3 Common Pitfalls in Event Management

February 1, 2022

Chris Federspiel

Chris Federspiel is the CEO and co-founder of Blackthorn.io, a leading developer of Salesforce-native apps in the events management and payments space. Since 2015, Blackthorn.io has provided companies with the acceleration and streamlined innovation needed to scale and unite their CRM with events, payments and compliance data.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the event industry has seen a complete 180 in operations, with in-person events being forced to move to virtual in response to safety protocols. And now, hybrid events are catching on as a way to provide the best of both worlds. With these changes, event managers are turning to new tools and event software to ease the often quick transition and offer the best overall experience for their audiences. 

New practices and technologies can introduce trial-and-error challenges that get in the way of creating the ultimate experience for audiences. Here are three common pitfalls of event management to consider when planning in-person, online or hybrid events.  

  1. Difficult user experience

For most events, attendee registration is one of the first and most important aspects, as, without attendees, there is no event to take place. What seems like an easy step can make or break an event and, in turn, disrupt the overall user experience.  

Many event management teams use their website and online registration forms to share essential event information. They also use these pages to gather crucial attendee information and even receive payment for registration. But a frustrating registration process will deter prospects from signing up. Event teams should ensure their event process from registration experience to post-event feedback is efficient and easy to navigate.

For a great user experience, be sure to display all the details on your landing page. During registration, be sure to request everything needed from the potential attendee. A few key items to include on your landing page and registration form: 

  • Date, time and location of the event.
  • An overview of the event, including any critical information. Speakers, session schedules, driving and parking instructions.
  • Waitlisting and special ticket options (virtual vs. in-person options or member/non-member rates, for example).
  • Pricing information and accepted payment methods.
  • Registration questions that include name, contact information and any interests that could help with follow-up communications journeys.

Using pre-built event page templates can save time, effort and money, ensure the user experience starts on the right track, and eliminate hiring someone to design or code pages and forms.  

  1. Lack of data collection and accessibility 

Data collection and accessibility are essential for events. Registration form data can point attendees toward relevant information and keep them engaged from registration through post-event follow-ups and even later in the customer journey. Teams can ensure open communication with SMS and email reminders, like instant updates for schedule changes. Organizations can easily share upcoming events and surveys.  

Without proper data collection and easy access, event organizers miss out on crucial information and interactions with their audience. Plus, the ability to access event data instantaneously within their CRM platform, such as Salesforce, can help event organizers get a 360-degree view of all prospect and customer communications and interactions. This allows them to tailor ongoing communications. For example, suppose a nonprofit asks registrants to select specific interests via a custom question in the registration form. In that case, they can use that data to automatically add them to relevant marketing journeys tied to those interests. Teams benefit by using existing automation integrations or Salesforce processes to enhance the entire customer experience, even outside of events. 

Additionally, data collection can help event organizers more efficiently report on event success. It’s becoming increasingly crucial for event teams to prove their return on investment. By obtaining metrics such as attendance numbers, attendees’ industries, job titles and more, event teams can inform their event strategies moving forward. Teams use CRM tools like Salesforce to track critical event metrics. This allows teams to have attendance information recorded directly back into their CRM tool to enable visibility in how their events impact those larger goals. 

  1. Too much manual post-event work

After the event is over, the last thing event managers want is to spend more time on it. Unfortunately, most event teams spend an immense amount of time and effort sending out follow-up emails, gathering additional data and pulling together reports. Teams save hours by completing post-event tasks with event software that’s built into their existing CRM and automation platforms. Tools devoted to streamlining event management processes allow teams to tie their attendee and event records to leads, contacts, opportunities and more. 

Additionally, teams can streamline efforts on recurring events—whether it is every week, every month or every year— by using software with cloning and recurring event features to create similar event pages and experiences. Utilizing existing assets saves hours on manually recreating event pages, key details and setting up any necessary integrations. In addition to this, companies can use existing information, like the last events’ attendee list, or coincide with current marketing efforts to share event news and updates or applicable information with those in the current pipeline.  

As the new era of hybrid events continues to evolve, so will the tools, technologies and strategies event organizers use to ensure event success. By recognizing and avoiding these common pitfalls, event teams will be better equipped to plan and execute their next event. 

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Partner Voices
Less than six months ago, Lisa Messina joined the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) as the first-ever chief sales officer after leading the sales team at Caesars Entertainment. A 12-year Las Vegas resident, Messina is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and serves on MPI International’s board of directors. TSNN had a chance to catch up with this dynamic leader and talk to her about her vision for the new role, current shifts in the trade show industry, creating more diversity and equity within the organization, and advice to future female leaders. Lisa Messina, Chief Sales Officer, LVCVA With Las Vegas becoming The Greatest Arena on EarthTM, what are some of the things you’re most excited about in your role? Our team was at The Big Game’s handoff ceremony earlier this month, and I couldn’t help but think, “We’re going to crush it next year!”  These high-profile events and venues not only drive excitement, but also provide unmatched opportunities for event planners. Allegiant Stadium hosts events from 10 to 65,000 people and offers on-field experiences. Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in Las Vegas in November, after the year-one F1 race, the four-story paddock building will be available for buyouts and will also offer daily ride-along experiences that will be available for groups. And, of course, the MSG Sphere officially announced that it will open in September, ahead of schedule, with a U2 residency. It’s going to be the most technologically advanced venue as far as lighting, sound, feel, and even scent, and it will be available for buyouts and next-level sponsorships inside and outside. There’s no ceiling to what you can do when you’re doing events in Las Vegas.  Allegiant Stadium As the trade show and convention business returns to the pre-pandemic levels, what shifts are you noticing and how do you think they will impact the industry going forward? Our trade show organizers are very focused on driving customer experience. Most of our organizers are reporting stronger exhibitor numbers and increased numbers of new exhibitors, with trade shows proving to be almost or above 2019 levels. Now our organizers are really doubling down on driving attendance and focusing on the data to provide that individualized, customized experience to help attendees meet their goals and get the best value. Some companies continue to be cautiously optimistic with their organizational spend when it comes to sending attendees, but I think it will continue to improve. As the U.S. Travel Association makes more progress on the U.S. visa situation, we also expect a growing influx of international attendees. What are some innovative ways the LVCVA helps trade show and convention organizers deliver the most value for their events? We focus on customer experience in the same way that trade show organizers are thinking about it. We got rave reviews with the West Hall Expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), so over the next two years, we will be renovating the North and the Central halls, which will include not just the same look and feel, but also the digital experiences that can be leveraged for branding and sponsorship opportunities.  Vegas Loop, the underground transportation system designed by The Boring Company, is also a way we have enhanced the customer experience. Vegas Loop at the LVCC has transported more than 900,000 convention attendees across the campus since its 2021 launch. Last summer, Resorts World and The Boring Company opened the first resort stop at the Resorts World Las Vegas , with plans to expand throughout the resort corridor, including downtown Las Vegas, Allegiant Stadium and Harry Reid International Airport. The LVCVA also purchased the Las Vegas Monorail in 2020, the 3.9-mile-long elevated transportation system that connects eight resorts directly to the convention center campus. This is the only rail system in the world that integrates fares directly into show badges and registration. For trade show organizers, these transportation options mean saving time, money and effort when it comes to moving groups from the hotels to LVCC and around the city. Also, the more we can focus on building the infrastructure around the convention center, the more it supports the customer experience and ultimately supports our trade show organizers. Scheduled to debut in Q4, Fontainebleau Las Vegas will offer 3,700 hotel rooms and 550,000 square feet of meeting and convention space next to LVCC.  What are some of the plans for advancing DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) within your organization? We’re currently partnering with instead of working with a leading consulting firm, to lay the foundation and create a solid DEI plan and be the leader when it comes to DEI initiatives. The heart of that journey with the consulting firm is also talking to our customers about their strategic approaches to DEI and driving innovation in this space.  What are your favorite ways to recharge? My husband and I have an RV and we’re outdoorsy people. So, while we have over 150,000 world-class hotel rooms and renowned restaurants right outside our doorstep, one of my favorite things to do is get out to Red Rock Canyon, the Valley of Fire, and Lake Mead. Five of the top national parks are within a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, so there’s a lot you can do. We love balancing the energy of Las Vegas with nature, and we’re noticing that a lot of attendees add activities off the Strip when they come here.  Valley of Fire What advice would you give to women following leadership paths in destination marketing? I think it’s about being laser-focused on what you want to accomplish; building a team around you that lifts you and helps you achieve your goals; and being humble and realizing that you do it as a group. No one gets this done alone. Thankfully, there are a lot of women in leadership in this organization, in our customers’ organizations, and in this city that we can be really proud of. We’re a formidable force that is making things happen.   This interview has been edited and condensed. This article is exclusively sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. For more information, visit HERE.