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Third-Party Planners: How to Survive and Thrive in Today’s Market

Candice Bakke |

GettyImages-865596974Looking for new ways to grow your business in this fast-changing market? Then think about adding registration to your mix of services.

Online registration is a lucrative part of the meetings industry. It’s the most in-demand event technology, used by 85% of event profs, a 2018 survey by Event Manager Blog found. What’s more, registration generates nearly half of total event revenue (49%), according to the 2018 PCMA Convene Meetings Market Survey.

Expanding your product base is the key to surviving and thriving in today’s market.

The fact is, new services create new revenue streams. So, you balance your business and safeguard against economic swings. What’s more, you make up for shortfalls from commission cuts.

Providing more services boosts profitability, too. Bundle other products with new offerings. Then negotiate with your provider for favorable bulk pricing. You can pass savings along through creative packaging. Or, hold onto them to bolster your company’s bottom line.

Delivering more services also makes you “stickier” or more indispensable. Increase your footprint with existing customers by taking on different projects. Let’s say you have a big venue sourcing customer. You earned their trust, thanks to years of fine service and expertise. Why not help them with online registration as well?

Or, cast a wider net. And offer more services to compete effectively in areas you may not be winning today.

The lesson here is this: You gain market share by providing complementary services that are integral to event success. And you make yourself stickier to existing clients to improve retention. Savvy planners are branching out and securing favorable pricing from providers when buying in bulk. Why risk losing business to competitors who provide a range of services that streamlines event planning and are attractively priced?

Online registration is at the core of the planning process, setting the stage for the entire event.

The latest platforms make it easy to bounce registration off other services you already offer. If you’re new to registration management, these tips below highlight the latest trends and key features to look for. Use them to simplify the process, while improving attendee satisfaction. You’ll also build your toolbox of services and overall customer confidence in your firm.

Focus on easy navigation

  • Get a simple solution with fast ramp-up. Make it easy for freelance planners to jump in and help when you need them.
  • Use embedded project management tools to create delivery roadmaps for consistent, flawless execution across your entire team.
  • Look for technology with no hidden costs. That means unlimited user licenses and unlimited year-round training. Part of the beauty of events is they’re dynamic. Get a system that lets you change on a dime and move forward without racking up unexpected costs.
  • Make sure support is free and available 24/7/365 by telephone, email and web chat. You want a provider who has your back. See if the support portal has a comprehensive knowledge base. Some providers also offer chatbots to keep pace with customer needs.
  • Simplicity is key for attendees, too. The platform should provide easy registration on any device. And it should enable you to put branding front and center on every event.

Don’t waste time setting up registrations from scratch

  • No need to reinvent the wheel. Using the latest tools, you clone your setup and reuse it for similar events.
  • Maximize efficiency with a solution that’s integrated on a single platform. One that can link registration seamlessly to venue sourcing, event marketing, engagement tools, social media, and analytics. Why waste time toggling between platforms? Or juggling different software contract expiration dates and invoices? Or trying to master disconnected tools? Streamline operations with a powerful one-stop-shop.
  • A major advantage of integration is you enter information just once. Data syncs automatically with the event website, emails, surveys, mobile app, social media and more.
  • With the right solution, for example, data flows seamlessly from venue sourcing to pre-event registration and vice versa. No need to retype the same information. Or risk losing critical data as you move back and forth between applications.

Keep it all on one platform

  • Manage speakers, sessions, meeting room assignments, payments, accommodations, reports and more from one centralized platform. Why rely on outsourced tech support? An integrated platform adds ease and flexibility. It empowers planners to manage things on their own as event circumstances change (and you know they always do).
  • Data is instantly available all in one place. No more time lags as you import and export information between tools. Retrieve all the information you need directly from the registration platform. And jack up efficiency in day-to-day tasks and decision-making.
  • You can learn a lot about attendees from registration. For example: the company, industry, content they like and problems they need to solve. Instant access to data lets you personalize events like never before. Smart planners recommend sessions, exhibitors and people to connect with based on common interests to enhance the attendee experience.
  • Robust yet easy-to-pull reporting is another hallmark of modern registration platforms. Spend your time becoming a Master Planner, offering keen insights to clients. No need to pay someone to program reports or study to become an Excel guru. Spreadsheets are old-school – and so tedious. A centralized platform means you can easily report different data points across each event. And create customized and visual reports in mere minutes.

Add Value

It’s easy to see all the added value you can bring to the table. Include registration with the services you already offer. Using the latest tools and best practices, you’ll not only create new revenue streams.

You’ll also drive registration, improve attendee satisfaction, streamline operations, boost efficiency, personalize the experience, and better manage events.

In brief: You’ll elevate your role as a trusted advisor who plays a key role in driving success.

To explore other opportunities to grow your business in today’s market, download the guide: Beyond Site Selection below. This free, business-building guide highlights:

  • How to handle more business with the same size staff (no overtime)
  • One thing you must do to break into lucrative markets
  • 10 event tech shortcuts every third party should know (but most don’t)
  • How to ramp up in less time than you spend waiting for a pizza delivery
  • Why mobile apps are affordable now for events as small as 50 attendees 
Beyond Site Selection ebook_CTA 1

This Post was Written by Candice Bakke

Candice is partner relations director at Aventri.

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