Event Management Software Buyers Guide

Kelly Harvey
Kelly Harvey
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    The world of event management has transformed rapidly since 2020 – and so have the platforms, systems, and software that support it. Just four years ago, the main focus was still on systems that supported in-person event experiences, and we were only just starting to explore virtual management and engagement technology. However, with hybrid events becoming the new normal, we thought it was time to provide an updated buyers guide for anyone looking to invest in new event management software.

    Whether you are responsible for the management of two events per year or two hundred, the right event management package will help lay the foundation for a successful event. While comparing the features of the various options is important, at the end of the day your events management software is going to be about more than the technology. We suggest using the questions below as a discussion guide to have with each prospective event tech partner before making a decision.

    We’ve divided the questions into three categories that roughly cover the event lifecycle (logistics and delivery, engagement, and data activation), plus a final set of questions to make sure you’re dealing with a reputable and trusted vendor.

    1. Ask these questions about event logistics and delivery

    While event delivery and logistics isn’t the only consideration for today’s event management professionals, it’s still an important component! The right event management software platform must help you deliver exceptional events with a superior experience for everyone involved – attendees, sponsors as well as the event management team. 

    Make sure you discuss the following with any prospective software vendors.

    • Does the solution provide a robust suite of features in a single integrated platform no matter what format I choose for my event – virtual, in-person, or hybrid?
    • How will the solution help me produce high-quality audio and video content for virtual audiences without exceeding my budget? 
    • I want to DIY as much as possible to manage costs, but without spending all my time on tasks such as building websites, registration forms, creating run sheets, managing accommodation and travel, and general project management. How can you help me streamline or automate those tasks? 
    • When I can’t DIY, can you provide any services to support the execution of my event if I need an extra set of hands (or three)?
    • Does the solution offer a range of accessibility features, including sign language and audio interpretation, captioning, and language interpretation?
    • Do you have guarantees around uptime (platform availability) and service level agreements for technical support, for a seamless attendee experience?
    • Is the platform agile and scalable, meaning that it can grow alongside my events program?

    2. Ask these questions about event engagement functionality

    Remember the good old days of “build it and they will come”? Unfortunately, it’s not so simple in 2023 – you can create the parameters for the best event in the world, but if you’re not laser-focused on engaging with your audience, you’re unlikely to be successful.

    The right events management software will help you engage successfully before, during, and after the event – and beyond. Ask these questions to find out more. 

    • Prior to the event, will the software help me promote my event across multiple channels – e.g. website, social media, and targeted email campaigns?
    • Can you help me develop a branded event app to give attendees instant access to all the info they need before, during, and after the event?
    • Are there features to support participation and engagement between delegates, presenters, exhibitors, sponsors, and attendees? This could include Q&A, live polling or session surveys, direct messages, and the ability to set up meetings and video calls with the click of a button. 
    • How will you support post-event engagement – for example, feedback surveys and polls? 
    • Can you help me make the content available as an “on-demand” option after the event, and engage with anyone who accesses the content at a later date?

    3. Ask these questions about event data 

    When you use the right event technology, you’re going to start capturing data – and a lot of it. Data can be spun into an information goldmine to help you better understand your audience, track event performance, and optimize the planning, delivery, and marketing process. Here are the questions you need to ask before choosing a software provider.

    • Can the software run detailed reports and exports of crucial event data in real-time – e.g. attendees, accounting and financials, sessions and functions, accommodation and travel, exhibitors and sponsors, and more? 
    • Are there built-in analytics to help me understand my audience better – e.g. who is watching what via on-demand content, and for how long? 
    • With security being a top concern for many people, will any data I capture be 100% compliant with the major international security and privacy regimes?

    Case study: ICCA embraces a harmonious, connected solution to deliver Congress

    4. Ask these questions about the company behind the software

    Last, but not least, it’s really critical to explore the company behind the software. 

    When events shifted online during the early days of the pandemic, an alarming number of new event tech options emerged to take advantage of the situation, almost overnight. While this is not in itself a bad thing, many of these solutions were untested and developed by companies with minimal prior experience in managing events. 

    If you’re a professional event organizer, you’re going to need serious support. We recommend finding out the following:

    • How long have you been developing event management solutions?
    • Do you have any recent awards or customer testimonials I can reference to prove your track record? 
    • Are you a member or partner of the peak global industry bodies for event professionals, e.g. MPI, PCMA, ICCA, MEA, PCOA, CINZ, ABPCO, MIA, and CAUTHE?

    Looking for new event management software?

    At EventsAir, we understand the importance of selecting the right event technology partner – someone who can help you reap the full benefits of your event management software. We understand that your events need to transcend format – whether hybridvirtual, or live – and be exceptional, no matter how they are delivered.

    We have one simple mission: to help event planners deliver the WOW in their events with the world’s most powerful event management technology. We’ve delivered some of the world’s biggest events, and we’d love to help you too. 

    Reach out to request a demo and one of our team members will be in touch shortly.

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