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How To Choose an Event Platform

July 20, 2022

How To Choose an Event Platform

After the virtual and hybrid event boom caused by the pandemic, it seems like there is a new event platform popping up everywhere you look. With hundreds of options and an endless stream of online advertisements, it can be confusing and difficult to find just the right one for your event. 

Making a plan for choosing your event platform will make filtering through all the options a little less stressful.

Create a checklist

One of the first things you should do before scouting out event platforms is to create a checklist of things you want vs. things you actually need. 

For example, maybe you have some discussion breakouts planned. Having the technology to separate attendees into small groups should be on your list of needs. 

On the other hand, gamification increases engagement but isn’t necessarily something you need to have. Leaderboards, prizes and other incentives should go on your list of wants.

It is unlikely that you’ll get everything you want in a single platform, so having your list of necessities makes it easier and quicker to narrow down your platform options.

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Event Planning for Associations
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Compare the platforms

Sidecar’s Event Manager Ashley Satterfield has her own routine when choosing event platforms. She starts with creating a spreadsheet to compare information she gathers about platforms during research or demos. 

Start with sites like Capterra or G2 to narrow down who to start demos with and make sure to document the platform traits in some form of spreadsheet or tracker. 

It’s through a spreadsheet like this that you can compare which platforms seem to be the best fit for you. Listing things like cost, special features, user-friendly interfaces, sponsorship opportunities and integrations in one place lets you closely audit and rank your potential choices.

Satterfield also recommends checking out Skift Meetings, a news source for the meeting and events industry. Not only do they post industry news but they also do reports and reviews on event platforms and technology. 

Acknowledge current events

Even though the virtual and hybrid event industry boomed during the pandemic, the economic effects are still being felt everywhere. Not to mention the health and safety of hundreds of thousands of people being in question on a daily basis. It’s important to keep these in mind as you search for an event platform.

Make sure to ask about the health of the company during your demos. Are there layoffs coming that could affect productivity and deadlines? What happens to your hybrid events in the event that COVID-19 shuts down your venue? What precautions need to be in place to protect against things like the rolling blackouts happening in Texas?

Fleshing out what could happen — and hearing potential solutions — will help you decide if you can work with a particular platform.

Related: Up-and-Coming Event Technology for Associations
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By listing your wants and needs, comparing platforms and acknowledging current events and potential issues, you should find that choosing an event platform doesn’t have to be an anxiety-inducing, strenuous endeavor.

Ashley Neal joined the Sidecar team in March of 2020, right as the COVID-19 pandemic began to shut down life as we knew it. Having to adapt, overcome and predict the changes needed to survive in the new normal, Ashley now has the skills needed to juggle any obstacle thrown her way. A graduate from Southeastern Louisiana University in the field of Strategic Communications, Ashley spends her days balancing her work with her love of dogs. She regularly travels to compete in dog shows and sports, and dedicates the majority of her free time to training and spending time with her pack.

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