Plugging Into Eventware Technology

Event planning is a process that includes scads of details that all need to be perfectly timed and balanced, from selecting sites to sourcing caterers to driving attendance. While traditional event-planning tools have included phones, faxes, and binders, new technologies are changing the way events are planned, marketed, and managed. Event technology, called "eventware," is a set of Web-based tools that allow planners to put critical event-planning functions on autopilot by improving the effectiveness and efficiency of five major event-planning components:

1. Announcements, Invitations, and Reminders

One way to shorten the event-planning cycle is to get notices and reminders out to your attendees more quickly. Most eventware includes an e-invite option that allows event planners to e-mail invitations to a large list (or segmented list) of attendees. The three primary benefits of this Web-based function are that it serves as the central repository for the master invitation list, letting meeting planners track attendees throughout the entire cycle from invitation to post-event survey; provides attendees with an online place to seek more information about the event, thereby reducing the administrative burden on planners; and gives attendees a fast and convenient way to respond, so meeting planners can follow up.

2. Registration/ Attendance

Gone are the days when event attendees had to fax or mail handwritten registration forms. Now, attendees can go to an event Web site to enter their contact information, meal requirements, and other details directly into an online system that captures this data and makes it accessible to event planners in real time. This means that event organizers can see registrants and track interest levels throughout the process and even change details on the fly to accommodate attendees.

3. Secure Payment

The online credit card payment processing tool available with most eventware systems enables organizations to securely collect registration fees online, rather than rely on time-intensive personal or business checks. By making it fast and easy to collect attendance costs via the Internet, these tools cut down on overhead and outsourcing costs that often come with paid registrations. Ev-entware also helps organizations give their members and other participants the peace of mind that credit card information is transmitted safely and directly.

4. Analysis and Reporting

Eventware also enables an organization to utilize a powerful data collection and analysis functionality that takes event planning to a whole new level of sophistication. This technology can maintain all attendee information, generate important event reports, conduct participant analysis, and provide essential feedback to event planners. New developments in eventware allow meeting planners to analyze attendance rates, compare meetings, and view historical attendance trends to analyze the potential success of an event.

5. Detail Management

Finally, eventware helps planners manage the more time-intensive and strategic aspects of meeting planning. Online storage of event documentation, checklists, timelines, project folders, and e-mail lists transition many of the traditionally paper-laden tasks to an organized and secure electronic system, eliminating binders, scattered documents, and stacks of to-do lists.

Ron Brumbarger is the president and chief executive officer of BitWise Solutions, Inc., a Carmel, IN-based eventware provider. Ron can be reached at [email protected] or call (317) 805-4376 ext. 221.