I’ve been to a lot of events during my time here in San Francisco. Whether they’re for parties at conferences or special seminars where learning can be done or just for private gatherings to keep track of RSVPs, there’s always some way to register. Of course, you could go the most simplistic route by establishing a Facebook event page, but let’s face it, not everyone has a Facebook account and it doesn’t really look professional for some businesses. Sure, there are other options to use for registering your attendees that are probably very robust, but if you want to look for something pretty simple, there are at least three options for you to choose from. But how can you tell them apart? I’ve looked at these solutions and here’s what I found that could affect your next event registration process.
Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, three event registration systems have emerged as some of the most commonly used platforms for companies to manage their attendees. I looked at these because for small businesses, they seemed more appropriate, useful and hopefully simple to handle and implement.
The first contestant is Eventbrite – an event management tool that recently secured a new round of funding worth $20 million and is based in San Francisco. Likewise, two other competitors are also based in the Silicon Valley: Mogotix, a fresh new startup that emerged just within the past year and Eventbee, known to handle event registration for several conferences and other large events.
I wondered how I would prove which event system would actually work. It’s a really difficult thing to try and prove, especially since I believe it’s up to you to decide which one you want. But what I can do is offer you a perspective on what benefits each of these services offer your small business and let you decide.
The first benefit of using any of these services is that it’s free to set up. There’s no harm in creating an account and as long as your events are free, you will not incur any costs. Also, often times we’re trying to find the most exact way to have people find our event registration, so with either Eventbrite, Mogotix or Eventbee, you’re able to easily create a memorable or vanity web address that you can easily pass along to your customers and attendees.
Now for some subtle, yet important differences.
If you look at the costs associated with each of these services, the one constant is that it’s free to sign up and also there’s no charge to you should you have a free event. However, if you start charging admission, there’s going to be a fee associated with that. For Eventbrite, the fee is $0.99 + 2.5% of the ticket value per ticket. Eventbee charges just $1 per ticket for service fees (but you still have to pay credit card processing charges directly to the credit card company) and Mogotix is the most affordable with $0 fees at this time.
While Eventbrite is the probably considered the industry leader right now, it is facing some stiff competition from Mogotix and Eventbee. For one, Mogotix is exploiting the option of having a truly paperless ticket. They have adapted the model that Eventbrite has had for so long and instead of printing out your ticket, they thought about what would be more eco-friendly…and that is with mobile ticketing. What they do is simply send you your ticket via SMS messaging with a link that has a QR code. Show the QR code to the event host & all they do is scan the QR code with their phone and that’s it…you’re in the party! But while the mobile feature for Mogotix is great, it’s the page that will attract people to your event, or at least it won’t hurt. The downfall of Mogotix and Eventbrite is that you lack some really liberal customization. For Eventbee users, if you’re running registration for large events or if you have designers and developers available, you can build out a custom page filled with your own logo, font and color scheme. In fact, Eventbee will allow you to create your own theme/template that you can use over and over again for your repeat events.
Other cool features that more services are using are the social ones, that is, the ones that will allow you to share your event virally with others through social networks. Eventbrite allows you to share your events after you’ve registered on Facebook or through Twitter. With Mogotix, they’re allowing you to sign in with these social networks to help other attendees connect with you prior to the event. For Eventbee, it’s unclear how much integration they have with social networks, but their promotional efforts are at least limited to allowing you to have promotional banners that you can sell to sponsors or other advertisers on a CPM basis.
An additional feature that I find fascinating between the three services is the feature that Mogotix offers where you can stream the attendees that actually attend your event on the wall through a projector. Almost like an attendee wall, you can use it to help raise awareness at the party about who’s there and how many actually show up practically in real-time. None of the other services has this, but Eventbee seems to have an option to embed your latest events right on your website or landing page plus even offers an email marketing service that you can completely control the branding on. Compared to Eventbrite and Mogotix, Eventbee’s email marketing service allows creators to build out custom templates using a WYSIWYG editor or their own HTML and distribute it to their attendees. While it’s not part of the package & each subscriber will cost you some money, if you want to be more aggressive in controlling your branding, then Eventbee’s system might be for you. Compared to Eventbee, Mogotix currently doesn’t seem to have an option to email attendees except probably through SMS. Eventbrite does allow you email attendees, but that is through their own templates and doesn’t look quite as professional looking.
I think that any of these services works well for any business and you should explore each one to see if they will work for your particular industry and company. Eventbrite has pretty much become the established platform to go to, but for more technology sophisticated attendees, Mogotix has more of an appeal that also looks to take the place of Eventbrite. For those who want more of a Cvent approach, but with something more flexible and yet customizable, then Eventbee is probably the service you want. Regardless, any of these three will allow you to easily get your attendees to register and then move on and enjoy the party.
After all, we don’t want your attendees to be stuck on registering. We want them to come and learn, be entertained and have fun. Heck, we just want them to be social.
Image by Flickr user The US ArmyGoogle+