We know that every one of your event babies is special and unique—which makes it difficult to come up with a one-size-fits-all order and timeline for implementing new event technology.
That said, most conference and event planners follow roughly the same high-level process for managing their events: content, then marketing and registration, then attendee logistics, which means we can use this as an outline for our event tech implementation guideline.
But before we get into the tech talk, you’ve got to start with your business goals and objectives, as well as your technology roadmap, to help evaluate what type of event technology to adopt. If you understand what you’re trying to do, you’ll be much better prepared to evaluate of which event technologies will help you achieve those goals and objectives.
Next, look at the date of your event. Is it annual? Semi-annual? Yes, you can adopt new technology at any time (with APIs, it’s easier than ever before), but it’s going to be less painful if you get a head-start so you’re not learning a new tool during event crunch time.
I’ve seen companies implement new event technology as close as three months before the start of an event. They used the event technology’s out-of-the-box features the first year, and then went back in subsequent years to add any needed modifications so the tech fit into their event management work.
That said, the most common (and most successful) timelines I’ve seen mirror how you organize a conference or event.
Implement your event content management platform first
9-12 months out
Most meeting planners are starting to think about their content strategy about 9-12 months before their event, so it makes sense that the first piece of technology would be your content management platform. You’ll need to organize your speakers and topics before you move on to marketing and promoting your event.
Implement event registration technology and website second
6-8 months out
The next technology to implement would be your registration and website, because these are the tools you will use to market your content and give your attendees the ability to pay. This could happen 6-8 months before your event.
Implement mobile apps, lead retrieval and badging, and audience engagement tools third
3-4 months out
The final pieces to fall into place are any mobile apps you’re using, exhibitor tools and anything related to your audience experience.
Truly, there is no “right” or “wrong” order to implement your event technology. This process is all about identifying what you need, and then creating a timeline that aligns with your business, team and event. Beyond timeline, the most important thing to consider is whether the technology is scalable and will help you continue to evolve your event.
When you're ready to think about how to ensure your various event technology vendors integrate as smoothly and seamlessly as possible, download Hubb's Event Technology Cheat Sheet.