Is your tech mostly front-of-house?
It's cool to have a "twitterwall", a mobile app... maybe live-streaming... or even a VR stand to entertain the delegates.
But are you using event technology behind the scenes?
You'd be startled to know how many flashy-looking events are organised using email and offline spreadsheets!
Delegates having to phone, email or fax (yes, still!) their registrations. Exhibitors trying to book from static floorplans that don't show real-time bookings.
Online event organising tools have been around for a long time now, and while many organisers have jumped on them with joy, many more are still ignoring them, or using only front-of-house tech to give the illusion of being up-to-date.
Front of house
Here's why you should be using back-office technologies:
Accuracy and security
Let's start with the obvious and most important. Processing registrations, abstracts and bookings manually means room for error. Documents get lost, mails are eaten by spam-filters, double-bookings happen, it's a huge job keeping track of everything... and the phone rings constantly, further interrupting your focus.
In a good online environment, your delegates and exhibitors can get the info they need without calling you. They complete the entire registration process themselves, and errors and omissions are caught by the system. Databases are automatically backed up. So if you lose your computer to theft, or a fire, no problem. You've lost no data at all, and will be up and running as soon as you have another computer in place.
As an add-on this this, because internet systems are usually run from a browser, you don't need to be in your office to manage your event. Your system doesn't live in a spreadsheet in an office. It lives "in the cloud", and can be accessed from pretty much any device connected to the internet. Even from a beach in Bali.
Use the info you've gathered via online registration to personalise the experience for your delegates. The beauty of databases is that they can be indexed and sorted in every way you can imagine. Here are some ideas on how to leverage that.
A good registration system will also save you oodles of time in consolidating data, sending out bulk mails, and creating personalised documents (such as a the "visa letter" that international delegates often need, at the click of a button). Use your imagination here - what sucks way too much of your time? Could it be better done by technology?
(Still trying to co-ordinate academic abstract reviews via email? Then you know how much time that takes!)
Stats and feedback
Again, database systems can quickly show information in a variety of ways. How many registrations? How many of those were no-shows? How many stands were booked, total cost, number of stand reps, visitors, etc? Your post-event survey (you always do one, right?) can be analysed in all sorts of different ways... something that is next to impossible with paper-based forms. This sort of information is very useful when feeding back to your client, who wants facts and figures about their event, and will more likely call on you again if you impressed in this area.
Bottom line: use tech for organising, long before you use it on the day!
Boxing Day 2016 - Knysna beach bar
We're on vacation. Our event-organiser customers are on vacation.
But while we sip our beach cocktails, a notification pops up... Company A has just booked a stand at the XYZ Tradeshow.
And someone else has registered for the upcoming ABC Conference, specifying that they need a vegetarian meal, and would like to attend the pre-conference workshop.
Both have been invoiced, and sent emails of acknowledgment.
We take another sip.
Our online systems have handled all this on behalf of our lucky clients.
That's the beauty of online event systems. They handle a great deal of the work that the organiser would otherwise have to do manually, tied to a desk and a phone.
We were wondering... what type of blog posts do you like best?
So we had a look at the hits, and here they are - our Top 3 posts of all time.
Pass the tomatoes.
Don't be a Bob.
Written in 2012. We've helped many customers make progress since then!
It's always a pain in the whatsit, getting conference presenters to send you their profile images.
So we have built it into our abstract management system.
Less stress for everyone!
Perhaps you’ve heard of “crowd-sourcing”...
Our customers take part in it, although they may not realise it!
Our software is used by a crowd.
Ok, not a huge crowd, but a diverse one - ranging from conference organisers to tradeshow managers, and from market coordinators to photography clubs and wedding organisers.
And quite often, someone will say “Hey, it would be great if your system could also do....”. And we upgrade the software to include that function. And everyone benefits.
You need to seat 500 people at a gala dinner.
But Bob wants to sit with his friends, Mary wants 2 tables next to each other, and James wants to sit with that cute associate professor he met at the last congress.
If you seat them yourself, you'll get lots of requests for changes. If you don’t, there’s a bun-fight at the door on the night, and lots of unhappy diners.
So... let them seat themselves!
Our new product (we call it exbo/tables) allows you to send us a list of people who’ve booked/paid... and the floorplan of the dining area. And we’ll send you back a link that allows the delegates to pick their own table.
Before the event. No hassle. Here's a demo.
Some of our customers, particularly the exhibition organisers, quote their prices including VAT. Some don’t.
So we’ve added a way that the registration form can add VAT to the total. Click here for an example.
Our system has always used a 1-to-10 rating scale for the Reviewer to score an abstract.
And while that works just fine, many conferences have a set of questions for the Reviewer to consider before deciding on the score.
For example “was the abstract submitted to the appropriate theme?” and “is the spelling and grammar acceptable?”
So, we’ve built in a way to include those questions.
You can have exbo/abstracts set up either way... 1-10 or your set of questions which includes a score.
DID YOU KNOW WE BLOG?
We announce new features here.
And we write about new happenings in the industry, particularly regarding event-tech. Check it out!
That’s it for now - have a happy week!
The EXBO team.