Your event is one month away, and registrations are pouring in. You need to order supplies, assign roommates, and process a large batch of credit card payments. Could an event planning software system help you work more efficiently? Here are a few things such software can do:
- Accept registration online
- Process payments
- Manage room and roommate assignments
- Track supplies and ordering
- Manage event budget
- Create surveys and reports
- Create personalized emails to event attendees
- Interface with social media
There are many companies who offer event planning software including:
- cvent www.cvent.com
- RegOnline www.regonline.com
- EventProPlanner www.eventproplanner.com
- Thriva www.thriva.com
This list is a place to start. Before you look at any websites, or speak with their customer service representatives, make a list of your needs and challenges. Think through what you do, and what you would like to start doing. Then you can see if a specific event planning software is a good fit for your needs. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by everything a software package can offer, only to discover that while it can do lots of things, it doesn’t actually help you do what you need to.
If you find yourself interested in a software package, move forward slowly. Attend an information session, talk to current customers and try a free trial. Several of the companies listed above offer informational sessions in cities all over the US on a rotating basis, or will send a representative to talk with you. If you are still interested after receiving more information, ask for a list of people who are current customers. When you call them up, ask them what they like, what they don’t like, if there was a large learning curve, and what challenges they met when switching over to the software. Having a few ten minute conversations with current users is instructional and enlightening. If you decide to move forward, insist on a trial period. It’s imperative that you try the software out before committing to pay a year-long membership fee. Don’t expect everything to go smoothly the first week, but commit to giving the software a real test of use and implementation.
Systems that centralize planning and reporting can be incredibly helpful, so do some research if you think you might benefit. But be sure the software you choose meets your needs. Do you use an event planning software? Why did you chose it and how is it helping you?