Despite technological advances, there are still plenty of events that are planned and run the old-school way. Organisers continue to use spreadsheets to track and manage conference information, paper packets stuffed with printed informational sheets, mailed conference invitations, and manual payment options. Learning a new system may seem more effort than it’s worth, and you may even feel like you’re so busy planning events you won’t have time to adopt a new technology. But the reality is that if you’re still using manual processes, you’re not only making your life more hectic, but also holding back on the quality of your events.
Here’s a brief look at how swapping manual processes for a more automated approach can help improve attendee experience as well as your own experience in planning events:
No attendee likes to wait in long check-in lines, but when manual processes are in play, the queue can get longer than ever. Even when you’ve enough staff to check in attendees, the possibility of manual errors and glitches remain, and it can take considerable time to resolve an issue. For example, when an attendee has already registered and paid but their name is not on the list because of a typo, a new badge may need to be printed, which can result in long queues because of the extra time required by the staff.
However, if your entire registration process is automated from the get-go — from the moment an attendee enters their information on your event website to the moment they check-in — you will discover that not only do you have less issues to deal with, the problems are easier and faster to solve. Manually transferring data, even if it involves exporting a .CVS file and creating a “check-in list”, is always prone to human error. But if your registration data is integrated, the only errors will be typos created by your attendees and even these can be managed easily. Mobile apps can be used for check-in, allowing attendees to verify their information on their own, make revisions as necessary, and even print their own badges, thus completely eliminating any queues.
Another area where manual processes can be a real headache is during communication with participants. Whether it’s mailing printed invitations, sending out emails, or arranging pamphlets and brochures to hand attendees at check-in, automation can reduce the time and costs involved while delivering a richer and more interactive experience for your guests.
For example, by using advanced email marketing tools, event planners can incorporate several useful features for attendees, such as driving directions, accommodation booking, calendar integration, and registration and payment. When all these features are offered in a single app, communication can become more streamlined. Adding an extra functionality or feature does not have to be a cumbersome process as you can easily integrate it within the app.
Post-event, it's important to understand what processes worked well, what sessions were the most popular, and what could be done to ensure a better experience higher ROI. Using paper-based manual systems are notoriously ineffective in collating and analysing such data, and all the hard work you did comes to naught.
With an integrated event management platform, event planners can track all the data they need to make informed decisions. Registrations can be tracked by week/day/month, cancellations and attendance for different sessions can be marked easily, and live feedback from the event can be used to create better experiences. Generating reports is also a quick process, instead of a time-consuming one where you spend hours pasting data from different spreadsheets together.
Even if you aren't dealing with spreadsheets when it comes to event planning, using non-integrated technologies for different aspects of the planning process can also create a lot of work for you. Having a single event technology platform that can automate and centralise all your processes will further streamline event management and make your life much easier. And perhaps more importantly, free up even more of your time to focus on the creative and strategic aspects of the planning process, instead of dealing with micro issues.