I'm a great believer in the benefits of cloud apps and don't see why one should reinvent the wheel. I recently needed an event managment app for a client site. I know there are many online apps that do event management and I thought I had an easy job before me.
BUT I needed an event management app that could accept payment in ZAR from clients making bookings. Well, It proved a mammoth task. PayPal is still not the payment of choice for most South Africans. It takes too long to load money into your account and too long to receive money (let alone some of the regulations governing how your PayPal money can be used). We live in an instant world where some people consider a page load of 250 milliseconds too long. To wait 6 working days for your money, is maybe too long.
This made the R&D phase all the more challenging. My first idea of using Constant Contact fell flat when I realized that accepting payment in ZAR was not an option. Many sign ups, logins and demo days of other apps followed... I can give personal testimony to some of the great customer service I sampled.
For future reference I've compiled a quick link list of some of the online apps I tried. Not all the apps offered a comprehensive service so I listed some that would help with at least one aspect of event management. My list contains apps/services that maybe only handled the email marketing side, or just the form creation aspect, or maybe they just offered some form of analytics that I believed could be helpful to an event management site.
So here is my round up for event management. Most of the sites below offer you a free trail period to enable you to take their product for a test drive so you can TBYB (try before you buy). Most of the options below also have PayPal as their standard form of payment.
- Constant Contact
Great product but not as many custom options as I wanted (more template customization control). This can easily be your one stop event management solution if your country has a PayPal mentality. A little bit slow to use at times (with South African DSL speed).
Easy to use, can be linked to your mail Chimp account.
For custom form creation. You can create your own landing page linked to the form, fast and easy to use. No prebuilt templates (like Wufoo). For the right project they would be great.
- Plug my event
- Event Espresso
Premium event management with Wordpress.
- Event at
- Iceberg (require a small fee to try)
email marketing with great personal customer service, I'm sure folks are saying nice things about them. They understand customer service.
- Vertical response
- Reg online
- Benchmark email
Great customer service. They offer very comprehensive tailormade solutions (that's why there are no prices on their site - they're what bespoke is to the template industry). A very comprehensive package that goes beyond just manageing your event and your attendees, they even have biz apps that help you to analyze the finacial profitability of each event. One great aspect is (if you have a merchant gateway), all your money goes straigth to you when an attendee pays/books. They do not hold the funds until after the event or until you withdraw the funds. They have embraced the fact that the world is flat and have a definate global appeal.
Got a major event on the way? Still trying to sort out what you need, but want a web presence straight away? Setting up a launching/coming soon page easy with Lauchrock is super easy. A lovey full page graphic and a simple one field form helps you get exposure and email addresses - so you get to build your database ASAP.
- Event Elephant - One of the few sites that include ZAR as a payment option.
- Wufoo - One of the easiest to use online form builders.
One of the great failings of some of the event management apps is the fact that they hold your money till AFTER the event - this means that if you have people booking for an event for the end of the year, they get to keep your money in their account until after the event. Most of the apps include PayPal as a payment option. This is a dealbreaker for local events since the tickets always have to be charged in a foreign currency.
There are usualy only two options for ticket sales - a paid event or a free event. Most of the apps also allow you to use their services for free if the event is free. Pricing also varies as each app has their own pricing plans. Some charge a monthly fee only (you are responsible for any merchant/card processing fees). Some charge a monthly fee and a processing fee per ticket (especially if you make use of their merchant/payment gateways). Some charge a flat rate per ticket while some have a sliding scale, based on how many tickets and how many events.