Everything you wanted to know about integrations (but were afraid to ask)

Everything you wanted to know about integrations (but were afraid to ask)
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Ready to take your event to the next level?

Instead of juggling singular platforms for ticket sales, registration, networking and analytics, why not automate as much as you can with integrations into other platforms?

With event tech integrations, there is rarely a "one size fits all" approach. This is because each event is different and each organizer has different technology they use (e.g. marketing automation platforms, CRM, etc.) But by working with an existing partner that has over 50+ event-critical integrations established, you can streamline the entire event operational process and make your job a whole lot easier.

But where do you start?

In this article, we look at the different types of integrations, why you need them to boost event experience. Plus how to implement them in your organization to save you time and stress when delivering your next event.

First up, what are event tech integrations?

Event technology integrations are systems (typically software-based) that allow event planners to connect different systems and platforms to automate processes, streamline operations and improve the overall participant experience.

Event tech integrations can range from ticketing, registration, streaming, networking, analytics and reporting tools, to content delivery systems.

The importance of developing your event technology stack with the smart integrations is that you can connect various software services to automate processes and operations, instead of relying on manual setup. This saves you a lot of time and money (for more on this, check out Grip’s guide to the ultimate event tech stack or explore our data architecture template to further refine your understanding of data flow and integration in event technology).

For example, with a ticketing system, you can integrate multiple payment gateways to accept payments from different countries and then feed that registration into your networking app partner or onsite badging solution.

What are the benefits of integrating your event technology?

Integrating your event technology has a variety of benefits, including:

  • Your event tech stack is personalized to your business: All-in-one platforms often are a ‘jack of all trades and master of none’. It can be better to have a more ‘modular’ event tech stack which incorporates all the best platforms, specialised for specific tasks.
  • Streamlining operations and reducing manual work: By leveraging integrations, you can automate processes such as ticketing, registration, networking and analytics without the need to set up each process manually. This saves time and effort while allowing you to focus on other areas, such as how you will deliver future event experiences.
  • Improving customer experience: Integrating various platforms properly allows you to provide a seamless user experience, from entry to exit. For example, your customers can instantly access event networking when they complete their registration and you don't have to pass data between two platforms manually.
  • Increasing efficiency: By integrating different processes, you can gain insights into how your event is running and make quick improvements. For example, with a ticketing system, you can track sales in real-time and adjust the pricing automatically on your website.
  • Cost savings: Integrations can reduce the time it takes to complete tasks, therefore freeing up resources (people) and reducing operational costs. Team members can then shift their focus towards areas of the business that need the most attention.  

One-way vs two-way integration?

When evaluating different integrations and what is right for you as an event organizer, it’s essential to determine whether you need a one-way or two-way integration.

One-way integration allows you to send data from one system to the other but doesn’t allow the other system to update the original. For example, a one-way integration would allow you to send data from your registration solution to your badge printing system but, should any updates be done at the badging terminal, there is no way of automating the update of that information back to the original registration solution.

A two-way integration, on the other hand, allows you to send data, as well as update and edit it in both systems. For example, if you were using a two-way integration between your registration and badge printing systems, any changes made to the registration data at the badging terminal (e.g. changing a job title) would automatically update in the registration platform. This means you don’t have to make changes in two places manually.

Think of one-way vs two-way as a “push vs pull” situation. One-way pushes data, two-way pushes that data but also pulls back what you instruct it to, which makes your data work smarter for improved event experiences.

One-way (see left) vs two-way (see right) integration

The importance of streamlining event management tasks

Event technology integrations cannot be underestimated. Often seen as an additional cost, the reality is that integrations can help streamline event management tasks, save time and money, while delivering an improved customer experience.

By taking the time to evaluate which integrations are right for you and your event business, you’ll be well on your way to creating a more efficient and streamlined workflow that delivers better results.

Through leveraging the power of integrations, you can optimize your processes and give yourself more time to focus on what matters: creating seamless experiences for all your event participants.

How to implement integrations

Before you begin down the road of implementing integrations across your business, there are three steps you should take to ensure you don’t just build integrations for the sake of it:

1. Evaluate which platforms and integrations will work best for your event business. If you're unsure, ask yourself if you can get away with a light (e.g. using a simple tool like Zapier, see below for more on this) or manual integration in year one, to test the waters and see what works best.

2. Research available integration options and determine the important features for you, your business and your event participants.

3. Analyze the cost vs benefit. What will the integration cost and will it be worth that in terms of the benefits? Once you go through the above process and identify the integrations you wish to use, you can start looking at how to actually integrate the technologies.

How to integrate your event tech: DIY or professional service integration

You have the option to integrate your technologies yourself, using a variety of coding languages and APIs (basically, the code that allows the software to ‘talk’ to each other). However, if you're doing a deep-level integration across your business and platforms, you should look at hiring a professional that knows what they're doing.

Depending on your skillset, you may be able to integrate many event tech platforms yourself using platforms such as Zapier or IFTTT.

These platforms allow you to integrate event tech solutions without having to code or understand APIs as they allow you to create ‘recipes’ or automated workflows using a visual-based interface.

Zapier in action

These platforms are incredibly useful if you do not have the resources to hire a professional and can connect various tech solutions together. For example, Zapier can sync your email marketing platform with your registration vendor, payment processor and networking app provider, so that when someone registers and pays, they automatically receive emails from you and are connected straight to your networking app.

Many of your event and marketing tech partners actually already offer lots of integrations. At Grip, we have over 50 integrations such as Slido, Marketo and Hubspot. To make the process even easier, you could also speak with your event tech partner to see who they already integrated with.

9 must-have event tech platforms you could integrate with

From ticketing and registration to polling, streaming, networking and analytics, there are a variety of solutions to help streamline event operations and boost the overall event experience.

The right integrations for your event will depend on the nature of your event and the types of features you need. Here are some must-have integrations that can help with your next event:

1. Session and speaker management: Lineup Ninja

Lineup Ninja helps event planners save time and cut stress by automating the repetitive and error-prone tasks associated with speaker management. Easily manage your entire conference program with their easy to use software, call for speakers management and engagement tools.

2. Floorplan management: ExpoFP

Empower your salesforce with simplified booth sales and let your attendees navigate your event seamlessly with ExpoFP, the floor plan software.

3. Event websites: ASP

Designed to make updating your event website easy, ASP also offers a comprehensive exhibitor listing and conference session management, making searching (and displaying) the right content for your audience, easy.

4. Indoor positioning and Wayfinding: Crowd Connected

Track in-person engagement, discover new insights and improve event navigation with the experts in event location solutions from Crowd Connected. For more on wayfinding, check out our recent blog post on it.

5. Audience interaction: Slido

With its cutting-edge technology, Slido offers dynamic and interactive Q&A sessions, captivating live polls and insightful analytics that give organizers an in-depth understanding of their participants. Perfect for engaging crowds of any size.

6. Video player: Silverstream

Experts in creating original video content for events, whether live interviews from the show floor, streamed conference content or instantly shareable social content.

7. Video marketing: CLIPr

A video management platform that uses AI and Machine Learning to index your video content (seminars for example), make it searchable and shareable, easily.

8. Event registration: Tito

A simple event registration and ticket sales solution, offering easily customizable event details, branding and pricing options. Working across all devices plus a super-fast checkout experience, you can direct your registrants straight into Grip's AI-driven event networking platform.

9. CRM: Hubspot

HubSpot is a popular CRM and marketing automation platform for many event organizers. It offers options to track and convert customers, from enticing prospects to sealing the deal.

The above are just a few of the 50+ integrations Grip has with various platforms to enable better events. By leveraging the right integrations, you can ensure your events drive maximum impact and deliver exceptional participant experiences. If done correctly, event tech integrations will become an essential part of your event planning process, helping you streamline your event operations.

To discover more, look at our integrations page,  download our comprehensive white paper, or talk to our sales team who will help you find the right integration to supercharge your next event.