Rachel Ruggieri came from a corporate event background and now works as the Customer Success Director at Bizzabo in New York. In this episode she explains to James how Bizzabo Event Success Software can and has changed the lives of event professionals. Bizzabo brings together cutting edge technology, innovative spirit and events background to lead the meetings industry to new frontiers. It’s an intuitive piece of software that will run on pretty much anything with an internet connection. A serious tool, for serious professionals. Check it out!
In this episode you’ll discover:
• How Bizzabo’s intuitive event success software brings your event needs into one system.
• Why Bizzabo is perfect to connect people at professional networking events.
• How to save time and increase revenue when running your events though Bizzabo.
For Audio Transcript Click Here
Rachel: Becoming an event planner is actually listed as one of the top ten the most stressful jobs, I think it’s right under being a fire fighter.
Narrator: Toby and James are involved in amazing events all over the world. You’re listening to PlannnersPod.com. Where top event professionals share real world experiences and cutting edge ideas. Sponsored by metropolis-live.co.uk
Toby: Hello and welcome to the Planner’s Pod. I’m Toby Goodman, back after a little break with James Eager. How are you, James?
James: I’m pretty good. Toby, are you well?
Toby: I’m loving it and I’m back podding with you. There’s no place I’d rather be.
James: There’s no place like Pod.
Toby: That’s right. So, Today is all about software. But, please don’t worry, it’s good software that we all need to know about and if you listen through to this, it’s really interesting episode that James’ just recorded. You’ll find out this special offer for Planner’s Pod listeners. So, check this out. Today, James Eager talked with Rachel from Bizzabo, who is the custom’s success director and here’s what their website says, launched in 2012, Bizzabo, spelt Bizzabo or perhaps if you’re from not the UK, BIZZABO and just put a dot com on the end of that and you’ll find their website as well. So, launched in 2012, Bizzabo set off to make professional events more successful, impactful and rewarding. We are on a mission to help make the event experience easier and more engaging for everyone— organisers, attendees, sponsors and exhibitors. Bizzabo brings together cutting edge technology, innovative spirit and event background to lead the meeting industry into new frontier. That’s quite a bold statement, isn’t it, James?
James: It certainly is, but very interesting. So, do check it out. In the meantime, we just like to thank Alaa E for a great review on the podcast. Do keep them coming, we got loads more episodes ready to come out over the next couple of months. But let me just read his review. It goes… ‘James and Toby do a great job interviewing event professionals. I started listening to the podcast even though I’m not an event professional. They have a knack for interviewing and make the focus on the interviewee. It’s really a must-listen podcast for any event professional. You can hear about the best practices and mistakes of people that have been in event industry for years’. Pretty cool, right? I’m very happy with that one. What do you think, Toby?
Toby: I think that’s a really nice one. So, thanks for the review. Even though I’m not an event professional I’m really interested to find out exactly who he is and what he does. Maybe he’s thinking of becoming one. In which case, you’re in the right place. If you’re not, I’m glad you’re enjoying it. Wonderful. Okay, let’s carry on. Before you listen to this really interesting interview that James’ has done with Rachel, we have got an excuse for being off radar and that is our new website is now live. So, please check it out. Metropolis. So, www dot Metropolis hyphen live dot co dot uk. You’ll also find the Planner’s Pod on there. How exactly does that work, James?
James: Basically, we have imported all of our websites into one. So, our live music offering, our event production offering, and our brand new media offering is now on there all, too. It is now the home of PlannersPod.com. So, you can find all those episodes on our new website. Pretty cool.
Toby: It’s pretty cool. It’s definitely very cool and also I hope you like the new graphic as well. For not just Metropolis but Planner’s Pod, so you got to thank Ali Leon for that. If you like them, definitely big shout out to her and we’ll link you up if you need a graphic designer . Also now we’ve also got the copy of our event coaching service up there. So if you are ready to take your event business to the next level, give us a shout and hopefully we can find a way of helping you. I’m sure we can. I think that’s pretty much it, young James. So, should we listen to your lovely interview with Rachel?
James: That’s right, young Toby.
Toby: Nice one, see you later.
Narrator: Planner’s Pod is sponsored by metropolis-live.co.uk
James: Rachel, welcome to PlannersPod.com. How’s New York today?
Rachel: Fantastic. The weather is beautiful for once. So, I’m really enjoying the day.
James: Excellent. It’s great here in the UK, too. Let’s crack on with things. You started life as a hands on event professional and have moved into working for an event software company. Before we talk exactly about how that came about, can you give us a brief insight on your back story?
Rachel: Absolutely. I was a corporate event planner before I started here at Bizzabo. I planned conferences all over the country and even some in Canada. I’ve worked on very professional events where the content and the attendees are very high caliber. Super interesting staff and really exciting to be able to navigate on the opposite side of that and be able to understand what our customers and clients really need because I have those first hand experiences. So, it’s definitely a really great time progression in my career that goes from being the customer and now talking to those individuals.
James: Can you describe, just give us an insight into exactly the sort of corporate events you were doing.
Rachel: Sure. I was a co-planner for an organization that had memberships in different verticals and we would organise events across different cities and highlight key trend and topics and bringing involved leaders to discuss upcoming exciting news and things that have really affecting the industries that they’re all working in. We would put together panels, key notes, sidetracks and things like that and also provide them the opportunity to network and get to know each other, really help create opportunities for collaboration and improving their own careers and organizations. And we had done that for hundreds of events throughout each year. So, we range from doing small full leadership practice to full 300 or so person conferences. So, definitely from a to z and everything we dream to really help each of these different sea level professionals, bringing the best to their organizations.
James: So it sounds you really kind of had some great experience what it was like on the ground.
Rachel: Absolutely. Becoming an event planner, it’s actually listed as one of the top 10 most stressful jobs, I thinks right under being a fire fighter which is a little concerning.
Rachel: But, event planners had to deal , they have to feel, understand and always have multiple back up plans. There’s never a time where you’ll find an event planner not stressed out. How they handle their stress depends on the person. But, it is definitely very interesting to know how it feels to be in that situation, where you’re trying to manage all these different people, speakers, sponsors and attendees and make sure that everyone is happy because at the end of the day, they’ll feel good about it but if something goes wrong they’ll always remember who’s organizing and what happens at that moment. You want to make sure that you’re prepared for all things at all times.
James: Absolutely. That sounds very cool. So, talk to me a little bit about how you ended up going from that world into the event software world.
Rachel: So, I really did love what I was working on. I really loved , like you said, being on the ground, traveling a lot and organizing all of these events. But at the end of the day, I just didn’t feel like it was for me but I knew I wanted to stay in the event industry, it’s something that I’m very passionate about. So, searching on the internet and I came across Bizzabo and they seem to tie in a lot of what I’m interested in. So, as my interest in the tech industry and this whole start up culture was very new but exciting. So, I found Bizzabo who tied in that with events and their organisers and it definitely I wanted to learn it more. I did some research and I got some interviews and I learned that they work with organisers to simplify a lot of the stresses that organisers deal with everyday. Streamline things, making things, bringing to the digital image, where as, I’m sure you know, organisers tend to build it more traditional. If it’s not broken, they don’t fix it, working very hard on Excel spreadsheets and juggling a whole different, a lot of different platforms. So seeing someone trying to improve that and disrupt that was really exciting.
Rachel: It was a great match for my personality and professional wise.
James: Brilliant. So, can you explain to anybody listening to this podcast exactly what term Bizzabo do?
Rachel: So, Bizzabo is a platform for events and conferences. What we’re doing is offering a way to bring everything together in one place. So, any organiser can tell you that they are warning 3 different systems at the minimal. In addition to I’m sure, an abundance of Excel spreadsheets to manage all the things that they need to touching base on whether it’s the sponsors, collateral, speakers, presentations, or emailing campaigns out to their attendees, all of these things take time to manage, to log in, to remember, and a little updates that you have to make forward. What Bizzabo does is simplifies. We’re bringing in different aspects if you’re planning process into one dashboard. Our idea here is that one plus one plus one plus an equal 3 equals ten, you’re saving time, money and meeting a lot of stress. Stress in having everything in one place. So, organisers will be able to manage their communication with their attendees, speakers, and sponsors. They will be able to create a website, create ticketing and registration, providing networking app and platform to engage their attendees and a lot more logging into one single website.
James: Very cool. What sort of client base is Bizzabo aimed at?
Rachel: So, right now, we’re aiming at professional networking events. Seminars, workshops, conferences are really big sweet spots for us. As we grow, we’ll be able to expand the different areas of the event industry but really we’re working with the professional corporate type of event.
James: Very cool. Can you tell me a little bit about what’s with the platforms that Bizzabo runs on?
Rachel: Sure. So, we provide front facing for the attendees. We provide a mobile app that works on IOS and Android. We also have web-based interface, so that anybody with a smartphone or browsing phone can access. So we really try to be on composing in that aspect. The dashboard for the organisers is going to be based on the web, so they can access from their computer, their desktop or something like that. And in the future it will available on their mobile devices as well because it’s very important that they’re on the go and they are able to see all of their members.
James: That’s great. I’ve had a bit of a good look around your website and had a look at the interface myself and the way you portray yourself in your marketing is a very cosmopolitan thing and loads of Apple computers there, they process on the move. It strikes me as something that’s very intuitive. Is that the kind of what you guys are aiming at?
Rachel: Absolutely. So, Bizzabo is meant to be as user-friendly as possible. So, our app or our web platform and especially our dashboard, is meant to easily guide our customers and their customers through the process without a lot of need for training or technical support. It’s very intuitive to the way the organiser will plot in any way. We take pride in working with our organisers and we appreciate any feedback that they give us. With that, we built a platform that they need and want because we really listen to what their saying in times. So, when they tell us, this isn’t full right, we make the adjustment to make it work for them. Our goal is to make their lives easier to increase revenue and save time. So, of course we’re going to take what they have to say into consideration.
James: It strikes me also looking at it, that it’s designed with a creative mind. It’s a really beautiful-looking interface compare to a lot of people who spend a lot of time looking at Excel and I know for myself that’s not fun to look at.
Rachel: (Laughs) You know, I totally agree. As an event planner and someone who likes to be very organised, I do have a soft spot for Excel. I still make my Christmas list on Excel, but when it comes to efficiency it’s just not quite there. You have to do a lot manual work and all the transferring and updating. After that you use an older version of one of your Excel spreadsheets, it’s just doesn’t make sense. And organisers, they’re very familiar with having Excel, there’s just opportunity to simplify and that’s what we’re designing around. This new tech-savvy opportunity that you don’t necessarily have to have a tech background for. So you can use this dashboard, this interface, that will do all the things you want to do in an Excel spreadsheet with the click of the button rather than having conditional formatting formulas. It’s much simpler and it’s getting a lot more value, now that you compare these numbers faster and easier with all your other tools.
James: Excellent. I’ve been also checking out your website quite extensively and you mentioned kind of four areas which is event management. It’s very clear, it’s great. So, it’s event management, event marketing, event experience and event success. Can you tell me, let’s go through each one just briefly. Can you give us an overview of what features and what are the benefits of those features are in the event management side of things.
Rachel: Absolutely. So, any organiser knows the turn of your work, spread out over time is going to be the management of your event. Being able to handle registrations, being able to target your key demographic, will really get them in the door. It’s like whether you’re a private event or public event you need to understand what we’re talking to, how engage they are and how you’re going to get in front of them. What we’ve done is create a great event management tool, so you have a CRM, a way to communicate and a way to manage all of the interactions that these attendees or potential attendees are taking with you and your event. What we’ve done is follow different tools, like I said, we do registration and ticketing, we do website building, we do group communications running your event, by having that all in a management tool, you’ll create a process that is going to be much simpler. You’ll be able to target specific quest and always maintain those lists, whereas before you might have to upload new updates and transfer it over to another system and record it and then spread out of your mailing system. When it’s all in one area, you always log in and go back to what you were doing.
James: Cool. Can you explain just what CRM is to anybody who may not know?
Rachel: Sure. This is going to be high manager contacts. So, Bizzabo has built one each from its platform, so that you can import your existing contacts, you can manage your new contacts and then see the history there. So, if someone has attended one of your past events, you can identify them there. If someone has purchased a ticket, someone has not yet purchased a ticket, you mail them, you want to make sure that you’re re-targeting and nurturing them become an actual customer. This contact management system can do that for you. Tract their history, their information, their profile, so you know exactly what’s going on with that individual.
James: Cool. What does CRM actually stand for, though?
Rachel: Oh,sorry. (laughs) So, it’s Customer Relationship Management tool.
James: Cool. Very good. Let’s move on, so, I think it’s kind of related a lot of what you’re talking about. I think these four areas are completely related actually but event marketing, so talk to me a little bit about that, please.
Rachel: Sure. So, our event marketing tool is going to allow you to market specific details about your event. We’ve built in an emailing system for you and this is not the only marketing you can do but it is probably the most profound. Being able to put your event in front of your contacts and we give you a very easy to use system for that where you can choose from a few different templates that already have a very clear call to action. To either purchase a ticket or join this interactive community. With your full go and a template of texts that we found successful. The benefit of working with Bizzabo who works for tons of events, all the world throughout the year, we can find trends that work. So, we can share them with you and make you more successful as an organiser and moving forward. So the communication tool is going to be for marketing out promotions or new events coming up. Or if you’re trying to increase engagement around your event, your tiny sponsor already have a really great information to speak to getting them excited about it. You can all out through the marketing tool on Bizzabo, you’ll have other tools like announcements, keep the attendees engaged and up to date on what’s happening.
James: Excellent. What would you say to anybody who is a bit of a techno-phobe, who thinks, ‘Oh, I can’t do this. It’s going to be coding, it’s going to be all those stuff like that. That’s not me’. How does Bizzabo get around that?
Rachel: So first, let me tell them, don’t be scared. We’ve built our interface for everyone. It’s not meant for the person that knows how to navigate full website by themselves. What it’s for is the event organisers and most event organisers, not all obviously, but most event organisers don’t code their on website and they don’t build their own app and we understand that. That’s what we’re here for, to make that simpler and cut out some of those mental stress. So, we’ve simplified everything for you. We’ve put each tools and easy to understand way. We give tutorial videos to show you what we suggest you do, how to move along, get a great customer success team to walk you through best practices. The interface itself does not require any technical skill. Our website is literally drag and drop. You click what you want and you drag to where you want it and you can customise anything that you need to. So, it’s meant for people, number one, that don’t have a ton of time. Number two, who don’t necessarily have a tech background. So, anyone can use Bizzabo. As soon as they log on, they are on their way to becoming a master of it.
James: Excellent. Some might kind of interface that. What about event experience? Tell me a little bit about that one.
Rachel: Sure. This is going to focus a lot on the attendee. You know, the front pacing experience to the event. So like ideal event management, this is all pretty event. Then experience the actual event now, what kind of influence or impact rather you’re making on your attendee. So, with a lot of events, getting the attendees engaged is sort of an uphill battle. Making sure that they really are interested in the speaker or the content, or making sure that your sponsors are getting some face time with these attendees. That’s a huge value for them. So, what we’ve done is built an award-winning app. This app is like I said, consisting with a vast of Bizzabo, very easy to use, easy to navigate, and anyone can use it. And then, in that app, or even though on the platform that is web-based, attendees can engage with one another. Through this community that’s digital, social and mobile connecting before, during and after the event. Whereas if you’re in a physical event, you’re kind of luckier or not, interested in somebody that you wanted to meet, that’s great. But if somebody’s across the room, you might never ever interact with them. We’re eliminating that.
James: So, can you give me some examples. This sounds amazing. But can you give me examples of how people could potentially connect in that situation?
Rachel: Absolutely. It’s really important for me to say that we’re not trying to replace eye contacts and handshakes. That’s where deals are made. You know, that person to person meeting. We’re trying to facilitate that. So, before the event, the organiser can provide the networking community by providing and make it alive. Attendees can join and create a profile and then browse the community where everyone else’s profiles are listed. We also have a really deep integration point in that makes it a much more powerful tool. Being able to import your Linkedin profile, see other people’s Linkedin profiles. Let’s say you’re looking for someone to partner up with or you need someone to be your marketing person for you; search the community, send them a message before the event, meet up at the even or even at the event, like… ‘Hey, I see you’re here. Let’s connect, let’s go meet for coffee, you know during the next break’. So, this has been a huge value for so many of our customers and their customers. Having that ability to search and connect and build real relationships surrounding that event.
James: Cool. It kinda sounds like the Internet dating of the event world.
Rachel: You know, I’ve been told that a few different times. But you know what, it may be something just like that. What we’re doing is building real connections, based on your interests, so I guess you can kind of parallel it to dating but this is going to be professional networking, professional values, and progress and improvement for yourself.
James: I guess what I kind of meant by that is that it’s the same principles as that but just applied to a different issues, isn’t it?
Rachel: Sure, sure. Yes, it definitely is. It’s where the world can connect in the digital level now. So, I figured event can culminate that if they want to make some improvements that are going to give a lot more value to your attendees.
James: For sure. And the last one of those four was event success. Tell me what that’s about.
Rachel: So, in the past year, two years, surrounding that, it’s very clear that every industry especially the event industry has become more data-driven. It’s very important for you to understand the numbers surrounding your event. How many people are coming in or attending, how many people are really engaging, what connections are being made. You need to know the numbers surrounding your event so that you can come in smarter and more efficient event planner. What Bizzabo does is provide you these data points. As you’re growing and developing your event and even after your event. And because we are our own event solution, so many different tools into one platform, we have the ability to connect the dots for you in ways that you weren’t able to do before. We can tell you the conversions, from a site visit to an actual ticket purchase. So, there’s a lot of value here for organisers that they might not have understood before or they might have been giving a very manual process, again with the Excel spreadsheets, with these formulas to get the number and comparing it to this other service that they’re using, they might not formulate directly. So, by having all of your solutions in one place, you have the ability to make real impact for decisions, moving forward and all the improvement. Like I said, Bizzabo’s goal is to help our organisers become more successful overtime.
James: Okay. Can I just ask are you running email, something as basic as that through this software as well?
Rachel: Yes. You can definitely set up these emails right through the Bizzabo dashboard.
James: So, is Bizzabo essentially you’re looking it to be an all-in-one solution that takes you away from lots of individual apps even Microsoft Outlook or Mac mail and just into one piece of software to run the whole of your business?
Rachel: Yes, that’s definitely the goal. Right now, our tools are all working together to provide this all-in-one experience for organisers and from this point move forward, it’s only going to become more and more robust. The all-in-one solution is not something that’s the norm for the industry. A lot of people are juggling their emailing tool, their marketing tool and their website tool, their app tool, in so many different places. That just idea of having it one place, saves honestly so much time, so much stress. So yeah, we’re looking and replace a lot of those one off solutions and give you the opportunity to just sit down in one site and figure everything out.
James: That’s very cool, indeed. So, let’s put the scenario forward of say, the one man event company, the guy who’s organising conference with a team of one or two people who don’t have the time to learn this technology, ‘I’m flat out, I know my way around Excel pretty well not great but well enough and it’s just quicker for me to get on to this’. What would you say to him to try and say this is the way forward?
Rachel: Well, first, I can say this is definitely the norm of people already know, more comfortable in one area and a little longer to new technology and that’s totally understandable. What I can tell you is that there’s opportunity that’s exponential in so many different ranges. Saving yourself time, money, labor, stress… all those things that you might not think would happen once you need Excel that is so secure and safe but showing the value of wrapping all this in one area and even one of my organisers just the other day told me that he was able to save on a full time staff member’s position just because of Bizzabo. Directly related to Bizzabo, he was able to manage everything in one place and lead themselves of a full time salary. So, there’s definitely a planning to show you that even though you may not be familiar with the new platform, the experience is very easy, it’s intuitive, it’s very clean and even then, there are people there to help you. Our customer success teams will show you the best practices. If you have a question, they’re there to answer it for you and support, they can give you a technical answers that you need. So, there is the fear of stepping off that Excel platform but once you move forward and see what’s beyond that, you’re going to be in awe of what you’re capable of doing.
James: Is that the case that the client will typically just start using one area- the platform and then start expanding as time goes on into the other features?
Rachel: So, yes. A lot of our organisers will be like ‘Okay, I’m very interested in one specific thing’, and like ‘Great. Let me show you that.’ And then they log on, whether it be on the one on one demo that a lot of our account executives do and we’ll see you and ‘Well, I can also do this and do this’, all through the year and then the matter of maybe an hour, it’s a totally song that they’re singing on what the experience and outcome can be from using the Bizzabo platform.
James: Yeah, sounds very cool. Do you have any specific stories of client success that you can draw on and tell us a little bit about?
Rachel: Absolutely. So, like I mentioned, we worked with organisers all over the world. There’s so many different success stories that we can share but I think one of the most relevant is the Silicon Valley area. People are very critical about the platforms that they’re using, especially the event organisers out there. You know, there’s a high demand for perfection and really going above and beyond of what their expectations are. We worked with event conference, very Silicon Valley, tech start up industry. People understand that they need to get value from something. One of our goals was to increase, like any organiser, increase their sales and through the Bizzabo platform they were able to manage everything in one area, their ticket sales. But even further than that, they took advantage of one of our features called ticket boost, which allows them to turn their attendees into brand ambassadors for them and share the event and push that into their circles and reach people they would not have reached before. From that, they were able to increase ticket sales, without really even doing anything. They turned the feature on and let it run and almost immediately saw results in revenue. Right after that, within hours, it was turning their event even more successful without stress from their using of simplified tool. So, that was definitely an exciting time for us to see that interacting with such a significant event. It became so much more significant because of the tools that we’re providing.
James: Very very cool, indeed. So, I’m guessing this is in your roll-up Bizzabo. This is a question that you get asked all the time, how does Bizzabo differ to your competitors? What’s unique about it?
Rachel: Absolutely. Bizzabo has always been well-recognized for the user experience and interface which me saying it now doesn’t really get the gravity that it really deserves. When people log on, it’s easy… it’s not scary. You don’t have to have to ask yourself questions on what do I do next. Everything is laid down in front of you in an easy to navigate way and that itself is not the only thing that differentiates us, it’s such a big tool. It provides a lot of impact for our organisers. So, another way, we’re different is we’re easy to use, easy to navigate, easy to understand and we provide a lot of bang for our buck. So, some of our competitors that are doing something similar, go above and beyond in diving into a very nitty gritty features which in the end, obviously, drives cost up. Because we listen to our organisers and we hear how they want to be successful and what they think success is. We’re able to build those features up, provide the most time that increase engagement, that lead to more registrations and again, end up really bringing in our wide for them. So, bottom line is Bizzabo is different because we’re easy to use, we’re easy to understand, and we listen to providing big value, things that will you bring you to the table.
James: Listening is just so important in this day and age, isn’t it?
Rachel: Absolutely. We really welcome and encourage a feedback from our organisers, positive and negative, our product team is happy to talk directly to our customers. So that when we go over the drawing we are to develop what’s next, we need to know what they really want to see. Not just what we think is going to work but what is event people success for them. Moving forward, let’s make it most worthwhile for them.
James: So, talking about what’s next. What is Bizzabo developing? What’s the next feature going to be released?
Rachel: So, we are constantly developing. We actually released this new smaller feature this past week that improves the experience for organisers currently. So you know, a lot of sass models, you’re building app, so many new features that are just pushing up. But we also do a step back and go to improve out platform, you know, there’s always room for growth. So, at the same time from developing new features, we also go back and refresh our older ones. To make sure they’re available and as successful as we expect them to be. So, in terms of what’s next, it’s only going to be features that are going to improve that value for our organisers. I can tell you that our product map is full from our feedback, from our relationships with every single customers. So, I can’t tell you exactly what features are coming up but I can tell you that they will have the same impact on either increasing engagement or increasing ticket sales or increasing productivity. Those are our focuses.
James: Yeah, that’s great. I’m just thinking a little here. I guess, a natural fear of anybody using any software is that they’re going to be wrong, they’re going to be left high and dry, at one point. Or they’re just not going to understand it, whatever it is. What training and back up do you offer? What systems take place at Bizzabo to make the experience as easy and simple as possible?
Rachel: You’re absolutely right. Personally, I’m always very afraid of the new ones and not understanding and being totally abandoned. That’s definitely not the way Bizzabo wants our organisers to feel. from the very beginning, they will be in contact with their customer’s success representative or manager, whoever might be who will number one, understand their goals. So, I get on the phone and tell customers and tell them, this is where this and this is where this is. I want to know what’s the most interesting to you, what do you hope to accomplish, and that from there let’s take a step back and see where on the dashboard is really important for you. Let me walk you through this tool and show you how this can leverage into more engagement at the event. Let me show you how to use our polling tool to get interaction going. So, they will always have someone that’s going to be there to strategize them, to answer their questions and really at the end, understand what is best for them. We want our organisers to be smarter and walking them through their own goals and understanding them and setting those benchmarks. We can help them grow and develop by using all of our different tools that are most relevant for them.
James: So, do you give a lot of face time to your customers? Or maybe electronic face time on Skype or whatever?
Rachel: If you did, absolutely. So, the customer’s success team and even our support team does a lot of interactions with our customers. Does that mean that we’re in touch with every single of our customers every day? Absolutely not. Like I said, our platform is intuitive. A lot of organisers, maybe don’t need their customer’s success rep as much as another organiser. They log on and they just make sense. This is really built up in this aspect and that aspect. Maybe we’ll only be in touch once every three months to understand long trending in the right direction but let me just pivot this one tool to leverage in a different way and make more registrations for myself. Some organisers prefer a lot of face time but some rather be on their own, where we just check in everyone. We’re willing to understand our customers before trying to schedule every week with them. Or you know, every quarter with them. We really want to build our relationship to be the most beneficial for everyone.
James: Okay, I’m guessing this is probably the most important question or maybe not. But a very relevant question that you get asked all the time, what sort of investment is required to run Bizzabo?
Rachel: Sure. What can I say about that is our account executives work really hard, like I said, to understand what each customer needs. We take the position of building app, customise for each and everyone of our customers because no one is the same. Conferences and events aren’t similar, what their planning and what they’re trying to achieve is never identical. So, once our accountants get on a call with them, walk them through the platform and understand what their needs are, they’ll build customise quote and we have different packages to fit different types of events. If you’re only looking to do engagement, we have a package for you. We have packages for people that run events once a week or once a month. So, it really runs again. Then on the type of investment, what I can say is we are very competitive in price. A lot of our organisers have transferred off from other competitors because of the savings that they have and obviously the tools just made a lot of sense for them. When it comes to pricing everything out, it’s really going to be what is best for you when it comes to signing on.
James: That’s very cool and certainly here at Metropolis, we do believe that we need to listen to our customers first before giving them a price. We don’t copy and paste from one week to the next, we do believe everyone is unique but I’m thinking this position and I want to know what sort of investment. Can you give some typical examples of what some of the spend because quite honestly I don’t actually know at this point.
Rachel: Sure. Generally, the way the pricing calls are set up and like I said, this is not something that’s written in stone.
James: Of course.
Rachel: It’s the flexible moving structure is like any other registration platform, there are registration fees. That is something that we are taking into consideration. The registration for your events, how many events you’re working on, what makes the most sense and there’s going to be the subscription thing and that can generally, I think, will start under a thousand dollars for an entire year. So, the way we explain that is the registration fees are pretty normal, most organisers understand that. What’s a little bit new to them is the subscription thing and they way we build that out is the tools that you’re using are going a year long, two years long, all the way down the road. You’re building your website, you’re doing email capabilities, you’re doing contact management, where you would be more like paying three different services, subscription cleans for that. So, just consolidation of the tools into one area. There’s a balance of the fees and then the subscription fee that really comes in a play when our account executives are quoting. Like I said, the fees themselves are normal, if not below the normal fees for most industry services and then subscription can start just under a thousand dollars for an entire year.
James: Wow. The subscription thing makes total sense to me. But, I’m guessing how does that the registration fee work? Can you give me a little bit more on that?
Rachel: Sure. So, I know that some of the services out there do either a flat fee or do a percentage. We do both. So, we do a flat fee and a percentage, depending on your events. I can’t even put numbers on that because it really depends on.
James: But is that based on the amount of delegates or people signing up? How does that work?
Rachel: Yeah. So, in the registration world, it’s usually depending on how many registration you’re actually bringing in the door. How many sign ups are carrying on platform and again how many events that you’re running on the platform. How frequently they’re running. All those different numbers are going to come into one place to decide on what makes the most sense. So, maybe for some people it makes more sense to have a flat dollar rate for their event or some people maybe smarter to have a percentage or combination of the two.
James: Brilliant. Look, I think we’re almost becoming to close on this interview. It’s been really interesting. I just kind of want to know what’s next for you personally, Rachel? I mean, you’re all over this software, you seem to know inside out, you’re clearly extremely passionate about it. Where do you see your career going?
Rachel: Well, you’re right, you’re pretty much on point there. I love being in this industry and I love the company. There’s a company culture here that I think a lot of our customers feel. They like to build those relationships with our customers. But obviously, it stands from somewhere, it’s almost family-like environment here. So, I hope to see myself here in the few years, really working directly with our customers here and hearing their feedback, because it’s something that I get excited about everyday. Knowing what’s going the event industry, knowing how everyone is interacting, what chances there are, so all day you can hear me on the phone with my organisers, talking either about their event, or about trends in general. So, looking ahead, I’m hoping to make a bigger impact on the event industry becoming more of a full leader in both even tech and event as a whole.
James: Brilliant. I’m going to quickly, just before we get on how to get in touch with you and Bizzabo. I’m just going to summarise a little bit from what I’ve discovered from today’s chat. I’ve written down here, ‘Bizzabo brings everything together into one place. It saves you time, money and stress. It got a very user-friendly interface which is extremely simple to use. We’ll look up your event management, your event marketing, it can do a bit of Internet dating on the customers’ experience and give you data or data if you’re in America. On your customer’s success, you can actually track your numbers. Just on results, the benefit you get an exponential results from using it and self-saving on staff and you have a very personal service with customise quotes. You really like to get to know your customers and clients really well. Have I missed anything?
Rachel: That’s sounds pretty on point. Bizzabo is all-in-one solution for our organisers. We’re making you smarter and more efficient in your money. So, I think you have pretty much everything on that.
James: I missed the word all-in-one there, but there we go. You got it there. That’s very cool. Where can we find Bizzabo on the web?
Rachel: You can just log on our website or check our website. It’s Bizzabo.com. So, it’s B-I-Z-Z-A-B-O dot com. You can reach me directly at email@example.com. We’re also excited to see you guys interacting with us. We’re so excited and beyond in this podcast and I’m really thankful for that. To show that, we are extending ten percent discount to any of our packages. When you’re talking to our accountant executive, just mention the podcast and use plannerspod as the promo.
James: Yes, very cool. Very generous of them. So, ten percent discount so please, do mention ‘plannerspod’ on there. Are there any any social media networks? I know we could be here all day going through each one, but any one’s that Bizzabo use a bit more than the others?
Rachel: Oh, yes. So, we’re super active on Twitter. We have a great team that’s really managing that. So you can check on Twitter, @Bizzabo. We have Facebook, we all have social media, but I think a lot of our updates are coming out on Twitter or on Facebook and of course, our website is the best place for any Bizzabo-related information.
James: Great. So, I think we’re there. Rachel, thank you so much for coming on the show. It’s been a real pleasure talking to you and finding more about your world.
Rachel: Thank you so much, I really appreciate the time and having me on.
James: Cool and don’t forget that discount if you want to use Bizzabo. That’s all I say. Brilliant. Cheers, Rachel.
Rachel: Thanks, James.
Narrator: You’re listening to PlannersPod.com.
James: So, Toby, that was my interview with Rachel from Bizzabo. How did you find the podding?
Toby: I loved it, mate. Loved your podding, it’s been a while. It’s good to hear you pod again.
James: (Laughs) So, tell me about the content of my pod.
Toby: Really good. I mean, look, I’m not the geek… you’re the geek. That’s why you did this podcast, let’s be honest. But I have had a look at the website, Bizzabo.com, it seems really interesting. The software is clearly working, because if it wasn’t their team wouldn’t be such great, big team. There’s actually some more opportunity for event professionals on their website as well, check it out, really interesting. Making events better together. What a nice tagline that is. So, I loved the idea essentially the thing that I really got hold of was the fact that they put together this one system tool which simplifies your everyday life and hopefully takes the stress out of the stressful parts of event planning. So, less Excel sheets, more time behind in intuitive piece of software that’s gonna prompt you. For example, let you know there’s an attendee that’s been to one of your previous events and you’ll be able to reach out to that person in an appropriate way. So, that’s cool, keeping on top especially when you run multiple events. As an event professional, I don’t know about you, James, but sometimes you see faces of other suppliers even and you kind of default in a kind of perhaps this is part of low key thing to do, but you see people and it’s kind of, ‘I know we know each other really well but I think I know your name’. You know, wouldn’t it be great. It’s not so much the main suppliers, the main guys, I’m talking about the people that work for them. But there are still faces that you see all the time. So, it’s good to sort of get a bit better at that stuff, so I think that will be really good for us. Yes, great, obviously. Big network, corporate things going on. I love the fact the software works on IOS and Android and basically anything. This got access to web. I love Rachel’s attitude of kind of being really open to feedback and constantly wanting to improve, I think that’s something that you relate too well with doing Metropolis. You know, ultimately, what does this piece of software do? Well, in short, it increases revenue and saves time. So, that’s great, isn’t it?
James: It’s pretty cool, if you ask me. I mean, it struck me as a bit of a cool backtrack to one of our very first episodes we did with Chris Turner from The Appointment Group, where he started talking about how his job required a certain degree of software, a certain degree of editing html, technically, stuff like this. But this sounds like an even more straight-forward version of that software, that sort of world. Anyway, so, very cool. It was a really interesting interview for me to do as the chief of Metropolis and Planner’s Pod geek as you put it so nicely. So anyway, anything you want to add to that one, Toby?
Toby: No, I think that’s it. To be honest, the best way of really getting ahead around this is going to their website because it explains much better than we ever could. Obviously, you’ve got the interview which is really helpful because Rachel does explain stuff really clearly. What I’m interested in is, whether they’re gonna come out and create any sort of interface, I hope in their product map, as she calls it, they might start creating sort of more front-end interface to people that perhaps are only have a one off event. So, I wonder what that would look like because I reckon they would absolutely do it.
Toby: But yeah, it’s great. Go to the website, bizzabo.com. B-I-Z-Z-A-B-O dot com.
James: And there’s something we mustn’t forget as well, as Rachel mentioned. Yes, very special. Planner’s Pod discount code. So, if you’ve listened to this episode and you want a discount on using their software, please just enter the code- plannerspod. One word, spelled exactly how you think it should be and get stuck in and simplify your life. How does that one sound?
Toby: That sounds absolutely great. Well done, James. And we’ll see you on the next one.
Eager: We will see you on the next one. Where can we be found, Toby?
Toby: Should we do all this? Okay, here it goes. Facebook.com slash Metropolislive, Twitter Metropolislive1. This podcast is directly available via iTunes and Stitcher. As James said, you can find a company note media and links from this podcast and of course, more about us on plannerspod.com.
James: That is great. I will see you on the next one, Toby.
Toby: That’s right. Thanks. Cheers. Bye-Bye.
Narrator: You’ve been listening to PlannersPod.com with Toby Goodman and James Eager. Sponsored by Metropolis-live.com.
00:30 – Opening words with Toby & James
04:46 – Interview with Rachel
05:07 – Find out where Rachel started in the event industry.
05:50 – Get an insight of what Rachel did as a corporate planner, previous to joining Bizzabo.
07:00 – Find out where event planning ranks in the list of ‘most stressful jobs’.
08:15 – Why Bizzabo ties in technology with events appeals to Rachel.
08:45 – Discover exactly what Bizzabo have set out to do and why it’s new and exciting.
10:40 – Find out what type of events Bizzabo is perfect for.
11:10 – Find out what platforms Bizzabo runs on.
12:10 – Discover why being user friendly is essential and why the design is so important.
14:25 – James talks about the 4 areas that the Bizzabo website focuses on.
14:50 – Discover benefits that Bizzabo has on Event Management.
16:03 – Find out what a CRM is and why you need one.
17:02 – Discover what Bizzabo’s Event Marketing tool can do for you.
18:30 – Find out why Bizzabo is perfect for all, even ‘technophobes’!
19:45 – Discover more about the Event Experience tool in Bizzabo and how it helps people connect face to face.
21:00 – Rachel talks about how Bizzabo’s social media integration has had a profound effect on users.
22:55 – Discover why the Event Success portion of Bizzabo is essential to recognize what to do next.
24:40 – Discover why the ‘all in one’ solution is the key to Bizzabo’s success.
26:32 – Find out how Bizzabo has saved an entire wage for one small business.
27:10 – Discover more about the support team behind Bizzabo.
27:50 – Rachel tells James about the swift learning curve of new Bizzabo users.
28:50 – Find out how one company took advantage of the ‘Ticket Boost’ function to maximize revenue.
30:10 – Discover what makes Bizzabo unique in the market place.
32:10 – Find out what the new features are going to go for Bizzabo users. (it’s all results based).
33:40 – Find out what Bizzabo do for customers, especially ones who have a fear of the unknown!
36:20 – Discover what investment is required to be a Bizzabo user. There are lots of options depending on the user.
40:50 – Find out what’s next for Rachel.
42:00 – James sums up the chat with Rachel about what Bizzabo can do for Event professionals.
43:20 – Find out where you can find Rachel and Bizzabo.
43:38 – Check out how you can take advantage of the PlannersPod exclusive offer.
44:42 – Closing comments with Toby and James.