Looking for an event management software can be overwhelming. All the options sound great, there are lists and lists of features, and you aren’t sure which you should value and prioritize. Not only that, each software option have different pricing structures that make calculating the actual cost of each system and comparing them a little difficult.
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At the very least, your software choices should include the following abilities:
Registration on YOUR Website
Embed the process into your existing event website, so you aren’t sending attendees, vendors and speakers to a 3rd party site.
Whether this is month to month pricing vs. an annual contract commitment or paying per administrator using the system vs. paying per attendee, the pricing structure should make sense for the type of events you are running (once a year or several per year, etc).
Excellent Customer Support
The customer service and tech support you need for yourself and your attendees. A software solution should be an extension of your own office, not impossible to reach and troubleshoot inevitable issues that come up.
Easy to use!
This may sound like a no brainer, but take advantage software company’s offer for a free demo and work with the system to see if it works with your process seamlessly and doesn’t create problems, confusion or headaches for both you and your attendees. This includes offering group registration, which is a huge time saver for many attendees registering as groups and makes the process from registering to paying to attending super simple!
Create intelligent forms!
Be sure you can create any kind of form you need to gather all the information you require. The software should allow each attendee to move through the process in a unique way, customized to their selections. The software should allow many different options to select from (different sessions, meals, etc) that create an easy to understand flow for the attendee and that easily calculates all the possible selections.
Integrate and automate payments!
Just with intelligent form creation, you want whatever combination of activities the attendee selects to total up quickly with options to pay in several ways: in multiple currencies, with payment plans, and in the case of group registration – to pay for the entire group, or one attendee at a time. The point is to make it easy for the attendee to pay right then and there, understanding what they owe and with many options to choose from on how and when to make their payments.
Automated invoicing and email communication.
Automating this basic task saves you a ton of time! If someone makes a payment, the system should be triggered to send out a personalized email with the payment details and balance due. When forms are incomplete, triggered emails should go out to remind attendees to complete registration on time. These simple things make a world of difference both in saving time on your end and ensuring you receive on time completely applications and payments.
The ability to create a report based on any set of data you choose is where your admin time savings really come into play. Getting information to those who need it, quickly, saves a ton of time and keeps everyone in the loop. Event planning needs to be organized, and a software that allows you to use your data effectively is priceless. Consider the reports you currently use and what you wish you could have. Does this software allow you to create these reports?
Identify problems, seek solutions!
While this list of features and abilities is nice (and essential) the real challenge in finding a software solution is deciding first the problems you have with your current process, and how your software choice acts as a solution to those issues. Prioritize the features you look for based on the most important solutions you are seeking.
Features just really are solutions to problems in disguise, but everyone’s list of problems varies. Finding a software solution to meet your needs is easy when you’ve identified what your needs are! Spending money on a great event management software is worth it!