We've been busy making magic!
They say that a software system is never finished.
And we agree.
Every month, we add something, improve something, or develop a whole new system.
We've been working on:
Have a look at what we've been up to lately.
Blind Review is standard practice for abstracts submitted for consideration to academic conferences.
This means no human being interferes with the process of allocating abstracts to reviewers, and no reviewer sees the identify of the author when he scores the paper.
It's completely impartial.
But in reality... it doesn't always work like that.
- Abstract topics can be so specialised that someone needs to oversee who is selected as a reviewer.
- And sometimes there's a Bossy Professor who is a bit of a control freak and wants to oversee everything.
- Or the conference has previously used a system that wasn't "blind", and is not used to the protocol.
We call it "Seeing Review" (our little joke).
It allows a Review Administrator to allocate abstracts to a specific reviewer - the one they feel is best suited. But still without seeing the author's identity.
Here's a little diagram showing Blind vs Seeing mode...
We're feeling rather pleased with ourselves this morning.
This weekend, one of our clients was busy at a 2-day Expo she'd arranged. It was a great success.
But here's the interesting part...
While she was there, and away from her desk/emails, she opened stand-bookings for her flagship event, later this year.
Thanks to our systems, over the weekend, 28 exhibition stands were booked.
Of these, 27 have already submitted all the other information needed (such as their logo, how many electric outlets they need, their billing address) and have booked their offloading time-slot, and their media advert, if they wanted one.
All this while the event organiser was offline.
Think about that.
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.