Event planners have always been quick to adopt new technologies, and the past few years have been no exception. We’ve seen an unprecedented amount of innovation in the industry, but increasing complexity and the overwhelming number of vendors offering solutions has understandably led to decision anxiety for many event planners.
When looking for #EventTech solutions its often hard to know where to start and more importantly who to trust. As a technology company serving the industry we always have our ear to the ground looking for the latest and greatest #EventTech, so we thought it would be fun to put together an essential toolkit to help planners know what their options are.
We’ve covered everything, from event promotion and ticketing, to mobile apps and attendee engagement. For each category, we listed a top choice as well as a few runners-up:
Top pick: Conferize.com
Conferize allows people to explore and track events, see who’s attending, read the latest tweets, and even check out video highlights. What makes Confereize unique is their focus on speakers;
attendees can follow their activity at events past and present, and decide which conferences to attend based on where their favorite speakers will be next. Conferize is a great way to build buzz for your event, particularly if you get your speakers involved by updating their profiles on the site and urging them to help promote your event.
Selecting a ticketing and registration solution is something every event planner struggles with. Fortunately we’ve seen several startups launch in recent years that have simplified the process of selling tickets online and brought the cost way down. The clear standout in the space has been EventBrite, not only do they offer an affordable ticketing solution, but they can actually help drive new attendees to your event. EventBrite reaches a massive audience and offers event discovery tools and email recommendations that can help get the word out about your event. If cost is key then consider checking out EventSpot, Constant Contact’s ticketing and event solution, they offer fixed monthly pricing with no registration fees. EventSpot has cool features like iPhone Passbook integration, and if you’re already using Constant Contact’s email marketing platform then its a
natural fit for you.
Top pick: Boomset
Tired of lines? Try Boomset, a set of mobile and tablet apps that allow you check-in your guests in seconds. Great features include the ability to work offline, real-time device sync and the ability to print badges on site for an average of just $0.08/badge which can add up to big savings. Boomset doesn’t offer ticketing functionality, but integrates with EventBrite, Meetup.org, Facebook or you can upload your guest list via an Excel file.
Top picks: Attendify
Event Apps have taken off in recent years, and like ticketing solutions, there’s no shortage of options. There It is hard for us to not to be biased, but we really believe Attendify can contribute significantly to creating a more engaging and valuable event experience. With Attendify’s simple app builder you can create one of two custom event apps; the Guide App replaces your printed program, and the Social App which allows you to engage attendees with photo sharing, messaging, personal profiles and more. If you’re looking for a customized, native event app we feel Attendify offers the best value, but if you’re looking for a free app or a mobile scheduling solution please check out our friends at Sched and Bizzabo.
Networking and Engagement
Top pick: Shpare.com
Built specifically for events, Shpare helps planners facilitate connections and schedule meetings. Shpare will email invites to your attendees to get them started networking, they’ll also automate
scheduling to help attendees use their time at the event as productively as possible. Shpare is a powerful tool for exhibitors and sponsors, helping them capture and process leads.
Top pick: SurveyMonkey
In addition to the requisite updates and community building you do through social media, take time to survey your attendees, but do so in a user friendly way. Let’s face it, attendees don’t like filling out forms, nobody does, so anything you can do to reduce the effort level required will greatly improve results. SurveyMonkey is a great tool that makes gathering attendee feedback a breeze with simple form building, management, and analytics built right in. SurveyMonkey also offers a free plan that makes it easy to get started and try out a survey or two on the house.
What event tools would be impossible for you to live without?
Michael Balyasny is the co-founder and CEO of Attendify, a mobile app platform that helps conference and event planners create branded event apps that eliminate the need for a printed guide, help attendees network, and streamline the event experience.He is also a guest blogger for Citizentekk,Tech,startups and News.
Photo Credit: FG@flickr.com