Invitation and attendee management is one of the most important trades in the planning and implementation of events. Simply put, “Without guests, no event!” And since attendee management is also usually at the beginning of any event planning process, it’s a good idea to start thinking about the right approach early on.
The first question that often comes to mind is, “Do it yourself or hand it out to a service provider?” There are good reasons for both and I would like to contrast some thoughts in this post.
The first question to ask is whether it is a single event (e.g. an anniversary) or whether there are a larger number of events in the company over the year that might justify the purchase of an in-house solution or attendee management software. For a single event, the acquisition of an internal tool is usually not worthwhile. Here, a service provider who can configure and provide a system on an ad hoc basis is usually more flexible and also faster to implement.
For multiple or recurring events, using your own attendee management software can be useful and also cost-saving. The first thing to check is what requirements the various formats entail and what range of functions is needed in a system. A conference lasting several days and costing participants money entails different requirements in terms of registration and guest management than a simple evening event for 500 customers and employees.
Another question that arises – are there sufficient internal resources to deal with the acquisition, implementation and subsequent operation of an in-house solution.
In our experience, internal event departments are usually chronically understaffed and tasked with many different tasks and parallel events. Here, outsourcing attendee management to a specialized service provider can free up valuable resources for the other tasks and free up the event department.
Timing is also an important criterion for or against a proprietary system. Events are being decided at ever shorter notice, and lead times are becoming correspondingly shorter. However, the market for subscriber management software is quite confusing and heterogeneous – just defining the requirements, selecting the service providers and dealing with the various tools and licensing models can take several months. And in-house IT hasn’t even had a say yet …
Last but not least, you should be clear about what additional services are needed.
The pure software is only one aspect of participant management. Full-service providers offer a range of complementary services, starting with design, invitation management, the provision of guest hotlines, special functions such as seating or hotel management, or even on-site support for accreditation including technology and personnel.
Still have questions about which approach is right for your event?
We will be happy to advise you!