In the heady ’90s, when tech jobs were juicy
plums for the picking, companies sprang up offering meetings
management software, and new features arrived almost daily. When
the bubble burst, experts predicted a mass consolidation of
meetings technology solutions. They were wrong. While some mergers
did take place, hundreds of choices for managing meetings, members
and attendees now exist. Determining which program is right for you
can be harrowing.
Below is a sampling of 10 comprehensive packages, available
either as stand-alone applications or online through an application
service provider (ASP) model. These products offer a little bit of
everything: event and attendee management, reporting, online
registration and more.
www.amlinkevents.com; (800) 869-7166
This Australian company’s main product is Events Pro, but it
recently merged with Peopleware Pro, a longtime favorite of many
U.S.-based planners, making Peopleware a subsidiary of Amlink.
While the latter will continue to support Peopleware’s current
version for two years and the new version 2.8 (due in the fall)
indefinitely, the company’s focus is on Events Pro.
Features: Planners choose from 13 modules to
turn Events Pro into the program they need. The elements are
demographics, notes, marketing, registration, functions, housing,
travel, CRS interface, speakers, exhibition, financial, project
management and report writing. The accompanying Events Interactive
program adds online registration; it handles both attendee
registrations and abstract submissions.
Pricing: Call for details.
www.certain.com; (888) 237-8246
Popular as soon as it was released, Certain’s Event Planner Plus
was software for a one-person shop. Then came Meeting Planner Plus
for multiple users. Now Certain’s main product is Register123,
which marries a robust online registration package with the
meetings management features that made Meeting Planner Plus a
“Our product is for large events, 500 people or more,” says
David Ujita, the San Francisco-based company’s director of
marketing. “We feel Register123 offers the most ability to create a
custom look and feel [for online pages], through a Microsoft HTML
Upcoming innovations will include the ability to integrate
travel management data with Register123, and a more comprehensive
budgeting tool. The system is being expanded to cross-compile
budgeting data with several customer relationship management
Features: Register123 offers customizable
templates and wizards for creating meeting websites offering online
registration, housing and real-time payment processing. Other
elements are the room block management and roommate matching tools,
marketing and e-mail tools, and customizable reports.
Pricing: The program is sold in an online ASP
version or as a dedicated portal, which Certain hosts for $2 to
$2.50 per registration. Clients also can buy Register123 as an
enterprisewide solution for $15,000 to $50,000, based on the
anticipated number of registrants processed each year.