Doing-It-Easy with Ennect Beats Out DIY Event Site for Company's Annual Conference
- Ennect puts event website control into the hands of non-programmers.
- Accounts Payable spared from having to process registrations manually.
You might not think of central Pennsylvania as a hotbed of technology, but the 500+ attendees who participated in Link Computer Corporation's annual tech conference, LinkUp, would prove you wrong. The year 2010 celebrated the 13th anniversary of the popular event, hosted by the local technology services firm which has spent over 30 years bringing advanced voice and data technologies to its clientele.
Elizabeth Hyde, corporate and marketing administrator, who manages the event, says, "LinkUp is designed to be an educational and networking conference for attendees. It's an opportunity for clients and prospective customers to learn about the latest technologies, attend educational sessions, see new products, and network. The sessions feature a broad variety of technical speakers. More than 500 attendees and anywhere from 60 to 70 vendors have participated in the event in the last couple of years. So, it's pretty popular."
LinkUp hosts keynote speakers from companies like Cisco and IBM as well as offers a multi-track program of information technology sessions. Attendees hear the latest on new technologies like cloud computing, data center optimization, IT security, web development, video communications, data and voice networking, and more. Participants are also able to experience live demonstrations and hear about how to utilize things like social media in the workplace.
Marketing LinkUp and Managing Registration
While the annual event has grown in popularity with attendees, presenters, and exhibitors, there was one group that didn't necessarily look forward to it: Link Computer's accounts receivable department. That's because with the previous registration system that Link Computer was using, the company's accounts receivable had to invoice attendees individually and manually track billing and receivables. With 500 attendees, it was difficult keeping track.
Says Hyde: "Our old system did not allow people to pay for attendance online with a credit card. In order to bill someone, we had to regularly check the registration site for when someone registered, print out their confirmation, and hand that information to accounts receivable. There was no easy way of tracking if that piece of paper got lost somewhere along the way unless we wanted to sit down physically with accounts receivable's report and our report and go through them line by line. We didn't have time to always do that. So we had a hard time tracking who was billed and who wasn't billed. Plus, accounts receivable had to process each credit card manually."
Hyde turned to Ennect Event to automate the registration process from sign-up to online payment and collections tracking. "Using Ennect has saved our accounts receivable department a lot of work. Plus, it’s made payment a lot more convenient for customers, since they can now pay directly online with a credit card," says Hyde.
"Ennect Event has given me the freedom to make necessary changes without having to bother any of our web developers. I can control the look and feel, upload or change content, set up the registration information, or pull reports at a moment’s notice. I can go straight to the website and do it myself."
Corporate and Marketing Administrator
Ennect Event also helps Hyde track and process payments for attendees who register the day the conference starts. "We don't require pre-registration," says Hyde. "So people can just show up, register, pick up their information, and go to the sessions. But it’s been hard to invoice people after the fact and track whether they paid once the event was over. With Ennect Event, we have a true check-in process. If someone hasn't pre-registered, we are able to bill them right there. It also makes it easier to track our no-shows and cancellations, along with who was billed and who wasn't. So this is huge for us. At the end of an event now, I think we’ll see a huge difference in our numbers from years past because we're able to track what's going on."
Wanting—and Getting—More Control Over the Event Website
The registration site that Link Computer used previously was developed internally. It was old, outdated, and didn't provide the flexibility or features that marketing needed. "If we wanted changes made to the program, we had to ask one of our developers to make them," explains Hyde. That wasn’t always possible, since Link Computer’s programmers are often busy working on customer projects.
"Ennect Event has given me the freedom to make necessary changes without having to bother any of our web developers. I can control the look and feel, upload or change content, set up the registration information, or pull reports at a moment's notice. I can go straight to the website and do it myself," says Hyde. "I'm not a web developer, but Ennect has given me the ability to completely control the entire LinkUp event site, whether it's the marketing pages or the admin/registration part. And it didn't cost a lot to get these benefits."
In fact, Ennect's low price was something of a problem, according to Hyde. "We were very hesitant at first to use it because of the cost," says Hyde. "For what the program gives you, it's very economically priced. The reports alone are awesome, but you also get a professional-looking site that you can put your own brand on and tailor to your needs."
"It's also given us the flexibility to try something new. For the first time, we've charged a higher registration fee to anyone who didn’t pay online by credit card. If a registrant chooses to have their company invoiced, it costs them more because it's more work on our part," says Hyde. Ennect makes this easy for Hyde to set up.
With control at her fingertips, Hyde anticipates that with Ennect Event's help, LinkUp will be an even greater success than in past years.
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