To paraphrase an often used aphorism, ‘the form field is mightier than the spreadsheet’. That’s right, form fields are your secret weapon when it comes to creating events that resonate with your guests and preserve the sanity of your event team. But only when they’re used correctly that is.

Contrary to popular belief, form fields benefit your team in not one, but two major ways: by collecting and compiling guest data, and by collating event information. The result? You have access to in-depth profiles of guests, and your event team can easily stay on top of event progress, as and when it happens.

The secret to amplifying the power of this overlooked tool? An RSVP system that features both front and back facing form fields. But before we get into the how, let’s look at the what:

Your front-facing form fields are what your guests see when they open your email invitation or log onto your event landing page, and serve to capture information from your attendees.

Back-facing form fields – a little-known yet crucial feature – are fully customisable data capture fields that you can use to organise, collate and secure all other information about your event (and we mean all). In other words, they’re a super convenient replacement for multiple excel sheets (but more on that later).

Here’s how to put your form fields to work:

Front-facing form fields:
Many event organisers unwittingly sabotage their events at this crucial stage. To build in-depth guest profiles that will inform your event – and your entire marketing strategy – you need to get strategic before settling for the generic name, job title and dietary preference. Dig deeper! This is your chance to find out what really makes your guests tick.

Remember, the questions you ask your guests should be informed by your event’s objectives. If you’re orchestrating a symposium on female empowerment in the workplace in an effort to spur on young female entrepreneurs, you may want to ask your guests what their number one reason for attending is, what they hope to get out of the conference, and the most important issue – in their opinion – that females face in the workplace today. If you’re holding an exclusive getaway to woo a select group of VIPs, you may want to ask your guests to select their preferred means of accommodation, their nightcap of choice and their relaxation activity of choice. However, long, convoluted form fields that invitees have to navigate a digital maze will only serve to put them off. Keep your form fields to a minimum, and offer options with which they can answer. Your job is to gather the data that counts, and to make it as easy as possible for your guests to give it to you.

Fields in back end:
While your front facing form fields exist to gather guest information, the form fields in the back end serve as one central database for everything. This, as opposed to juggling multiple excel sheets that are at risk of duplication, conflicting copies and worst of all – loss due to a break in the line of communication. From guest travel details and vendor info to venue and compliance checklist, you can access every single piece of event orchestration data from one central depository. And, thanks to the fact that our RSVP software is cloud-based, every single one of your event team can access this data when and where they need it. Real-time updates mean there’s no case of “he said she said”, a costly, yet common occurrence due to the high volume of information event organisers have to collate.

When used correctly, and with a sophisticated RSVP management platform that’s built specifically for event organisers by event organisers, you can use your form fields to streamline both the RSVP and event planning process. Find out more about how our solution can help you, by downloading our brochure below.


Compliance-and-ethics

Have you ever been at an event that you didn’t have a hand in organising and wondered what would happen if there was a massive electrical fire? Maybe you have envisioned getting caught up in a panic-stricken stampede during an emergency (like in one of those awful scenes from an apocalypse movie)? It’s during those moments that you look around for all the venue’s exit signs, and then fervently hope and pray that the event organisers have a good system in place to keep everyone safe. Most importantly, you are also reminded why it is so important to have your own ducks in a row when it comes to health and safety regulations at your own events.

Things can, and do, go terribly wrong at events

While no one ever wants to consider that such things could happen, they can! In 2013, for example, one of LG’s promotional events in Seoul went horribly wrong when some rogue attendees whipped out knives and BB guns to get to smartphones vouchers hidden in 100 helium balloons. It wasn’t pretty: Twenty people were injured and seven eventually had to be hospitalised. We are also quite sure that LG’s reputation suffered a significant blow because of this unforeseen catastrophe.

Another sad example is the death of an avid Linkin Park fan who sustained fatal injuries outside of the Cape Town Stadium on the way to the band’s live music event. This tragedy occurred when temporary scaffolding outside of the venue collapsed on a number of concert-goers due to very strong winds. Nineteen people were injured, twelve of whom needed to be hospitalised.

This is why it’s so important that, when planning events, the correct event compliance and ethics procedures are followed and that provision is made for all potential worst case scenarios.

Event compliance procedures need to be right at the top of your event planning checklist

When it comes to event compliance and ethics procedures, it does not pay to cut corners. Are you aware of all the laws and compliance parameters for every single facet of your event?

The SABS Standards Division has developed South African National Standard Requirements for Health and Safety at events, which touches on everything from health and safety responsibilities and duties for event organisers, site and venue owners, to venue and site design and communication regulations for your next big event.

Because the relevant regulatory material is easily accessible to event planners, there is no excuse for event compliance and ethics to fall by the wayside. We suggest that you use the SABS resource (hyperlinked for you above) to double-check that all your events compliance and ethics bases are covered.

Good ethics create a good reputation, says the Ethics Institute of South Africa (EISA)

According to the EISA, ethics is concerned with “the extent to which individuals or organisations act towards others in accordance with ethical values and standards”. The EISA is correct – companies that maintain good ethical standards and prove to be consistently trustworthy tend to retain their clients and customers. Ethical practices are an important component of customer satisfaction, which is directly linked to your brand’s reputation. Think about the recent VW carbon emission scandal and how their unethical practice directly affected their brand reputation and crushed their profit margins.

Is it time to create an event planning code of ethics?

Do you have a code of ethics that you use and communicate to your event management team when planning your corporate events? Such a code could help you with the appropriate procedures and processes for protecting guest’s personal information, for example, and should include information from the POPI Act. Couple this code with sophisticated event registration software that ensures the secure handling and storage of personal data, and you will be well on your way to running events that are POPI compliant.

Event compliance and ethics are crucial. It can take only one disaster to shut down a really good event management company or department.

Want to know more about ensuring that your events are compliant? Download our Event Compliance Checklist to update yourself on the essentials.

Image Credit: www.google.co.za

 


corporate party software Opting to use electronic invitations over the old-school paper and ink version is commonplace in the corporate event industry. As well as offering your guests a far more convenient way to RSVP, electronic invitations also allow you to orchestrate a seamless, every-piece-of-information-is-accounted-for RSVP process. What many planners aren’t aware of however, is that their digital invitations are so much more than merely an invite. In fact, the benefits of utilising the 21st century’s answer to unreliable snail mail are numerous. We like to think of electronic invitations as an opportunity: to improve your events, offer your guests a superior experience and elevate your entire event offering as a whole. If you’re ready to harness the full power of your invitations, read on.

Electronic invitations enable you to create an instant database of your attendees

Being able to access an exhaustive, accurate depository of information is the first step toward a streamlined RSVP process. Because they’re trackable, you’re also able to monitor which guests receive their invites, which guests open them, and which guests respond. This ability isn’t only for curiosity’s sake; your delivery, open, accept and decline rates also indicate what’s working and what’s not. Some simple A/B testing will shed light on the aspects that are hindering your RSVP process. Changing the time of sending, the subject line and wording of your invitations often vastly improves your acceptance rate. If you’re faced with an inordinate amount of bounced emails though, the problem is either due to the fact that your email list is outdated, or that your electronic invitation software isn’t whitelisted (in which case you should drop everything you’re doing and switch to a vendor who does make use of one).

Make sure you’re asking the right questions of the right people

Using online invitations that allow you to customise form fields (among other crucial factors like design and copy) is only really beneficial if you’re asking the right questions. You hold the key to data that spans far wider than the obligatory dietary requirements and demographic information – but if you want them to share this precious info with you, you’ll need to dig a little deeper. How do you do this? By customising not just the questions you want answers to – but by segmenting your guest list. This logic is based on the fact that each portion of your guest list has a different relationship to your brand, as well as unique requirements from the event itself. For example, your guests might include existing customers, sales prospects, and staff.

Customise your entire communication process for different segments of your guest list

Successfully catering to the varying requirements of your guests relies on providing them with a tailor-made channel of communication. The electronic invitations you send to a VIP will vary wildly from the invite you send to a staff member. By customising not only your invitations – and the questions asked therein – but their itinerary, access code, post-event survey and any subsequent event content, you’re able to give your guests a unique experience that resonates. In other words, conduct a strategic event marketing strategy.

Capitalising on the full power of electronic invitations relies on using all-encompassing guest list management software.

In order to really put your electronic invitations to work – and the data they’ve enabled you to collect – you’ll need to use guest list management software. By using an all-in-one solution, you’ll be able to analyse the data, update your guest lists and database in real-time, conduct a seamless RSVP and registration process, and pull reports. It’s that much harder to analyse information that’s stored separately – but if you’ve got an integrated tool at your disposal, putting this invaluable data to work is simple.  

Want to get the most out of your electronic invites? Find out more about our Event Management Software today.

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Many event managers are of the opinion that software for event planners is just another new-fangled gimmick that’s expensive and ultimately useless. While we don’t doubt that this might be the case for some event planning software, superior solutions on the market essentially act as an event planner’s right-hand man. We thought we’d unravel some of the misinformation that’s often bandied about when it comes to software for event planners in order to give you a better understanding of what these programs actually entail.

Misconception: “Software for event planners requires technical know-how – and I’m far from technically inclined.”

Reality: Many people are of the opinion that in order to adequately use this software they’ll need to be tech-savvy or know how to code. The good news is that this couldn’t be further from the truth. Software for event planners shouldn’t require any sort of advanced technical skill. The best solutions on the market are easy to use and incredibly simple. That said, if you don’t want to manage this software on your own, there are companies that you can outsource this to for an even simpler way to run your events.

Misconception: “Managing software for event planners is way too complicated.”

Reality: If you’re using event management software that’s complex, you need a new solution. You shouldn’t have to fill out countless forms or spend time working out how to navigate a tricky system. The best software for event planners prioritises the experience of its users and, unlike other products that are designed by an IT guru, are built by event planners themselves. They’re naturally aware of the specific challenges all event planners are faced with, and have designed a program that caters to every possible element of an event.

Misconception: “Using software for event planners will take up even more of my time!”

Reality: The right kind of event planning software will actually speed up the planning of events as it automates the entire process. Instead of having to manually collate lists or consolidate conflicting data, you’ll be able to easily access your guest list and the related information from one easy-to-use dashboard. The whole point of using software for event planners is to save time – if the application you’re currently using takes longer than manually managing the process, you’re using the wrong software.

Misconception: “Spend money on event planning software? All it does is make your invites look pretty!”

Reality: Industry-leading software for event planners is an all-encompassing event management solution. Besides allowing you to create exquisite invitations, you’ll be able to manage every aspect of a function. From the compiling of guest lists, sending out of invites, RSVP and registration process to the post-event communication – software for event planners does it all.

Misconception: “I’ll need to hire another employee to manage my event management software.”

Reality: Software for event planners is designed to act as a dedicated assistant. Available around the clock, you are easily able to manage the program without needing to enlist the help of additional staff. In fact, the right kind of event management software should reduce the need for additional employees. Instead of having to pay administrative staff to collate data, enter information into spreadsheets, and compile guest lists, you’ll be able to do all of this – and more – with the right kind of software.

Misconception: “I manage events for multiple clients, so I’ll have to fork out cash to pay numerous licensing fees”

Reality: One license for software for event planners should cover several clients – that’s how it works at The RSVP Agency at least. If you’re tasked with regularly planning and running events for multiple clients, you shouldn’t have to pay every single time you hold a new event.

If you’re still hesitant about using event software then feel free to contact RSVP Agency directly to answer any further queries on how event planning software can elevate your event management process.


Image Credit: Find My Way Home


What is Professional RSVP?

What makes a successful event? Is it champagne and sushi served on silver trays, goody bags, or an upmarket venue? While all of these factors certainly do contribute to an event’s success; something much more important (yet often overlooked) actually makes or breaks an event – how many people attend.

Getting people to attend your event

Enticing the right guests to attend your event is crucial – you don’t just want numbers, but people who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer and who are more likely to become brand advocates. So how do you ensure your email invitations are delivered and opened?

  • Create an initial guest list from your database
  • Invite more than the number of people you expect to attend to accommodate for dropouts. Bear in mind that the dropout rate can range from 40-70%. A good rule of thumb is to over-invite by 40% for paid events and by 60% for free events
  • Scour your contacts on social media sites. Invite anyone amongst your Twitter followers, LinkedIn connections, or Facebook friends/fans whom you may not know personally but with whom you’d like to connect and who you feel might benefit from learning about your brand offering
  • In your communications, emphasise why it’s important or beneficial to attend your event
  • Choose the date, day and time of your event wisely. Take into consideration factors like peak-hour traffic, religious days, sporting events, and time of year.

The RSVP

One of the best ways to up attendance at your event is to correctly manage your RSVPs. At the end of every invitation, you’ll see the letters RSVP – an abbreviation for the French, repondez s’il vous plaît (please reply). This is a polite call to action, asking your invitees to let you know whether or not they’ll be attending your event.

Although it’s etiquette to inform people if you can or cannot attend, unfortunately, in these busy times, it often not top of mind. In fact, in the haze of correspondence they receive on a daily basis, they may forget about your invitation altogether!

That’s why it’s important to manage your RSVPs by following up and getting in touch with invitees to remind them about your event and confirm their attendance. We have come up with the term ‘eventtiquette’ – the RSVP Agency term for event best practices and politeness.

Professional RSVP

Managing RSVPs can be difficult – some people will RSVP by telephone, some in person, some by email, and others via social media networks. Manually pulling all these RSVPs together and placing them into an Excel spreadsheet or writing them up in a notebook is a time-consuming and a labour-intensive chore.

If only there was an easier way!

Fortunately, there is: a web based invitation and event management software platform from The RSVP Agency. The RSVP Agency’s event registration service streamlines the process, maximising your event by ensuring the highest possible guest acceptance rate and freeing up your time so that you can focus your energies on producing the best possible event.

Events management tool

This easy-to use events management tool is an online software system which manages the entire RSVP process, right from save-the-date, to onsite registration. Amongst other things, this professional RSVP service, allows you to create multiple guest lists (for which you can customise communications), personalised invitations, send reminders via email and SMS, automatically integrate the event to attendees’ calendars, and upload and download guest information to a spreadsheet.

Knowing your delegates preferences and needs is critical to successful event planning; and to do this, you need an RSVP system that ensures comprehensive and accurate guest list information that is easily captured during the invitation phase. No event planner should be without this indispensable event management system. Contact The RSVP Agency today to find out more about how you can make RSVPs work for you.