Event registration software enters an exciting new phase

Registration software used for meetings and events continues to develop at a breakneck pace, with advancements looming in areas such as increased customization and facial recognition, which soon could eliminate passwords and provide easier and more secure ways of protecting identities and data.

“Convention Data Services [CDS] is actively pursuing facial recognition—a technology for speedier, secure, on-site check-ins at our events,” says John Kimball, president and CEO of CDS, which provides event registration, business intelligence and lead management partner services to show organizers worldwide. “Attendee tracking is becoming more common—and more accurate—in our industry. We’re also seeing an explosion in the self-serve market, looking for more sophisticated and flexible solutions.”

Opposing but Complementary Trends

Adrien Petersen, chief technology officer for Eventcore—which provides event technology for events—says that one of the most significant trends in the last several years has been big names in SaaS event tech scooping up smaller solutions and building platforms that offer “soup to nuts” options for mass-market style events.

“This advance gives brands a way to get into the event game, build their experience and start using events as part of the revenue stream—all good things for the event industry in general,” Petersen says. “Yet, there’s been a reverse trend happening at the same time, with a swing back toward niche in event tech. We see innovative solutions focusing on the one thing companies do exceedingly well, and integrating their tech with other best-in-breed solutions.

“This opened up a whole new reality for event planners. They could create a bespoke event registration tech deck, a built-to-order solution to meet their event’s precise needs. And that changed the game for a lot of high-visibility, high-complexity events. It saved a tremendous amount of internal or contract hours, not just in development and coding costs trying to customize SaaS and building work-arounds, but across the board.”

Petersen explains that the hotel and registration data used for an event can now “live in the same silo,” which eliminates a considerable amount of manual work and potential errors. Form completion rates are higher because a site built for a planner’s exact needs is more personally relevant to attendees, and a “deck” of different vendors—based on the specific technology needs of the event—gives planners control.

Around the Corner

Kimball and Petersen also predicted upcoming developments in event registration software.

“Soon to be gone are the days of registering for an event on a computer, printing out confirmations and checking in at events,” Kimball said. “Attendees will soon expect to complete the entire registration journey through one platform on a single device, including on-site, mobile check-in.

“We’re also entering the age of individually tailored experiences. Enhanced attendee tracking will enable show organizers to deliver hyper-personalize content and experiences to each registrant.”

Exciting as the developing tools are, they will all need to address a much more pedestrian, but crucially important matter—security.

“Everyone is talking about the sexy technology developments around VR experiences, facial recognitions, etc., but one area of advancement that must correspond with all these technology advancements is consumer data privacy and controls,” Petersen says. “Whether the data that is collected by these new technologies is considered any more sensitive than what has traditionally been collected, there is no question that these technologies—including facial recognition, thumbprint/grid and tracking by cameras—greatly increase the quantity of data that is being held. Event technology is evolving to meet these data concerns.”

6 Things to Look for When Choosing Registration Software

Joe Ciliberton, global director of sales and marketing for EventsAir—an event management platform for planners—recommends that planners ask the following questions when choosing registration software for a meeting or an event.

  1. How well does it interface with other aspects of the event, such as the attendee app, contact database, financials, accommodations and travel?
  2. Is it easy to set up and manage?
  3. Does it have the ability to customize registration workflows?
  4. Can it manage different customer and fee types?
  5. Is it in compliance with GDPR and data security tools?
  6. Does it have PCI security certification?