Events and activities have different significance for different organizations. Some businesses structure their product offerings around activities (white water rafting companies, tour companies, etc.) while others use activities to supplement their offerings and further engage various audiences (staff retreats, nonprofit fundraisers, company class sales, etc.).
No matter the significance of the activity, it takes extensive planning to make sure your goals are accomplished when hosting. The right software helps businesses and organizations more effectively and easily plan for activity success.
Event management takes more than just event management software, and activity management requires more than only waiver software. While both are necessary, you need more. To make sure your organization hosts activities and events as effectively as possible, it takes the perfect combination of solutions.
In this guide, we’re going to walk through some of the types of software that organizations successfully use to host activities and events.
- Waiver Software
- CRM Software
- Event Planning Software
- Ticketing Software
- CMS Software
- Marketing Automation Software
- Performance Management Software
Ready to learn more about software and how each type can impact your next business activity? Let’s get started.
1. Waiver Software
The top priority for your business when you decide to host an activity or event should be security. Ensuring your activity participants are safe and that your business is released of liability if anything does happen is key for a successful event.
You’re probably reading this, nodding, thinking “of course, security is important.” But really think about it for a minute. Here are two scenarios that could happen to anyone:
- You’re hosting an activity, let’s say white water rafting, and someone doesn’t listen during the instructions you give to the participants. They’re goofing off and not paying attention. Once they’re in the raft, they stand up and end up falling in the water. Luckily, the only injury sustained is a sprained ankle, however, the participant still tries to sue your organization for the healthcare costs.
- You’re hosting a white water rafting trip again, but this time, you’ve had several employees call in sick. One of your newer members conducts the instructions but may have forgotten a point or two when teaching the participants. Not knowing best practices, someone falls out of the raft, sprains their ankle, and, again, tries to sue your organization for the healthcare costs.
Both of these situations are terrifying and something we wouldn’t wish on anyone. And, of course, these are just two scenarios out of thousands that could occur. However, the lawsuit that comes from any situation like this could put you out of business.
So how do you make sure everyone is safe? Choose software that best communicates safety regulations and policies.
The right waiver software offers opportunities to release liability for your company but also:
- It provides standard safety videos for participants to watch before they sign. This ensures everyone gets the same safety information before even showing up to the activity.
- Asks custom questions that flag participants when certain answers are chosen. For instance, you might flag someone who has asthma so that you can ask further questions and ensure safety during the activity.
- Takes a photo of the person signing the waiver to make sure those signing your waivers are truly the ones participating in the activity.
While these are some of our favorites, Smartwaiver explains how other customization features can help keep your business and event participants safe during your events and activities. Events and activities are more fun when everyone is safe.
2. CRM Software
As your organization prepares an incredible event for participants, make sure your CRM software is up-to-scratch. Having the right CRM solution can help businesses in everyday affairs track sales progress, marketing materials, and other important data.
CRM software is the central hub of software for your organization. And if it’s not, it should be. Your CRM helps with various aspects of your event, such as:
- Marketing. Your business’s CRM tracks the different interactions you have with activity participants and potential participants. Segment your customers and potential participants so that you can personalize the message you’re sending for a better turnout.
- Invitations. Is your event or activity more exclusive? Use the contact information in your CRM to invite only the relevant audiences. You can focus on your business partners, high-value customers, or any other pertinent group.
- Activity tasks. Using your CRM, assign the necessary activity tasks to the most relevant staff members in order to make sure everything gets done in a timely manner. Assigning individual tasks with due dates ensures your event planning stays on track.
- Choosing activities. Use the information in your CRM to decide what types of events will best resonate with your intended audience. Tracking and interpreting the interests of your audience can inform the activity you plan for the best turnout.
Having the best CRM for your business is just the first step. You can also use the features within the CRM software to inform the decisions you make and the planning process for your upcoming activity.
3. Event Planning Software
Event planning software, depending on the solution you choose, can help you with everything from initial preparation to the registration of your event.
Some lightweight solutions will only allow you to set up a registration page for your event. However, more complex software allows your organization to manage more aspects of your event.
When you’re researching potential event planning and management software, you may consider looking for features such as:
- Meeting scheduling
- Attendee management
- Microsite creation
- Live polls
- Gamification tools
- Speaker management
- Discussion forums
- Reporting tools
This may seem like a lot; that’s because it is! The important thing is that you examine the exact features your organization needs before investing. With so many options out there, it’s important that you know what you need before you consider any of them.
Even better? Look for a software solution that is accessible through a mobile app. Pathable’s mobile event app guide explains that these solutions are designed to enhance the experiences of both attendees and planners by centralizing the management process on smartphones.
4. Ticketing Software
Ticketing software is a key necessity for events, especially if you’re selling the tickets for a profit. This could look slightly different depending on the type of event you’re hosting. For instance:
- Formal events such as a gala might require formal invitations to specific audience members.
- Informal events could be opened up to the public, which would require additional marketing to get the word out and entice more people to attend.
If you’re not trying to make a profit on the event tickets, you might set up a simpler registration process. For instance, your waiver solution may double as your registration solution. This works best for smaller events or activities that may need more lightweight ticketing solutions.
If your waiver software offers a check-in solution, simply require attendees to fill out the waiver. Then, upon their arrival at the event, your staff members can check people off of the list of those who signed the waiver.
5. CMS Software
When it comes to marketing your event and activity opportunities, the central hub of information will be found on your website. Therefore, the CMS software you host your business’s site can make a big difference.
Make sure your CMS allows you to design an effective and well-organized website so that it’s easy for potential attendees to navigate and access relevant event and activity information. We recommend:
- Including a button from your home page that links people directly to the registration page.
- Adding your digital waiver to your website so that attendees can sign immediately while registering.
- Featuring an event calendar page on the website so that people know exactly when events occur.
- Embedding your registration on the website so that attendees aren’t redirected to another site when they sign up.
Make sure your CMS software allows your team to make the necessary updates and add relevant features and information with minimal struggle. Many smaller businesses may not have a dedicated coding expert on the team, so an easy-to-use CMS is key for success.
6. Marketing Automation Software
Marketing automation software is a great resource to help get the word out about the activities you host. For instance, you may decide to automate:
- Social media posts. Keep an active presence on social media without taking too much time out of your day. Marketing automation software will help you schedule posts leading up to the event so that you can set them, then worry about other aspects of the event.
- Email marketing. Write email templates to go out to segments of your supporters. Auto-populate attendee information to personalize each email such as their name, the day they’re attending the event, and the day they registered.
- Direct mail templates. Similar to email marketing, you should auto-populate the key information that attendees want to see when they open an email. Personalizing the letters will ensure they have a larger impact.
7. Performance Management Software
If your business is centered around the activity you host, you’ll need to make sure your staff members are doing their part to support and grow the business. Performance management software helps you hire and evaluate your staff members to ensure you can grow your business.
According to this article, performance management software helps your business to:
- Maintain consistency and objectivity in evaluations
- Identify gaps in the employee training process
- Provide feedback to your employees and help them grow
- Work toward company goals
- Streamline logistics and management reviews
When your staff members feel more prepared to plan and execute the activity, they’ll create a better impression on your attendees.
When you consider marketing automation, make sure you’re thinking in the long-term. After your event is over, your marketing team shouldn’t relax just yet.
Instead, you need to continue reaching out. Thank your attendees for attending with an automated (yet personalized) email. Then, make sure you save the new information you’ve collected about your attendees for future communications.
Bonus! Make sure your marketing automation software integrates with your CRM so that you can easily pull important data from the database and personalize outreach both before and after the event.
As your business plans the next big activity or works to improve your current activities and events, make sure you have the right software stack to streamline activities and improve the experience of your attendees. These solutions will help ensure you’re prepared to make the best impression possible while streamlining activities and saving time.