Tag Archives: Event Management Software

Manual Event Registration: 9 Scary Ways it’s Costing You

Manual event registration is costly and stressful. Time to switch to an online system

Manual event registration is costly and stressful. Time to switch to an online systemTime. Money. People. Labor. Do you want to waste these precious resources?  We didn’t think so.  Then why is it that manual event registration methods still survive in planning and executing events?

In many situations the person or persons making the decision about whether or not to use online event registration software is not going to be involved in the daily planning and running of the event.  Often the things these decision makers care about most – like cost – are not always the same as the things that can keep an event professional up at night – like please make it easier and quicker for me!  With such a disconnection, how do you make the case to ditch manual event registration and upgrade to online event registration software?

When you, as an event professional, are choosing online registration software, you already know about the biggest advantages this type of software offers.  Among the many benefits, you can automatically collect attendee information in a fraction of the time manual event registration requires and without the huge labor expense.  Also switching from manual event registration to online registration reduces the stress load on the people running the event – you.

If you need to convince someone to give you the ok for online event registration software, then you need to show the costs of the traditional manual event registration and the benefits of going to online event registration software.  So we prepared 9 scary ways using manual registration is costing you as well as the benefits to using an online system.

Objections!  Why Are You Staying with Manual Event Registration?

The most common objections to moving from manual event registration to an online system include:

  • It’s not in the budget
  • Our old system is working (or worked) fine
  • We aren’t ready for online event registration

Do any of these objections sound familiar in your office discussions?  Do you really want to keep old manual event registration practices or do you want to move forward?  OK, I get it.  As event professionals we are always short on time and money and sometimes we rely on tried and true practices because it seems like the quickest or easiest thing to do. Or maybe “we’ve always done it that way” feels comfortable and taking the leap to do things differently fills you, your boss or clients with dread.

But it’s really time to stop and reconsider.  It’s time to come into the twenty-first century and lose some of those costly, very labor intensive, extra work generating event planning practices.  Break those old event registration habits, or at least the worse ones, and push your boundaries.

When you do, you will realize that if you update your tools and choose the best modern practices to support your organization, it can lead to much better event and meeting success outcomes – with more hours in the day for you to focus on creating a better attendee experience.   To work smarter and not harder and provide your attendees the best event experience, it’s time to change.

9 Scary Ways Manual Event Registration is Costing You vs the Benefits of Going Online

People typically make objections to switching from manual event registration when they don’t know how online event registration works and how it will help them.  What you need to make your case are some effective arguments showing the costs – in terms of time, money, labor, inefficiencies – of staying with a manual process vs. the benefits of replacing it with an online process.  Here are some great ones for you to use.

Quick and Easy Registration Experience for Attendees

With manual event registration, potential attendees need to download a paper form, fill it out and either fax or mail it back to you.   All event registration takes time to a point but this old traditional way is far more time consuming for attendees.

Manual event registration also has potential for lost registrations, data and payment security issues and delays in registering attendees.  Another problem – when you’re closed, so is your event registration process.  Not good – you may miss out on getting those potential attendees.

Online event registration is fast and seamless experience for attendees linking them to a form from your event website which they can complete and return with a click of a button.  The registration information is submitted to your database within minutes.  No need to deal with faxing and mailing.  No delays with receiving information; no data or payment security issues.

Also, online event registration is always open so attendees can register any time whether your office is open or closed.  This is especially important when dealing with people from different time zones.

Registration Forms with Built in Logic

People make mistakes.  This happens of course when completing registration forms for events.  When using manual event registration methods, such as faxes and mail-ins, catching and correcting these mistakes gets difficult and costly in terms of time and a person’s labor.  It also can create confusion down the line at the event itself if not caught and corrected in time or at all.

Online event registration forms can prevent people from making mistakes or invalid or conflicting selections.  This results in more accurate and complete data.  For example, if someone leaves an important mandatory field blank and tries to submit the form, the built in logic of the form can create a message asking the person to fill that section in before continuing.

Similarly, if a potential attendee must choose between one option and another, the form can eliminate the possibility of the person choosing both options.  This is not possible with fax or mail-in registrations.

Elimination of Manual Data Entry for You

Manual event registration requires you and your team to manually enter all the data from paper forms faxed or mailed in, into a computer, or worse, create some paper filing system.  The potential for data entry errors is significant and the time and labor it takes to manually organize the data can be excessive.

With online event registration, potential attendees enter their information into an online form.  It is automatically organized and stored in an online database that you can immediately access, anywhere at any time.  There is no opportunity for someone else along the line to misread the data or enter it incorrectly.

More Manageable Information, Better Data Integrity

A common challenge in event planning is maintaining your data so that what you need is stored in one place, not on several different computers, in filing cabinets or on various desks throughout your office.  This is often the untidy situation with manual event registration which can create a real potential for inconsistencies, errors, and headaches for both you and your attendees.

Online event registration holds all information in one central database.  Any changes or updates are done automatically.  Everyone sees the same information.   Information is consistent and up-to-date at all times.  Also, you can access and sort the information online or automatically download it to your spreadsheet, making it easy to create mailing lists, name badges, or whatever you need to do.

Automatic Event Confirmation

When using manual event registration, the average turn-a-round time from the day a paper registration form is received until the attendee gets a confirmation can take a few days.  With fax and mail-in registration, confirmation is delayed as your team manually processes the registration, checks availability, and then manually creates a confirmation email or letter.  This is a highly inefficient and costly use of your precious time and event personnel.

Once a person submits their information through the online event registration form, the system automatically generates a confirmation email that is sent out to the potential attendee confirming their registration.  This email can also contain other information you may want them to know once they have registered.

Secure, Real Time Payment

Ensuring safe, secure payment is yet another reason to ditch manual event registration processes.  When using manual event registration, you can often be waiting for the check to come in the mail or for a credit card transaction to be approved – or declined.  In the meantime, you may have to put other potential attendees on a wait list until you know for sure that payment is coming and secured.

Using online event registration, you use real time, secure online credit card processing.  Within a few seconds you know if the transaction has been approved and you have the security of know you have the fees.  Online credit card processing also allows people registering for your event to process their own transactions.  This eliminates the need for you to individually process each transaction and from having to track people down when cards are declined because the number is incorrect or funds are not available.

Managing Event Capacity

Often you want to limit the number of attendees to an event or meeting.  With the old manual event registration method there is no easy or fast way to monitor the attendance numbers.  Faxes might still be coming in when you reached your event limit and then you have to contact potential attendees to let them know that you couldn’t process their registrations because the event was full.  Awkward!

Online event registration helps you set the limits so that it limits the number of registrants to a particular event, workshop, or sessions.  Once the limit has been reached the form will not allow any more registrations and it will notify potential attendees that the registration limit has been reached.

Real Time Reports- Tracking Attendees and Revenues

One of the big complaints we as event professionals experience is that we often don’t know how many attendees are showing up to our event until the very last days of the registration period.  This can be hugely frustrating as we try to finalize numbers for our venues, our food and beverage vendors, and any last minute materials we are preparing.  Using manual event registration methods only makes this situation more agonizing.  The workload is already heavy leading up to your event, who needs to make it worse?

Using real time reports in online event registration system offers you the ability to watch your registration data flow into the database in real time so you can get a more accurate count of expected attendees and what you will need for your event.

Interested in tracking your revenues?  No kidding!  With real time online reporting you always know how much revenue has been collected, if any credit cards were decline and which potential attendees still need to mail their checks.  Manual event registration can’t quickly supply this type of important information which can create embarrassing registration situations for your or you client.

Lower Materials Costs; Lower Labor Costs

In the traditional manual event registration, a lot of time and money is spent on creating and printing hard copy materials – from registration forms to slick event brochures and information packages.  While all this might be nice and attractive, it is also hugely expensive when it comes to printing and mailing and the labor involved in getting it all done.  Does your budget allow this?  Not many do these days when event budgets are usually pretty tight.

Online event registration allows you to eliminate or greatly reduce paper materials.  You can present your event form and entire event information package online.  If you want, you can print a smaller, less detailed brochure that will direct potential attendees to your website for all the information they need, including how to register online.

Labor costs are much lower when using online registration than when using manual event registration methods.  Less phone calls, faxes, data entry, copying, and mailing.

Ditch Manual Event Registration – Go Online with rsvpBOOK

No time to spin your wheels with manual event registration?  We didn’t think so.   The tools in the rsvpBOOK online event registration and management software are made to make your life easier.  We’re here to save time and money so you can work smart and be successful, no matter the type or size of your event or meeting.  We make the complex tasks of event planning and management, easier.

rsvpBOOK helps you streamline your event processes, from beginning to end, from website details, to on-site resources, and final real time attendee and revenue reports.  No need to duplicate information, manually process, and drag huge binders of forms with you everywhere.  Let’s reduce the paperwork!  Use your time to take care of more demanding matters – creating an outstanding attendee experience at your event.

And if these reasons aren’t enough, rsvpBOOK was named a Top 20 Most Affordable Event Management Software by Capterra, the business software review website as well as a Top 5 position in Reviewers’ Choice by Software Advice, online technology review firm.

rsvpBOOK.   It’s smart, simple, saves you time and money.  Try rsvpBOOK at www.rsvpBOOK.com.  Start your free trial today!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 Steps to Reducing Event Stress

7 Steps to Reduce Event Stress

Reducing stress is important for event professionals

Just breeeeathe….If only it was so easy to do when you’re in the middle of the event planning crunch. Event stress is like the proverbial monkey on an event professional’s  back –  hard to shake it off but so necessary to get things done for your event or meeting.  By now you have heard that event planners have one of the top 10 most stressful jobs (landing at #5) according to CareerCast.com  study “The Most Stressful Jobs of 2017” (http://bit.ly/2oFXvED ).

If you are an experienced event professional, as I have been, this is not surprising – you have experienced – or are experiencing event stress first hand.  Getting a grip on and reducing event stress as best you can is critical not only for hosting a successful event or meeting; it is essential for keeping you cool, collected and stress free (ultimate goal!) throughout your event planning and management process.

Doing an event takes a lot of careful planning, coordination, and management of time and resources – money and people in particular. But in talking with other event professionals, there are some tricks to manage event stress and even ways to reduce or avoid it completely.  Let’s check out 7 steps to reducing event stress that go beyond taking those deep breaths.

  • Making Time and Being Prepared
  • Making Back up Plans
  • Learning to Love Your Checklists
  • Working with a Strategy in Mind
  • Working Collaboratively with Your Team and Delegating
  • Taking Care of Yourself
  • Using Event Technology to Help You Plan and Manage

Make Time and Be Prepared to Reduce Event Stress

Stress often comes from not being ready for something and event stress is no different.  It creates feelings of panic, loss of control and being overwhelmed.  To prevent event stress, think of the Boy Scout motto, “Be Prepared.”  When you are prepared and something unexpected occurs, the situation is handled more effectively because you are prepared for the possibility of an unexpected event.

How do you prepare?  Start planning early.  Sounds like good common sense but it’s surprising how some event professionals will see a long lead (a rarity in itself) time as an opportunity to put things on the back burner.  Even if your event target date seems far away, do not delay and wait until it is closer to that time.  Time has a way of passing quickly and life gets busy so plan as soon as possible.

If your time has passed too fast or work life took a turn to chaotic and busy, consider pushing your target date back an extra week or two to give yourself more time to prepare.  Devoting extra time at the early planning stage helps you review all the event’s necessary parts in ways you might not do if you are more pressed for time.  It also reduces event stress.  Remember this is the time to think about your event as a whole writing down ideas for venue, theme, program, speakers, menu, entertainment, and invitation style.  Think big picture and start your planning!

Back up Plans Reduce Event Stress

And part of “being prepared” is having a backup plan.  Things can, and often do, go wrong or at least not as you envisioned.  Speakers can drop out, people change their minds, venues don’t work out, and marketing strategies aren’t delivering.   Always ensure you have a backup option for everything and not relying on just one.  Talk about event stress when your first option falls through. It’s best to prepare yourself for the worst possible outcomes and this will reduce your event stress as you’ll know you can overcome everything with ease.

Having backup plans and preparation also applies to the actual event.  No matter what you do, there will always be unexpected things that happen, no matter how planned or organized you are.  You just have to work under pressure and that’s why having you and your team ready and able to deal with the unexpected on site is important.

Although having a backup plan will help avoid major fallbacks and reduce a lot of event stress, it’s not always possible to have a backup plan for everything, especially on site.  An experienced event professional – you – will keep calm and carry on, infusing a sense of tranquility to those around you.  At times as an event professional, you need to accept and embrace failures when they occur.  You need to understand the impact of a failure and what to do to avoid it in the future.

Learning to Love Your Checklists Reduces Event Stress

There are a lot of different components that make up an event – are you planning on keeping track of all of them in your head?  Not a good idea, especially if you want to keep your event stress low.  You could cause a decision making bottleneck because your team and vendors are looking at you for decisions. Juggling all the different parts can be challenging.  Visualizing all of them on a checklist (and not numerous Post-Its around your office or car) can be incredibly helpful.

Think of all the tasks you need to do before, during, and after the event and create an event checklist to keep you organized, on schedule and to make sure you haven’t missed anything.  Write down everything that needs to be done for your event and when it needs to be done and by whom.  This may include setting a budget, sending out invitations, selecting speakers, ordering food and beverage, and hiring vendors.

Don’t be too vague about describing the tasks you need to do.  Breaking down your event into small individual tasks is one of the most effective practices in reducing event stress.  Seeing the smaller steps helps you remember all the parts better and not worry you are going to miss doing something.  Also, there is something very therapeutic to crossing tasks off the list as they get completed.  Humor yourself even if the list is very long.

Looking for help to make that checklist?  Sometimes emptying your head of what needs to be done is not as easy you think.  If so, try a couple of online tools such as Evernote, a powerful cross-platform tool that helps you “dump” what is inside your brain.  Another option is Basecamp, a web-based project management tool as well Asana a web and mobile application designed to help teams track their work.

Reduce Event Stress by Working through Tasks with a Strategy

A lot of people cringe at the word “strategy.”  Sounds hard to do and above my pay grade.  It’s not and it shouldn’t be.  It’s part of organizing your planning, forcing you to stop and think things through clearly before you take action.  If you think about it, doing events without an approach or strategy results in poor performance and only makes additional event stress for you.  So slow down a minute and think before acting.

One way to lay things out strategically is by creating an action plan with realistic timelines and goals.  This step really should be done before developing your event task checklist.  Without setting up your action plan and event goals and timeline, it’s difficult to breakdown specific tasks necessary to move your action forward and achieve your event goals.  Having the plan, timeline and your event checklist helps you stay focused and see the purpose of your event for your company or organization.  Add this as another event stress buster!

Foster Team Collaboration to Reduce Event Stress

Unless you are some Super Event Professional wearing a red cape with nerves of steel and moving faster than a speeding bullet (well I think we all do the latter a lot), you are usually working with a team of people to do an event.  Working in a team and delegating tasks does help reduce event stress because it shares the event planning and management load.  However, working collaboratively as a team without some sort of conflict can create a double-edged sword for you.   You want the help but not the drama of conflict in a team.  Articles on building team collaboration are numerous but one of particular interest is the 2007 Harvard Business Review study called Eight Ways to Build Collaborative Teams.  And, as with most everything these days, there’s an app for that…see the Scoro blog 40 Top Team Collaboration Tools You Need Right Now.

Once your event checklist is complete, delegate event tasks to relevant persons on your team.  Stop believing you’re the only one who can do the job right and need to do everything or your event stress will skyrocket.  Sacrifice some time in the beginning to save time in the long run by teaching team members that you trust how to do the things you need done.  Then embrace their autonomy to get the job done without you micromanaging their efforts.

Reduce Event Stress by Taking Care of Yourself

After a while, organizing an event can send you a bit stir-crazy and blunt your sense of reality so it is smart to take regular breaks and switch off.  As a hard-charging event professional, you may ignore the signs and move forward but you do at risking your health and well-being.  Stop!  Breathe!  Unplug!  Even if you do this for a small amount of time, it refreshes and recharges you physically and mentally.  You may have ways that help you switch off during stressful times so use them now.  Going for a run or walk, exercise (my personal event stress buster), yoga, meditation, listening to music (yay!), seeing friends are just some suggestions for de-stressing.  Whatever works to help you unwind and relax.

Some things you also need to avoid in order to decrease your event stress level.  These include avoiding stimulants such as coffee (bye, bye Starbucks runs!) and alcohol.   It’s only temporary so you will survive.

Probably the most important things to help you de-stress, and people take for granted or ignore, is getting enough sleep and eating healthy.  Both activities seem to go out the window quickly for event planners, especially at the peak of event planning.  Sleeping and eating healthy aren’t just for well-being and beauty, but are important to helping you stay energized, ready to work productively, and reduce event stress.

The better you take care of yourself, the fewer tendencies you will have to over react to everything.  Event professionals tend to be prone to offering hospitality to others and ignore their own needs.  Don’t fall into that trap.  Here’s where just breathing is important.

Using Event Technology Helps Reduce Event Stress

Use event technology where it provides usefulness and cuts down on tedious work.  In this day and age of tight budgets, fast-paced planning, and short timelines, this is critical to keep your event stress under control.  You know it’s true.  We discussed earlier the online technology for helping you create your event checklists – what else should be on your event technology list?  Other obvious technologies include using safe and reliable online event registration and management software and get rid of the old fashion way of registering by fax or phone which is slow and stressful.  Event registration and management software is a case of using technology wisely, saving time, and reducing event stress.  Think about automating emails and social media posts, a feature which should be part of event management software.

Another example is to use social media accounts like Twitter for getting the word out and marketing your event  – before, during, after -as well as creating a community for your event attendees.  Sound like just one more task to do?  Maybe, but it is amazing in how it can help reduce your stress of “how can I reach more people?”  It’s also a wonderful way to engage your attendees and create a fun event.

Our Conclusions on Event Stress

As event professionals, we all experience some level of stress as we plan and manage our work life.  We need to deliver great attendee experiences, make our bosses or clients happy but also need to preserve ourselves and stay physically and mentally healthy.  Our stress deeply affects the way we perform.  Our team, our colleagues, our attendees notice it.  Using some, maybe all of these steps discussed can help keep your event stress in check, keep you healthy, and hopefully sane.  Try them and happy event planning!

Online Event Registration Software:  rsvpBOOK Reduces Your Event Stress

Using event technology to make your event planning and management easier and run more smoothly is really a no-brainer.  Finding the right event technology to help you is another story.  At rsvpBOOK we believe we are the right online event registration and management software to reduce your event stress.  We believe we make the complex easier.

We can provide you smart, simple online event registration and event management software to save time, save money and allow you to work more efficiently to get things done right and on time in this era of increasing high expectations and event stress.  And, the versatility of rsvpBOOK event management software meets your needs no matter the event type or size, from professional training meetings and workshops to large conferences.

Our powerful software brings together all the online registration and event management, marketing, email automation, social media tools, onsite check-in, evaluation and attendee feedback reports, database integration, online payment processing tools you need into a single place. We help you streamline your event processes from beginning to end.  And if you need us?  We’re here for you via phone, email, or online chat.

 

rsvpBook has you covered so your event can manage itself and you have less event stress.   Smart. Simple.  Efficiently.

 

Try us at www.rsvpBOOK.com.  We make the complex, easier.

 

 

Attendee Experience – 5 Ways to Make it All About Them

Attendee experience is important to event successSo I have been reading yet another article or two on improving attendee experience at events and meetings and felt I needed to chime in here on the discussion.  Why another blog on this topic? Well partly because I have been both an event professional and an attendee – as I am sure most of you have – and want to provide my own two cents from seeing both sides of the event table.  I also have noticed that the articles I have read are either focused almost exclusively on the logistical angle (ok I am guilty of at least one blog focused on this) or totally focused on how to help attendees party like it’s 1999 (did I just date myself here?)

Surely there is a happy medium of where one can merge the two to discuss the best of both topics – managing traditional logistics and creating experiences that engage attendees and encourage social interactions and relationship building.  Both play an important role in the overall attendee experience.

Attendee Experience – What it is, What it is Not

Going out on a limb here and giving my perspective of what the attendee experience is and is not.  It’s not just having all your logistics lined up so you’re not panicking.  It’s not your attendees fed, moving around effortlessly from session to session listening to speakers and no one complaining (yet) about the WiFi connection.  It’s not just having the right content for the right audience.  It’s not just about having loud audacious receptions and the latest gaming technology available for them to play with during your event or meeting – although in some situations, these are not the worst ideas.   It is, however, expertly packaging all these event essentials and seamlessly incorporating them into your event or meeting.  It is the logistics essentials worked out as well as the intangible element ensuring the attendees’ desire for social interactions and relationship building is also part of your event plan.   In reality, it IS all about them.

So if we are going to discuss the essentials of the attendee experience, we can discuss the key logistics necessities which put smiles on their faces as well as the ways which events and meeting can ensure those other intangible needs are met to ensure people really are the ultimate focus.

Attendee Experience – What Do You Really Want?

What do attendees really want?  This is the $64,000 question and getting inside the heads of attendees to learn the answers can be challenging.  I can’t write about everything but I will discuss a few big “I wants” I’ve heard repeatedly and provide some simple solutions.  I’ll then discuss addressing the intangible needs of attendees and how you can make them part of your great event attendee experience.

Attendee Experience Really Want – Online Event Registration

Attendees have gone digital and you had better be by now.  That’s where they want and expect to register for just about everything.  Ditch the paper registration forms – if you haven’t already – and get online now!  With the plethora of online event registration and management software platforms available, doing paper registration must not be even a consideration.  Collect registration details once and use the information provided to quickly and easily compile future marketing data, print name badges and rosters, personalize all future communications, and check-in attendees on-site or before your event.

Attendee Experience Really Want – Fast Check-in

Checking in should not be the event version of the Beatle’s song, The Long and Winding Road.  No reason for this at all with today’s on-site check-in technology readily available.  Attendees want to be checked in quickly, not with several minutes of organized chaos while you look for their registration information.  On-site line management is both a science and an art for event professionals which can be mastered with the right tools.  With technology like scan guns and barcodes and QR codes , scanning keeps lines moving is fast becoming the norm at events and meetings.  In addition, on-site self-check-in kiosks are another way attendees can move along without your involvement.   Making event check-in as seamless as possible for attendees makes your life easier too.

Attendee Experience Really Want – Communication, Early, Often and Via Mobile

Do we really need to discuss this?  Probably not but I will briefly.  Your attendees are connected to the outside world via smartphones, tablets or other mobile devices so connect with then wherever and whenever.  Send them up-to-the-minute event details, program changes, email notifications and automatic alerts.  Give them easy access to event materials that they can share on their social networks, downloads of handouts and relevant links.

Communicate with them early and often.  You are not the only email or text message they receive.  You are up against stiff competition but you can get through to them.  It just may mean being repetitive perhaps through a series of email notifications or alerts over a period of time rather than just one.  And email is not the only channel to use – you do know about social media.  Communicate with them across all your platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, wherever your target audience is found.

Finally speed is paramount.  In a world where connectedness reduces time delays, attendees expect and demand fast action.  They are happiest when you respond to their questions or messages quickly, usually within the same business day.

Attendee Experience Really Want – You to Be Prepared

To paraphrase the words of a song in Mel Brooks’ movie The Twelve Chairs, hope for the best but expect the worst.  Perhaps a bit dire, but you do need to be prepared for the unexpected and make such happenings as painless as possible for you and your attendees.  The most common “unexpected” is when an attendee can’t make it and wants a refund.  Make sure your policy is clearly stated.  What’s your viable back up plan for inclement weather?  Or if the staff at the hotel you are having your event goes on strike. (this last one did happen to me – oh boy!)

Recently, there is a movement to establish an event code of conduct.  Setting up your expectations upfront and ensuring your event is a safe place for everyone is increasingly becoming part of your event or meeting preparation.   A code of conduct is your public statement that you value your attendees and will protect their rights to attend and learn without harassment.

Attendee Experience Really Want – The Important Intangibles

So well planned logistics put the smiles on attendees’ faces and lowers your stress level.  What about those intangibles which are harder to measure but are critical to the attendee experience?  You cannot shy away from addressing this part of the attendee experience just because it is more elusive to design and plan or difficult to measure success.

As Jeff Hurt with Velvet Chainsaw wrote about improving attendee experience, “Successful conferences will focus less on the logistics and more on creating experiences that foster communication, interactions and relationship building of their attendees.  They will focus less on providing experiences that transfer information and more on experiences that will allow people to discuss content, share stories and build connections.” (Improving Conference Attendee Experiences, Velvet Chainsaw, March 19, 2012).

This statement is as true today as it was four years ago when first written.  Today’s event attendee demands and expects more time to connect and communicate with other attendees at an event or meeting.  Large audacious receptions and gaming opportunities may provide some of this for certain types of events and attendees.  However, it has been my experience both as an event professional and an attendee, people are looking for more intimate one-on-one or small group opportunities to discuss, communicate and build the important relationships.  My perspective has a lot to do with the type of events I did but even so, peace and calm are eventually where people go to get their best interactions done.

What are some ways to design these attendee experiences?  Going back to articles by Jeff Hurt again, he validated some practices I have used (after trial and error and making many mistakes) but also provided some additional great ideas.  Let’s start with the typical event or meeting format.  When possible, move away from the large sessions with talking heads and promote discussion among attendees by designing for small group interactions within the larger session.  Better still create smaller sessions for the more intimate exchange of ideas and greater attendee participation.

Craft sessions which lead with questions that encourage attendees to participate and ask more of the right questions rather than provide “the” solutions to problems.  This format encourages out-of-the-box thinking, new insights and fresh ideas to address old professional or work problems facing attendees.  What value that adds to an attendee experience!

Move away from the “expert” speaker monologue with PowerPoint slides and actively involve attendees.  Facilitate this with a dynamic question and answer format that immediately engages attendees.  Speaker or panel interaction with attendees reduces the droning head and heavy eyelids of attendees.  The sleepy one-sided presentation is replaced hopefully by buzz and energy as people talk more informally and share insights and ideas more freely.

How about those networking and relationship building opportunities?  Creating the small group sessions is a great beginning.   Attendees are interacting already on a more personal level.  Although meeting up at receptions is still common, deeper dives and closing the deals are often best left to private conversations.  Provide attendees with comfortable physical space on-site if possible to conduct these conversations.  You also can help match them up in advance using the registration information – with their permission of course – to help make initial connections.

Finally, be thoughtful and creative with physical setup. Design purposeful seating arrangement so attendees have all the tools and encouragement they need to achieve their personal goals for attending your event or meeting.  Facilitate social interaction and networking opportunities.   Create meeting spaces, networking spaces which simplify interaction attendees’ desire.

Attendee Experience – rsvpBOOK

Although rsvpBOOK cannot provide you the intangible needs for your attendee experience, we can provide you more time in the day for you to focus on creating them.  The tools in the rsvpBOOK online event registration and management software are made to make your life easier.  We’re here to save time and money so you can work more efficiently and be successful, no matter the type or size of your event or meeting.  We want you to work smarter, not harder.  rsvpBOOK lets you use your time to take care of more demanding matters – creating an outstanding attendee experience.

Try rsvpBOOK today!  Smart, simple online event registration software.

 

Feeling Your Pain – Five Pain Points of Event Professionals

Feeling the pain - pain points of eventprofs

Blog Title - Pain BlogIt was the best of times; it was the worst of times.  Or so the phrase goes in Charles Dickens’ book, A Tale of Two Cities.  That’s how I often felt in my days as the event director for a small non-profit when the thrill of a great event would send me soaring but often the pain of getting there would make me so stressed and miserable that I would question “why am I doing this?!”

You get that roller coaster ride too?  What are some of these “pain points” that we share as event professionals and what can we do to make it the best of times… at least more often.

What I experienced, and what other event professionals I know considered their biggest pain points of event professionals include:  shrinking budgets and controlling costs, shorter lead times, not enough event staff, rapidly changing technology demands, continuing with time consuming event planning practices, and demonstrating the return on investment – ROI – to the “powers that be.”  Not saying this is a complete list but this blog can only discuss so many at a time.  So here we go…

The Incredible Shrinking Budget – WHAT Budget?

 Shrinking budgets and controlling costs are almost enemy #1.  OK you can’t hate the reality of working within a budget and controlling costs – it’s important for any company or organization to have a budget framework to work against.  But it appears most event planners agree that shrinking budgets competing against rising expectations of company management, clients and attendees is a painful experience.

The “traditional” cost structure for events and meetings also has permanently disappeared in the last several years shifting the focus toward smaller gatherings of shorter duration, scheduled regionally or locally to reduce travel and expenses for event staff and attendees. Sponsorships usually geared toward large sit-down dinners and elaborate event signage often is used for less extravagant but more necessary and functional event needs.  And this is just spending for the actual event itself.  What if there is the need for additional event staff to plan and execute?   Coffee and donuts at the local coffee shop anyone?

As event professionals we are faced with this reality so must set the tone for management, clients and attendees to reign in some less important expectations while creating memorable meetings and events.  You can cope with these challenges by making small, often easy changes which appear natural and planned for the attendees.

I’m Late! I’m Late! – Shorter Lead Times

Isn’t it great to come into the office each day feeling you’re already behind the 8-ball? It isn’t fun.  Event professionals invariably mention shortened lead times as one of the big pain points of event professionals.  I remember thinking “this should only take a few months to make it happen” I also recall when things got crazy with all the numerous moving parts going sideways on me asking myself why I didn’t start planning sooner.

Not to make excuses, but shortened lead times are a challenge of modern event planning.  Given that many organizations and companies don’t know their meeting and event budgets until the most recent fiscal results are available, the planning cycle has shrunk (along with those fun event budgets).  One or two years has been reduced to a few months or weeks for event professionals to plan everything.  No fun, lots of pressure, lots of pain.

However, as an event professional, you still have to work within the given time frame.  So let’s shake hands with some of your challenges – like venue availability, caterers, sponsors, event personnel resources, attendee lists, marketing for attendance, competing events.  The list goes on but you get the picture; you may have lived it.

Good Today, Better Tomorrow – Keeping Up with New Technology Demands

This is not a “keeping up with the Joneses” frivolous concern.  Incorporating the latest and most event audience engaging technology has grown from being a novelty to critical necessity.  The use of mobile devices has conditioned attendees to expect information, interactivity, and connectivity to be constantly available.  A well thought-out event website now has the essentials including apps, mobile sites, and the use of the familiar social media channel buttons to enhance event and meeting attendance and attendee experience.

And now the most current disruptive technology change happening on social media with important ramifications for the event industry – live streaming.  If I may quote Julius Solaris, Editor of the Event Management Blog:  “The live stream revolution is happening.  In the space of a few months, what used to be written is now live video.  The social networks’ mantra ‘tell us what’s up’ has been replaced by ‘Show us what’s up.’ (Italics added)

And have you noticed the Pokemon Go craze?  If you thought this was just a game for people with too much time on their hands, think again.  This is the use of augmented reality to play a game but with wider implication for us as event professionals who want to provide attendees with the best attendee experience.  Both live streaming and augmented reality are slow coming to events, but to ignore their importance – at some level in your event – is to lose out on a great engagement opportunity and a better attendee experience.

So maybe you don’t need the fanciest dinners or can eliminate that extra reception.  Sometimes skimping on the necessary technology may be more detrimental to the attendee experience than that extra ounce of food and drink.

But We’ve Always Done it This Way – Using Outdated Planning Practices

Well this is one of the most painful of all pain points of event professionals.  The use of multiple spreadsheets to track attendance and event financials; manual payment methods; malfunctioning databases and CRM systems; manual email invitation distribution; manual check-in (and the long lines);  paper evaluation surveys.   You name it, I experienced it all.  Do. Not. Laugh.

So what are some of your old event planning practices you hang on to?  Do you really want to keep them or do you want to move forward?  OK, I get it – as event professionals we are always short on time and money and sometimes we rely on tried and true practices as it seems like the quickest or easiest thing to do. Or maybe “we’ve always done it that way” feels comfortable and taking the leap to do things differently fills you with dread.

But it’s really time to stop and reconsider.  It’s time to come into the twenty-first century and lose some of those very labor intensive, extra work generating event planning practices.  Break those old event habits, or at least the worse ones, and push your boundaries.  When you do, you will realize that if you update your tools and choose the best modern practices to support your organization, it can lead to much better event and meeting success outcomes – with more hours in the day for you to focus on creating a better attendee experience.   To work smarter and not harder and provide your attendees the best event experience, it’s time to change.

You’re Only as Good as Your Last Event – The Pursuit of Good ROI

When your event or meeting goes well, everyone will let you know and shower you with kudos. If it doesn’t go quite so well… watch out!  You’ll DEFINITELY hear about it.  Every planning and execution step taken is scrutinized and questioned so being ready for a successful event or meeting is essential.  Sure, every event professional experiences hiccups along the way but positive ROI breathes long life into any event or meeting.  But what are you measuring to determine ROI?

Proving return on investment (ROI) is the biggest struggle for event and meeting professionals.  Sure you can measure the tangibles such as attendance goals met, expenses, evaluation feedback but what about the intangibles?  Placing values and determining ROI on the intangibles hinge on measuring a variety of hard to measure facets and quantifying them to determine the overall effectiveness of a meeting or event.  Such as how much time attendees spent in sessions, with key board members or partners or clients; how many attendees interacted with exhibitors and became customers; what about tracking social activity and attendee engagement after the event – just to name a few.

How attendees spent their time equates with interest, engagements and relationship building.  Knowing this helps you create better events and to guide future action around what has proved interesting and useful to your attendees.  In addition to time, knowing how many people actually interacted with exhibitors and engaged with sessions influence event attendees to return again and helps you justify the investment in your event or meeting.  All these intangibles are important to ROI and a struggle sometimes to measure.  Therein lays some pain for us all as event professionals.

Who Ya Gonna Call?  No, Not Ghostbusters

So you’re feeling the pain and at rsvpBOOK, we’re feeling your pain too.  Smaller budgets, shortened lead times, keeping up with new technology demands, stuck with labor- intensive event practices, quantifying good ROI and more.  So who ya gonna call?  No, not Ghostbusters.

rsvpBOOK can’t be your savior on everything.  We can, however, provide you a smart, simple online event registration and event management software to save time, save money and allow you to work more efficiently to get things done right and on time in this era of increasing constraints but high expectations.  And, the versatility of rsvpBOOK event management software meets your needs no matter the event type or size, from professional training meetings and workshops to large conferences.

Our powerful software brings together all the online registration and event management, marketing, onsite check-in, evaluation and attendee feedback reports, online payment processing tools you need into a single place. We help you streamline your event processes from beginning to end.  No need to duplicate information, manually process, and drag huge binders of forms with you everywhere.  rsvpBook has you covered so your event can manage itself.   Smart. Simple.  Efficiently.

So ditch the spreadsheets and reduce the paperwork!  Alleviate some of the pain points of event professionals.  Save your time and money, so you can use it to take care of more demanding matters and focus on what’s important – creating the best event and valuable attendee experience imaginable.

Come try us at www.rsvpBOOK.com  Work smarter, not harder.

 

How Event Management Software Helps You Sell Your Event Tickets

How Event Management Software Helps You Sell Your Event Tickets

Tickets

Event management software enables you to manage multiple events quickly and efficiently. The software is easy to use and gives an overview of all activities related to your events. You can use it to input event details, communicate with participants, create reports and much more. One of the benefits of event management software is the ability to sell tickets from your event registration page.

How Can Event Management Software Help To Sell Your Event Tickets?

The software can be used to quickly setup an event registration page in which people can register and purchase tickets. The entire process of registering and purchasing ticket(s) can be completed in minutes. Using pen and paper event management requires you to employ a staff to manually process registrations and ticket payments. There can be errors when processing the information manually and the potential to lose information which results in problems with attendees and ticket sales. These problems are mitigated with a good Event Registration Software & Management tool because it automates the registration and ticketing process thus saving time and money. The payments are processed using credit cards which allows registrants to purchase tickets at their convenience. You can also go paperless by giving registrants a ticket number or including a Bar-code/QR in the confirmation email that can be scanned from their smart phone. All these features make the ticket processing easy which motivates people to buy tickets through the event registration page. The software not only offers an easy event registration page and secure payment processing but includes options for automatic discounts, group discounts, discount codes, and asking lodging and travel information.

Event Registration Software & Management can be used to easily market any event that you are managing. It can be integrated with social media sites so that your event page can be accessed by registrants through Facebook, Twitter, etc. This opens up opportunities for more ticket sales as more people know of the event registration page from these sites. You can use email marketing with the software. Email marketing is a very effective means of spreading information about an event and you can send out emails fast using the software’s email features. By making use of event registration software you can impress people with a smooth event registration page and increase ticket sales.

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