The secret recipe to selecting the best event tech suppliers

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You’ve probably experienced a below average event tech supplier at least sucks, right? It’s the unfortunate reality that as this industry continues to boom, more and more businesses will join the race - some will be amazing, some will just ‘tick the boxes’ and some will fail to hit the mark altogether.

As an event planner, options are great but too many is overwhelming...the last thing you want is to get a supplier that doesn’t deliver. So, to help make it a little bit easier to navigate, for this months Tribe guide we’re revealing our very own secret recipe to selecting the best event tech suppliers...yup, the one that we used when we created the Tribe!

Method to creating an event tech dream team

Add: Kickass people

It’s an interesting discussion, and one that we don’t think gets talked about enough. The reason we’re taking center stage is because this was one of the very reasons that inspired the creation of the Event Tech Tribe in the first place. Our founding partners collectively have years of experience as event planners themselves, and as managers running successful businesses that are each best-in-craft in their respective fields. Our people kickass, which by default means the events they touch also kickass.

When we recruit new Tribe members, our first criteria is the caliber of the leadership - and the acknowledgment by those leaders of the requirement to be truly collaborative, innovative and customer focused. We also expect our leaders to be ‘present’ - speaking at events, presenting webinars etc. When their reputation is on the line, we know they’ll be playing their A-game all the time. You should expect that of your partners too.

Add: Flexibility

Your event tech suppliers should know that no two events are the same. There’s no cookie-cutter approach to powering an event and any supplier that forces you into using tools that don’t work for you may not be the best partner for your events.

Like salt, this ingredient requires a fine balance. Too much flexibility and you’re event tech deployment will run away on you, not enough and your deployment will be plain and uninspired. You should be able to lean on your supplier for advice and guidance, but they should be able to spitball ideas and work with you to put your special flavor into it.

One thing that always gets our goat is event tech suppliers that lock their customers into multi-year contracts - how can they know how your events will evolve and be confident their tech will be the best fit? What if you have a terrible experience and you’re locked in?  Look for partners that put you first and give you the flexibility to choose.

Add: Experience

As we said earlier, our industry is continuing to grow, meaning more and more event tech suppliers are going to continue popping up. It’s a double-edged sword scenario: you get endless options when choosing your event tech, but the options may not always be all that good. The newcomers are often missing the all-important X-factor: Industry experience.

Our rule of thumb here is to look for experience when assessing vendors, in fact, it was one of the key elements we looked for when defining the best-in-craft philosophy and building the tribe. Experience can come in many shapes or forms: it could be longevity as a supplier in the industry, it could be experience as an event planner or in a field that is niche to your events. Whatever it is, do your research and use it to weigh up your options.

Looking for experience in a supplier will help you splice out the event tech cowboys. It’ll also mean you’re not only getting good tools, but you’re also getting access to a team with experience and industry knowledge who will be more primed to handle the sometimes unexpected hurdles that come with managing an event.

Getting a supplier that is run by people who genuinely know what it means to be an event planner is key - they understand the journey you’re on and know where to slot in to help make it a smoother ride. They know how to have fun along the way, and provide you with a calming presence when it’s the final hour and you’re about to lose your cool because a speaker just pulled out. They just get it. People that don’t get it are only going to get in the way of you delivering the very best event.

Add: Collaboration

Of course, any good event tech partnership needs to have this ingredient. For the Tribe, we believe that collaboration needs to happen between partners and directly with you. Many companies are pretty good when it comes to working and communicating, but unfortunately, we’ve seen all too often how siloed event tech suppliers can be. Sometimes it’s feature overlap that causes tension, or other times its development teams misaligned about just whose responsibility it is to complete that critical integration. Whatever it is, the lack of collaboration between partners is only going to hurt your events.

Unless you’re working with an all-in-one company chances are your suppliers will be somewhat disconnected from one another, leaving you to be the one that has to connect the dots, or architect the integrations - not ideal when you’ve got 101 other things to manage. That was why we started the Tribe! To turn the status quo on its head and get several different best-in-craft suppliers to join forces and ensure they were aligned at a technical level, and at the customer level, without forcing a one-solution-for-all on you.

Combine until it’s right for you.

So there you have it, our recipe for creating an event tech dream team...after all, we should know a thing or two, right?

Possibly the most surprising thing is that although the actual tech is important, we think the most special and hard-to-come-by ingredients involve people and their business really is the difference between a good deployment and a fabulous partnership that will see you well for years to come. I don’t know about you, but we know which option we’d prefer!