event-management-pyramid.jpg Social Tables has developed a neat diagram called the Event Planning Process Pyramid, which identifies six stages (or steps) involved in event management and planning. These stages (from the bottom of the pyramid to its top) are Define, Plan, Communicate, Source, Manage and Measure.

For the modern day Marketing Manager, the good news is that most, if not all, of these stages can be paired with existing digital technologies to automate processes and reduce the amount of time, manpower and revenue that you have to spend on organising your corporate events.

We thought we would have a look at some of the event management software solutions on the market that are helping marketing managers streamline many of the tasks involved in the planning and hosting of their corporate events.

1.Define the event’s objectives

The first stage in the Event Planning Process Pyramid involves clarifying your event’s objectives. Are you wanting to run a corporate event to network, promote a new product, or celebrate the end of a year’s achievements? Your event will be designed around your main goals as well as the data you have already gathered from previous events about what makes for a successful event.

2.Plan (project timelines, programs and designs)

Event managers can leverage the following event management tools to help plan their events:

  • 3D Event Designer helps with the designing of 2D and 3D interactive floor plans to help you showcase event spaces and plan your event’s setup, décor, seating and colours.
  • Planning Pod’s online project management software solution assists event professionals with assigning tasks to clients and staff, planning budgets, tracking electronic files, and communicating and collaborating with staff and clients during the planning of an event.
  • When it comes to international travel, Fly.another.day helps you plan your events around major international holidays or events, so that you can maximise on the best meeting dates and locations and on guest participation.

3. Communicate

Communication with guests prior to an event is crucial for information-sharing, generating excitement around your event, and building a good relationship with them and your brand.

  • This can be achieved through email marketing, social media channels and event registration software.
    Although mostly designed for the marketing of concerts and gigs, Crowdfm can be used by marketing managers as a single platform for scheduling posts and event updates to Facebook and Twitter.
  • Most online RSVP and event management tools come with built in communication solutions that allow for the sending of email invitations and follow-up communication with guests.

4. Source

Event management involves hours of research on suitable event venues and locations, caterers, decorators, photographers, sound and lighting technicians, accommodation and transport options.

  • UberEvents helps you plan ahead and organise rides and transport for your guests to and from your event’s location.

5. Manage

Managing an event program on the day takes a great deal of planning and synchronising. Your organisation skills need to be top notch to pull off a seamless event experience.

  • Convetica is a great app that helps you manage schedules, speakers and sponsors. It also works as a social networking tool for event guests. Presentations can be shared within the app and it can be used to take immediate surveys and polls for future event experiences.
  • MeetApp uses mobile technology to increase engagement with your guests through quick polls, open questions and active dialogues. It is also a great information sharing and gathering tool.

6. Measure

The quality of your next corporate event will rely on the type of information that you can gather from your event guests. Measuring the success of your event is the last stage of the event management process.

  • Event Attendance Pro is a desktop software solution that allows event organisers to track attendance at their events and allows them to run reports in real-time.

If you would like to find out more about the benefits of using RSVP software for events, feel free to contact us. We would love to assist you with any of your online invitation and registration requirements.

Download our Event Technology eBook to find out more about upcoming trends in event tech.

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Social-media-at-events-1 More and more, corporates are recognising the need to engage in online conversations around their brands. This is why using social media at events, to involve guests before, during and after your function, is a definite ‘must’. Unfortunately, as with most positives, there is always a chance for something to go awry, which is why we have put together a list of things to avoid when using social media at your events to prevent the whole thing from backfiring on you.

Here are our top six ‘fails’ to avoid when using social media at events 

1. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail

A definite ‘fail’ for your social media marketing strategy would be not to plan for it. Most events come with an itinerary, and a core focus or theme, around which you can plan the basics of your social media output. Pre-planning tweets and posts for the event will free you up to respond as spontaneous conversations happen online. You want to be sure to be leading or steering a fair amount of the conversation, though, instead of merely being r reactionary to guests’ tweets and posts. 

2. Don’t forget to develop a social media policy for your event and corporate brand

Everyone on your marketing team needs to know the corporate brand values that you want to be communicate via your event’s social media channels. It’s advisable that you develop a clear social media policy to guide the style and content of the social copy that your team is allowed to post on the company’s behalf. Importantly, policy and protocol for dealing with any negative conversation or feedback around your event need to also be in place. 

3. A live feed without the necessary content curation could potentially be a huge fail

Social media at events can sometimes be live-streamed to encourage attendees to take part in the online conversation. If you do this, be sure to allocate the role of content curator to one or more individuals on your marketing team, who can then keep an eye on the content being streamed to delete potentially inappropriate or damaging posts. They can also proof the rest of the social media managers’ social copy to keep an eye out for potentially embarrassing typos.

4. A big fail would be to use the inappropriate event hashtag

You can be sure that most hashtag combinations have been used before. Be careful to avoid developing and advertising a catchy hashtag for your event that is already associated with another event. You don’t necessarily want to add to the online conversation around a popular soccer event, for example, when your event is promoting optimal healthcare. The best way to find out if a hashtag has been used before is to do a search for it on Facebook, Google+ or Twitter.

5. Don’t be lazy – get your names straight  

Have you ever been to an event where someone mispronounces an important guest’s name, despite this person’s name having been mentioned quite a few times already? The same can happen with social media at events – misspelt surnames or names can crop up in social posts, which will just make you look bad. If you are in charge of a team of social media managers, be sure that they have a copy of the event’s itinerary, as well as any associated marketing material containing important names, dates and times for your events, so that they have less chance of getting this wrong.  

Download our Guide to Turning your Events into Marketing Gold to find out what to avoid when marketing your event, how to use your event as a marketing touch point, and how our RSVP software for events can help you to do this.

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There are two types of time: clock time and real time. The former never changes – there are always 24 hours in a day. The latter is relative – how much time you feel you have in a day. This is influenced by how busy you are and how much you enjoy what you’re doing. A busy event planner will know exactly how time seems to speed up the closer one gets to the event date. Managing your time requires you to manage real time (clock time can’t be managed). Here are our most effective time management tips:

Conduct a time management audit

Before you can start expertly managing your time, you need to know exactly what it is you spend your time doing over the course of a week. Needless to say, there is no such thing as a “typical” event planner’s week, but while every event involves different tasks, there will be some common tasks that you can identify. Write down what you do and how long it takes you. If calling prospective venues takes roughly two hours, the next time you plan an event you can allocate a couple of hours to that particular task. Remember: always allow for extra time.

Always schedule less things in a day than you think you’ll be able to fit in

Unforeseeable scenarios emerging throughout your day are inevitable. Giving yourself some leeway and gaps in your schedule gives you time to tackle those unexpected tasks and account for jobs that take longer than expected.

Prioritise tasks that produce results

As satisfying as list making is, to-do lists have no logical end – there’s always something you can add to them. Figure out which activities produce results and plan time for these over the small things. Be brutally honest about what you actually need to do, not what you think you need to do.

Allocate a set duration for each task

When planning the tasks we have to do in a day or week, our intention is to get them done in one sitting, isn’t it? But this isn’t good for time management, as our tasks always take longer than expected. Instead, decide on how long you’ll spend on a particular item and let go of the idea that it has to get completed in one go.

Remind yourself that you’re human

No matter how excellent your time management is, there’ll always be days when you don’t get everything you planned done – and that’s OK. Rather than quabble about what you’ve achieved on a daily basis, try and see whether you’ve achieved your most important goals over the course of a week.

Let the phone ring

It’s tempting to jump to answer your phone the moment it rings or open an email the moment you get a notification – especially in the pace-driven events industry. These countless interruptions can severely hinder your ability to get other important tasks done and throw a spanner in the works of your time management. Check who’s calling, and only answer if it’s urgent.

Reduce screen time

If you added up all the hours you spend fruitlessly looking at a screen, you’d probably be shocked. Those couple of minutes here, couple of minutes there add up. Set yourself some time aside to check email and peruse Facebook or Twitter and stick to it – those extra minutes or hours you’ll gain back will do wonders for your time management, not to mention your state of mind.

Get some help from an automated RSVP system 

Technology can be a distraction, but sometimes it can help us save hours every day. An automated RSVP system is one example of software that quickly performs tasks that can easily take us half a day to complete, and without any human error either. Manually updating guest contact information, managing guest lists and sending out SMS reminders are just a few of the tasks RSVP Management Software can do for you.

Download our Practical Guide to Professional RSVP to find out how Event Management Software can give you more time to plan your next event.

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Choosing the right event software relies on knowing what you need. Before picking an option, make sure that your RSVP software contains the following functionality:

1. It is easy to use

The whole point of making use of RSVP software is to streamline the event planning process. If your software is difficult to navigate, with complicated dashboards and a confusing layout, you’ll spend more time having to figure out how to use the software than actually putting it to use.

2. Stores all data in a central place

Making use of event planning software that keeps every single piece of guest list information in one, easy-to-access place is crucial. If you’re having to waste precious time searching through numerous files or folders in order to find one phone number, you’re using the wrong RSVP software.

3. Hosted on a secure server

Being privy to confidential information like the contact details and demographics of your guests’ means that it’s your responsibility to ensure that this data remains secure. It’s a non-negotiable that your event planning software is hosted on a secure server in order to ensure that any information in your possession remains protected.

4. Uses a vetted email provider

Professional RSVP software should make use of a vetted email provider, for example, SendGrid. This will ensure that your online invitations land in the right inboxes – a crucial contributing factor in achieving optimal attendance rates.

5. Updates in real time

There’s little benefit in using RSVP software if you have to manually update delivery rates, acceptance rates and other guest list data. Making use of software that automatically does this – in real time – is crucial for an RSVP process that’s organised and streamlined.

6. Can be accessed remotely, by several members of staff

Your RSVP software needs to be accessible by various members of staff – whether in the office or on-site at an event. It’s useless using software that can only be accessed from one computer. Remote access to RSVP software makes a massive difference to your event planners’ ability to do their job efficiently.

7. Compiles detailed daily reports

It’s difficult to keep track of every single guest list if you’re juggling multiple events at once. Sophisticated RSVP software should send you daily reports of the latest guest list activity, which means that you won’t have to devote time to manually compiling them. This should include open rates, open and delivery times, acceptance rates, etc.

8. Enables you to update data onsite

RSVP software should allow you to make all-important changes to your guest list at the last minute. It should include functionality that enables you to add people who’ve declined but then arrive, guests who didn’t RSVP and then arrived, or guests who arrive with a different partner.

Superior guest list management software enables you to add and alter this information. What’s more, these updates will be included in an automatically generated report at the end of the day.

Our RSVP software does all of the above – and more. Equipping yourself with a tool that makes the guest list management process as easy and accurate as possible is crucial in order to run a successful event. Find out more about our RSVP software here.