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zkipster: Custom Event Invitations with Style [Review]

By Becki Cross

zkipster event management software has just launched new event invitation features to add to its current functionality. Here is our review.

zkipster: Custom Event Invitations with Style [Review]

zkipster: What Is It?

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zkipster started when they created a guest list app for their own event. Since launching in 2009, the Swiss company has grown to offer a fast, reliable, and secure suite of tools built for invitation only events.

zkipster is built around your guests. The event check in functionality is at the centre of the process and you can choose to add features around this, such as handling invitations and RSVPs and creating a seating plan. You are not forced to buy into the whole package if you want to keep it simple in terms of managing your guests arrival on site and likewise you don’t get lots of complex bells and whistles with vanity features you probably don’t need and won’t ever use.

The new features zkipster launched in August are focused on the invitation and RSVP process and most importantly on high deliverability and keeping data private and secure. It is perfect for events such as galas, premieres, fundraisers, product launches, conferences, and corporate events.

Let’s take a look at what zkipster event management software has to offer your event.

The Main Categories of Features Are:

Planning. Create events, guest lists, and guest profiles from simple templates. Devise the floor plan for any type of venue with the drag and drop tool. Set different levels of access for different members of your team.

Invitations and Managing RSVPs. Create RSVP emails optimized for delivery. Upload invitation lists from spreadsheets or Salesforce, or add them on the spot. View the history of communication and activity with that guest.

Event Check In. Fast check in (even if the WiFi fails) with instant badge printing and text and email alerts when important guests arrive. Pictures are matched to each guest to eliminate gatecrashers.

Analytics. Data-rich reports and insights about activity at the event and social engagement that can be used to improve future events.

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Review

zkipster have expanded their offering to cover the full guest journey from invitation, welcoming at the live event, to post event analysis. They know their strengths and their event management software is focused primarily on invitation only and non-fee-paying events. If you wish to sell event tickets this would therefore need to be done through another provider, however it is easy to import lists of paid/confirmed attendees into the zkipster system.

Custom Event Invitations

The new features enable custom online invitations to be created. There are popular templates provided for save the date, RSVP, event reminders, and other popular emails. It is possible to customize colours, logos, text and images through the simple rich text editor. The footer and all elements can be switched on and off. If you prefer to send out a flyer or artwork, this can also be added instead of (or as well as) text. You are asked to specify a plain text version of the email too as this helps with the deliverability rating of the email.

The invitation wizard enables you to add RSVP call to action buttons to the invitation emails and you can add an option to send apologies/notification of non attendance also if you wish.

There are 25 mail merge tags you can insert into the email to personalize it to the sender and share important and relevant information.

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Mail Out Lists

The mail out lists can be imported from Excel, a CSV file, cut and pasted, or added directly from Salesforce. The smart import tool detects the data and requests that you define/confirm the fields. As data is imported it requires confirmation of whether the people are unconfirmed, therefore information should be sent to them, or confirmed, with no details needing to be sent on.

A neat USP is that zkipster sources pictures for each guest on the list, as they are added, based on searching their social media profiles. This is a simple tool to avoid gatecrashers and can offer a nice touch in terms of recognizing guests, particularly VIPs.

The sender email can be noreply@invtd.to which offers a white label solution, rather than coming from a zkipster email address. You can custom the sender email address to your own organisation domain if you prefer, so long as you verify your email address. This extra step protects others from spam and helps to ensure a high deliverability rate. To do this DNS records may need to be added to the domain.

Invitations not reaching your recipient are next to useless so although this may seem like extra work it really is worth it to get your message through to the inbox of the right people, rather than their spam folder. zkipster offer clear instructions and support is available for this process if you don’t have a system administrator to assist you. This support is available on all plans via phone, email and live chat support.

You can specify which guest lists to send to and segment lists. This is useful to target and follow up to those that didn’t respond or act on your invitation.

Online Form

Online forms can also be created. They can be open and take responses until 12/24 hours before event or specific date/time set by you. Alternatively you may prefer to close it when a set number of guests are confirmed. The form can use the same styling as your invitation email.

You can choose to have a Private form. This generates personalized links for guests to view and sign up. For security the invitation can’t be forwarded or passed onto others and certain fields are locked and cannot be changed.

If a form is set as Public it means that anyone with the link can sign up. You can add custom fields as required and tailor the language and colours exactly to match your brand.

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Guest Management

You can view the activity of all guests - including opens and clicks. An email notification is received for each registration in real time. This always sends to the one email address specified and currently it can’t be turned off so you may want to think about which address is added to receive these notifications.

Any team member can add manual confirmations and note telephone RSVPs on the system. Unlike with some other guest list tools it is also easy to manually send an invitation to one more person.

You can separate lists from other attendees. For example you may wish Press to be handled and communicated to differently than other guests. It is easy to duplicate emails or invitations and update the items as you wish for these situations.

Seating Plans

You can use the drag and drop tool to create a bespoke seating plan for your event showing different layouts, standard table sizes and configurations. When you are happy you can allocate confirmed guests to the seating plan and move them about as required when more guest confirmations are received. Getting guests seated satisfactorily and creating the table plan can be a big headache but this tool takes away these headaches and gives a printable and shareable file.

Check In On Site

The zkipster guest list check in app is available on iOS and Android. Data is stored locally on the device so that check in can still continue in offline mode if signal is lost. If this happens the devices will not update and sync but will store everything on the device until the connection is restored.

It is useful to be able to see the history of communication and activity with a guest, so at the point of check in you can view all the emails and reminders sent in case of any queries. You can also see any guests that are still unconfirmed too in case they just turn up at the door without sending confirmation of their attendance.

Badge Printing

Name badge printing can be triggered from the app to your local badge printers at the reception desks. This ensures that only the badges you need are printed, to avoid wasted staff time and effort and to respect the environment.

Security and Data

zkipster take data and security very seriously, without compromises. To be discrete and for this reason there is no requirement to store individual profiles or emails in your guest lists. All guest data is kept safe and secure on banking-grade cloud servers.

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Features

Planning

  • Create events, guest lists, and guest profiles from simple templates, or import from your own spreadsheets.
  • Keep events discrete. No need to save individual profiles or emails in your guest lists.
  • Set different levels of access for different members of your team. Give front of house access only to check ins, and your clients access only to guest list uploads.
  • Devise the floor plan for any type of venue with the drag and drop tool.
  • Add, remove, and swap guests in the seating plan.
  • All guest data is kept safe and secure on banking-grade cloud servers.

Invitations and Managing RSVPs

  • Create RSVP emails and guest response forms, save the date, and other event emails.
  • Use existing templates, create new ones, or simply upload existing invitations/artwork to send.
  • Customize details to be on brand, including colour and logos.
  • Send emails from a white label “no reply” address or appear as if sent from your own company email address.
  • Control when to open and close RSVPs
  • Make invitations public or only accessible to those you invited.
  • Create unlimited personalized invitations for VIP, press, and other types of guests.
  • Upload invitation lists from spreadsheets, Salesforce, or add them on the spot.
  • Invitation lists automatically turn into dynamic guest lists with status updates for invitations, guest confirmation, on-site check in, and post-event analytics.
  • Turn on or off any of zkipster’s other features to connect your invitations and RSVPs to seating charts and guest check-ins.
  • Optimize invitations for email delivery to guests’ inboxes, not their spam folders.

Event Check In

  • Fast check in via the app
  • Unlimited devices.
  • From floor maps to guest information to check in, everything syncs across all devices instantly.
  • Offline mode for if the WiFi goes down which stores everything locally. Information syncs between devices when connection is restored.
  • Picture sourcing engine matches faces to names, sent straight to your guest list, and stored in the cloud for future events. This helps with security and to eliminate gatecrashers.
  • Instantly print name badges for guests on local wireless printers.
  • Automatic text and email alerts when important guests arrive.
  • Guests can receive texts to inform them of their table number and other key information.

Analytics

  • See every single action taken at your event. See who checked in when and which sessions/activities had the best attendance.
  • Data-rich reports and insights that can be used to improve future events.
  • Link your Twitter and Instagram account and create event hashtags.
  • Measure social engagement during your event.
  • Pull Twitter and Instagram reports afterwards

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Who Is It For?

zkipster is focused on professional event planners (in-house and agency) and PR managers. It is ideal for those hosting invitation only, free or non-ticketed events.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Measures in place to give the best chance of your invitation being delivered to your guest inbox, rather than their spam folder
  • Secure. zkipster take client/guest privacy and data very seriously
  • Check-in app, with pictures to reduce gatecrashers and alerts for VIP arrivals
  • Offline mode

Cons

  • No payment integration or dedicated support for ticketing - if you want to sell tickets, you need an outside vendor
  • No QR code scanning capabilities
  • No template gallery for invitations
  • Can’t turn off RSVP notifications

Pricing and Plans

zkipster lets you demo all available features for a free event with up to 25 guests.

Paid users have two options: pay-per-event and subscriptions.

Pay-per event starts at $99/event for a starter event, and subscriptions start at $169/month for the basic plan. Advanced features and customization are available on the professional-level plans, geared toward users with a wider variety of needs.

Click here for a full breakdown of the zkipster pricing.

In Conclusion

If you are looking for an event management software that focuses on the most important parts of the guest experience, zkipster could be for you. With the new event invitation functionality and stand out features including high delivery rates, easy segmentation for follow up emails and Salesforce integration this is a huge expansion to the solid zkipster check-in features. Although selling paid tickets is not possible directly via zkipster it is easy to import lists to manage your seating plans, badge printing and guest list management via the zkipster event management software.

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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