It’s a question that I often ask of meeting planners. Whether or not they use meeting planning software. While I have to admit most meeting planners do use some type software to assist them with their meeting planning, you would be surprised at how many meeting planners aren’t using any specific software at all.
Some Meeting Planning Software Could Be Categorized Homemade
I should elaborate here. When those meeting planners told me they weren’t using any specific software, most were using spreadsheets or databases to help them organize and execute their events. So while that is technically using software, it’s not really using customized software for the industry. A lot of us use spreadsheets where we set up our own customized columns and enter information into the various cells where we can later sort and review the information as we need it. Some meeting planners have been doing meeting planning for so long that they have developed their own systems that work quite well for them. Others, including seasoned meeting planners, are always looking for new and innovative software that they can easily implement into their meeting planning routine.
Most Meeting Planning Software Includes a Registration Element
The one component that many meeting planners do say is vital for them is their ability to track the registration of their delegates for their various meetings. And if registration involves a financial transaction than those meeting planners are always looking for software that has an e-commerce component.
Parts of meeting planning that most often utilizes meeting planning software are; transportation (manifest preparation software), client relationship management or CRM, and registration software. Companies that encompass many of these technological requirements are the ones that meeting planners more and more are turning to for an ongoing relationship.
Eventbrite is one company that specializes in promoting your event as well as handling registration and payment. Eventbrite is ideal for those meeting planners that are focusing on events themselves as opposed to an overall meeting program. It’s very easy to set up and it’s just as easy to load all of your contact information and start marketing to potential attendees. You can even structure reminder notices for those who have not taken any action from any previous e-mails that you may have sent. And it has the ability to collect payment if required. The nice thing about the e-commerce portion of Eventbrite is that you do not need your own merchant account to collect credit card payment.
Cvent is more robust in that it can be used for an overall meeting program. Cvent also has a large area where meeting planners can review and select vendors for their programs needs. Like Eventbrite Cvent has a great registration component to their software. On top of that their CRM can be integrated to all aspects of Cvent’s cloud-based software. Think of it as a one-stop shopping for meeting planning. When I first became aware of Cvent, they were pretty much the leaders in registration software. Since then they have become much more robust and are certainly an industry leader for meeting planning software.
Like everything, meeting planning software is personal. Some meeting planners prefer to create their own spreadsheets or databases to execute their meetings or events. Others are always staying on top of the latest and greatest in technology for this industry. Whichever side of the coin you happen to fall on, I’m sure you won’t disagree that there’s plenty of meeting planner software out there to help you plan and execute your meeting or event.