Hubb: Set Yourself Free from Event Spreadsheets [Review]

Hubb automates complex event workflows and tasks to collect, manage and market content for conferences and trade shows. Here is our review.

Hubb: Set Yourself Free from Event Spreadsheets [Review]

Hubb: What Is It?

Hubb is a software platform that helps conference and meeting planners manage and market content for their events. It focuses on managing the speakers, sessions, sponsors, exhibitors and staffing elements of an event. Hubb automates the processes surrounding event content management to free up time for event managers to focus on other areas. It removes the need for multiple spreadsheets and versions of documents by keeping everything up to date and managed from a central hub

Eventprofs have bigger problems to worry about than constantly reminding each speaker, sponsor or exhibitor to submit their information by the deadlines (which can be a bit like herding cats). Hubb is designed to help event managers to deal with multiple contacts more efficiently, through automated workflows and easy chasing and reporting.

Up to date information about event content, such as speakers and session topics, is often what sells your event and persuades someone to attend. The quicker and more efficiently this is managed and promoted to your target market the greater the marketing potential, and therefore the sales revenue, for your event.

So can Hubb really make you and your team ditch your spreadsheets? Let’s take a look to see if it could be a good solution for you.

The Main Categories of Features Are:

Speaker Management. Speakers submit their profiles and credentials, upload their presentation, and collaborate on the details. Chase missing information via the system.

Submissions. Manage multiple submissions such as call for papers, topic suggestions or even volunteer recruitment. The abstract grading tool can manage feedback and be customized to meet specific requirements, including blind reviews and auto-assignment of graders.

Session Management. Create session tracks, assign rooms and time slots, and publish the key details to all of your marketing sources instantly.

Sponsor and Exhibitor Management. Sponsors and exhibitors can self-manage everything from signing the contract to creating their company profile to requesting their booth location.

Staff and Volunteer Scheduling. The staffing scheduler makes it easy to allocate and manage staff and highlight any schedule clashes.

Web App. The HTML5 mobile app allows the attendee to browse sessions, build their own schedule and set up meetings.

Review

Hubb was launched in early 2014 and secured significant venture funding in 2016. Designed by a true event planner there are now 25 members of the Hubb team. The system is designed to enable event planners to be more strategic and spend less time on the time-consuming menial and administrative tasks. For significant or complex events, such as conferences with a significant number of speakers, sponsors and exhibitors it is designed to streamline the coordination and communications with everyone involved.

By having a single place to make updates and publish from, this dramatically reduces the chance for error or having multiple different versions of a document and makes sharing information a much quicker process. One update is pushed everywhere – to the website, mobile app and schedule. The event organizer can decide how attendees should be able to browse the content, for instance the schedule can be dropped into the event website just by embedding the code.

Call for Papers

The call for papers submission form can be personalized to ask for the information the committee need and set character limits and request supporting information, such as head shots, as required. The person submitting can save drafts, view any previous submissions they have made and add file attachments.

The form can use conditional logic, so if the speaker says they will have a co-presenter it can ask for the information needed for the other speaker or if the submission is for a specific topic track or category it can require specific related information. Submissions can be locked for editing or the event planner can allow adjustments after submission. The final submissions can be auto-assigned to different reviewers.

The grading committee members can be asked to complete scoring questions against set criteria and they have access to a dashboard which can include a 3 minute support video. They can see the pool of submissions – the jury may score less harshly if there are very few submissions or be more critical if they have been inundated with submissions for a specific topic. Collaborative review is possible and the assessors can see other judges responses and scoring if the organizer wishes. It is possible to have blind reviews so no details are shared about the person submitting. The committee can add notes or suggest if an alternative track is more suitable and everything is compiled in real time.

Progress can be reviewed at any stage via the table view. This has a hover feature which reveals the full text. Fields can be filtered and the information fields and the submissions can be reordered and it shows average scoring at a glance. Sessions can be allocated, the schedule built and rooms allocated once a submission is accepted. To ensure no double bookings Hubb will notify of any conflicts in terms of rooms and timings.

The acceptance and rejection messages can be personalized and the planner controls when communication is sent – for example you may wish to send acceptances to the top 10 submissions initially and see the response and then contact further people as necessary. Emails can be blind copied to the planner. Emails can be merged if one speaker has submitted more than one item which needs feedback.

Each event can have multiple submissions and a public or private submission form. For example you may be asking for topic and speaker suggestions, have a call for abstracts and a volunteer recruitment drive for a single event.

Speaker Management

Even if you have invited speakers, rather than recruited them through an abstract grading process, Hubb still adds a lot of value managing all communications via a central hub. Event planners can monitor, send personalized reminders and see deliverables at a glance.

You can request that each speaker signs an agreement confirming that they will present at the event. Their agreement then unlocks access to the speaker portal. The first time they log in they will be prompted to update or add their details. They can connect Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook and add their website and blog details. Details can be synced from LinkedIn if they prefer.

Resources, such as the slide template, can be shared as well as important speaker information to help them plan and deliver their presentation. It shows the session room and time allocated and will automatically update them if it changes.

The session details and description can be edited and it asks the speaker to confirm their AV requirements, such as the number and type of mics required, whether the session can be recorded or live streamed, whether the speaker has any additional requests or needs and so forth.

Powerpoint, Keynote, PDF and certain video files can be uploaded via Hubb, with a file size of up to 2GB. You couldn’t however limit the file type accepted so you couldn’t only accept PowerPoint files.

When a presentation file is received notes can be added if updates are required and it can be accepted or rejected with instructions. A notification email is received each time a file is submitted, which links directly to the presentation. Every action is tracked so any team member can see all communications and updates. Presentations can be approved but will not be visible to attendees until “Publish” is selected.

All files are saved in a standard file format of session code underscore speaker surname. The files can be downloaded one by one, or the organizer can download everything into a giant zip file as a backup before the event.

Sponsors and Exhibitors

For exhibitors and sponsors Hubb is compatible with Docusign for electronic legally binding agreements. When the contract is signed they can access the portal and complete their information, submit their logos, etc.

A DWG file can be uploaded to enable exhibitors to select their booth space. The plan cannot however be updated via Hubb, if for example you needed to add or remove blocks of stands or merge two booths together, you would need to upload a revised CAD file.

Dashboard

The dashboard allows you to check the progress and deliverables. You can see the track status, sessions accepted/declined/pending, task completion, headshots and bios outstanding, sponsor logos and website details that are missing. You can chase those that haven’t returned information and the details will be personalized to that individual. For instance if you are just missing a headshot from one speaker but need a bio, session details, social media details and headshot from another it will list all the items outstanding within the email as relevant to the speaker.

Emails can be created using custom HTML code and a WYSIWYG editor. You can select the recipients by type – for example speakers that haven’t completed their profile – and contact them. Emails cannot be scheduled in advance at this time, however they can be created and saved as drafts, ready to press send. If the recipients change before email is sent this will be updated. For instance if you draft an email but then before it is sent one of the speaker completes their profile this recipient will automatically be removed from the circulation list.

Staffing

The event staffing and volunteer module was requested by clients of Hubb and has been developed and made live. With complex events the staffing and management of multiple areas can be difficult. As well as various roles to manage the event you may also need product experts and people to man your booth or information point. Large events often have multiple staff and also volunteers. The staffing functions enable you to create groups or activities and set up shifts, workgroups and locations. You can view staff that are available to be added. If a staff member is speaking during a session at the event it will warn you if you try to double book them. You can however tell the system to ignore clashes if you want to overbook staff. The joy is that if staffing levels need to change or volunteers become unavailable, you can update and reallocate in real time throughout the event.

There is also an attendee facing component – the Expert Finder – which allows them to find an expert and location, ensure they are checked in at the event and available to talk or meet.

Integrations

Hubb is firmly focused on the the planning of the event and doesn’t manage attendee registrations. It can however connect to other layers of event technology, such as registration systems (Swoogo, eMeetings Online, InfoSalons, EventCore), event apps (Double Dutch, Gather Digital, Zerista, Eventbase, ShowGizmo) and presentation management and engagement tools (Glisser, TRC, Freeman, Evia, Intergen). It also links with association management platforms Abila and MatrixMaxx.

Features

Speaker Management

  • Speakers can be asked to accept an agreement/contract before they have access to the system
  • Speakers can submit their profiles and credentials directly and can update at any time
  • Upload presentations and files, with file size of up to 2GB
  • Send reminders and chase up outstanding presentations
  • Email notifications to the organizer and speaker when files have been received or commented on
  • The organizer or session leader can accept or reject the presentation or suggest improvements
  • Collaborate on details with session owners

Submissions

  • Secure submission form
  • Collect any number of submission types – call for papers, presentation, topics, volunteers, etc
  • Crowdsource original session ideas
  • Easy for committee members to use, with support videos available
  • Abstract grading
  • Customized the submission form to meet your specific requirements
  • Blind reviews
  • Auto-assignment of graders
  • Accept/Decline
  • Template responses
  • Control when communications are issued

Session Management

  • Create session tracks, assign rooms and time slots
  • Notification of conflicts and double bookings
  • Room changes notified to the speaker automatically
  • Publish details to all marketing sources instantly
  • Upload files and presentations
  • Feed back any updates needed
  • Download individual presentations or all files as a Zip file

Sponsor and Exhibitor Management

  • Sign legally binding online contracts
  • Sponsors and exhibitors can self-manage the information they need to provide
  • Complete company profile
  • Request booth location

Staff and Volunteer Scheduling

  • Allocate staff to roles
  • View available staff
  • Allocate to shifts
  • Get notified of clashes
  • Update and make adjustments as required

Web App

  • Customizable dashboard
  • Update profile, pictures and social media
  • Session suggestions
  • Browse and search attendee directory
  • Sync with LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Yammer to find connections
  • Create 1-1 meetings or 1-many meetings
  • Book meeting spaces for 1-1 or 1-many meetings
  • View sponsors and exhibitors
  • Floorplans
  • Event updates
  • Email notifications
  • Print schedule
  • Export schedules to Outlook, iCalendar, and Google Calendar
  • Download resources including Powerpoint slides and videos
  • Fill out evaluations

Who Is It For?

Hubb is specifically aimed at conference and meeting managers who deal with large volumes of information, such as those putting on a conference with lots of speakers and sessions, coordinating a trade show or exhibition area, managing lots of sponsors and partners or putting on a series of events (e.g. roadshows).  

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Creates a single location for collecting, managing, and marketing event content and allows instant publishing across all touchpoints (website, mobile app, etc).
  • Removes the need of traditional methods of managing information through your email inbox and spreadsheets.
  • Automates the follow-up with speakers and committee members and encourages speakers, sponsors and staff to self-manage their profiles and information.

Cons

  • Best suited for larger or more complex events, such as conferences with a large number of speakers or sessions, or multiple events like roadshows.
  • Does not include attendee registration or an event website.
  • Messages cannot be pre-scheduled for sending.

Pricing and Plans

Pricing is on a per event basis and is based on the number of sessions, staff, and functionality required. There is a 30-day free trial available.

In Conclusion

Hubb streamlines the management of speakers, sessions, sponsors, exhibitors and staffing so that event details and content can be shared more swiftly and accurately. Attendee registration isn’t the focus of this system but if you often feel like you are herding cats or drowning in spreadsheets trying to keep your event on track you should investigate how Hubb can save you time managing large or complex events.

Disclaimer: Reviews are paid for placements. While Event Manager Blog receives a fee to extensively look at the tool and review it in detail, the content of the review is independent and by no means influenced by the company. If you have any questions please use the contact us section.

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Julius Solaris
Editor, Julius Solaris

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