To say that technology makes our lives easier is an understatement. Think of your typical morning routine: After you blearily shut off your alarm clock, you probably scan emails on your phone or computer while you let the coffee brew. That’s modern technology at its finest--all before 9.a.m.
For event planners, taking advantage of technology’s benefits shouldn’t stop when you get to the office. Like many jobs, the glamorous parts of event planning are tempered by the mundane--using Excel spreadsheets to track event attendees, creating hand-mailed invitations and name tags, and manually tracking event budgets – which is incredibly time-consuming and not particularly thought-provoking.
By leveraging software that integrates every aspect of an event from planning to producing to analyzing successes, planners can spend more time on the job aspects that take talent and strategy, such as mingling with attendee VIPs. With technology, planners reduce manual work and improve efficiencies to ensure attendees return for future events.
Here are the top 10 reasons event planners need to invest in technology to support their day-to-day operations.
1. It saves time. Spare yourself hours of data entry. Event management software automatically records and tabulates data, giving you the time to focus on things worthy of your attention and skill.
2. It cuts out human error. After staring at an Excel spreadsheet for an entire afternoon, even the most meticulous event planner is bound to make mistakes. Software won’t. Automating detail-oriented tasks means you don’t have to worry about typos, math mistakes or anything of the sort.
3. It enables success after the event. With software tracking your attendees and their RSVPs, you’ll never accidentally ask someone for feedback only to find they didn’t actually come to the event.
4. It lets you focus on the event while it’s happening. If you’ve ever found yourself tethered to the check-in table all night, software is for you. When processes like registration and nametag printing are automated, event planners can escape check-in duty and oversee the whole function.
5. It lets you cater to your strengths. If you, like many event planners, aren’t an expert number-cruncher, software can help. If you’re using an event management program with data-reporting capabilities, you’ll get the information you need, neatly displayed and with absolutely no need for you to do a single calculation.
6. It keeps track of your guests. A customer relationship management (CRM) platform can be useful not only for recording RSVPs and confirmed attendees, but for keeping notes about those guests. Need to know, for example, what a speaker’s keynote will be about? That kind of data can be recorded in a CRM system for easy reference and recollection.
7. It quantifies your success. If you need to convince your bosses or your company to continue using part of the budget for events, data is your best plan of attack. Many management software programs automatically track success metrics like attendance numbers and revenue, which will come across as far more impressive and legitimate than a post-event description filled only with qualitative notes.
8. It presents data that benefits the company as a whole. In addition to information about the event itself, event software can present data about things like upselling opportunities and leads generated as a result of your event. That information can then be incorporated into business operations planning moving forward.
9. It provides insight for next time. If your software’s data collection showed, for example, that a high number of people who accepted their invitations didn’t actually show up, you’ll know that’s an area to focus on for upcoming events. Those insights, in turn, boost the success and profitability of future projects.
10. It makes your job more fun. Because planning the entertainment is far more enjoyable than printing out 500 nametags.
Event planners have a lot on their plates and, let’s face it, not all of it is fun. With the right technology, you can do away with some of the busy work and find the time to focus on what matters. Not only will that boost efficiency and make life easier, it will produce better, more profitable events. So go ahead – embrace technology once and for all!
Greg Skloot is the founder of Attend.com, a Boston-based event management software company that helps event planners plan, produce and improve events and conferences.