There are a myriad of reasons to use software—purpose-built software, i.e. not Excel spreadsheets or other makeshift business tools like Google Drive—to manage events. With so many options, though, it can be hard to decide which applications to use for what purpose. Here’s a rundown of event software categories, the problems they solve, and the real prize for an event planner:
Event registration software automates and simplifies a process that used to require mail-in forms, giant badge printers, hours of alphabetizing printed badges, and manual accounting and credit card processing. Now, attendees can register, select sessions or activities, and pay online before (or during) an event. Event managers can print badges on demand and pull sales and accounting reports whenever they want.
Event check-in applications take the place of printed lists, which are cumbersome because they prevent multiple event coordinators at multiple entrances from checking in guests. With check-in apps that can be loaded onto handheld devices like tablets, the lists are synchronized. Coordinators can remove checked-in attendees from the list, identify VIPs, and check payments no matter where guests enter.
Mobile event apps are, at the very core, digital versions of the printed conference or trade show directory. But, because they’re digital, they offer attendees a level of navigability, usability, and access to information, and they provide organizers with business intelligence that paper simply can’t deliver. It’s both good news and bad news that apps in this category are so varied – native, browser-based, single event, multi-event, DIY, or custom.
Lead retrieval software is the replacement for business cards in a fishbowl. It provides exhibitors and lead seekers of all kinds (leads don’t always materialize on a trade show floor) with a streamlined way to collect a prospect’s information, qualify them as a potential customer, and transfer the data into a customer relationship management (CRM) platform so they can be processed and followed up on.
e-Literature is the new paper(less) handout. While event industry pundits point out that paper brochures handed out at trade shows and conferences usually go straight to the trash bin, it took some time for exhibitors and technology companies to perfect the process of distributing the same information digitally. E-literature apps make it much easier (and less expensive) for companies to deliver an array of marketing materials to attendees without having to print and ship it to the show.
Event beacon technology automates multiple event tasks that previously required humans. It enables everything from event check-in, session attendance monitoring, continuing education credit verification, and content delivery to crowd control, show floor navigation, brand activations, and proximity-based data collection. When managed strategically, beacons can be used to lower costs, streamline operations, and enhance attendee experiences.
The biggest opportunity made available through event management software is the plentiful, rich, and valuable data that comes from each application. But, putting it all in context, gathering insights from the relationships between data points, and maintaining continuity and compatibility across multiple platforms, vendors, and devices can be a challenge, especially when using multiple vendors.
Luckily, SmartSource Rentals offers each of these software applications as well as the hardware to run them on. This one-stop-shop solution can help to ensure continuity in data collection, as well as to greatly simplify the planning and budgeting process for your next event.