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Event orchestration | 17 January 2018

50 Questions for Choosing the Best Event Management Software

Brandon Rafalson

Looking for the best event management software out there? Here are 50 questions that will help you find and purchase the perfect platform for your needs.

There is no shortage of event trends set to change the industry in the coming years, but perhaps the biggest one is event management software.

The market has recently seen a huge influx of offerings—each of which is driven to change the way that people plan, organize and market events as we know it.

But which event management platform is the best for you and your organization? 

To help you out, we’ve provided 50 question to ask event management software providers throughout your shopping journey.

For even more questions to ask event software providers, read The Event Software Buyer’s Guidea comprehensive review of the biggest event software providers out there. 

 

 

The Growth of Event Management Software

First, let’s take a look at the context that has shaped the event management software market as we know it today.

To skip straight to the questions, click here.

According to The Event Success Formula, the overwhelming majority of marketers from overperforming organizations plan on investing more in live events in the future both in budget (80%) and number of events organized (74%).

The most successful organizations plan on invest more in events

At the same time, the majority of overperforming organizations plan to increase their event technology budgets and to do so more than underperforming organizations. 

The most successful organizations plan on invest more in event technology, including event management software

These findings are echoed in a financial analysis from Frost and Sullivan, the “event management software” industry is worth $28 billion and is projected to have a CAGR of 3.3% moving forward. The same study finds that while the industry is already large, only 80% of professional organizers planning B2B events currently use some sort of event management software.

As more and more event professionals embrace event technology, the event management software market as a whole will continue to grow. 

Votes of Confidence for Event Technology

The significant business decisions being made in the space is also a clear indicator that the large companies and investors understand the value of event technology and the unrealized potential of its upside. In 2016, a privately held investment firm called Vista Equity Partners purchased Cvent for $1.65 billion, an event management software provider founded in the 1990s. The same investment fund purchased another legacy solution, Lanyon, for $1.05 billion. Major acquisitions like can be seen as votes of confidence for the event management industry, further establishing its influence and longevity.

Investing in Innovation

While legacy event planning solutions have been consolidating, new players are successfully expanding and raising new rounds of investment.

Bizzabo recently announced a $15 million Series B investment to support the rapid revenue growth and personnel growth over the past year. The company has announced plans to grow teams across all departments in order to continue to focus on delivering an innovative platform with world-class customer service.

Bizzabo's funding news drew the attention of Forbes, TechCrunch and VentureBeat2017 was a great year for Bizzabo and a great year for event technology as a whole.

As a whole, more was invested in event technology in 2017 than in any other preceding year. The result has been smarter, faster and easier to use event management software.

Providing Insight-Driven Solutions

Based on the current state of the industry, we expect the importance of professional events will continue to grow. A reflection of this will be increasing spending on event management software, and as a result, increasing investment in event software providers offering effective solutions.

As event organizers, marketers, salespeople, and HR specialists continue to invest in professional events, it’s expected that some providers will begin offering “insight-driven” rather than “data-driven” solutions. 

bizzabo_cloud_GIF-1.gifThe Bizzabo platform has already started implementing insights-driven reporting.

We expect that, thanks to improved reporting and integrations, some providers will be able to help organizers build event attribution reports that track a contact’s interactions from online to offline to online again. This will help organizers create better experiences for event-goers in addition to better understanding ROI.

Moving forward, event professionals will surely invest more in ways to clearly distill attribution for event marketing strategies—one of the biggest events trends to look out for in 2018. 

 

 

50 Questions for Choosing the Best Event Management Software

General Questions

  1. Can I get a trial of the platform?
  2. Are there fees or add-ons? If so, what is not included in the base price?
  3. Do I have to sign a multi-year contract to use your platform?
  4. Can I speak with a few customers from my industry who use your platform?
  5. How do you deal with customer feedback about the product?
  6. What is your policy should I want to stop using your product? Are there additional fees to end my contact?
  7. When will those updates be released? How confident are you in the release date?

Event Registration

  1. Does your event registration system charge per registrant as I go, or do I pay up-front?
  2. Can attendees register for specific sessions? Do you offer “session registration”?
  3. Can I create various ticket types such as invisible, conditional (revealed when choosing certain ticket types) and so on?
  4. Can I host registration widgets on my own website?
  5. Can I monitor event registration performance in real-time?
  6. Does your event registration system integrate with social media platforms to help attendees promote my event?
  7. Does your platform offer on-site check-in? If so, what is the method of check-in (iPads, QR scanning, badge printing)? Do check-in features cost extra?
  8. What payment gateways does your integration system work with?

 

 

Event Website Builder

  1. Does your platform offer a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) event website builder?
  2. Can you show me examples of event websites that were created with your platform without the help of engineers or designers?
  3. Does your platform support custom HTML or CSS editing?
  4. Do you offer white label websites so that I can use a custom URL of my choosing?
  5. Can I embed images, videos, or other widgets into the event website without needing a developer?
  6. Does the website builder come with drag-and-drop elements like an agenda, speaker, sponsor, or community widget? Or would I need to build these elements myself?
  7. Will I be able to clone event website designs I create to use for other events or will I have to create a new event website from scratch each time?
  8. Does the event website design work across all devices? Is it mobile responsive?

Email Marketing and Automation

  1. Am I limited to sending a certain number of emails? Will I have to pay extra to send additional emails over my plan?
  2. Does your platform include a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) email editor?
  3. Does your platform integrate with other email providers? Is this integration an additional fee?
  4. Does your platform provide out-of-the-box email templates, or will I have to build my own?
  5. Will your platform help me track and measure the success of online paid advertising on my event website, including views and clicks?
  6. Will I be able to fully customize my email campaigns to put the event brand name front and center?

 

 

Contact Management

  1. If I cancel my contract, will I be charged an additional fee to retrieve my contacts from your platform?
  2. Can I easily segment contacts using your contact management tool?
  3. Can I create auto-updating lists of contacts (sometimes called Smart Lists) with your tool?
  4. Does your contact management tool allow me to see how contacts behave in my digital event networking community or event app?

Event Apps and Event Networking

  1. Do you offer an event app? If so, does it cost extra to use it?
  2. Is the app native to iPhone and Android or is it web-based only?
  3. Do you offer a “white-label” event app or a branded event app?
  4. Can I edit the look and feel of the event app myself? Or will I need the help of a software engineer?
  5. Does your event app integrate with social media platforms to make networking easier?
  6. Does your event networking community integrate with the event registration process so that attendees can register for the event and join the community at the same time?
  7. Does your platform offer reporting about event app adoption and community engagement?
  8. Are there options to promote sponsors and exhibitors? Can attendee engagement with these promotions be measured?

Integrations and Reports

  1. Does your platform integrate with marketing automation or CRM platforms? If so, which platforms does it integrate with? Do these event software integrations require additional fees?
  2. Will your reporting show me what sources are contributing to event registrations and registration revenue if I am selling paid tickets?
  3. Can I import and export contacts to your platform?

 

 

Customer Service and Support

  1. How will the customer relationship be managed?
  2. Will I be able to self-learn the software using product tutorials and step by step guides?
  3. What is your platform uptime for the last year? Is it better than 99%? If not, why?
  4. Will my team and I have access to a dedicated customer support manager?
  5. Does your company offer user-training so my team and I can get the most out of the platform? If so, does this cost extra?
  6. Does your company provide a structured onboarding plan for new users?

 

 

 

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