Posted September 18, 2012, 8:15 AM EDT
From existing platforms that are continually being updated to others that made their debuts this year, here’s a look at what’s available in online registration systems.
Google Plus Events
The Basics: Launched in June, Google Plus Events is the newest feature to join the Google Plus social network. This online tool allows users to design invitations using templates, share photos with guests in real time during events, and set up an album for attendees to upload their own pics. It can also be integrated with a Google Plus Hangout—a free group video chat for as many as 10 people.
How Much It Costs: There’s no fee, but it does require organizers to set up a free Google Plus account.
Who’s Using It: The Northeast Organic Farmers Association’s conference for an estimated 1,200 attendees at the University of Massachusetts, and Google’s I/O conference after-hours event in San Francisco, which drew 6,000 people.
The Basics: For larger events, Ticketmaster handles transactions and collects payments for its “event providers”—planners, venues, sports teams, or artists’ representatives who are promoting or hosting events—on ticketmaster.com or at one of its retail outlets around the country. During the event registration process, attendees are presented with seating maps of the venue to choose exact seats.
What’s New: Ticketmaster continues to build on its initiative to become more social. Following the launch of its iPhone and Facebook ticketing apps earlier this year, the ticketing giant announced its new Android app in July, which allows users to find nearby events at Ticketmaster-hosted venues, purchase tickets on the go, and connect with other attendees.
How Much It Costs: Pricing varies depending on the venue and per-ticket cost.
Who’s Using It: Geared more towards concerts and sporting events, the platform was recently used by events including One Direction’s concert in Miami and the upcoming New York Comedy Festival, which will take place at several venues including the Apollo Theater, Beacon Theatre, and Madison Square Garden.
The Basics: For planners looking for greater customization, Event Farm’s design team provides a customized Web site with a matching mobile app and email invitation for every event. Other features include arrival alerts in the form of emails when specific guests arrive, printing guest name tags and badges on the fly, and the option to turn on a waiting list when an event sells out.
What’s New: In July, Event Farm teamed up with Bloomberg Government to launch my2012Tampa and my2012Charlotte—two mobile apps designed to change how invitations to private events at the 2012 Republican and Democratic National Conventions are distributed and traded. By using the apps, producers can allocate invitations and manage ticketing electronically, and attendees can manage, distribute, and trade tickets from their smartphones in real time. Also new is the integration of Yelp content for users to explore host cities and social network sites including LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
How Much It Costs: Event Farm offers two package options. The full platform—which includes a custom-designed event Web site, custom email correspondence, unlimited ticket types, technical support, and one-hour training, plus a mobile check-in app—is priced based on a per-event licensing fee, plus a credit card processing rate. Pricing for just the check-in tool is 50 cents per guest, with the first 100 free for a limited time.
Who’s Using It: Automobile manufacturer Bentley recently used the platform to produce a weekend driving experience for its clients in Pebble Beach, California, and fashion designer Betsey Johnson used it for a fashion show to raise funds for the South End Community Health Center in Boston.
The Basics: For planners looking for a long-term solution to cover multiple events, Cvent offers management tools and support suited for multiday, reoccurring events. The platform provides users with a customized Web site—or will integrate the registration form within an existing site—as well as an accompanying mobile app. Online payments can be processed directly into a personal bank account.
What’s New: This summer, Cvent acquired a pair of app developer companies that integrate mobile apps for business and association events, giving attendees access to all materials from their smartphones. The company also announced in July that its event management and online registration system are available on Salesforce.com’s Appexchange, enabling users to easily sync and exchange data.
How Much It Costs: Between $3 and $10 per attendee, depending on the size of the event and how frequently it takes place. Mobile apps are priced on a per-app basis, but usually run between $5,000 and $15,000.
Who’s Using It: Events of various sizes, from small events like Walmart University’s 20-person meeting to larger events like A.A.R.P.’s 2,000-person conference.
The Basics: Launched in 2011, this platform provides a console to categorize events and attendees by type and access pre- and post-event data. Built entirely on Force.com as a platform for the social enterprise, Eventley also integrates with Salesforce.com to create and manage events.
How Much It Costs: Eventley offers basic and premium packages, each with an annual licensing fee—whether you hold one event or many—and a cost per registrant fee.
Who’s Using It: The Technology Services World conference in Las Vegas and the BoxWorks conference in San Francisco are among recent users.
The Basics: Designed for event promoters and venues, Ticketfly provides a ticketing solution that can be integrated into an existing Web site or paired with a custom one, as well as social marketing and analytics tools that measure event attendance and box office capabilities.
What’s New: In July, the cloud-based social ticketing platform announced its new reserved seating feature. Ticketfly also enables fans to sell tickets by posting shareable event listings and links to social networks.
Who’s Using It: Clients include performance venue Brooklyn Bowl in New York, and the Trillectro music festival in Washington.
The Basics: Though it’s been on the market for a few years, the online R.S.V.P. and event marketing solution only became available to the public in January. Through the MyVIPRSVP platform producers can create a custom Web site with audio, video, and flash capabilities and send event emails. The system also provides printable, alphabetized guest lists, with the option to leave out attendees’ contact info for confidentiality purposes.
Who’s Using It: Interscope Records for Robin Thicke’s listening party in New York, and Seven Bar Lounge in Los Angeles.
The Basics: In August, Red Method Inc. launched a cloud-based event management tool called EventMethod that enables planners to handle events from one dashboard. Organizers build a registration site, sell tickets, and gather post-event analytics. The Mobile Guide applications—custom solutions that operate on iOS devices—are designed to work in environments with spotty reception or Internet connectivity.
How Much It Costs: Depending on what tools a user needs, EventMethod offers three packages for a flat monthly rate that range from free to $49.99, regardless of the number of events; the full suite of services is available for $99.99 a month.
Who’s Using It: The Affiliate Summit East for 4,000 attendees in New York and the 2011 Dell World in Austin for 2,500.
The Basics: The Cenabo online service has three main components: R.S.V.P. and attendee information collection, a meal-preorder tool, and table planning.
What’s New: A new feature released in June gives venues more flexibility. The manager of an account can now share access with others, allowing them to see menus and other events at the venue, as well as interact with colleagues.
How Much It Costs: It’s a pay-as-you-go service, with prices starting at 13 cents per registrant. Registrations are redeemable against credits, which can be purchased online with incremental discounts.
Who’s Using It: PriceWaterhouseCoopers London and healthcare ad agency Langland.
The Basics: From the people behind Constant Contact, EventSpot allows planners to generate tickets using a standard template and create custom email campaigns. Other perks include a social campaign feature, which helps promote an event through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and SimpleShare accounts.
What’s New: EventSpot announced an upgrade in May, which enables small businesses and nonprofits to facilitate online meetings and webinars through its existing webinar platform. Customers using the online meeting service from MeetingBurner can now create, promote, and manage online meetings via EventSpot’s AppConnect program.
How Much It Costs: New users get a 60-day free trial; pricing is based on the number of events hosted per month rather than the number of tickets sold. Planners producing one event per month pay $20.
Who’s Using It: Small businesses and nonprofits, like the Cultural Arts Division of Austin.
The Basics: Focusing more on the social aspect, TicketLeap helps attendees share events and interact with others.
What’s New: TicketLeap relaunched in June with new features including interactive calendars, maps, and social feeds. Organizers can access analytics that show the effectiveness of campaigns, making it easier to adjust their strategies. A mobile box office for iOS and Android-powered devices allows hosts to check in and sell tickets at the door.
How Much It Costs: It’s free for free events. Those with tickets less than $10 pay a $1 charge; tickets more than $10 pay a $2 charge. On-site tickets add $1.
Who’s Using It: Large shows like Comic-Con in San Diego.
The Basics: For hosts who don’t need a custom site, Eventbrite offers a basic registration form with limited design capabilities. The tool enables organizers to cap the number of attendees, survey registrants to gather data, and offer different ticket levels. Since payment isn’t integrated into the platform, registrants are directed to PayPal or Google Checkout to complete credit card transactions.
What’s New: Earlier this year, Eventbrite introduced its “At the Door” card reader—a thin, plastic device that attaches to an iPad and makes it easier to process credit card payments. Planners can purchase the device for $10, and download the free mobile app to access their account. Also new, in August the company announced its newest addition “Who’s Going”—a feature that gives prospective buyers a list of Facebook friends that already purchased a ticket. For planners, the platform offers a step-by-step guide on how to set up the feature on their Eventbrite page. Attendees can choose to switch it on or off.
How Much It Costs: It’s free for free events. Paid events pay 2.5 percent of the ticket price, plus 99 cents per ticket, but never more than $9.95.
Who’s Using It: Brooklyn’s two-day Great GoogaMooga food and music festival from Superfly Presents—which sold more than 40,000 tickets a day—and Internet Week’s much smaller closing party in New York.