Event management and planning is a complex and multifaceted process that requires unique technology for organization and efficiency. In addition to managing basics like scheduling and guest lists, software can be used for marketing and promotional efforts, recruitment, media for events, registration, follow-ups, and maintaining contacts, including vendors and event management staff, among other tasks.
In other words, the right event management software is almost as invaluable as working with a reputable meeting services organization like American Meetings, Inc. That said, many business owners, event organizers, and other business professionals involved in planning events are not software experts. Even with some idea of the tasks involved, you might not have the first idea of what to look for in software suitable for planning, managing, and executing successful events. Here are just a few things you’ll want to look for when it comes to suitable event management software.
The bottom line is often the first concern, and while you certainly want the best software solutions for your particular needs, you still need to work within your given budget when making a purchase, or at least be able to justify the additional expense. Keep in mind that there could be further or ongoing costs associated with the software you choose, in addition to the up-front price tag.
Make sure you understand any costs for professional training for employees, potential costs for integration with existing software or systems, fees for usage or adding users, and costs for necessary upgrades, just for example. You should also consider whether or not paying more for certain software or features now could save you money down the line by increasing efficiency, improving recruitment opportunities, decreasing dependence on outside vendors like marketing and promotional agencies, and so on. Knowing overall costs is an important part of selecting the right event company software to manage your meetings and events.
What exactly do you need your event management software to do for you? There are a lot of programs on the market offering a wide variety of features where event management is concerned. You only want to pay for the functionality you need, so it pays to consider use value.
For example, you may need a program that provides you with options for scheduling, guest lists, invitations, registration, follow-up, and so on, but you may already have software designed for marketing your event and managing logistics like venues and vendors. You may rely on an experienced event company like AMI to manage certain aspects of your meetings or events, in which case you might not need to shell out the dough for related software. Your specific needs will determine the functionality of the software you ultimately choose.
If you’ve been in business for long, you know that integration is a key consideration with any new software implementation. If your team is already comfortable working with certain software solutions related to event management, you’ll want to make sure you choose new software that is compatible so you can seamlessly integrate new and old programs and hit the ground running.
In some cases, you’ll find that software providers you already use have options for event management software that will meet your needs, practically guaranteeing easy integration. You might also consider upgrading to software that replaces disparate programs with a complete system for event management.
“Support is a critical element of event management software that is often overlooked,” says Chelsea Litos, VP Account Management for AMI. “If you want to get the most out of your product, ongoing support can make a big difference, and you need to know what your software provider offers.” Many companies will provide training resources, often through online videos, but in-person training sessions with an expert member of the team might cost you.
It’s important to ask about ongoing support for training, troubleshooting, and emergency situations, at the very least. You might also want to find out a software provider’s policies on updates, bug fixes, and support for the current iteration of their software, as well as information on anticipated upgrades.
Consulting with your event company before choosing new software is a smart move, especially if they manage some or all of the technical details of your events, from guest lists and online registration to logistics and follow-up surveys, just for example. Your partner in event management may be uniquely qualified to help you find appropriate software for your needs.
When you work with a company like AMI, you not only gain access to technology, logistics, and strategic planning and event management services, but you also get a partner that can help you to choose the best software solutions for your meeting and event planning needs.