PART 1: Pre- Event
We build bespoke software specifically for event companies, and because of that we get an intriguing insight into the (many) pitfalls of off-the-shelf event management systems. Despite the claims, no one has been able to provide the all-encompassing event management that event companies truly desire.
Why? Well, to give you an insight into the many nuances that a truly amazing event app should cater to, over the next few weeks we are going to review all the elements that make up a “complete” event – starting with what goes on before your event.
Looks Aren’t Everything
Pretty much anyone can make a website look good. With off-the-shelf event management systems, that’s often a big selling point – a nice swishy website, with cool effects like parallax and sliders. Modern web design looks incredible… but a nice looking website is not all that matters. Here at Aelite, we will make your website look and feel amazing. But that’s not all we do, not by a long shot.
The Critical Factor for your Website Visitors
Online registration is where it all started at Aelite and it is crucial to any successful event. After all, no one wants to call a box-office anymore.
You might only need their name and email, or you may have to arrange full travel and accommodation but whichever way It is always important to make it as simple and as accurate as possible.
If you need a lot of information from someone then it can become a daunting task for them to fill out a massive form, which is why long registration forms are one of the main reasons why a user will bail out halfway through registration. A great way to prevent this is by making it really clear where they are in the process – and how far they have until the end. Another critical feature is saving data on the fly or if they go back a step – there’s nothing more frustrating than seeing a carefully completed form go blank.
At the other end of the scale; if it’s just the basics you’re after, then why not make things super easy for people by using “Social Sign-In”. That way people commit instantly using their social media accounts.
It’s Not Just For Your Visitors
Getting the info from your attendees is a great start – but once you’ve got that data, it’s important that you can access and manipulate it easily. No one wants folders of Excel spreadsheets to dig through when all they need to know is things like – “who is allergic to shellfish”.
Event software should not only make things easier for your visitors, it should simplify and improve your life too. A bespoke back-end will: give you all the data you need at your fingertips, merge into your email marketing, optimise accommodation arrangements and filter data to find the best mix for break-out groups – it’s all easy when the software is helping you rather than hindering.
Every Aspect of your Event
And don’t think it stops at dietary requirements and room numbers. The versatility of a bespoke event system is such that you can use it to coordinate speakers, plan your use of the venue, control your event agenda (when and how it is released to the public) and manage your entire event – from just one tool – rather than dozens of to-do lists, calendars, apps and post-it notes.
Is That Everything?
Everything? We’ve hardly started. Take a look at Part 2 to find out how our bespoke event software can make your event amazing on the day – with check-in technology, live polling and live schedules.
PART 2: Event Day
Registration down to a Fine Art
What’s the most exciting part of an event? Being inside it. So lengthy queues on arrival are a pretty negative experience for attendees, and meet-and-greeters leafing through pages of names will portray your business as disorganised.
Luckily, technology can come to the rescue. There are a ton of options: simple barcodes on badges for the visitor to print off in advance, RFID tags or bracelets sent by post or NFC as part of the event app on your smartphone. Scanning any one of these items can find the attendee’s details on your event system, making it quick and simple to sign them in and give them the relevant details. You can make the process even less stressful by allowing attendees to check themselves in at kiosks.
And even better, whichever piece of tech you choose, it can be utilised in other ways throughout the event. Tap your wristband at checkout to add your lunch to your company’s tab, let an exhibitor scan your barcode to sign you up to their mailing list, or tap your phone against another attendee’s to exchange contact details seamlessly.
Keep Your Event Current
Let’s be honest, sometimes things don’t go to plan. Printing off your carefully crafted event schedule into beautiful pamphlets is all for nought when unforeseen circumstances force you to change rooms or timings. Your event staff will become inundated with questions, guests will be lost or confused, and the entire event experience is tainted.
On the other hand, a live event schedule can respond flexibly and instantaneously to any changes. Available on your app, on event screens or through kiosks around the event means that guests can seek out the information they need themselves. Plus, if your event is large, a digital schedule will be easier to search and navigate.
It doesn’t stop there of course. Users can use your registration technology to sign up for talks at posters or info points around the venue. Allow your visitors to create personalised schedules in your app, and use push notifications to alert them when a seminar they’re interested in is about to start. And you can track all this data for planning your next event!
Putting the “Live” in Live Event
Audience engagement can make or break a presentation. Previously, speakers had to rely on raised hands and mic-runners to get questions from the audience. Instead, live polls and Q&A features make it easy and pain-free for visitors to share opinions and ask questions.
Set up a poll in advance or ask a question mid-presentation – either way, you’ll have accurate data from the very people in your audience. Real-time visualisation of data is an engaging technique that lets everyone at your event feel like they have participated.
Using a live Q&A app can also add that special something. Rather than silence when the presenter asks for questions, often visitors will add their queries to it throughout the talk. Attendees can upvote or downvote questions so that you know you’re answering the questions they care about. And all of this can be displayed on both their phones and the big screen.
A key attraction for events is making real-life connections with like-minded people. Event technology can make it as easy as a tap or scan to exchange your contact details with an exhibitor or another attendee.
Allowing networking and messaging through your event app means attendees can communicate with anyone they find interesting, including speakers. And using the wealth of information you have in your event system you could even suggest match-ups for similar interests and backgrounds, turbo charging the quality of connections.
So is that everything?
Are you kidding? We’ve talked pre-event and during the event, now take a look at how much you can do with your data after all your visitors have left! See Part 3 – Post Event for even more things you can do with a fully-rounded event system.
PART 3: Post Event
So your event was a success! Utilising event technology in the run up and on the day itself has streamlined a lot of issues and added tons to the event experience.
But it’s not over yet. Analysing your event is invaluable to the success of future events.
Return on Investment
Let’s start with the bottom line – was your event financially successful? Did it stick to the budget; did it make a profit? When you come to setting the next event budget, information on how money was spent this time round should be your first stop. Were there any unnecessary expenses that didn’t pan out? Were there areas that would have benefited from a larger budget? If you can prove your success on paper, you are likely to be given a larger budget next time.
The only way to get a well-rounded view of how your event is perceived is to ask the people involved. Don’t just ask the attendees either – speakers, exhibitors and your events team are all sure to have useful ideas to input.
Bear in mind that giving feedback is quite an onerous task, however, so make the process as quick and easy as possible. Try incentivising people with an offer or benefit when they fill out your survey. It’s also important to ask for feedback as soon as possible after the event, so they don’t have time to forget what they enjoyed or thought could be improved.
Interaction and Communication
One of the biggest reasons event planners are hesitant to integrate technology is the fear that attendees won’t use it. So after the event, check whether they did. Did they use it to the full extent? Is there any way you can make the technology more accessible in the future?
Well-designed software will also give you insights into the usage patterns of the tool, which can give you a lot of information about how the attendees approached the event and how you can make it more seamless in the future.
Look to the Future
Take both your app data and feedback forms into consideration when evaluating the effectiveness of your use of technology. Low use of the app could mean it didn’t resonate with the audience, or it could mean it wasn’t promoted enough during the event.
If at any point you wish you had a certain piece of data that you didn’t collect, jot it down as something to be included in the next iteration of your software.
Keep The Conversation Going
The people who attended this event are the most likely candidates for coming to the next one. Keep them informed and interested – starting straight after the event finishes. Give them incentives to book early or register their interest in certain event types.
Rather than blasting out an email campaign to thousands of people, try targeting your marketing for a more refined approach. Using the data you collected about what seminars they attended, you can send them emails about topics they’re likely to be interested in.
Events are tough to run. There’s a lot to think about, a lot to control, and a lot of ways it can go wrong. You need to be able to rely on your software and technology to provide the right interface, communication, interactions and data to run an event from start to finish. Most importantly, your software should be saving you time, not adding to it with complicated features you don’t even need.
There are very few apps on the market that can provided the full service, and practically none at all that won’t include the parts you don’t need, so bespoke software is the way to go if you are serious about making your event a success.
Aelite provides bespoke event software solutions to meet the need of individual businesses. Ask us today about how we can help you with your event from start, to event day, to finish.