What should I look for when buying an event management software solution? There are many solutions on the market, but some are more comprehensive and technically advanced than others. Event managers need to ensure that the investments they make are future-proof – in other words, the software needs to be able to grow and adapt as the organization grows and technology evolves. The special features that make up a high-quality event software solution include:
Integration into backend office systems
The mere possibility of integrating the event software into the solutions used in the company ensures a more efficient package. Business systems like CRM solutions, financial packages and HR solutions all contain data that needs to be updated with every event. Customer data in the CRM solution needs to be updated with their most recent activity, the financial system needs to process all payments, and the HR solution needs to update employee records if the event involves employee attendance. Automating this process through integration eliminates all errors and makes the process of updating other platforms far more efficient. Effective event software solutions have a flexible technical architecture that allows them to integrate with all of your current and future systems.
By integrating the event software into the organisation’s own website, not only does the attendee reap the benefits of a familiar website, but the event organizers retain full control over the content and branding of the registration page. Customizable booking forms should be easy to create. The booking forms are integrated with the back-end office systems, which automatically updates the records whenever a delegate registers for an event.
Event management software can also make organizing repeatable events easier by saving booking forms and other event tools as templates that can be used over and over again.
Comprehensive email marketing tool
The event management industry today relies heavily on email marketing. Email is used to:
- promote events
- to send invitations
- Inform attendees of event changes/developments
- Reach attendees for post-event polls
The email marketing tool that comes with the event software needs to be sophisticated enough to track important KPIs. This includes the number of emails opened and clicks, unopened emails, deleted emails, most popular links, etc. This level of measurement helps event managers to constantly improve their emails and increase attendee response with every communication.
However, many email solutions can go one step further. The registration process can be further optimized by integrating the e-mail tool into the event software. Potential delegates can receive an email invitation, click on the link and be taken to a registration page where their details have already been entered into the booking form – this allows for a two click registration process – one click to go to the registration website and a second click to confirm the accuracy of the information and register for the event. This capability dramatically increases delegate registrations, which is a key metric for many events in this current economic climate.
Reporting and Analysis
Improving event quality and attendance can only be achieved by measuring and analyzing each and every event conducted. This can be a complex and time consuming affair and is often brushed aside as the next event is just around the corner!
Event management software simplifies the analysis and reporting of events. Comprehensive OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) can automate the generation of standard reports and should be part of all event software packages. These reports are based on the unique requirements and needs of each organization – not all organizations value the same KPIs and results. Understanding what is important and what influences the success of individual events is key to creating appropriate reports.
As businesses grow and change, it’s important that event software can grow with them. The OLAP reporting feature makes it easy for event managers to create ad hoc reports and new report templates as needed.
Event software OLAP reporting tools can also measure other event metrics such as:
- Cost to Revenue Ratio (E:R)
- Conversion rate of invitations sent versus delegate registrations
- Delegate Registrations vs. Attendance
- Delegate lead quality and quantity
- Sales Cycle and Opportunities
Other key features event managers should look for in an event management software solution include:
- Website Integration: Seamless integration with your existing website without the need for redesign or rebranding
- Online Registration: Fully customizable online booking form ensuring your online registration process captures the most relevant information from your attendees
- Invitation Management: Comprehensive, easy-to-use built-in invitation management tool
- Email Marketing Tool: Powerful, integrated and full-featured email marketing tool that enables event managers to send highly targeted email campaign marketing to the relevant audience
- Badge creation: Easily create personalized attendee badges before or during the event using the event management software
- Resource Management Feature: Easily manage and allocate all resources through a comprehensive calendar feature that gives you complete control over all aspects of the event management process
- Secure Online Payments: Allow your delegates to pay securely online and provide easy automation
- Integrated reporting and analysis suite: Powerful reporting and analysis suite that lets you easily and quickly get to event data in seconds
- Survey: Integrated and automated feedback management tool