Event Automation: Guest List Communications and Management
Wherever you see repetition, there is good potential for automation. Take guest list management and planning, which are very time consuming when all the activities that stem from them are done manually.
You’re checking off multiple lists, comparing them, and updating them, all while doing everything else that is required of you. If you think about your myriad of tasks in list management and planning, you’ll likely uncover many repetitive activities on your end.
The following approaches help optimize planning events, increasing guest numbers, and improving guest list management. Pick event tools with strong automation capabilities or robust APIs to rethink your event through the lens of how you can communicate more effectively with existing data.
Guest List Communications
When hosting an event, the data from the guest list is essential to your undertaking. You need it to be in real-time, accessible to multiple team members/staff and volunteers, and organized in a way that makes sense and is easily understandable.
You don’t need to recreate the wheel; strategically selecting tools, like zkipster, that automate many of these connections will minimize your need to introduce APIs to connect your guest lists to your email communications. However, an API can sometimes help bridge the gap when you do need to connect multiple key tools so that data is flowing freely and accurately.
Top benefits of using automations to assist with guest communications
- Easily accessible personalized information. For event planners, this is a big help through filtering the guest list and for attendees in areas like event reminders and aggregating sites for marketing promotion.
- Up-to-date guest data. That can be used in a variety of ways to streamline and improve communication before, during, and after your event through check-in alerts, customizable emails, and personalized thank-yous.
Here are some areas where automations can help improve guest list communications:
Guest List and Invitation Management
Ensuring that all event management tools access the most up-to-date guest list information, maintained from one ‘source of truth’ location, is goal number one. It impacts a ton of other things, ranging from seating, food and beverage, attendees decisions, to other important areas, so making sure that all tools are pulling from one accurate source will lay the groundwork for smooth sailing everywhere else.
For instance, syncing to your email tool allows you to send thank you emails to those who donated at your event without needing to export a list first. Or personalize a thank you based on the role they played at your event like sponsor, vendor, or guest.
If your guest list is not syncing with your event reminder/email tool, you run the risk of sending a sign-up reminder to someone who has just registered. This time-based mistake causes undue confusion and stress for you and your guests. They might wonder if you received their RSVP and will inquire about it, taking up additional resources to answer their question.
On the other hand, once your guest list is synced to your email system, it’s easy to keep RSVP reminders separate from guests who have already confirmed.
At some events, it’s important to alert team members to the arrival of VIPs or other important guests, press, speakers, or entertainers. In the past, someone at check-in had to be aware of the VIP list, and then text or use walkie-talkies to ensure the right team member was notified of the arrival. That’s awkward and the success of that alert rides entirely on the team at check-in. What if they’re overwhelmed and forget to notify the team as planned?
Take the potential for error and a social gaff out of check-in by automating check-in alerts through text, chat, or whatever communication tools your team uses for specific guests or guest types.
Depending on your tools, you could even create check-in alerts that would be received only by the people on the team involved in that needed action, such as a VIP coordinator receiving information about a VIP check-in.
Guest List Management
Events require a lot of behind the scenes project management that, if it’s running smoothly, guests largely don’t see. They’re not areas that require a personal touch, but that these practical management components can be just as time-consuming and detail-oriented. API technology handles details well, especially those that humans don’t always have the time for.
Top benefits to automating processes in guest list management
- Access to only preferred content and sorting capabilities with less exporting.
- Better control of data flow and organization, increased reporting opportunities as multiple tools sync.
- Notifications of changes throughout multiple systems. When multiple event management tools are used, an API can ensure they all maintain up-to-date information at every connection point.
Multi-Platform Data Management
With API technology, event planners can count on the accuracy of important data that’s reliably synced across different platforms. Data such as dates, RSVPs, calendar items, spaces, and formats (“talks,” “roundtables,” “networking”, etc.) can be made available on multiple platforms. The data can be sorted, used for personalization, connected to certain applications based on categories, and filtered for quick results.
The data can also be shared with integral members of the team of vendors. For example, instead of giving your venue a headcount, you could share your registration data through an API, and limit what’s shared based on the person you’re sharing it with and what you want them to have access to. This can be very efficient, especially in the situation of a standing mixer every week at the same establishment. Remembering what numbers were passed on and when can be exhausting, and it sets up the potential for error. Not so when the API does it for you.
Seating Chart Software
In the past, an event planner would take a registration list and create the seating chart. Whether on paper or with software, it was still a manual process of taking names from the RSVP list and arranging them accordingly (only to have new names added as the registration went on). Automating that through a tool, or connecting tools via an API if your guest management software doesn’t do it already, allows seating assignments to occur at guest check-in automatically, become visible on the guest profile so staff know exactly where everyone should be, and all that to be updated in real-time as new developments occur.
At this point, we’ve spent a lot of time talking about real-time data and availability through APIs. This carries through to event analytics as well. If you use disparate systems in your event planning, such as one for RSVPs, one for speaker management, another for traffic flow, and so on, you likely have critical attendee data flowing through several systems.
If you do, you are likely exporting this data, trying to compare and contrast it, and eventually compiling it into a report through multiple sources. This is time consuming, and you run the risk of creating errors in data comparison across multiple sheets. An API can ensure all of those systems are using the same current data to populate reports in a way to minimize exports and human comparison.