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MeetingHand: 360 Degree Event Management Software [Review]

By Becki Cross

MeetingHand is an all-in-one event management platform. Here is our review.

MeetingHand: 360 Degree Event Management Software [Review]

MeetingHand: What Is It?

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Increasingly online registration platforms are offering more features and evolving into 360 degree event management tools which offer much more than just selling event tickets. Event management is often about juggling complex expectations of multiple event sponsors, partners, participants and clients and it makes sense to be able to streamline these needs within one single integrated platform.

MeetingHand is based in the cloud so it can be accessed as long as you have internet/WiFi connection and a laptop or an Android/iOS device, such as a tablet. It has four views - the website/registration interface, the attendee interface/account, the submission reviewer interface and the event organizer dashboard/management interface.

At its core it is designed to collect registrations and payments, advertise your event, coordinate bookings for hotels and transfers, collect, assign and evaluate abstracts, and manage other tasks relating to the event. There is a free Mobile App for both event planners and participants.  

The foundations of MeetingHand started back in 2007, initially they developed their own internal system for registrations, abstracts and online payments. In 2011 they started working towards a public version, which has been tweaked and developed into the event management software we are reviewing here today.  

Let’s look at what it is capable of...

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The Main Categories of Features Are:

Registration, Delegate and Travel Management. Manage event registrations and payment, including bookings for accommodation, transfers, tours and additional workshops and dinners.

Event Management. Manage budget and tasks within your team in real time. Create and customize event surveys, certificates and badges.

Abstract Management. Coordinate the submissions, review and evaluation of event abstracts in multiple formats and easily add accepted content into the event programme, create a book of abstracts and e-posters.

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Review

MeetingHand is a self-service tool. If you have not used an all-in-one event management platform before the capabilities may be overwhelming at first so user manuals, live demos and tutorial videos are available for users, as well as having a technical team to reply to questions. Each event is considered as a separate project, so you can plan multiple events at the same time and manage them separately.  


Event Registration

The web page pulls content from the other modules automatically, to ensure it is always up to date and you can edit directly on the web page. It is a multi-lingual platform, available in English, Turkish, Spanish and French and with more languages in the pipeline. The MeetingHand app enables attendees to log into their account to see specific event information and create their own personal agenda, with notifications when events are about to begin and communicate with other attendees.

Participants can sign up for your event using their social media profile on LinkedIn, which is handy for speedy registration. Attendees may register themselves individually or someone can complete a registration on behalf of a group. Planners can also upload an existing participant list as an Excel file. It is possible to create different registration types and to define different rights and different pricing policy for each of them if you wish, including setting 3 pricing periods (Early, Standard and Late pricing). You can even set different pricing rates for different locations, which is an interesting concept for international events.

A big selling point for me is that all the necessary documents for that registration type can be made automatically available at the end of registration process. Although it is common for registration sites to make invoices and receipts available, through MeetingHand it is possible to create other documents such as customized and personalised visa letters, invitation letters, name badges, and so forth. Each document uses the merge fields you specify to pull the correct information. According to the organizers preference this information can be delivered automatically by email and/or can be saved and printed via the attendee account.

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Accommodation and Extra Services

The system enables you to manage and sell hotel rooms, transfers, and tours and to provide and update information about hotel details, room types, room availability, details of tours and transfers in your event web page. Participants can login to their account and make their choices and add to their booking. Like the other modules, participants can easily download documents they need, like invoices and vouchers related to travel services.

Managing room blocks, travel and tours manually can be a big headache but the system allows you to set and see room rates and types, detailed pricing and quotas, and an overview of remaining rooms available in each block in real time.

Suppliers, such as the transfer company can be granted access to specifically see the bookings relating to their service and be notified of any changes such as new bookings and cancellations. It also allows the supplier to notify relevant guests in case of any delays or changes.

Likewise, you can create additional related events and merchandise, such as free or paid workshops, dinners, conference swag, etc. You can manage your participants’  transactions and bookings for these activities, edit event information, set quotas or manage payments and refunds.

Participants can make payments either by using secure payment systems online (Authorize.Net, Stripe, Braintree, Worldpay) or they can pay by Paypal, or offline methods if you wish. Pro forma and invoice templates can be customized and updated specifically with the information you need.

Budget Management, Communication and Task Management

In terms of the event budget, MeetingHand allows you to create a main budget and separate sub budgets, which can be allocated to staff on the event team to track their expenditure. The received and anticipated event payments are reflected in the budget in real time from the system.

Through the Sponsorship & Booth Module you can offer different types of sponsorship packages, showing rates and features, accept online bookings and payments (automatically reflected in the event budget) and publish sponsor names and logos on your website. You can create and have sponsorship and exhibitor documents available for download. Unfortunately no floor plan allocation tool is available, which may be essential for serious exhibition organizers.

The event team can export, download and print all documents easily. Standard management and financial reports are provided and you can add your own and arrange the columns as desired. Likewise there are basic templates provided for contracts, emails and surveys which can be adapted and new templates added. It is possible to schedule emails for a specific date in the future, however note that if you schedule an email and the relevant recipients updates the mailout list will not reflect this as the mailing list is determined at the time the email is scheduled. For example if you schedule a reminder email to those that haven’t paid yet and then more people register without paying, the new registrants booked after the email was scheduled will not receive the message.

Benefits of using MeetingHand include being able to upload an invitation list and send out invitations using the mass mailing option, without extra costs or sending limits. You can also create and send unlimited surveys, which are limited with some other providers. Names badges and certificates can be designed and you can print them all out or send directly to participants. You can check in attendees on site using QR code or a list based check-in procedure and add notes against an individual arriving at the event.

There is a Kanban style task management tool which allows you to create work groups among the team and assign tasks, track progress and manage authorizations; edit, delete or archive items.

Scientific Module (Abstracts)

A really stand out feature of MeetingHand is the Scientific Module, which enables authors to submit their abstracts in the permissible formats (text, file upload, video, audio) and select the appropriate presentation category they wish to be considered for.

You can appoint reviewers to evaluate specific submissions and they are given a password and access to their reviewer panel. The evaluation criteria and models can be defined according to your event needs - simple, standard or advanced (which gives a weighting to the different criteria). Authors and scientific topics can be excluded and you can show or hide other scores to keep the process anonymous and private if you wish.

Organizers can monitor the evaluation process and see which submissions are waiting for review and which have been accepted. Authors can be notified of decisions when the panels have made their decisions. Once abstracts are approved, parallel scheduling is quick and easy. Simply assign and programme the sessions within the event agenda, allocating a specific track and room as appropriate. Once added this automatically updates the timetable shown on the event website and of course the schedule links through to the detailed abstract information for more information. 

You can also generate and organize the event book of abstracts according to the criteria and features you’ve selected. This gives the option to save, download and print it or share it with your participants online. E-posters can be posted online too to increase the longevity of poster presentations after the event.

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Features

Registration, Delegate and Travel Management

  • Create and customize a responsive event web page
  • Manage content yourself and edit content directly on the actual web page
  • Web page automatically pulls content from other Meetinghand modules
  • Customize the registration process according to your event requirements - create registration types and add custom fields as necessary
  • Individuals and group registrations
  • Registration and booking confirmation parallel with online payments
  • Multiple payment options including worldwide integrated payment systems: Authorize.net, Stripe, Braintree, Worldpay, or PayPal.
  • Detailed payment registryDiscount and refund processing
  • Create all the necessary documents and deliver them to your participants automatically - visa letter, proforma invoice, booking voucher, invoice, certificates, etc
  • Post your event on the MeetingHand App
  • Personal event agenda utility for participants
  • Individual or group check-in
  • Provide hotel details, room types, room availability, tour and transfer details to your participants for easy selection and booking
  • Quick export of rooming lists, tour bookings and transfers. Enable providers to have access to real time information directly, without visibility of other items
  • Manage quotas and prices easily

Event Management

  • Create and manage your event budget. Add budget items and assign budget item users and expense authorization
  • Monitor income in real time
  • Tailor your sponsorship options and enable them to book and pay for sponsorship packages online
  • Customize the information required for your sponsorship bookings as necessary
  • The event team manages everything on a single panel, including generating lists and reports
  • Generate documents you or participants need automatically on the spot
  • Offer free or paid social activities, e.g. workshops, dinners and other incentives
  • Multi-way, multiple task assignment utility
  • Create work groups within your team. Include event committee as necessary
  • Complete and verify unfinished tasks
  • Support ticket utility between participant and your team. Solve participants' problems easily
  • Individual or group check-in on site
  • Free targeted email marketing and announcements to your participants and sponsors. Parallel posting on event web page.
  • Unlimited event surveys
  • Participants can vote for presentations in quick polls
  • Post participants lists for sessions in participants’ agenda
  • Badge and certificate customization and printing tool
  • Design different badges for different registration types, e.g. VIP, Press
  • Easily clone a badge design to other badge types

Abstract Management

  • Create submission forms and presentation types, tailored to the event requirements
  • Easy steps for participants to submit abstracts, full texts, video, etc
  • Define event tailored evaluation criteria
  • Appoint reviewers and provide them a simple evaluation interface
  • 2 evaluation assignment options; reviewer based and abstract based
  • Reviewers can review without knowing the participant's submission details if you prefer to keep it anonymous
  • The event committee can fully monitor evaluation progress
  • Track evaluation status and update authors as necessary. Multiple options to inform authors on evaluation results
  • Parallel scheduling of Scientific Program with evaluation process.
  • Create all necessary documents and deliver them to authors automatically such as acceptance letter, certificate of presentation, etc
  • Abstract and full text collection for ready to print abstract book publishing
  • Printable file export
  • E-Poster utility for poster abstract presentation online

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Who Is It For?

MeetingHand is for event planners looking for more than just an event registration tool. It seems a good fit for medium sized event teams running all sizes of conferences and events. The features work well for multi-day events, particularly those with a requirement for accommodation, travel booking, tours and extra events, including projects with an abstract submission and review process.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • The mobile app is included for free
  • Ability to give specific authorization to your team, assign certain tasks and events to individuals or groups and manage the entire process from the same platform
  • Manage hotel quotas, travel requirements and tours easily via the system and make visa letters, customized certificates, invoices and badges automatically available.

Cons

  • Integration to some CRM systems is still under development
  • Floorplanning isn’t yet available
  • As a multi-functional software it could be overwhelming at the start or too comprehensive for those running simple event projects

Pricing and Plans

There are different packages based on the features required. For a single event with up to 1k participants the registration package is $99 per month. The booking package is $299 per month and gives access to to all features, other than abstract management. Click here for more details on pricing and packages.

For multiple events submit your details for a bespoke quote. For instance, MeetingHand offers various multiple event packages (10 and more) with all features included and a 12 month timescale for each event.

You can access all the features for a 15 day free trial, with no credit card details required.

In Conclusion

MeetingHand offers a comprehensive all-in-one event management software, perfect for conferences and multi-day events. The lack of a floor plan tool may be a stumbling block for serious tradeshow organizers but there are a plethora of stand out features which will appeal to event teams everywhere. Why not accept the free trial and see if it is a good fit for your 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.

 

 

 

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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