Controlling chaos is what event management is all about. There’s a lot to manage with conferences, marketing events, and similar productions. Fortunately, today’s best event management processes help you with every aspect of your event journey.
As an event manager, using a single software solution for your event benefits you in many ways. With everything in one place, there’s no need to manually transfer information from one platform to another. Everything you need from the beginning to the end of the event management process will be at your fingertips. When it comes time to analyze your data, you can do so quickly and without headaches.
Of course, tools are only effective when paired with careful planning. Here’s a look at some tech solutions and general best practices to help you ace your next event.
1. Tech Suppliers and Event Objectives
When choosing a supplier for your event management technology, it’s important to stay connected to your event’s objectives. Make sure you and your supplier both understand what’s important. Can the supplier meet all your event management objectives? (For example, you may need registration, onsite participant tracking, and email marketing but not certificates. Or you may need a website and abstract management but not venue sourcing.)
Define what you want your tech to do, and understand the constraints of any device or software you’re considering. Not all event management services are equal, so it’s crucial to do research.
Registration tools are one of the event management processes where planners can do more than just gather sign-ups. Consider whether your event would benefit from specific registration options such as pre-event surveys, payment systems, hotel and travel bookings, and session scheduling. Knowing how to manage events efficiently from the very first step of the event management process is key to creating a lasting first impression. When you get as much information as possible at registration, it saves time and frustration later.
3. Attendee Education
If you’re using an app, a smart badge, or other specialized technology, your attendees may need some support. Communicating with participants ahead of time can prepare them to make the most of their event experience and ease them into responding favorably to your event management services. Remember that any frustrations the user experiences can reflect poorly on the event, so have a plan for providing support in advance and onsite.
4. Day-of-Event Communication
The more engaged event attendees are, the better. When your event software or event app allows you to send push notifications and direct messages, you’ll increase attendee satisfaction. Instant messages serve as a great way to enhance your event management process. They can also make an event run more smoothly by helping everyone stay on schedule and avoid confusion.
5. AV Support and Training
It’s always smart to learn about a venue’s AV equipment before you need to use it. Find out whether there will be support on hand. If not, ask the venue management to help you understand any equipment you’ll be using. An event manager cannot be in every place at once, so it’s important to be as prepared as possible beforehand.
6. Onsite WiFi Testing
Imagine planning an event that relies on WiFi only to have the network fail. Check the bandwidth ahead of time to ensure it can handle your traffic (especially if your attendees will use the network). Consider whether the network is accessible everywhere you need it. In addition, conduct a speed test. Event planners often find that they need to bring in an outside service to provide the necessary network coverage.
7. Back-of-House Functions
Even if you’re not running the back-of-house functions like food service, as the event manager, you need to know how those things work. When you’re selecting vendors and contracting workers, it helps to have a deep understanding of everything that goes on behind the scenes. It’s always beneficial to talk to your contacts about how things work on their end, as these aspects are crucial steps in the event management process. Your event will run more smoothly when everyone’s on the same page, and a solid working relationship is good for everyone.
8. Differentiation: Making Your Management Service Stand Out
For independent event managers trying to attract more corporate event planning opportunities, there are several ways to stand out. Consider these options when planning how to manage events:
- serving a specific niche
- tailoring your price and service level to your target clients (some groups are looking for the best bargain; others are looking for higher-priced managers who will spend more time on their events)
- emphasizing specialized event management processes to use in all stages of your planning journey
To further set yourself apart, look at your advertising. Creating a blog or social media page can serve as a platform to show your audience what you can do.
9. Choosing the Best Event Management Software
In event planning, there’s no one-size-fits-all. You’ll need to choose the best event management software for your needs. Here are some key factors to think about as you explore options.
If you’re an event manager looking for event planning software for a specific event, consider the size of the event and the features you’ll need. If you’d like to use the same software for multiple events, look for one that will transfer well and allow you to analyze data across events. Some solutions, for example, offer a variety of modules and packages that can be tailored to suit your needs.
The best software includes robust, innovative features and comes with support that’s available whenever an event manager needs it. Also, look for a smooth, well-supported transition. Finally, check on security features to keep your company, participants, and attendees safe. Event management is all about ensuring a seamless experience; the right event software paired with your own best practices will make your events memorable, meaningful, and profitable for everyone involved.
This blog post was updated in 2018 for relevance.