Technology decisions can be vexing for event planners. While there are several event management platforms on the market that cover most of the basic functions, some integration with other tools is inevitable.
So, planners need to evaluate technology based on the quality of those integrations as well as their simplicity and support. Recent research from Event Manager Blog confirms that support, integration, and comprehensive functionality are indeed important differentiators—though to less than half of event planners.
When asked what makes them choose one event technology provider over another, the largest share—65.3% of planners—cited cost. That is not wise. Here's why.
The Danger of Price-Shopping Event Tech
Imagine this: it's day two of your company's huge annual multi-day customer conference. So far, things are gong smoothly. The food is good, the WiFi is (mostly) working, and your attendees seem to be engaged.
Then, suddenly, something goes wrong with your technology. The session schedule goes haywire. Attendees don't know which meeting rooms to go to. Speakers don't know where they're supposed to be, or when to be there. Guests are frustrated. Your presenters are furious. Your partners are exasperated.
You frantically try contacting your technology vendors (none of whom have provided experienced staff on site). The event management software provider blames the app developer, and vice versa. No one takes responsibility. By the time the scheduling glitches get resolved, it's late in the day and everyone has gone to the bar for a not-so-happy Happy Hour.
At this point, do you really think your boss is going to care what kind of a great price "deal" you got on the event technology?
Four Factors That Really Do Matter
Other recent research has shown that the top measure of event success (cited by 91% of respondents) is "attendee satisfaction." That means, at a minimum, that everything has to work: sessions and activities have to start on time, in the right places, with the right content and resources.
To support that, the event technology chosen has to work; it must be capable, accurate, and reliable. Four key considerations to ensure your event technology can dependably deliver attendee satisfaction are:
Power (Functionality): Your event management platform should provide all the essential functionality for registration, check-in, badging, speaker management, and session scheduling. It should easily integrate to third-party systems for functions like facial recognition, CRM, and hotel room block management.
There are several options for managing events with a few dozen to a few hundred attendees, but only a few enterprise-class platforms designed to manage complex events with thousands of guests or coordinate busy event calendars.
Simplicity: Event technology should be designed not only to enable planners to do more, but also to make their lives easier. It should empower planners to focus on delivering the best event experience possible for their guests—not on learning and navigating cumbersome screens and forms.
Flexibixity: Your event software should be configurable to do what you want it to do, in the way you want it to work. In other words, the software should adapt to you, not the other way around.
Support: Every planner knows there are a million things that could go wrong with your event. Event technology glitches should not be among those. Your event management platform should be reliable, and your vendor should have experienced staff on site to assure that it remains that way throughout your event.
The Bottom Line
Author and event expert Christy Lamagna makes the case that corporate events should be planned and managed strategically in order to produce ROI and build the brand. So, the most important criteria for selecting event technology should be how well it supports your events strategy.
The best approach for selecting event technology is to choose a powerful, simple, flexible event management platform that supports your strategic objectives. That will enable you to focus on optimizing your attendee experience, without worrying about cumbersome or unreliable technology.
And it will impress your boss far more than simply saying, "I bought the cheap one."