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etouches: Complete Event Management Platform [Review]

By Becki Cross

etouches is more than just an event registration platform, it is a comprehensive cloud-based event management software. Here is our review.

etouches: Complete Event Management Platform [Review]

etouches: What Is It?

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Established in 2008, etouches is best known for online registration, which is at the heart of the product. It has however developed a comprehensive suite of 16 modules for event managers, which includes project management, budgeting, marketing, surveys, networking and matchmaking, seating plans, exhibition booth management, inventory management, abstracts, venue sourcing and a native mobile app. etouches want their product to be a complete all-in-one solution and one-stop shop for event planners to manage their events.

The etouches brand is well known as one of the industry event tech success stories, raising capital to expand into a global giant and acquiring companies including Tapcrowd mobile event app and Inevention venue sourcing platform along the way. Reviewing such huge and established players can be difficult, so I welcomed the opportunity to bypass the hype and take a closer look.

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The Main Categories of Features Are:

Hotel and Venue Sourcing. Search, select and manage the RFP process right through to the contract stage, manage travel and accommodation requests and forecast costs.

Event Marketing and Content. Create ‘drag and drop’ event websites and send out branded email marketing. Accept and review abstracts and speaker submissions.

Event Registration and Logistics. As well as event registration forms, it is possible to sell booths via your exhibitor floor plan and create your own seating plans. You can also check the room schedule and inventory and access badging and check-in features.

Event Engagement and Mobile. Issue surveys and enable 1-to-1 appointment scheduling and matchmaking. Sync the event details with a hybrid mobile event app. Scan badges for lead retrieval and session check in.

Event Data and ROI. Generate reports for each event and compare data across multiple or past events to show targets and ROI. Control budgets and actual revenue and expenditure for your events.

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Review

etouches is designed to be used as a self service suite of tools, however 24/7 in-house support is provided free, as standard, as well as free online training. Through the dashboard you can specify user access in terms of read only access or permission only to access specific events or selected content and this is handy for clients to be able to access real time reports directly or if you are working with external event staff on a specific project.

Event planners can also be assured that security and encryption in terms of hosting, security, intrusion and data protection have been strengthened. As an online tool you can access it anywhere with Internet or WiFi connectivity and they guarantee an uptime of 99.95% (though the current uptime is 99.998%). etouches also offers virtually unlimited bandwidth to handle event traffic peaks, which is important for high demand, sell out events.

Core Functionality

The core features which make up the basic package are Registration, Marketing, Website and Survey - the basics for planning an event. The software is priced on a per registration basis for volumes of less than 25k attendees per year, across unlimited events. One downside is that you need to estimate and purchase upfront the total number of anticipated registrations, which for many planners can vary significantly from year to year and is difficult to predict. There is a lot to cover within one review so the focus is on the functionality which really stands out and differentiates etouches from other all-in-one event management software on the market.

Registration
Templates allow you to create mobile-optimized responsive registration pages. As you would expect from a global brand etouches supports 35 languages and offers eCommerce functionality capable to collect registration fees in all major global currencies.

Badges and certificates can be created and there is functionality to assist with hotel and travel management, including roommate pairing. Invoices can be generated automatically and there is an invoice designer template which allows you to modify to meet your accounting requirements and to send emails to chase up outstanding payments.

Event Website
No technical skills or HTML knowledge are required to create an event website, it uses a drag and drop editor to create event landing and information pages. Information is pulled from other modules to add in information for the agenda, speakers, sessions, attendees, calendars and exhibitors. Videos and social media widgets can be embedded and the sites created are mobile compatible. The websites created all have an etouches URL, unless you wish to pay extra to host the site within your own domain. There is also the option to pay a premium to have your own bespoke event website template created.

Event Marketing
It is possible to send personalized and branded invitation emails in HTML or text format via etouches, rather than through a third party provider. The email templates have the same look and feel as your event website and can be cloned and scheduled for sending in advance.

Unlimited mailing lists can be imported and you can send 100 emails per registrant. Intelligent emailing is available - you can automatically remove those that have already registered for your event from the mailing list before sending. Cross event functionality is also available displaying a pop-up when sending an email to advise if invitees on the mailing list have been invited to previous events to enable the planner to decide whether to invite them or not. You can see how many of your emails were delivered, opened and clicked through and filter to better target future campaigns and messages to the right people.

Surveys
It is possible to send an unlimited number of surveys to your attendees and to customize colors, fonts and logos or to use your event template for uniformity. The survey tool integrates with the event attendee list, there is no need to import lists or continuously update participants. There are no extra charges or limits for send out or responses received, as there is with some other competitors. Different types of questions are available (multiple choice, free text etc.) and it allows conditional and skip logic. The results can be viewed and detailed reports and data exported in multiple formats.

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Pro Modules

The pro features are designed to automate previously manual tasks and give a higher level of functionality to the event planner for more advanced or complex events.

Event Budget
The budgeting tool enables planners to keep track of event expenses and revenue and run profitability reports against real-time registration data. It is possible to design your own budget templates and export reports to Excel. Cross event reporting is also possible to track and compare revenue streams and expenses over multiple or previous events, and across different categories and vendors, which is pretty cool and very valuable.

Project Manager
The project management tool can record all event deliverables, assignments and tasks and can be displayed in a ‘to do’ list or Gantt chart view. Users can setup automated email reminder notifications for the tasks they are responsible for. Notes and documents can be added to tasks. It is also possible for the busy eventprof to run cross event task reports to highlight tasks and deadlines across multiple event projects. Management can track task progress and assignments, at the team or individual level, which enables you to add or reassign resources to get back on track if required.

Networking and Matchmaking
Attendees can connect privately with other attendees before and during the event, to request onsite meetings and to create their personal schedule, which is perfect for hosted buyer type events. There is also an automatic matchmaking function to find those with similar interests. Reports can be generated post event to show the volume of networking activity and meetings, which is valuable to help with future exhibitor recruitment.

Room Scheduler
The scheduler is a visual, colour coded timeline showing meeting room inventory and scheduled activities. You can drag and drop sessions, determine the layout, setup and audio visual requirements and run custom reports to share with the venue, staff and AV supplier. At a glance you can then fit in fringe events and pop up meetings, which is a really handy tool for multi-day events.

Seating Plan
The seating plan module enables the creation of seating charts for rooms of any size or specification. Using the drag-and-drop feature, attendees can be placed exactly where desired by the event planner or be allowed to choose themselves. This is handy not just for dinners but also to add round table discussion topics and work groups, as multiple seating charts can be added for the same event. The table and seat assignments can be added to the attendee badges for quick reference if required. It is also easy to export seating plans and charts to give to the hotel or venue, and also incorporate dietary restriction information collected during registration

Exhibition Booth Management
It is possible to add your own floor plan image via a CAD file, jpeg or any image file for either shell scheme or table top exhibition space. You can then control the layout, manipulate stand/space sizes and quickly make updates as necessary, as well as allowing exhibitors to view and select available booths/tables. There is the opportunity to upsell with logos, colours and descriptions for prime exhibitors and sponsors. Attendees can view the published floorplan pre-event, to plan their time at the event.

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Plus+ Add On Functionality

The plus+ features offer extra functionality at an extra cost and are focused on larger events. For example the abstract management module enables abstracts to be submitted, reviewed and managed by committee members. It is possible to create an editable book of abstracts at the push of a button. Approved submissions can be converted into sessions and speakers added to the agenda. Managing abstracts can be a laborious process so this will be a big time saver for many event planners.

etouches enables you to create customized badges with your event branding, mail merge data and printed to your specific badge stock dimensions and printers. Badges can be printed in advance or on site and 2D barcodes and QR codes can be added for lead retrieval and session check in. Scanning devices for registration and exhibitors can then be hired at an additional cost.

The new Strategic Meetings Management asset can forecast F&B, airfare and transportation costs. It enables you to issue and receive responses to RFPs and to determine the best venue by using criteria including weather forecasts, as well as estimated expenditure.

etouches directly integrates with 16 other popular software, including Salesforce and Passkey. It can also work with third party providers such as Social Point for live interaction and Ingo for social media marketing.

Click here to read our detailed review of Tapcrowd, the mobile event app that integrates and syncs with etouches, as well as working independently.

Features

Hotel and Venue Sourcing

  • Venue and hotel sourcing tool to search, select and manage the RFP process from initial enquiry to contract.
  • Forecast hotel, F&B and travel costs.
  • Manage housing and travel requests.

Event Marketing and Content

  • Create and manage your event website with drag-and-drop functionality.
  • HTML and text email messaging.
  • Click-through reporting.
  • Speaker and content submissions management with customizable review processes and link to event sessions.

Event Registration and Logistics

  • Online registration forms.
  • Graphic floor plan display for exhibitor and sponsor purchases.
  • Design your own seating plans and drag-and-drop registrants based on defined seating rules.
  • Manage room schedule and inventory.
  • Badging and check-in features.

Event Engagement and Mobile

  • Customizable, skip logic-enabled surveys.
  • Enable 1-to-1 meeting creation with a published attendee directory and interest-based matchmaking.
  • Apple, Android and hybrid event app.
  • Sync the application with etouches modules and attendee features.
  • Hand-held badge scanning for lead collection, surveys, session evaluations and door scanning.

Event Data and ROI

  • Reporting per event and cross events.
  • Measure, quantify and optimize your goals to show the ROI of your events.
  • Track approved and actual revenue and expenses for your events.
  • Handle all financial information.
  • etouches integrates with numerous CRM, finance, marketing and housing ecosystems.

Who Is It For?

With the core and pro modules and plus+ add on functionality, etouches aims to appeal to small event planning agencies, right through to large teams and events. The seating plan, exhibition modules, 1-to-1 appointment scheduling and abstract management give functionality for those organising dinners, workshops and trade shows respectively, not just conferences and other events.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • This is an all-in-one event management tool to enable you to manage everything via one platform and avoid any incompatibility issues or time wasting through using different systems.
  • Offers an extra level of security and encryption.
  • Multi-language and multi-currency.
  • A global company with offices in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia with 24/7 support and training included.

Cons

  • The minimum commitment is 1k registrations per year and a 2 year contract.
  • Website requires custom CSS to be responsive.
  • The volume of registrations must be estimated and paid for upfront.
  • Lack of dashboard graphs.

Pricing and Plans

The core package provides the basic tools to plan, manage and market events; event registration, website, marketing and surveys.

The pro package includes all the core modules and adds project management, budgeting, scheduler, networking, seating and exhibition.

A-la-carte plus+ modules are available including RFPs, abstract management, lead retrieval and scanning and mobile event app. Each of these modules can be purchased individually by core or pro customers.

The core and pro pricing is based on a cost per registration, which drops the greater the volume commitment which can be given and is based on a minimum of 1k registrations and a 2 year contract. Enterprise pricing is a fixed annual fee for those that require over 25k registrations and a 3 year term.

For a bespoke quotation based on your exact needs please contact etouches.

In Conclusion

etouches is a comprehensive registration and event management software, rich in features and modules to make an event planner's life easier. For some the upfront volume estimations of registrations will be difficult to predict in advance to achieve optimal pricing but the ease of using an all-in-one solution with multiple add-on options will be an appealing proposition for many busy and data focused eventprofs.

 

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 questions please use the contact us section.

about the author

Becki Cross
Becki Cross is Managing Director of Events Northern Ltd, a UK event and conference management company established in 2004. Becki set up the business in her early twenties and is particularly passionate about conferences, innovation, entrepreneurship and the legacy of events. Becki is also the Deputy Editor, Community Manager and Contributor to EventMB, her dream job alongside event planning! Follow Becki via @beckitrain.
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