When a planner looks ahead to the future, there's often several big, exciting ideas they have in mind for their meetings or events. But these ideas are often overshadowed by all too common event planning challenges.
Recently, an interesting article by Skift outlined some of these top challenges and suggested that meeting and event planners are anticipating tough times as they look ahead to next year. That may sound grim, but there's still plenty of time for planners to get ahead of the game and prepare for 2020 and beyond. And the answer may lay in today's technology, specifically with event management software.
If any of Skift's challenges are making you rethink your year ahead, learn how event management software may be the solution you're looking for to set you up for a successful year in 2020.
Challenge 1: Too Tight Budgets
Planning successful events on a limited budget is perhaps the most relatable and frustrating challenge today's event professionals have. The solution to maintaining a budget often starts with making the right investments with the right event technology. Event management software makes for an excellent tool for planners to invest in, but not all software solutions are alike. It's crucial to find a platform that includes lots of budget-friendly elements, including:
- A comprehensive suite of products that covers everything a planner needs like registration, website, surveys, email marketing, etc. Consolidating these tools not only initially saves planners money, but when these tools are integrated within one platform, planners will find additional savings in the time saved of having data connect seamlessly.
- The ability to pay based on the number of annual registrations, plus features like the ability to plan an unlimited number of events, which allows planners to scale their businesses effectively.
- Low Total Cost of Ownership (or TOC) models, which bodes well for meeting planning agencies looking to control their escalating IT costs.
- Unlimited users and live, web-based training to support those users. That means that during a planner's peak season when contracted talent is sometimes hired, they don’t have to worry about increased event management software costs.
Challenge 2: Competition
In today’s competitive arena, planners must bring the latest innovations to their clients, or you rapidly become extinct (yes, just like the dinosaurs!). It's important to look for event management software that is continuously evolving to match the current event tech landscape and expectations. Are they developing new technology each year or are acquiring leading-edge technology companies? That's a good sign! Some key "wow" technologies to look for in event management software, include:
- Engagement technology: mobile apps, smart tags, chatbots, etc.
- Onsite technology: NFC badges, onsite check-in, access control, session tracking, lead capture, etc.
- Event intelligence: tools that collect, analyze and manage data throughout the entire event lifecycle
Challenge 3: Last-Minute Requests
Sometimes, planners need to act fast, whether it's creating an entire event in a day or dealing with the latest emergency. These last-minute requests aren’t a new thing – and event management software should allow users to manage them quickly and easily. Some key time-saving features to look for include:
- Template creation and cloning capabilities, perfect for reoccurring events to set up event registration or an event website in seconds.
- Drag and drop building tools, especially for planners without a design background or an in-house designer on their team. It makes something like building a new event website easy and intuitive.
- A global, top-rated customer support team, that's available whenever and wherever planners are.
Challenge 4: Unresponsive Venues
Venue sourcing is a vital part of the event planning process, which makes the issue of unresponsive venues during the bidding process understandably discouraging. Luckily, today's top event management software providers have caught on to this crucial step and have added venue sourcing technology to their suite of tools. Planners should look for a solution, however, that goes way beyond the standard eRFP process, and that reduces the busy work to simplify and manage the booking process. Top features of an effective venue sourcing solution include:
- Easy venue research that makes use of filters that remove venues that aren't the right size, brand, location, and more, from your radar.
- Fast bid return; your solution should have an RFP support team that ensures complete bid responses within 24–48 hours.
- Negotiation tracking and management that puts the bid process all in one place, as well as tracks bid evolution, concessions offered, and all of the back-and-fourth communications.
- A way to connect teams together so they can work smarter not harder, such as the ability to mark favorite venues and share experiences (both good and bad), and to see venues booked company-wide to leverage negotiations.
Overall, you can avoid these top event planning challenges in 2020 by taking the time to find the right event management software for you and your organization. Once you discover it, you'll find that it will solve several common planner pain points and much more. This will set you up for event planning success through next year and beyond.