[Johannesburg, 11 June 2008] – The management of invitation RSVPs should be smooth sailing for event marketers, but can often become a logistical nightmare. One of the best ways to ease this administration headache is to move the RSVP function online.
According to Mia Papanicolaou, Head of eMarketing at electronic messaging specialist Striata SA, managing RSVPs online improves efficiency through real-time tracking of responses, online reporting and automatically triggering communications at important touch points.
“Online reporting makes it easy to send teasers to people who haven’t yet responded, as well as reminders to those that have confirmed attendance, thereby keeping the event top of mind,” adds Papanicolaou. ”This also minimises mass broadcast communications, making follow-up messages more personal and relevant.”
The challenge of running multiple events is much easier as the content of the email invitation can be customised according to area and venue. An email invitation also makes response quick and easy– invitees are just one click away to providing information essential to effective event organisation. For a golf day, such information could include food preferences, shirt size and tee-off times.
“The beauty of the online medium is its immediacy,” says Papanicolaou. “If delegates need to pay to attend the event, payment can be processed immediately and last minute bookings are no longer a nightmare.”
Taking RSVPs online holds many other advantages. Besides simplifying and speeding up administration, event managers are able to make changes in real-time as and when they may occur. If the venue, time or details change, these can be communicated immediately to the people invited. Directions and maps can be added with ease and even customised to accommodate the area in which the invited people reside. This is particularly useful when running multiple events in different locations.
If the event is open to the public, the online environment makes it easy to share the invitation. For a closed event with limited seating, event managers can immediately inform respondents whether their RSVP is successful or not.
“Most businesses today work in real-time in the online environment. Event managers must make it as easy as possible for their target market to communicate and interact with them on all levels,” concludes Papanicolaou. “Electronic RSVP management works very well with print invitations too, where a web address for RSVPs is provided on the invite. We encourage the merging of the online and offline worlds on certain campaigns. The key is to keep the customer experience top of mind and make the process as easy as possible.”