of opened emails and click throughs, unopened emails, deleted emails, most popular links etc. This level of measurement helps event managers to constantly improve their emails – helping to increase the level of delegate response with each communication.
However, many email solutions can go one step further. Integrating the email tool with the event software means that the registration process can be further streamlined. Prospective delegates can receive an email invitation, click on the link and be taken to a registration page where their details have already been populated into the booking form – this allows for a two click registration process – one click to arrive at the registration web page and a second click to confirm the information is correct and to register for the event. This capability drastically increases delegate registration numbers which is a key measurement for many events in this current economic climate.
Reporting and Analysis
Improving event quality and attendance can only be achieved through the measurement and analysis of each and every event held. This can be a complex and time consuming effort and is often something that gets pushed aside as the next event is only round the corner!
Event management software makes the analysis and reporting of events easy. Comprehensive OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) can automate the creation of standard reports and should be part of all event software packages. These reports are built upon the individual requirements and needs of each organisation – not all organisation place weight on the same KPIs and results. Understanding what is important and what affects individual event success is key to creating appropriate reports.
As organizations grow and transform, it is important that the event software is able to grow with them. The OLAP reporting functionality makes it easy for event managers to simply create ad hoc reports and new report templates as and when required.
Event software OLAP reporting tools can also measure other event metrics such as:
- Expense to Revenue Ratio (E:R)
- Conversion rate of invites sent vs. delegate registrations
- Delegate registrations vs. Attendance
- Delegate Lead Quality and Quantity
- Sales Cycle and Opportunities
Other key features that event managers should look for in an event management software solution are:
- Website Integration: Seamlessly integrate with your existing website without the need to re-design or re-brand
- Online Registration: Fully customizable online booking form ensuring your online registration process captures the most relevant information from your delegates
- Invitation Management: Comprehensive, easy to use integrated invitation management tool
- Email Marketing Tool: Powerful, integrated and fully functional email marketing tool enabling event managers to send highly targeted email campaigns marketing to the relevant delegate audience
- Badge Creation: Produce personalised delegate badges pre or during the event simply through event management software
- Resource Management Facility: Simply manage and allocate all resources through a comprehensive calendar feature, providing you with total control of all aspects of the event management process
- Secure Online Payments: Allow your delegates to securely pay online with confidence, providing ease of automation
- Integrated Reporting and Analysis Suite: Powerful reporting and analysis suite, enabling you to simply and quickly drill down to the event data in just a matter of seconds
- Survey: Integrated and automated feedback management tool