Zoho Backstage: Another year, another milestone

Celebrating four years of Backstage with a new pricing plan
Illustration by Mohan Vasu

Can you believe it’s been four years since we introduced Backstage to the world? Back then, we had a whole different direction mapped out for the platform—it began and ended with in-person events. It took a global pandemic to make us realize how incredibly limited we were in our goals and how large and varied events can be. However, we’re glad we learned that lesson pretty early on in our journey.

Backstage was only a little over a year and a half when the world pivoted to virtual events. Luckily for us, Zoho’s investment in years of R&D meant we already had an A/V framework in place. All we had to do was build over it and customize it to address the unique challenges that event planners face.

 In the last two years, we've released a whole bunch of features for virtual and hybrid events: built-in webcasting software, networking lounges, virtual expo management, 1:1 meetings, and even customizable registration paths for virtual and hybrid events. More recently, we introduced a 50 GB storage option for session recordings.  

This doesn't mean virtual is going to be our only focus going forward. Very soon, we’ll be releasing a bunch of features to support your in-person trade shows. We also have a lot more interesting features in the pipeline to help with attendee networking, speaker onboarding, and more.

Backstage has had the unique opportunity to have spent almost equal time on both sides of the COVID-19 pandemic. When you split our time in the industry by half, it’s around two years before and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

This means we spent our first two years perfecting in-person events and the next two on virtual and hybrid events. Put it all together, and we’re well on our way towards our goal of becoming an all-in-one event management solution. That way, everyone, not just seasoned event planners, can host all their events—in-person, virtual, or hybrid; conference or trade show—from start to finish on a single platform.

The idea behind our new pricing plans

Event planners choose an event platform based on two criteria: the features offered and the pricing. We’ve always been transparent about the features we offer, and our pricing plans are listed on our website for everyone to see.

However, we wanted to extend this philosophy of being “all-in-one” to our pricing plans too—that way they reflect the simplicity and flexibility that’s seen on the product side of things.

To that end, we structured our new pricing plan with two things in mind:

  • Make event planning more affordable and accessible for businesses of all sizes. We did this because events are becoming more mainstream, with everyone from content creators to marketing teams using them to engage their audience and build a community.

  • Provide event planners the flexibility and control they require to manage multiple types of events—in-person and virtual, large and small—throughout the year.

To achieve these goals, we created profiles of our top four customer types and analyzed what events they typically hosted, thus creating a plan that fits each of them. But before all that, we decided to provide users with the ability to host any type of event they wished, be it in-person, virtual, or hybrid.

  • Free: Our free plan is for people just getting started with events—to provide them with a simple, no-frills platform that gets the job done.

  • Essentials: This is the perfect plan for content creators and small marketing teams looking to host small-scale meetups and get-togethers to engage and build their community.

  • Premium: This one's best suited for organizations hosting a variety of events of all types and sizes. It has everything from advanced customizations and branding options to integrations.

  • Ultimate: This is the best we have to offer, making it the perfect plan for large-scale events and tradeshows. Plus, a dedicated event success manager will be available to support customers all through their subscription period.

We also realize that many customers might host only one or two large-scale events every year. That’s why we decided to continue supporting both subscription-based and pay-per-event plans. Also, like always, when customers subscribe to a yearly plan, they’ll get two months free.

What about the add-ons?  

First of all, we’ve completely done away with the current add-ons. Customers no longer require a Backstage OnAir or Expo OnAir add-on to host virtual and hybrid events and trade shows. Rather, they can host unlimited in-person, virtual, and hybrid events on any plan. They also no longer require badge credits to print badges for event participants.

We’ve, however, introduced two new add-ons—Attendee and Booth. You can use our Attendee add-on (priced at $0.50 per attendee) when your events exceed the attendee limit of the base plan—Free (100), Essentials (200), Premium (1000), and Ultimate (5000).

Similarly, customers can purchase the Booth add-on (priced at $49 per booth) for the number of booths at their events. We've included 5 booths for Premium customers and 15 booths for Ultimate customers as part of the per-event and subscription plans. That way events with a fewer number of booths don’t have to shell out a lot of money.

You can view a complete breakdown of our new pricing plan here. For questions, please check out our FAQs.

As excited as we are about completing one more year, we realize none of this would have been even remotely possible without all of your support over the years. We’re honored you chose Backstage to power your events, and we’ll continue to look for new ways to support you in hosting bigger, better events.

So thank you, a million times over, for being a part of our journey and allowing us to be a part of yours.

Here’s to another year and reaching more milestones together!

 We’d love to know what you think of Backstage—the good, the bad, and everything in between. Send us an email to support@zohobackstage.com with your thoughts and suggestions. :)


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