You don’t have to be in the event planning business long before you’re well-versed in the art of juggling various stakeholder demands, adapting to last-minute budget changes and completely revising a schedule with minutes to spare. It’s a profession infamous for tight deadlines, high detail and scant breaks, so it’s really not a big surprise that a recent study ranked being an event coordinator the fifth most stressful job behind the likes of firefighter and — yes — enlisted soldier.
The good news? Over the last decade, there’s been no shortage of technological advancements in the events industry. Savvy event pros are turning to tech as a way to alleviate stress, do more with scant resources and automate rote tasks. The trick is to separate the wheat from the chaff, and figure out which solutions will increase your productivity and performance (instead of adding to your already long list of headaches).
Adopt smart productivity
It’s time to trade in your old-fashioned paper planners and Excel spreadsheets for modern productivity solutions designed to help even technically challenged event planners gain a digital edge on event stress. Here are a few of our favorite tools:
- Digital event planners: Today’s event profs are borrowing technologies from their project management peers. Digital tools like Monday and Asana can be leveraged to set up customizable templates pre-loaded with the tasks required to launch different types of events.
- Event run sheets: Keeping everything and everyone on track during the actual event can dial up planner stress, especially if workloads are being managed manually. Staffing technologies like Shiftboard help take the edge off by turning schedules into mobile-friendly task lists and setting up timely push alerts that help keep vendors, staff and volunteers on point.
Encourage mobile devices
Mobile apps have become an integral part of our daily lives, and the event industry is no exception. Designed to increase event organizer productivity and attendee engagement, event apps provide limitless opportunities for planners to interact with attendees from the comfort of their phones. The best offer:
- Attendee self-service: Event pros can help attendees navigate the event venue, determine which sessions to attend, learn more about speakers and even connect with other attendees directly. With an event app, that capability sits in the palm of their hand.
- Consistent communication: Seasoned planners know that an event’s footprint is so much bigger than just the active days. Mobile event apps not only help attendees communicate during the event, but also foster connections before and after your function. What’s more, they act as centralized points of reliable info: A push notification can quickly provide direction during a venue change, speaker swap or logistics update.
Automate event registration
Online event registration tools allow event pros to quickly capture attendee preferences for ticket types, sessions, travel logistics or dietary preferences and put them to work immediately. You can:
- Simplify check-in: Forget the old-school “A-Z” surname check-in system. Manage on-site arrivals, print badges, and redeem vouchers quickly and easily using all-in-one event software like Boomset.
- Make session management transparent: Do session capacity worries keep you awake at night? Choose an event registration platform that offers a seamless session registration feature. Doing so empowers attendees to plan their own sessions, but — mwuahaha — still lets you control your parameters on the backend.
Power up with integrations
There are a plethora of tools available on the market today promising to save planners time. Unfortunately, and especially when it comes to freemium event-tech solutions, they don’t always integrate well with existing solutions. It’s crucial to consider whether the components in your event tech stack are going to “play nice” with each other. Look for:
- A streamlined attendee experience: If your event registration tool, mobile app, and backend data analytics platform sync seamlessly, you’ll be able to fuel attendee engagement through a single system, then put the resulting data to work. While there are multiple technologies out there that operate as singular solutions, it’s important to find one that’s not cobbled together. Unless, of course, you want to run the risk of hours of manual integrations, lost data, or both.
- Data-friendly event technology: There’s no bigger headache than stitching together mounds of multi-system event data for your personalized marketing outreach or ROI analysis efforts. That’s why selecting event technology with a built-in data platform is ideal. At the very least, event profs should look for platforms that provide an all-in-one solution with native integrations between vital systems. Compatibility with integration tools like Zapier and Segment is also an option — it allows planners to easily transport event data into vital accounting, marketing automation or CRM platforms.