Whether you’re planning an event for 500 employees or a concert for 5,000, the right event registration system can help the process go more smoothly. But checking people in is just one of the many cool tools and capabilities found in today’s registration platforms. From streamlining ticket sales via mobile devices and tracking behavioral data, to facilitating networking and social media engagement among attendees, event reg is no longer just an offshoot of a boring backend database. Here’s a look at five registration technologies that are breaking new ground.
Cool Tool: DIY Registration Page Design
Since it acquired RegOnline and Wingate Web in early 2008, Active Network has been translating learnings from these two biggies in the event management software industry (RegOnline handles Oracle Open World and Wingate Web does Cisco Live) to the rest of the world. One result is RegOnline’s new Theme Designer tool, which provides high-end design technology for non-designers and a way for event organizers to offer a consistent experience from their brand website through to their event registration site and on to the event itself. “Now, you don’t have to be a Fortune 100 company to have great design and technology,” says Eric Olson, general manager-events at Active Network. “We heard constantly from the industry that there is a need to better customize and align event-related collateral and websites. Folks didn’t really know how to do that. It was difficult and time consuming.”
Event organizers can design themes and templates from scratch and pull in codes and images from their website, upload logos and select coordinated colors for a consistent look, and more. The best part: the service is free and included as part of Active Network’s RegOnline attendee management tool.
Cool Tool: Microsite Management and Consumer Engagement
From its name, you may think this company is strictly a photo activation company, but think again. The eShot’s event lifecycle suite manages the event microsite and all of the consumer engagement before, during and after a live experience, especially when it comes to mobile activations or classic entertainment event marketing. It handles pre- and at-event registration, data capture and post-event activity reporting and analytics, which, as ceo Craig Steensma puts it, is where the rubber meets the road. “The integration across platforms allows [clients] to see which events are driving conversion and have the best performance, and which are having the greatest impact on the consumer,” he says.
For example, a Cadillac microsite provides one-stop shopping for the auto brand’s culinary challenges, V Lab high-performance drives and golf events, informing attendees of nearby hotels, when and where to show up, and more, then–here’s the cool part–continues the experience post-event. Cadillac V Series Challenge attendees receive a code to view their driving session online, then share it virally with friends and family; golfers receive a highlight video featuring the best moments of the day.
Cool Tool: Social Networking and Matchmaking
This subscription-based event management software platform comes in two levels, Quad and Pro, both of which handle attendee, exhibitor, speaker and sponsor registration and management; calls for papers, sessions, nominations; custom reporting and automated email reports; hotel and travel management; badging; CEU tracking; email marketing and surveys. The pro version also offers room inventory, session assignments and resource planning, floor plan and seating management, budget and spend management analysis and more.
Nice touches: The social sign-on function, in which attendees can register for events through their social media account, and viral ticketing capability. The eSocial tool facilitates on-site social networking for algorithm based match-making, not only host-to-delegate but peer-to-peer, so through keywords and heat mapping, organizers can see people coming to the event who have similar interests. It has directly integrated mobile capabilities to deliver show guides through mobile technology.
Donna Nocer, event manager at Present eLearning, uses eTouches for online medical lectures and five live annual conferences. eTouches’ eSocial tool facilitates conversations between exhibitors and doctors at the events. “They can make appointments to see a new product or talk to them before the show,” she says. “It helps build buzz pre- and post-event.”
Cool Tool: Streamlined On-site Ticket Sales
Fresh off a round of $50 million in new funding, five-year-old online ticketer Eventbrite in June launched Eventbrite at the Door, a new platform that facilitates on-site ticket sales. “It all started with our Easy Entry app, which organizers use to scan ticket barcodes, look up names or browse a digital version of a guest list,” says Julie Thompson, vp-product at Eventbrite. “This is our entry into giving them tools to sell tickets the day of their event and have those sales link back to our server.”
Eventbrite is on track to sell $400 million in tickets this year, almost double the amount sold in 2010, from which the company gleans 2.5 percent of the ticket price plus an additional 99 cents per ticket. The new system allows organizers of events large and small to sell tickets at the door. It ships with a ready-to-rock iPad with an Eventbrite app, credit-card swiper and receipt printer and processes transactions in seconds, for cash or credit purchases. Organizers can also use the system to collect additional information such as attendees’ email addresses, zip codes and even their names.
Data syncs automatically with eventbrite.com, connecting real-time door sales with online sales. The app encrypts the data and backs up collected information automatically. If the
iPad should lose its wireless signal, the app works offline and processes orders once it is back online.
Eventbrite at the Door is in beta testing with a handful of organizers, and should be available as an iPad app this summer. Stay tuned, folks!
Cool Tool: Exact Seat Planning and Pricing
Event management site Eventish helps organizers publish, promote and sell their events. It helps set up an event page, including photos, logos and event details and with plug-ins publishes the page on its website, the organizer’s website and social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
A new room designer program facilitates seating layouts by dragging and dropping tables, chairs, dance floors, bars and more onto the venue floor. Organizers can assign a price value to the chairs and have attendees choose and pay for the exact seat they want at the event.
More features are on the way, says co-founder and ceo Armen Margarian, such as a trade-show set up in which attendees can use an iPhone app to locate exhibitors. EM