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Cvent Express: All The Essentials for Registering Attendees. [Review]

By Julius Solaris

This is a review of the latest introduction to the Cvent’s family: Cvent Express. Learn what it can do and if it is the right tool for your event.

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Writing a review about Cvent is a mammoth task. Telling a story that most know but with a new twist is what this review is all about.

If you don’t know Cvent, it probably means you have never used technology for your event. This is one of the few event technology companies able to pull over $100M in revenue. Its story starts in the dotcom era and its evolution is a great case study for all those working in event technology.

This review carries also some news. Cvent has introduced a new tool, called Cvent Express. That is quite massive news. If you think about companies offering event management solution, the market Cvent usually goes after is more complex events. Cvent Express defines an additional direction for the company looking to expand in a new segment, namely small and medium events with less complex requirements.

This move testifies that there is no such thing as a simple event. Even one day workshops require complex planning and a simple registration tool, one page website and integration with mobile and check in apps. Smaller events are hungry for technology as their larger counterparts, but the needs are different.

So I sat for a quite extensive demo with all the team working on this product and I learned they spent 2 years to tear to pieces their core product and create a simpler version of the tool that may satisfy smaller events. So let’s have a look at it and try to understand if it’s good for you.

Cvent-Express_Screenshot-photo-1

Cvent Express: All The Essentials for Registering Attendees. [Review]

Main Features

Website & Registration. This is the core offering of Cvent. The website offering has been overhauled, presenting a simpler and more effective one page registration experience.

Promotion & Communications. Cvent Express offers automated email and affiliate marketing tools as well as social media integration.

Analytics and Integration. The suite offers analytics and a great deal of integration with popular tools event professionals use.

Review

If you’ve been in the event industry for a while and have registered attendees via software, you know what Cvent is about. The aim of this review is to tell you what is different about Cvent Express.

I appreciate the effort the development team has put into the project. I don’t even want to imagine the process they had to undergo to shrink a huge piece of software like Cvent. Subtracting is not as easy as adding. Cvent Express is about subtracting rather than adding and to thousands of event professionals this is a definite win.

Don’t expect complexity or thousands of features because this is not what Express is about. Cvent Express is a quick tool for shipping a solid registration and website experience for your attendees. And that is a good thing. Setting up the registration details for your event is very quick. You get a wizard that guides you step by step in creating your event. In a couple of screens you are sorted. Then it is time to create your website.

Cvent-Express_Screenshot-1

I am not a huge fan of Cvent websites, but I really like what they did with Cvent Express. They created a super simple, widget based back end to easily drag and drop the modules you require in your event website. After you choose from one of the six website templates, you can then quickly move to the front end and edit from there.

This is incredibly helpful for busy event professionals who don’t want to figure out what option is for what. Do you want circled pictures for your speakers? Just move the bar on the frontend and they will change aspect. While this may seem very obvious, it is not. The convenience of editing elements while looking at the website is immense and most software providers are moving in that direction as users grow tired of endless and meaningless options. Everything is responsive, meaning that the website adapts to every display it is viewed in. Nothing new there as responsive websites have been around for 4 to 5 years now, but a long awaited compliance.

Cvent-Express_Screenshot-2

You can easily add elements like a custom domain or your Google Analytics code and set up your email marketing campaign. One of the features I like the most is the pre-populated invite. You can send emails to attendees with their information already there. They just click on the RSVP link and they land on the registration section with their details already there. That minimizes the conversion time and stimulates prospective attendees to take action and register for your event, quite an objective for most event marketers.

What will you miss if you decide to use Express over Cvent Professionals? Schedule is very simple, you cannot create agenda item descriptions, you don’t have waitlist management, custom CSS or multiple registration types. At the end of the day this is what a simple tool needs to do. Several event professionals could not care less about the above mentioned features. They just want to ship a nice looking website and register attendees. What they may want is integration.

Being in the Cvent family, Express offers integration with tools such as Crowdcompass (Cvent’s event mobile app) and OnArrival (their check-in app). Given that these are the two most in-demand integrations event professionals want in registration software, Cvent Express is definitely offering peace of mind. Other tools such as Salesforce and Marketo are also supported.

 

Features

Promotions & Communication

  • Automated email marketing
  • Embeddable web widgets for external promotion
  • Referral/Affiliate link tracking
  • Custom domain/URLs
  • Social Media integration
  • Google Analytics support

Website & Registration

  • Responsive email & website layouts
  • Modern theme designer
  • Drag & drop interface
  • Live updates in edit mode
  • Supports one-click registration forms and ticket sales

Reporting & Data

  • Over 20 standard reports
  • Unlimited custom & cross-event reports
  • Global, integrated address book

Integrations

  • Salesforce
  • Marketo
  • CrowdCompass
  • OnArrival
  • SocialWall
  • Integrated payment processing options, both directly integrated (Payflow Pro, Cybersource, Authorize.net, PPS, Paymentech, Ogone, etc.) and 3rd party payment integrations: (PayPal Express, Cybersource SA, Touchnet, and Authorize.net SIM)

Cvent-Express_Screenshot-photo-2

Who Is It For?

Cvent Express is for small and medium sized event planners who don’t want to be bothered with hundreds of options, they want a solid way to promote their event and register attendees in a single event page that adapts to different screens. More complex events requiring custom branding, different registration types, accommodation sourcing, advanced schedule management may rely on Cvent's existing offering.

Pros

  • Easy to set up. You can be up and running in a few hours.
  • Solid. It relies on the technology of the most successful event management software.
  • Integrated. It offers all the integrations you need.

 

Cons

  • Simple. It can be too simple for some. Items like the schedule may be too simplistic.
  • One page. Cvent Express only offers one-page websites. If you need more pages, this is not for you.
  • Standardized. While you can change the look and feel and position of most elements, you are tied to a fixed design concept with no custom CSS option.

 

Prices and Plans

Cvent is not disclosing the price for Cvent Express as it varies depending on the size of the event. You pay a small annual fee plus a per registrant commission. Get in touch with them to find out more.

 

In Conclusion

Cvent Express is Goliath trying to do David and I am quite impressed by the result. Simplifying is not an easy task. Cvent focused on their customers’ feedback to create a quick and easy tool to ship events faster.

I believe the big brother Cvent Professional has now something to envy. Said that, it's a system that won’t give you the flexibility and customization other systems offer. Strategically it offers interesting and powerful integration most event professionals will appreciate.

I am very happy to see companies like Cvent being involved in the startup battlefield, it keeps the event technology market fresh and reactive, making you, the event professional, the winner!

 

 

Disclosure: 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 question please use the contact us section.

about the author

Julius Solaris
Julius Solaris is the editor of EventManagerBlog.com, he is an international speaker, author and consultant.
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