Whether you are running a multi-day virtual conference or making plans for your association’s annual meeting next year, you know how critical it is for you to find great topics and speakers. It can have a huge impact on registrations and an even bigger impact on how well your event is perceived. However, managing speaker and abstract submissions for your conference is complicated enough when everything goes according to plan, let alone when it’s rushed, or hasn’t been carefully thought through.
This is where abstract management systems can help.
If you are not yet using an automated platform, here are 10 reasons why it’s good to invest in the software and increase your event engagement and ROI.
1. Increase the Volume of Submissions
If you want to increase abstract and speaker submissions for your virtual or in-person conference, then you need a system that makes it easier for people to submit content. If the process is complicated, then it’s only going to put people off. If you rely on handwritten notes or spreadsheets that quickly go out of date, it’s going to take more of your valuable time and resources and is unlikely to give you the results that you want.
If you use a dedicated abstract management system a lot of the pain goes away and opportunities start to appear. You can source great speakers and content for your programme with mobile-responsive tools that make it quick and easy for people to submit their abstracts online wherever they are.
For example, some systems like Eventsforce Abstracts allow you to send personalised invitations to engage audiences and encourage papers. Easy-to-navigate forms with clear submission guidelines simply the process for people – while allowing them to submit multiple abstracts at the same. They also have tools that simplify the process of making complex, scientific abstract submissions (images, tables and formulae). These are just some of the things you can do to increase the volume of submissions.
2. Improve the Quality of Your Event Content
The abstract process is important because it offers the opportunity to showcase new research in the event’s relevant field. By sourcing cutting-edge and diverse research, you’re more likely to attract the right attendees and get them to come again the following year.
By using abstract management software, you greatly increase the chances of attracting more submissions and then you can decide which are the best. After all, by using the software it’s easy for you to set your own abstract topics and submission parameters. You can also customise and capture information in the format you want. This makes comparing abstracts less time consuming. Employing consistency through use of the system will help improve the quality of the content too.
3. Engage More Abstract Reviewers
To attract the right speakers, conference organisers typically ask members of their community to submit proposals to find the most interesting and relevant content for their event. Once this call for abstracts (or papers) is sent out, the submissions are then reviewed by a team of reviewers whose aim is to select those presentations that promise to deliver a high-quality programme to attendees.
Reviewers are absolutely critical to your success. You can make sure that they are engaged and doing the best possible job for you by making their life easier through using an abstract management system. For example, you can assign topics and tracks they’re responsible for. You can give them a wide range of scoring tools. You can also make it easy for them to review submissions securely online – anytime and on any device. Plus you can give your reviewers the flexibility to save their work and return to it at a later date.
4. Monitor Progress in Real-Time
Monitoring progress in real time is something that the software can help you with. You can stay on top of how many abstracts are coming in, which submissions are incomplete and which stream areas are doing better than others. Having such a system will identify potential problem areas and help you assess the best way of addressing them. For example, too many submissions in one topic area (over others) may indicate that the topic description is too broad. Based on this information, you may decide to sub-categorise and create new sub-topics instead.
5. Save Time Managing Conference Programmes
Using abstract management software can greatly ease your time burden and make you more productive, by reducing your workload and making the process a lot easier to manage.
For example, with Eventsforce Abstracts, you can use an intelligent programme management tool to link selected abstracts to sessions and build your event’s agenda without the need for complex spreadsheets. You can make quick changes to abstracts, presentation time slots, speakers and room allocations and publish them automatically on event websites, registration forms and virtual event platforms. This provides you with peace of mind that the information attendees see is always accurate and up-to-date.
The same applies with publishing abstract books and posters. The system will allow you to easily export all your data to your abstract book or poster publishers through an open API. This ensures that your publishers will always see the most up-to-date information. It gives you the flexibility to make changes as needed and from wherever you happen to be.
By automating important time-consuming tasks, the technology will help you focus your efforts on the more critical aspects such as calling for abstracts and briefing reviewers.
6. Improve Your Results by Analysing Data
When data is so important to help you: learn what’s working, what appeals to delegates and what’s on topic, it is essential that you have software that helps you with your decision making. Data helps you refine and improve your future events.
Abstract management solutions allow you to build a central database across all your events so that you can get the insight you need for event success. You can discover more about popular topics, reviewers, speakers and attendees with reports on abstracts per topic, registrations, session selections, attendance, revenue and more.
Data can be monitored across multiple events or used for making year-on year comparisons so that you can easily track the growth of your events over time. These reporting tools can save organisers a lot of time too.
7. Meet GDPR Requirements
Another business reason for investing in an abstract management solution is to ensure that you meet data protection requirements such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).The EU legislation came into effect in May 2018 and has since had a profound effect in the way organisations collect, process and look after peoples’ personal information.
Consequently, event organisers have become a lot more aware of what personal data they collect, where they store this data, what they use it for and more importantly, how this data is kept safe. All of this applies to the process of abstract management. After all, you are dealing with the personal details of submitters and reviewers. Using the right kind of solution can make a big difference to the security of your event data and provides you with the assurance that you are compliant with the requirements.
8. It’s Not Just About the Tech
If the software you decide on is going to save you time and money, you need to make sure that it delivers on that promise. If your board members are asking if the system is helping you meet the objectives your organisation has set, you need to have an answer. Otherwise, where’s the ROI? Remember, you don’t want technology to create more work for you. You want it to make things easier. You want it to cut admin work and save you time. You want it to be flexible enough to meet your changing needs – today and tomorrow.
But it’s not just about technology. It’s about people too. Whatever system you decide to use, it is important to choose a tech vendor that you are happy to work with. A vendor that, provides the consultancy and support you and your team need around your events. Having a technology ‘partner’ who understands your goals, listens to your feedback and works closely alongside you around all your events will also ensure you always get the most out of your technology investment.
Are you looking to integrate abstracts into your virtual conference programme? Our solutions can simplify the whole process of submitting, reviewing and publishing abstracts and posters. Get in touch with the team and see how we can help.