Technology innovations have made event planning easier by allowing for more automatic and seamless processes. But with literally hundreds of options on the market for all different aspects of an event – from pre-planning to check-in, audience engagement, and post-event evaluations – it can be daunting to figure out which technologies you really need.
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In this post, we’ll cover the essential event technologies you need to plan, host, and evaluate your events more efficiently and effectively.
Streamline Your Pre-Event Planning
Planning an event is often the most time-consuming phase. Finding and booking a venue, organising travel arrangements, marketing, and promotion, and of course, registration are just a few of the important tasks you need to get done. For this phase, we’ve highlighted key event planning tools that can simplify and streamline the planning process, saving you precious time and money along the way:
- Sourcing your venue – Finding the right venue is essential. It’s time to ditch your excel sheets and start using software that can help you build and distribute RFPs, receive bids, and share bid information with key decision makers. You’ll save time on logistics and speed up decision-making. Best of all, you’ll stay organised so nothing falls through the cracks.
- Event marketing and promotion – The more comprehensive your marketing tool is, the easier it is to integrate with other systems you already use. For starters, look for a tool that allows you to create customised and automated emails. This will alleviate manual email promotions and allow you to allocate your time to more pressing issues (like driving registration).
- Event budgeting and spend tracking – With the right technology, you can build a more complete and realistic event budgets, track funds across events, calculate variable costs, and assess event spend. Reporting and dashboard features make it easier to manage costs and share information with decision makers.
- Online registration – Event technology can also help you personalise the entire event planning process. You can create a branded event registration website that’s designed to identify who is visiting your website. This lets you modify the registration process based on attendee type. With more sophisticated software, you can even create dynamic registration paths and pricing based on preset criteria.
- Travel and accommodation booking – By integrating booking travel and accommodation directly into the registration process, you make registration quicker, easier, and more logical for your attendees. It also jumpstarts working partnerships with those in the travel industry.
- Payment processing – An automated payment system will make your life so much easier. You can track payments in real-time, automate refunds, and even accept international currencies or offer promotional pricing. For security, make sure your payment processing technology is PCI Level 1 compliant.
Make Your Event Engaging
Once your event begins, your most critical job is to keep attendees, sponsors, and exhibitors engaged. Your guests want to feel that their investment of time and money is worthwhile. This means providing a seamless experience throughout the entire event – from the moment they arrive to when the step out the door. You need technology that will help you smooth out the check-in process that also allows you to communicate with attendees throughout the event. You can keep them engaged during the keynotes and drive attendees to the right exhibits. Since event sponsors and exhibitors are as much your customers as attendees, you also need a way to ensure they feel their money was well spent.
- Check-in technology – Attendees don’t want to wait in long lines to check in, they want to get in to enjoy the event. Check-in software can significantly speed up check-in, printing badges, and collecting attendee information digitally. Consider upgrading to mobile apps or kiosks so participants can self-register, saving everyone time.
- Mobile apps – You can expect that everyone at your conference will have a mobile phone by their side. Apps engage attendees with interactive maps that use GPS and beacon technology to guide them through exhibits or sessions. You can also use apps to create social media feeds, attendee messaging and networking opportunities, polls, and surveys, or gamification features.
- Exhibition tracking – Use technology to track lead counts, booths visitors are attending, and flow of traffic in real-time.
Evaluate Your Event’s Success
There are many different components that go into making an event successful, such as your attendees’ level of engagement. However, one of your top priorities should be proving the event’s ROI to key decision makers. To do this, you’ll need several key data points at your fingertips:
- Attendance tracking and reporting – This software feature can allow you to track overall attendance as well as attendance at specific sessions, helping you pinpoint which speakers and exhibits are most popular. This information can inform your next event as well as enhance the follow-up and sales process.
- Integration with a CRM or other internal systems – If you want to get the most out of your event data, you need to integrate it with other technology systems, such as your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution, marketing automation platform, or financial software. This allows your data to sync and stay up to date.
Consider a Unified Technology Approach
We’ve covered a long list of event technologies that can get your event off the ground with less stress, resources, and money. However, the best way to implement these technologies is a comprehensive event management platform. With one event management platform, it’ll be easier for you and your team to learn and use the technology. Additionally, when all the data is collected and stored in one place, you’ll get better visibility into the event and your processes. Finally, having data all in one place makes it easy to make sense of your numbers and make decisions in the future.