Event planning is not easy. The constant drive to produce engaging events that delight attendees. The pressure to deliver meaningful results. Dealing with last-minute changes and delivering the impossible at a moment’s notice. All these are issues planners need to deal with every time they create an event. And they can also be an enormous source of stress.
Stress for event planners can come in all shapes and sizes. It’s very personal. What is stressful for one planner may not be the same for another planner. Signing a venue contract, for example, may be more stressful for you than making a presentation to stakeholders.
Technology, however, can be a great source of help when it comes to alleviating stress with event management systems offering a plethora of tools, options and inspiration to help planners along the way.
Have a look at five simple ways event management systems can help reduce stress for event planners:
1. Save Time by Automating Key Tasks
Saving time is always an issue for event planners. The more time they have, the better. Time saved can be spent on adding extra touches to the event to maximise impact. However, if the planner has to spend much of their time on repetitive tasks which by their nature become boring quite quickly, it will not be long before stress levels increase. Increased stress is not good. You can find out how to recognise common symptoms of stress in this article: 10 signs event planning in burning you out.
What you can do, is to take a moment and have a think about the processes and tasks that you do daily, weekly or monthly that could be automated. What are you doing that requires manual input but doesn’t need to? For example, are you creating agendas on Excel spreadsheets? A programme management tool can do this for you and save you an enormous amount of time when making changes to speakers and session content. Are you manually printing and scanning delegate badges or would a self-service check-in solution make things easier for you?
Have a look at the technology available and work out how to make the most of it. In fact, the more you understand technology systems, the more you will be able to benefit from them. Kick off your events quickly with tools that automate key event management processes and improve your team’s productivity.
2. Improve Your Attendee Experience
The attendee experience is often top of the list of priorities for many event planners. If the attendee isn’t impressed, no one is happy. And this will definitely be a cause of stress for planners. It is important that you improve the attendee experience but still take care of all the behind the scenes work that needs to be done. And this is where an event management system can make a big difference.
Let’s look at the issue of registration emails. With event management software, planners can personalise and pre-schedule emails to attendees which helps them become more productive and build valuable relationships. You can send surveys and reminders at the optimum times to increase attendee engagement. You can also send automated emails to those that stopped registering half-way through to encourage completion. Or maybe you find out that your registration forms are too long and are creating a negative experience for potential attendees. It is very difficult to get this kind of insight and take action without a system that provides the right data for you.
Additionally, event management systems can make it a lot easier for you to engage with attendees by helping you personalise the registration journey for different audiences. For example, having a unique registration path for your VIP guests will ensure that questions and prices offered to them aren’t visible to other attendees which will make them feel that the whole experience was ‘personalised’ for them the whole time. You can discover all sorts of personalisation ideas from this industry eBook – ‘The Event Planner’s Guide to Personalisation’.
You can use intuitive, intelligent technology that has been developed specifically to engage attendees, increase registrations and build loyalty. Doing so, is bound to help reduce your stress levels.
3. Keep on Top of Event ROI
Producing information on your event’s performance and reporting it back to management teams/stakeholders is another area of stress for many event planners. There is a huge amount of event data that can be collected and analysed. The challenge is what to report, how to collate the data and how to do it in a timely manner, especially when time is so precious.
Again, this is where technology can be your best friend. Whether it’s your registration stats, attendance levels, session engagement or survey results (all things that typically form part of an event’s ROI), event management software can automatically capture all of your data, collate it in a meaningful way so that you can gain visibility and control over your event ROI.
If you wanted, you could take this a step further by setting up automatic reports that can be sent to your stakeholders via email on a regular basis to help maintain strong levels of transparency.
An event management system enables you to collect all your valuable event data in one place so that you can easily track performance, learn more about attendees and prove your ROI to stakeholders and management teams. In addition, technology can greatly help with those very important real-time insights that lead to better decision-making on the day (when things are stressful enough!). Should you delay serving breakfast as people are checking-in later than you thought? Have all your VIP guests arrived? Even after the event, these are important metrics in measuring event success.
4. Share Data with Ease
Data that is spread across different systems and departments makes it more difficult for planners to manage, understand and do anything useful with it. And this becomes a real source of frustration and stress.
Often planners will deal with different systems that capture and manage information around their events. This could be event tech registration systems and apps, through to back-end solutions such as abstracts, finance and CRMs. Bringing all this data together where systems automatically talk to each other and share information can make data management a lot easier. There will also be other benefits from this approach such as: better quality of data, savings time in manual data transfers and not to forget, better business insights.
Using an integrated ecosystem reduces the stress of an event planner as they know the data will be accurate. Automatic updates between systems means the planner is always relying and using the most up to date and accurate information. This means less errors, less inconsistencies and more confidence for the planner. Make things better for attendees too. If your event app is automatically updated with the latest session information, then this can only be good thing.
5. Protect Your Event/Attendee Data
Since the EU data protection law (GDPR) came into effect in May 2018, event planners have quite rightly been nervous about how to run great events, in a way that is compliant with the regulations. Research this year from Eventsforce showed that a staggering 9 in 10 event planners have changed the way they run events because of GDPR, with the biggest impact on data management, data security and event marketing. Another 40% say that they now have much tighter data security checks and processes in place because of compliance requirements.
This is where event management technology comes into its own, effectively, in two main way: Firstly, in helping with the running of the event and secondly, in keeping personal data safe.
Let’s look at running the event. Instead of emailing spreadsheets (no longer allowed unless documents are encrypted) to stakeholders and event suppliers like venues, hotels and caterers, you can allow them to access the information directly from your event management system. Not only does this eliminate the security implications of sharing spreadsheets but it also helps you better track who has access to your data at any given time. Some solutions like Eventsforce offer additional security tools which allow you to decide who in your events team has access to your event data and what they can actually do with it.
On keeping personal data safe, event management systems can also help organisations track and manage any consent they get from their attendees in a GDPR compliant way. They can provide tools that allow you to identify or delete any personal information you hold on your attendees. This is important as you can get into a lot of trouble if you continue to store data you have been asked to delete.
Take care of yourself and your team. Year after year, studies show that event planning is one of the most stressful occupations out there. Therefore, you need to pay attention to your own stress levels and those of your team. Yes, you need to focus on ensuring your events are successful, that you’re impressing stakeholders and following the right processes all the time. However, take stock on a regular basis of what tasks are dull and could be dealt with by technology. Check in with your team on their views. Talk to the supplier of your event management system and find out about new updates that you can use to enhance your productivity and reduce stress.
Choosing event management software can itself be a stressful process! Find out how Eventsforce can help maximise your technology investment through a personalised ‘partnership’ approach that covers onboarding, training, dedicated account management, support and a customer-led software development programme. Learn more by getting in touch here.