Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 35 seconds

event planningIf your organization is considering hosting a conference; one of the first things you should do, before you book the venue, before you engage the speakers, is invest in a software package to help you manage the event. There are affordable tools that will handle just about any scenario. Whether your organization just needs a way to process event registration or you need a software system that is designed to help you with every aspect of the conference, from registration to breakout room assignments, you can find one to suit your needs.



The first step is to determine your organization’s needs. Do you just need a simple, inexpensive way to collect credit card payments or do you need something that will support a variety of online payments (i.e are you selling items, collecting donations).


Registration Only
If all you need is a simple registration tool then determine how many events you will have per year and their registration cost, so you can accurately judge the software’s affordability, as most registration programs charge a fee based on the cost of the registration. One of the most simple ways to collect payments is via Paypal or Google checkout.

But don’t worry, if along with the payment processing are you are looking for a system that will help you manage lodging, setup a conference website, issue name tags, and give you the option of offering sign-ups for multiple sessions within the same event, there is software out there that can help you.

A package such as Eventbrite includes extra features that go beyond simple registration. With it you can limit attendees, give simple surveys, and post events to Eventful or Google Calendar. Your registrants will be taken out of Eventbrite to PayPal or Google Checkout to site to finish the credit card transaction. Eventbrite bills your organization for 2.5 percent of the registration price, with a minimum of $0.99 and a maximum of $9.95 per registration. In addition, you also pay the standard PayPal or Google Checkout fees.

If you want a more robust system, one that can seamlessly integrate the registration form into your website, or allow registrants to register for multiple tracks or workshops within an event then you need an event management package.

Cvent is an online event-management tool that includes combines event registration with support for multi-day, multi-track events. Cvent offers you seamless integration with your website. It can also export data or create a programmatic feed from Cvent to your database.

If you organization is looking for a dedicated event planning software platform for large scale events that include exhibitors and multiple sessions, then EventReady is what you need. It does everything from pre-registration to check-in.

EventReady gives you all the tools to manage both the attendees and the speakers/back end of the event. The system includes a way to give your attendees accreditation for attending the speakers. You can call for papers from potential speakers.

With EventReady you can manage the food and beverage & the exhibitors. You can also have the system integrate EventReady with your existing database for a streamlined solution.
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