We had the chance to speak with Jordan Smith, CMO at OneLobby about OneLobby’s story and what they are offering event planners from a project management and business intelligence perspective. Take a look!
1. Why and when did your company get started? What was the inspiration?
OneLobby started as a social network for conference attendees. We scrapped that idea because we weren’t in control of user adoption which is a very scary thing. I believe most mobile event app companies are still trying to solve that problem today. It just wasn’t a game that we wanted to play. In October of 2012, we pivoted to more of a project management platform tailored to the events industry. We felt that event managers have one of the most chaotic jobs out there and by providing a framework or a one stop shop to do their job more efficiently, we could make our customers lives a bit easier and less stressful. We talk to our customers every day and we are hearing a common theme. There is a big demand for business intelligence for events, meaning that more associations and corporate clients are looking for more analytic data on their attendees and members. They also need a tool to help justify the event which we will be able to help them do.
2. How did you come up with the ‘name’ and concept – what’s the story behind the name?
I came up with the name OneLobby while driving to my day job (at the time). Hotel and venue lobbies are usually the go to meeting place. Remember, at the time we were a social network for attendees, so the idea of an online Lobby where you could meet and network with other attendees before the event seemed to fit. The idea of “One” came from one destination or one network that would follow you from event to event. So while waiting for the red light to turn green, the name OneLobby popped into my head.
After our pivot, we thought about changing the name to reflect the current product. We decided to keep the name the same because our platform, like event management, is very collaborative in nature and the idea of everyone coming together in one platform to execute an event or project still works.
We’re bringing Business Intelligence to Events. Events are integral to many organizations, yet tools to measure the impact those events have on the bottom line are not widely available. We are becoming much more than a simple Project Management platform. A great example of this, we are helping companies uncover the impact their events have on their sales pipeline by connecting to popular CRM providers. We are enabling marketing teams to dive in to the attendee list and get real, actionable information from it. Those are just two of the innovative BI for Events features we are testing with early adopters.
4. How does your technology change the game for event professionals?
On the Project Management side, inviting all stakeholders to the collaborative process of organizing an event is game changing. Inviting sponsors, suppliers and even your client in to the process of planning keeps everybody accountable. In general, our customers are producing better events because of enhanced collaboration.
On the BI for Events side, we are revealing KPIs that will allow organizations to optimize their event performance. Organizations need to measure their post-event impact on their marketing, sales and even social media efforts. Providing data to event professionals, allowing them to slice and dice it, use it in new and exciting ways, we strongly believe that’s the future.
We have developed a free package, which is perfect for the independent event planner or for anyone planning a small event. All paid packages come with a seven day free trial as well so you can get your hands dirty and try out all the cool features! We can also flexible in offering packages so you can get the best fit for your needs.
5. Is it possible to measure ROI on your product?
Yes, but ROI is very subjective. We provide tools so that an organization can determine what ROI means to them.
6. What do your best customers love about you?
Our early customers love that our platform provides a framework and a destination that helps get their job done and keep their team accountable. The platform also brings more accountability to their team.“We plan events of different sorts and sizes as we have used OneLobby as the platform to help organize all our events. Our main use is for events ranging from 100 people to 450 people. Some events are lectures while others are multi-day multi-venue conferences. While on OneLobby all the members of my team can work on the platform with two main advantages: a) we can work simultaneously without having to take turns and b) not having to worry about someone not using the most recent version.
We, like most other event professionals used the traditional method of excel and/or word to organize and manage our events. OneLobby has the innate ability to streamline processes, and it continually grows to be more user friendly and to speak to improvements suggested by the user. The idea of OneLobby was such a welcome concept, and being developed by a team of talented Canadians that it made it incredibly easy to “buy in”.
The transition to OneLobby was fairly easy, the main difficulty came from having brought in OneLobby halfway through our planning process. For our next set of projects we are using OneLobby from inception to avoid any transitioning hiccups.
My favorite feature is the fact that everyone can work on the platform at once. In traditional platforms like Excel we would have to take turns and ensure we were working from the most recent version. With OneLobby being on the cloud, this is no longer an issue. It is also accessible from any place with an internet connection.
Not that I can think of. OneLobby is incredibly receptive of suggestions for improvement. Anytime we have provided feedback *which you can do directly from OneLobby* it has been implemented in a timely fashion. They are incredibly responsive and work to make it as user friendly as possible.
I have honestly recommended OneLobby to every colleague I run in to. It completely changes the game for event managers, it really does.
– Amelia Zaglul, Manager, Programmes at The Royal Society of Canada[/pullquote]
7. What industry trends and shifts are you following that you think are important?
I think that consolidation of event technologies will be happening in a bigger way. We just seen Eventbrite scoop up two companies, Certain software recently acquired Check-In-Easy, and with the success of Cvent’s IPO I am anticipating a lot more acquisitions.
Have to ask: What’s your favorite app?
My favourite app is CBCRadio. CBC is the public broadcaster here in Canada and it’s my source for news, sports and great content.
* OneLobby has several pricing packages, including a free offer for event planners.