Organizing a conference can be a challenging and time consuming task. Whether it’s a small one-day event for 20 delegates or a huge three-day event at Earls Court, the overall process and common challenges are the same.
So what are the planning stages of the conference?
- Booking a venue
- Send invitations to the target list of potential delegates
- Organize and book all resources such as catering, printing materials, promotional items, A&V, etc.
- Work with leading and invited speakers
- Reception of registrations
- Acceptance of payment
- Sending emails with reminders to delegates
- Icon printing
- Organizational staff per day
- Budget management in everything
This is an extremely simple and simplified list to indicate the overall checklist that the event manager should consider. This process can start 6 months before the event or even 12-18 months before really big national events. Managing all of these steps can be extremely challenging, and event managers can find it very easy to make serious mistakes.
To avoid costly mistakes and ensure effective conferences, many event professionals strive to use a software solution for event management. These solutions have the tools and capabilities to manage and track activities throughout the planning process of events and conferences, as well as activities carried out as part of follow-up activities (such as post-event surveys and reporting for intellectual analysis).
By following the steps above in event planning, here’s how a software solution for events can help:
1. Booking a venue
Control for the event manager is key; whether it’s a conference room in your office or a larger outdoor space, event software can help by making sure the distribution has been made and payment has been made. For more complex conferences that require multiple rooms over several days, solutions for events include integrated software for planning, resources, and venue planning. Customizable and fully customizable feature and multi-calendar feature that will allow you to manage your resources and space from one central and flexible application. This helps simplify the usually complex process of booking and managing a venue.
2. Send invitations to the target list of prospects
The event manager may know the exact number and names of delegates they are targeting, or, in some cases, may be instructed to invite a specific demographic group (based on relationships, job title, location, etc.). Managing the selection of delegates for an invitation is made easy with event software as it can be integrated into their CRM package. This means that all corporate records and data can be easily accessed, and records are updated automatically so that others looking at this record will know that a contact has been invited and whether they are registered and paid.
Event software also comes with sophisticated email marketing tools. Event managers can easily create and filter the selection of target delegates from their CRM and place them in HTML email that can be sent. With the event management software platform, event managers will be able to track recipients’ discoveries, clicks and other activities.
3. Resource management
The event software will come with a resource management module in which event managers can track and control all the resources needed to manage the event. External vendors can be given access to this module so that they can monitor themselves rather than communicate directly with the event manager. For example, catering organizations may be given access so that they can easily see up-to-date, up-to-date information on the number of delegates and any specific dietary requirements. Giving them direct access to this module in event software means that event managers can deal with one person less and one phone call less! Errors are also reduced since the communication layer has been removed.
Resource modules also contain several powerful calendars that allow conference managers to manage multiple resources in these different calendars; all this is available from one central location, ensuring that all updates / amendments / additions are recorded in real time. Based on the information gathered through this resource module, event managers can create individual reports that provide details such as the number of available modules, the number of brochures, etc. Event managers will no longer need to move multiple spreadsheets across multiple calendars, ensuring fewer errors.
4. Work with leading and invited speakers
Event software can also control this process. Emails can be scheduled automatically to remind guest speakers of the event and request specific information, such as a biography for marketing materials and presentation slides for delegates. Speakers can also have direct access to the resource management module, where they can manage and update their own profile, as well as upload materials and other items. Again, this eliminates the involvement of the event manager, allowing them to work on more strategic activities.
5. Acceptance of registrations
A convenient way to register online. This is suitable for both delegates and event managers. This is a fast, efficient method and is increasingly becoming the standard method of registering events. But there are good and bad ways to register online. Ideally, event managers should direct potential delegates to their own website, which includes a specially created page with the branding of the company and the event. Registering on your own website plays an important role in increasing the number of delegate registrations – delegates will be more confident and more likely to register if they are on the same site, while switching to an external site can cause trust issues. It is also important to be able to change the information requested at the checkpoint. Some events only require a name, phone number, and email address, while others may require more details. Event software can easily handle these changes.
6. Acceptance of payment
Having a simple, clear and efficient registration and payment process is very important if event managers want to ensure a high level of delegate attendance. Event software gives event managers the ability to accept payments online through a secure web portal, giving delegates an easy and secure way to pay. Because event management software can be integrated with internal financing software, payment can be easily accepted, records are updated and receipts are sent automatically, without interference from the event manager or accounts payable. If payment is not made online, event software can automatically send invoices to the delegate. For an even smoother payment transaction, event solutions will include connectors that allow you to seamlessly integrate with your internal financial system.
7. Sending reminders to delegates
The email marketing tool included with the event software can create emails that can be automatically sent to all delegates. These can be emails with reminders or emails with updates or amendments to events. They can be created in advance and then forgotten, as the rest will be managed by event software.
8. Print icons
Making delegate badges is a small part of holding a conference, but it can take a very long time for event managers and can cause real problems on the day of the conference if any mistakes were made. Event software packages will come with easy-to-use, efficient tools for producing badges. Not only will creating custom icons be easier, but the delegate names section will be executed automatically as the event software will be integrated with CRM – so it will know exactly what names and details to print.
9. Organizational staff per day
An effective resource management module allows you to accurately manage all staff – event managers will be able to easily delegate activities to individuals and register them in this resource module. Employees can access this module anytime and from anywhere (via the Internet), so they will always know what their responsibilities are and where they should be.
10. Budget management in everything
Event software is a great tool for managing your finances and budget. All costs can be borne through integration with the financial system. They can then be easily tracked and monitored with alerts that alert the event manager if there are any issues or if costs are rising rapidly. Reports can be created instantly at the touch of a button – useful for event updates and when event managers need to compile statistics for senior management.
So we see how event software can change the planning stages of a conference. Without event management software, many of these tasks would be created manually, tracked, and organized using huge spreadsheets. There would be a high chance of mistakes and errors, and the whole process would be time consuming, stressful and inefficient for the conference manager and event-related individuals.