Best Practices: Event Vendor Forms
Coordinating event vendor forms can be quite the time consuming chore, made all the more cumbersome when official city forms are involved. The last thing you need to be doing is babysitting a FAX machine or waiting in line at the post office. There is a better way...
Event Vendor Forms - Then
In the past, scheduling vendor services meant lots of paper forms being sent by FAX or postal mail. Such a hassle was exacerbated when city forms for permitting, health inspection, etc. were required as municipalities are not exactly known for their cutting-edge document technology.
A small improvement over FAXes and paper forms sent USPS can be had with email attachments, and if you are in need of a simple free form, you can download a generic one online.
However email attachments can eventually become as problematic as FAXes. At some point, email attachments need to be printed and thus you are back to square one. Email attachments sent one-at-a-time also lead to myriad separate written conversations that must be responded to individually, rather than in a one-to-many fashion. Ultimately, whether as FAXes, paper or email attachments, event vendor forms end up taking an inordinate amount of time.
“Time is money” as they say, so savvy event managers have taken a decidedly modern course to make coordinating event vendor forms easier and less hassle.
Event Vendor Forms - Now
Back in 2010 when Google Docs first launched, many scoffed at the idea of a word processor being “in the cloud” since the dominant force in documents at the time was Microsoft Word and Adobe's PDF. Now, just three years later, Google Docs has leapfrogged over both Word and PDF for basic document creation. And a lesser known feature of Google Docs is the so-called “web form” that represents a new way of doing things when it comes to managing event vendor forms.
Google Web Forms sit in the cloud and function as a one-to-many method of getting vendors to supply important information - superior to email attachments, FAXes, and paper. An event manager can use one of the many Google web form templates, which need just a few small edits to be event specific. Once the form is edited, a link can be sent out to the army of event vendors. If confidentiality is a concern, Google web forms can be set to “private” and not accessible by anyone else except the link recipient(s). Also, many municipal forms do not have any licensing or watermarks, so you may be able to replicate a city form as a Google web form (check with your city comptroller) and offer it along with your own web forms.
Now, instead of having 30+ email attachments (or worse, 300+ pieces of paper), the busy event manager has just one web form to keep an eye on. As vendors fill-out the web form and submit it as “complete”, the information can be saved to a Google Doc spreadsheet with just a few mouse clicks. All of the completed forms are still “in the cloud” and best of all, you never had to deal with that infernal FAX machine :D
Bonus! An even more convenient way to get all those event vendor forms completed is to make them part of the online registration process. Assuming vendors must pay a fee to be part of your event, they can register, make the payment, and fill out all the required web forms in a single session. The best online registration software is built upon the same ticketing process your patrons use to attend your event. A clear instruction on the screen shepherds vendors through the online registration process, during which you can include the link to the Google web form. Such a convenient one-stop process is a benefit to the vendors and you have conflated three different tasks (registration, payment and forms) into just one.
ThunderTix Vendor Management Technology
If there is a giant stack of event vendor forms on your desk right now, that's an indication of a need. A need that ThunderTix may be able to meet.
ThunderTix's vendor management technology helps trade shows, outdoor festivals, live music concerts and food tasting events get their vendors registered - and we can help you too! Just give us a call or fill out the form below and a sales team member will contact you as soon as the same business day.