How to find the right booking system for your event
What’s the right event booking system for you?
The life of an event organiser is never a boring, quiet time. It can be fun, chaotic and busy, and it’s often not without hassles. Just when you think you’re starting a day on a good note, you might get a call saying, “I’ve paid for the event but didn’t get a confirmation.” That can definitely change the tone of the morning.
Luckily, there’s technology to help with this hectic lifestyle. A good event booking system will make you more efficient, improve your revenue stream, boost attendee engagement, and deliver valuable data insights while being affordable. So...not much to ask for, right?
Finding the perfect booking system that meets all your needs isn’t an easy task. You need a way to track RSVPs and keep your guest list updated. At the same time, you want attendees to have a frictionless experience while signing up to your event.
How do you find the right event booking system for you? Before you even start your search, you should...
Define your goals
Before you look at the technology itself, decide what your goals are and what exactly you need an event booking system to do. Get your team (if any) on board and ask them what kind of needs they have within their roles and what problems they need solutions for.
The biggest mistake people make when it comes to off-the-shelf solutions is simply going with a booking system provider just because everyone is talking about it or because they know others who have adopted it.
So ask yourself what you want to get out of the event software. Write down a prioritised list of must-have and nice-to-have features if it helps.
Know your audience
Who are the bulk of your event-goers? What exactly do you offer them and how can you exceed their expectations? What age is your demographic and what type of events are they expecting from you?
Answers to these questions will help guide you in selecting the right solution for tracking RSVPs. The software you use has to match with what your attendees expect. Make sure your event booking system fits with your attendees’ preferred way of registering for events - be it a desktop solution or a smartphone app.
Think long term
Find a tech solution that’s future-ready and will scale well with your business. Check whether the event solution provider offers ongoing product updates, has an active blog, regular newsletters, and so on. That’s how you know that the company is making efforts to stay current and isn’t a fly-by-night business.
Most importantly, pick a platform that you can use over several events and over a long period of time. There will always be an introductory onboarding period where you and your team will have to learn to use the system to get the most out of it. That’s why it’s always best to aim for one that will be sustainable in the long run.
Once you’ve tackled the above, you’re ready to dive into the selection process. Here’s what to watch out for when finding a booking system for events.
What to look for in an event booking system
While there are numerous factors and features to consider, here are a few key priorities.
1. User friendliness
An event booking system is only useful if you can, well, use it. Ideally, there should be little to no learning curve to create an event and start registering guests. The best systems will have an intuitive interface that doesn’t require any prior knowledge or reading through extensive online manuals.
You also want to pick a system that meets the basic event planning and management needs without sacrificing usability.
2. Advanced guest tracking
By tracking RSVPs and registering attendees, you can quickly get a picture of your guests and their preferences. Therefore, your booking platform must keep track of the data and give you real-time information on the number of guests, as well as ability to export this data for use elsewhere.
Ideally, the system will also enable easy sorting of guests by category such as VIP, past attendee, new attendee, etc. Finally, when guests arrive to your event, a good event booking system will speed up check in by letting you scan their tickets and tick them off from the guest list automatically.
3. Promotional tools
Successful events require marketing. Your event booking system should provide you with the tools that make promoting the event easier. For instance, it could add one-click sharing buttons to help guests share the event with their friends on social media.
In addition, a robust event platform will enable direct communication between you and your guests so that you can capture e.g. their dietary preferences ahead of the event, as well as keep them informed about changes, programme details, and so on.
Your event booking platform should be highly compatible with your other apps, systems, and software. It should be able to connect with other systems like your attendee engagement tool, budgeting software, etc. Alternatively, it should offer you the option to easily export relevant data for use with other tools.
It’s a plus if the booking system also has a smartphone application that helps both you and your guests keep relevant details at hand and scan tickets without having to print them out.
5. Ease of navigation
Depending on the event, you’ll have huge numbers of potential attendees trying to register from all over the world. Is the booking system you use ready for a sudden influx of visitors coming to your page?
Go for a system that will is simple and intuitive to navigate. Whether you want guests to register online or download a PDF and carry a hard copy, the system should make either of these interactions a breeze.
6. Support for any type of event
While there are event booking tools that focus on a specific niche (such as electronic music concerts), many are suitable for any type of event.
Unless your event falls into a well-defined niche, go for a system that doesn’t limit you. Be it a marathon or a stand-up comedy show, the software should provide you with the tools to easily handle your specific requirements.
7. Automatic confirmations
Wouldn’t it be stressful to reply to each of the registrants personally? This is where your online event booking system can help with successful payment confirmations. Every time a user registers or buys a ticket for the event, the system will generate an automatic follow-up email with their receipt and ticket attached.
This way, your backend job can be reduced considerably. Plus your buyers will get a confirmation mail in just a few seconds after a successful payment. Isn’t that nice?
8. Reaching new audience
You might have a set audience to cater to, but you probably want to get discovered by people outside your network as well, right?
Your best bet is to ensure your event booking software facilitates this. Does it give you the option to create a fully mobile-optimised event page that you can share with external parties? Are the pages on the site easily discoverable by those who search for events? Are there sharing buttons that let people spread the word?
9. Sales tracking & data insights
Every event has a budget and financial goals to meet (even if it’s just to cover the organisational costs). You’ll need robust transaction data to find out where and when your guests buy tickets or register for the event.
You also want to pick an event booking system that helps you handle discounts and special offers that vary from your standard price. If you can, find a system that provides an overview of which marketing channels are driving traffic and some demographic data about your attendees.
Critically, all of this data should be easily exportable. You may also want to have a dashboard that consolidates sales data in scannable reports.
In itself, a great booking system will save you money you’d otherwise spend on manpower to handle event registrations, ticket sales, admin work, and so on. All of that can be done automatically.
But there’s different event booking software out there. Some platforms charge you a monthly fee, so you’d be paying upfront before seeing any profits from your event. Alternatively, you can find no-risk booking systems that only take a small cut when you sell a ticket. That way, you’re spending any money upfront, which can be critical for event organisers on a tight budget.
Whatever event booking system you end up going for, keep the above criteria in mind to find a solution that works for you.
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With Billetto, you can sell paid tickets, register guests, accept donations, and - of course - offer merchandise vouchers. Interested? Get started below or learn more about Billetto features.