Event Management Solution Demo


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30-minute Webinar providing an overview of the latest event management technology.

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  • * We’ll look at how you should configure an event database, which is the foundation for all of your event technology.* Then we’ll look at event marketing, to drive audiences to attend an event* Next, online registration and attendee management, including payment processing, housing, and travel reservations* We’ll talk about preparing budgets – from initial budget estimates through contracted and actual amounts* Then we’ll look at choosing the best location for your event…* And finally we’ll discuss reporting and integration with other systems
  • To set up an event database,first figure out *Where* you should deploy the database, and then decide *how* you need to configure your event setup, so that you can achieve the desired end result.Basically, you have two deployment options:* You can deploy a web-based solution, which requires no software installation …so the set up can be very fast when you need to use the application on a tight timeline. Also, your information will be available to you, your suppliers, and the event’s hosts anywhere you have a browser with Internet access – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, worldwide.* Alternately, you have local deployment, where you install the application on your own computers or hosting environment. Local deployment has 2 major benefits: one is internal control – some organizations have legal or policy requirements that all data must be hosted internally within their firewall, or on their premises. The second major benefit is the ability to have on-site deployment at the event’s location. For example, if you have a large event, where the Internet connection is not entirely reliable, you may prefer the option of closing pre-registration, shutting down the database in your office, and bringing it on-site at the event with you on a server or laptop, so you can continue to do on-site registration and changes at the event, without worrying about network connections.Once you’ve deployed your event database, the best way to know how to configure it is to have done the event before. Unfortunately, every now and then you have to plan an event for the first time, and so the next best way is to create sample data after you’ve configured your event database, and then run through your final reports in order to make sure that what you are going to get at the end, is what you and you clients intended to have.
  • After you’ve configured your event database, let’s start to fill it with information. Next, we’ll look at event marketing, which applies when you have to drive attendance to events, as opposed to internal corporate events, for example, where all attendees are employees and attendance may be mandatory.
  • You should use multiple invitation sources to drive attendance. Your best source for invitations is from past events. So, with Certain Software, anytime a person registers for one event, we create a profile for each person, that remains in the database for future events. You can then look at any past event’s attendance history and simply send an invitation to those attendees, to announce that a new event is coming up. You should also use relevant Associations and Marketing lists. Our applications can be used for simple membership management for associations, or you can import data from a membership database or marketing list in order to send out event invitations.And finally, one of the newer sources of event attendance is social networks. Certain can integrate with social network applications, through event communities such as Pathable and Crowdvine, and tie into major social networks such as Facebook or Linkedin.One benefit of using a social network is that every time you gain an attendee, if that person announces their intention to attend your event to their social network, then all of their colleagues and friends instantly become informed about the event, and they may also decide to attend your event.
  • Next up is to look at the online registration process. In particular, how to integrate your event registration form into your event web site, and some more advanced topics such as accepting credit cards and other payment methods, and integrating hotel and travel management with your online registration system.
  • If your attendees are going to have fees associated with their registration, then your best bet is to collect payment before delivering the confirmation. Our applications are integrated with the major credit card companies and different payment methods so that you can check out the attendee at the end of their registration process, determine what their total fee is going to be, present them with a bill and payment options, and when they enter their credit card information, you can charge them in real time, returning either an error or confirmation, and the money is going to be in your bank account within 24 hours once the bank system settles out. Now whenever you accept payment methods online, you need to be very careful to handle credit card information carefully. We do this through what’s called PCI compliance. P-C-I stands for Payment Card Industry, which includes all of the major credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, etc. who got together and determined the standard for best practices for collecting credit card information online and managing that information. It covers everything from the perspective of secure encryption of information, down to employee’s background checks and credit checks, how often data is deleted, and how data is backed up. Certain Software has achieved Level 1 PCI Compliance for the 3rd year in a row. Level 1 certification is an externally audited certification, so when you look at PCI compliance among vendors, make sure that you consider the 3 different levels PCI offers and look for PCI Level 1.You also want to have secure communication with suppliers– So although our applications are PCI compliant, sometimes our users (against our recommendations) will do something like download a report with credit card information or deposits for hotels, and then email that information to their supplier or hotel. That’s a big no-no and you want to make sure that your practices follow the best practices of the Payment Card Industry. Our application allows you to, for example, to send a secure hyperlink to your hotel, who can then download the information in an encrypted manner, as opposed to going through an unsecure system like email.We also offer alternate payment options such as PayPal, “bill me later”, electronic check and wire transfers, and there is even a cash option when you are onsite, and sometimes people still deal with cash payments and you want to be able to account for the cash that is coming into the event so you can show detailed receipts to the attendee in real time.
  • Housing is a big issue for some event planners. If you’re going to have a hotel contract, where you’ve committed to a number of room nights, you need to combine registration and housing in order to give yourself the best shot at filling the room block.Registrants in general will follow the easiest path. Even if you are using two systems -- for example we show here one of Certain’s registration system connected to the popular Passkey group booking tool -- you should make these systems look and feel very much the same. And you can make the process flow seamlessly. If you instead require attendees to link out to another website where they search and complete their housing, many times the attendee will end up going to a site like Hotels.com and searching for the cheapest offer, then book that hotel as opposed to staying inside your event hotel. And this behavior can lead to expensive attrition penalties for your event.
  • Roommate matching is an option that has become a little more popular in the recession, in some cases. Sharing rooms cuts your overall room bill in half, but you have to be careful about when you use it. Some events, for example, are more appropriate for shared rooms. It seems to be popular for clients of ours with younger audiences, team building experiences such as a new hire symposium - where young adults are coming straight out of college and are okay with having 2 people per room– this is actually a good way to get to meet other members in the organization. Certain Software offers multiple roommate options: you can let attendees select their roommate, you can require attendees to have roommates selected by the planner, or you can let the attendee recommend who they would like to room with but then the planner has the final say.Matching roommates can be trouble so you have to watch out for personal preferences such as smoking, gender, and things like that. Also look out for exceptions to the rules, like married coworkers. Whereas usually “same gender” is one of the rules for roommates, you can make exceptions for married coworkers.
  • Table seating assignments are another logistical nightmare for meeting planners. You’ve probably had the experience before – you have so many people in the room and some people need special seating assignments, others must sit together, while other groups cannot be seated together. Then there’s a big column in the middle of your dining room where no one can sit without being blocked from the speaker. Our software helps you address all of these situations and more, so that you can quickly produce detailed seating charts and table tents for your guests.
  • Some events offer multi-day, multi-session formats with different tracks occurring simultaneously on different subjects. Our Session Management module allows event planners to set up a Paper submission portal for these events, where presenters can submit abstracts, reviewers and get assigned to look at these submissions and judge their qualifications for the event, and the host can choose speakers and assign their session time slot and location. This is all done online, so that the planner can track information coming in from the hundreds or thousands of presenters, reviewers, and host committee members --- without going insane.
  • With travel information, our application allows you to collect travel requests and then fulfill those with either your own internal or third party travel agency. Or you can also collect actual travel reservation information at the same time as the event registration. Now this lets you collect trip level detail of your travel reservations and that can be useful for arrival/departure manifests and also for coordinating ground transportation. Our applications also allow you to integrate with the popular online travel booking tools and GDS (global distribution systems) such as Sabre, and the booking tools Resx, GetThere. And Cliqbooks by Concur.By integrating with those applications, you can pull the real time travel reservation information into the event registration application, regardless of where that travel reservation is made (if it’s made online, directly through the airline website, through a 3rd party agency over the phone, or if it’s made through your event registration process) Regardless of how this reservation is made, by integrating nightly or periodically with GDS, we can make sure that the actual travel reservation is stored along with the event registration details.
  • After the event, you’ll want to post online surveys for your attendees, so they can rate your event and speakers and such. Certain allows you to collect separate surveys for sessions, exhibitors, hotels, and such - - and then compile and publish the results for your host and suppliers. If you collect surveys before your event, then you can let the audience help guide your agenda, and compare responses before and after the event to help calculate the event’s R-O-E, or “Return on Event”.
  • Next up is budgets.
  • Certain Software offers robust budget capability. You can create a very detailed account ledger, you can match you chart of accounts to an existing system (such as Quickbooks, Peoplesoft, or another accounting application your corporation already has implemented). We have multiple budgets that are available– they might not all apply to you, but in general you may want to have a preliminary estimate early on in the planning process, a proposed budget that comes from potential hotels and suppliers who have responded to an RFP that you’ve submitted for you event, you have the contracted or expected budget after you have actually signed the contract and have some fixed costs associated with your event, and then your actual expenses, which you can compare to your contracted to determine a variance and see if you are over or under your expected budget.Lastly, the budget can be expanded to cost-savings reports. Obviously, “Cost savings” are money that you have *not* spent, so they do not show up in a typical budget, however it is money that you saved. For example, during the negotiation process you may have negotiated a free staff room for every 25 paid rooms. Although that free staff room disappears from your cost budget, you want to make sure that you have accounted for that in a cost savings report so that you can show management, your client, the event hosts, etc. what a good job you have done.
  • For a preliminary budget estimate we do something that is a little bit unique. We allow companies to set up customized “Meetings Request Portals” for all their employees. This is where an employee can go and request an event. You collect standard event data fields in very common language: you see here the event name, earliest and latest start date, number of days for event, number of attendees, location, etc. You also select what desired meeting functions you have, and then you provide the email address of the requestor, the host for the event, and the person who needs to approve the budget.
  • This way, our system can then look at the details that you have requested for that event, compare that to custom rules established based on actual expenses from past events, and automatically, in real time, create a preliminary budget estimate that gives the event host or the requestor a ball park idea of how much the event is going to cost.-- This way they can either be shocked and decide that they need to reduce the scope of the event (number of days, or the objectives they are trying to accomplish) or they can accept that preliminary estimate and complete the meeting request to send the budget estimate off to the approver for approval. This saves the professional planning department a lot of time in that you wont have wildly inaccurate requests for events coming through before the host has seen any sort of numbers.
  • Next up we look at the process of choosing the best location for your event.
  • Certain offers a Sourcing module - which allows event planners to create “Request for Proposals” for the various suppliers that they need to fulfill for their event;… compare those responses side by side; … and then select the best supplier for your event. So in general the process looks like this: We help you create a standard request for proposal - we use the accepted practices exchange or APEX standard– which is supported by the major hotel chains through the Convention Industry Council…. {transition to next slide}
  • This standard request for proposal is then going to be submitted to various suppliers. We allow you to upload suppliers into our database with your own sales rep contacts and preferred properties. You can search for general criteria such as location, specific chain, number of rooms, size of meeting space, etc. Those requirements then are used to filter our database and present you with a list of potential matches. You review those potential matches, and then select a few that you then want to submit your RFP to.
  • Once you have submitted your RFP to the suppliers that potentially match the criteria for your event, responses start to come in. Our application allows you to make side-by-side comparisons of the positive responses. So for example, here you can see the responses of the Double tree hotel compared to the Sheraton in Overland Park. You have apples to apples comparisons of the different expenses that you would incur over the course of your event.
  • Project management allows you to manage multiple events and different project assignments simultaneously. Our application allows you to manage these different projects, including individual tasks and team member assignments, in great detail.You can track the progress of your projects– see which tasks have been completed or deferred, which don’t apply to this specific event, and which are late and may need to be assigned to somebody else.
  • Lastly I want to talk about reports and integration. This is last but not least, because once you’ve spent all of this effort putting information into your event database – reports are essentially the product that you are delivering to your clients before the event. As an event planner you have to deliver reports to your event hosts, to management, to the different suppliers that you are going to work with… and so reports become the primary method of communication in order to have a successful event.
  • First of all, Certain offers one touch reporting which allows you to create custom reports without the headaches of dealing with the database. We have a set of standard reports, but most of our clients find that while these might meet 90% of their needs, they need the ability to modify these reports slightly– have a different column here, or a different filter here… or maybe just change different header. So you can copy the standard reports, modify the name, create a new name for it yourself, and then modify the columns and layouts and data filters, and save it for future use. We also offer detailed reports for all the different database modules, that can expand as the complexity and needs of your event expand or contract.
  • In addition to the interface reports through our application, we offer a web information portal which places the key reports and different information about your events online in a secure, password protected area. Now suppliers and people you need to work with for the event can come to a web portal and view selected reports and key metrics about the event on their own schedule.
  • Beyond the standard user interface for reporting that I just showed you, we also offer an “Application Programming interface” (or API). This is used for communication with external systems, so it will allow you to integrate your event management database from Certain with other databases that you might have; such as employee databases, intranets, financial accounting applications, etc. --- and you can also exchange information with external systems from your vendors, hoteliers, travel agents, and different suppliers.
  • Now the API is definitely an advanced feature that sometimes requires custom development by our customers or ourselves; and here I show an example of our API documentation that is available at API.certain.com… But mainly I just want to let you know that whatever extension of the event management database that you need, Certain Software’s products can handle that. We have used our API in the past for applications such as Single Sign-on-- So when employees log on to their corporate intranet, they are automatically logged in to the event management application, and the online registration forms will be pre-populated with the information from their employee database.We have also used the API to automate reports. Other systems, such as ticket fulfillment or financial systems, can automatically pull report information in tab-delimited text or Excel format periodically - once a night, once a week…whatever is needed. And our API offers a full set of web services. Web services are common, emerging standards among developers of different web-based applications that allow you to pass data between two applications. Certain Software supports this programming mode fully.
  • So that ends the overview of Certain Software’s event management solutions. We now have some time for questions and answers. If you have any questions, please enter them into the chat window. I’ll now turn this back over to *HOST* HOST: How hard is it to make my event website look like the ones you show?-The websites that I showed were some of the best ones that our customers have done, but there is no reason that anybody couldn’t make their websites look this good. Customers often come to us without anything, wanting us to create a website from scratch, but even more often they will have an existing website from last year’s event or a corporate website, that their marketing group has created that needs to be matched– if you do have that existing website, then it is a very easy process to create a matching website and registration form with the same look and feel as the existing site. It takes a few hours for an expert user to do this… Our customers can either do it themselves or they can contract our support group to do this– our applications are very flexible. We can simply take the existing address of the website you want us to match, download all of the images, styles, colors, fonts, etc. from that website and apply it to your new event website, review it, make a few changes, and then go live. One of the nice things about our applications is that once you have created that custom display shell, it is available for all of your future events. You simply copy an event you’ve done in the past, and create a new event with a new date, time, and location. The work you have invested into the custom look and feel of your event or registration website will be retained for future events.HOST: What does it take to integrate an event portal into my company intranet?-The event portal that I showed for the meeting requests site fits very well into your company intranet and there are 3 steps to do that. -First of all, you have to create the event portal in our application– We implement our system for your company and give you a custom domain name such as events.yourcompanyname.com and we can configure the portal with the look and feel of your company intranet and set up any custom questions you may need to ask in your meeting planning process-- such as what the meeting and travel policies are and so on. -The next step is to integrate this into your intranet. To do this, we simply give your IT group or whoever is maintaining your intranet, the web address of this new web portal you have created, and they add it into your intranet’s navigation via hyperlink or a tab somewhere so that people can find where they need to go to request an event, register for events, look at the status of past events, and so on. -The 3rd step is to implement single sign on. What this means is that when your employees log into your intranet, the intranet knows who they are and knows all of their employee information from your HR database for example. Then when they click on this link you just added to go to this event portal, we work with your IT group to add about a days work to make a connection called single sign on between the intranet and our application, and this means that when your employees click on that link, they won’t have to sign in again when they come into our events portal. The intranet will tell our system who they are and that they are authenticated as an authorized user of the application. Then, the events portal can pre populate their forms, know which events they have requested, which ones they have approved, and so on, and show them a personalized events page based on their sign in information.HOST: Does your supplier database just consist of hotels or can you use it for other suppliers too?- The 30,000 properties mentioned for the supplier database were mostly hotels but application does not restrict you to hotels and you can actually submit or create multiple RFPs for each event. So you could have one RFP for your hotels, and another RFP for say audio/visual companies…it depends on how large your event is and how much of the event you are going to outsource for multiple suppliers. So you can create these multiple RFPs and if you have a list of suppliers you have worked with in the past, you can submit that information to us and we will clean up the data and make sure there are no duplications and then import it into our application within 24 hours. So we primarily use our supplier database for hotels but there is no reason why you couldn’t use the database for other suppliers as well--
  • Event Management Solution Demo

    1. 1. Modern Event Management Software<br />Rick Borry, Chief Software Architect, Certain Software<br />After founding Register123 in 1998 as a leading early online event registration tool, Rick joined Certain Software in a 2001 acquisition. Since 2005, Dr. Borry has been an active member of the APEX Technology Advisory Committee, developing XML standards for the group travel industry through the Open Travel Alliance.<br />About Certain Software<br /><ul><li> Global offices in San Francisco, Seattle, London, Brisbane, and Sydney
    2. 2. 1,500 Customers in 50 countries, handling >8 million annual registrations
    3. 3. Certain Software develops events management software solutions for corporations, meeting management companies, higher education and associations.</li></li></ul><li>Agenda<br />Configuring an event database<br />Event marketing<br />Online registration<br />Accepting credit cards<br />Housing and travel<br />Budgets<br />Choosing the best location<br />Reports and Integration<br />
    4. 4. Configure the event database with the entire event lifecycle in mind<br />Deployment options:<br />Web – no installation, available everywhere 24/7<br />Local – internal control, on-premise & on-site<br />Best way to configure an event is to use your last event as a starting point<br />Next best: Run through sample data and reports<br />Source: National Business Travel Association (NBTA)<br />
    5. 5. Agenda<br />Configuring an event database<br />Event marketing<br />Online registration<br />Accepting credit cards<br />Housing and travel<br />Budgets<br />Choosing the best location<br />Reports and Integration<br />
    6. 6. Use multiple invitation sources to drive event attendance<br />Past events<br />Associations<br />Marketing lists<br />Social Networks<br />
    7. 7. Speaking to a group is harder than speaking to one person<br />Customize:<br />Target the message to the audience<br />Personalize:<br />Increase relevance<br />Add personal touch<br />Appeal visually:<br />Use HTML<br />Minimalist design reduces distraction from message<br />
    8. 8. Agenda<br />Configuring an event database<br />Event marketing<br />Online registration<br />Accepting credit cards<br />Housing and travel<br />Budgets<br />Choosing the best location<br />Reports and Integration<br />
    9. 9. Customize your event Web site for visual appeal and functionality<br />“WYSIWYG” interface means no programming<br /><table width="100%“ cellspacing="0"><br /> <tr><br /> <td><br /> <imgsrc="/event/accounts/usmint20030620074751/bannerBottom2.jpg" alt=“Third Annual Certain Users Group" align="top" width="593" height="52"><br /> </td><br /> </tr><br /></table><br />
    10. 10. 2<br />3<br />1<br />1<br />2<br />3<br />Add your custom graphics and logo<br />Collect required or optional data<br />Customize questions and the event program<br />Online Registration forms collect data<br />
    11. 11. Collect payment prior to confirmation<br /><ul><li>Handle credit card information carefully
    12. 12. PCI compliance
    13. 13. Secure communication with suppliers
    14. 14. Alternate payment methods
    15. 15. Paypal, Bill Me Later, eCheck, Cash</li></li></ul><li>Combine registration and housing to prevent attrition<br />Booking the event hotel should be the easy path<br />
    16. 16. Sharing rooms cuts the room bill in half, but handle with care<br /><ul><li>Some events are more appropriate for room-sharing
    17. 17. Younger audience
    18. 18. Larger hotel rooms
    19. 19. Team-building experience
    20. 20. Matching roommates can be a headache
    21. 21. Personal preferences
    22. 22. Married co-workers</li></li></ul><li>Allocate tables and seating assignments<br />Select from standard or custom room layouts<br />Print table tents and seating charts<br />
    23. 23. Use Session Management to organize speakers, reviewers, and time slots<br />Submit abstracts<br />Review papers online<br />Assign speakers and sessions<br />
    24. 24. Collect travel requests or reservation information with event registration<br />Travel requests<br />Trip-level reservation detail<br />Ground transportation<br />Arrival / Departure manifests<br />Integrate with GDS<br />Sabre, Resx, GetThere, Concur Cliqbooks<br />
    25. 25. 3<br />2<br />1<br />1<br />2<br />3<br />Create custom confirmation pages<br />Automatically generate confirmation emails<br />Provide custom links to inform attendees<br />Online and e-mail confirmations for attendees save time<br />
    26. 26. Post-event surveys provide feedback<br />Separate surveys for sessions, events, exhibitors<br />
    27. 27. Agenda<br />Configuring an event database<br />Event marketing<br />Online registration<br />Accepting credit cards<br />Housing and travel<br />Budgets<br />Choosing the best location<br />Reports and Integration<br />
    28. 28. Detailed budgets provide before and after comparison<br />Create detailed account ledger<br />Budgets available:<br />Preliminary Estimate<br />Proposed<br />Contracted<br />Actual<br />Cost-savings reports<br />
    29. 29. Collect Meeting Request from host<br />Collect standard and custom data fields<br />Enter email for Requester (Host) and Approver for routing<br />Select desired meeting functions<br />
    30. 30. Meeting Request preliminary budget estimate gives the host a reality check<br />System estimates budget from custom rules<br />Host edits or accepts meeting request<br />
    31. 31. Agenda<br />Configuring an event database<br />Event marketing<br />Online registration<br />Accepting credit cards<br />Housing and travel<br />Budgets<br />Choosing the best location<br />Reports and Integration<br />
    32. 32. Prepare Request For Proposal<br />Use the event specification to create standard RFP<br />Convention Industry Council supports APEX standard<br />
    33. 33. Use global supplier database to search for potential venues<br />Search properties, select potential suppliers <br />
    34. 34. Organize supplier responses for true side-by-side comparison<br />Excel reports:<br />Side-by-side comparison<br />Room block comparison<br />Cost Analysis<br />
    35. 35. Project Management to organize multiple events simultaneously<br />Manage projects, tasks, team members<br />Track of progress and late assignments<br />
    36. 36. Agenda<br />Configuring an event database<br />Event marketing<br />Online registration<br />Accepting credit cards<br />Housing and travel<br />Budgets<br />Choosing the best location<br />Reports and Integration<br />
    37. 37. One-Touch Reporting allows custom reports without database headaches<br />Copy standard reports, modify, and save<br />Reports for all event database modules<br />
    38. 38. Web Information Portal places key metrics and reports online<br />Secure, protected access to selected reports<br />
    39. 39. API allows different technology systems to communicate<br />User Interface (UI)<br />Application interface<br />Web Information Portal<br />Application Programming Interface (API)<br />System to system<br />Integrate event management, other company databases<br />
    40. 40. Certain offers multiple integration options<br />Single Sign-On, Automated reports, Web services<br />http://api.certain.com<br />
    41. 41. Questions & Answers<br />Please enter questions into the Chat window<br />Rick Borry, Ph.D.<br />Certain Software<br />Email: rborry@certain.com<br />www.certain.com<br />P: 415-345-2715 <br />F: 415-353-5335<br />About Certain Software<br /><ul><li> Global offices in San Francisco, Seattle, London, Brisbane, and Sydney
    42. 42. 1,500 Customers in 50 countries, handling >8 million annual registrations
    43. 43. Certain Software develops events management software solutions for corporations, meeting management companies, higher education and associations.</li>