If you have ever hosted a conference before, you know how difficult it can be. And if you haven’t, well buckle up, it is going to be a long ride. The papers pile up as you are reserving space, managing speakers, tracking registrations and payments, obtaining sponsors, and correcting last minute schedule changes. That clipboard you’ve been carrying around just doesn’t cut it. But how do you put all that different information together without fear of misplacing it? You use a (good) conference management system. There are many options out there–some are free, and others are rather expensive. A good conference management system will take the headache out of the process of hosting a conference by easing the difficulties in four key areas.
1. Spreading the word
A good conference management system will give you a unique landing page with your branding. That way you can share the link to your followers on Twitter, fans on Facebook, and email subscribers. This gives them a direct action to preform so each person won’t reach out to you with individual questions, flooding your inbox. Also, a page that contains your branding will ensure the people registering that the event legitimate, and that you are collecting their information and money, not some third party.
You can attract more attendees by providing different types of registration; if they are only able to attend one out of two days, then they get a discounted rate. The conference management system should allow participants to register without any assistance, which takes a load off your shoulders and paperwork off your desk.
3. Schedule Changes
No matter how perfectly you plan everything, there will probably be at least one bump in the road. But with the help of a good conference management system, you will be able to solve problems with ease. A great tool most conference management systems have is an online schedules. It is even better when they work with a tablet or phone. If someone cancels or their plane was grounded, you can easily access the schedule to make an update. Attendees with smart phones can see the changes while at the conference.
4. Post-Conference Support
Hosting a conference brings in a lot of new leads and contacts. But if you have no way to import those contacts, they are useless. No one has the time to type each person’s contact information out. The conference management system you use should have the ability to collect information, so that you can follow up with attendees and speakers. Today’s attendees could turn into tomorrow’s members or contributors.
If you find a system that gives you all this and more, you’re in the right place. In fact, we have our own conference management system. But whether or not you decide to work with us, we wanted to make sure you are getting the best bang for your buck.