The story of Lyyti

From the beginning to today - and what's up with the strange name?

The beginning of the Lyyti saga takes us back to the year 2006. At that point I was working as head of marketing at Herrankukkaro, a conference and recreational center in the archipelago. We had recently started using new digital communication and marketing tools, including an application called Emaileri. We provided our main focus group- companies and other groups- with travel-, accommodation- and leisure services. When booking a group of guests, the practice was that our sales department dealt with the entire group via one contact person. The contact person provided our salesperson with a list of the group members and their information, gathered and delivered in which ever way and medium they saw fit.

2000 registrations in one day - two weeks of turmoil

In December 2006 we started producing our own day events, which meant that we were handling individual registrations ourselves. The first day event was a success and a disaster at the same time. I Emailer-ed our entire contact list and requested rsvp:s in my inbox. I received a reply from more than 2000 people, out of which most were confirming their participation!

It was overwhelming. I had to reply to every single message, but where do you even begin to manage such a tidal wave? My only option was spreadsheets. I started copying and pasting names, numbers, email addresses, food allergies, transportation info…

I booked and confirmed the first 50 registrations. I asked for additional data from those who had forgotten to include everything. I notified the participants of more upcoming information about the event. Then I sent the rest a note about the event already being fully booked. During the first day I got through about 200 emails, on the side of my other work tasks. I thought I might be done in a couple of days, if I picked up the pace. The next morning I received some 1000 emails more. People who I hadn’t gotten around to emailing yet, we’re asking if I got their email and whether their booking had been confirmed or not! In the end it took me about two weeks (andthe help from a temp assistant) to handle all the email generated by this particular event.

There must be a better way!

I felt sheepish- this can’t be the way people organise events! There had to be software on the market that was easy to use and handled registrations, participant data, confirmations and event communication. To my surprise I couldn’t find anything that fulfilled our needs. All options on the market were either too simplistic for our demands, or way too expensive, costing thousands of euros for each event. That was a little too steep for managing a group of 50 on a bus.

Is it just us?

I just couldn’t let it go. Certainly we couldn’t be the only ones wrangling this kind of event management issues; email and excel our only tools and a mass of participant data scattered all over the office? We conducted an online survey directed at event planners, secretaries and management assistants, and got a whopping 3000 replies. The result spoke loud and clear: 95% of Finnish companies and organisations manage their events by email and spreadsheets only.

It made me think about how many days of their working life people must spend copying and pasting. It really made me think about the millions of euros wasted on unproductive events: no-show caused by a lack of event communication, no way of passing on hot participant leads to the sales dept- something had to be done.

We built Lyyti for ourselves –  actual clients were a nice surprise

We set up a plan to create a service that would be:

  • easy to use
  • web based (no software to download and install locally)
  • operating 24/7
  • affordable
  • efficient
  • customizable

The name Lyyti is a female first name from a Finnish proverb, “Lyyti kirjoittaa”: literally “Lyyti writes”. It means that things start coming together, that something starts working like it should. Click here to read more about the origin of the name!

Basically I started out solving my own problems, which we then learned other professionals were facing as well. In the beginning I assumed that Lyyti might generate some interest among small businesses, as larger corporations tend to have their own tailor-made systems in use. Wrong! Among our first clients were the Population Register Centre of Finland and Mediq Suomi, the local branch of a global corporation that deals in medical supplies.

We learned that large corporations did have their own tailor-made systems in use, but only for the basic core tasks that were involved in running the business. Fringe issues, like event management, were usually handled on the side by whoever had a minute to spare. The in-house technology available for that was just as basic and email-centered as what we were using.

We have our fabulous clients to thank

The Lyyti service of today is a far cry from the pilot version that was launched in 2007. Up to 90% of all product development ideas have sprung from active Lyyti users, who come up with new applications for the Lyyti service every day. They are quick to make their wishes and ideas known to us, and thanks to them the Lyyti interface remains user friendly and ever evolving. It is important to us that everybody can enjoy the full benefits Lyyti can bring. Bad interface, or bad customer support for that matter, should never be an issue.

What do they use it for?

Although the roots of Lyyti lie in the travel industry, most of our clients today come from all walks of business life. Lyyti can be customised and applied to countless tasks and different projects. One of our clients organises their internal meetings and training with Lyyti, another throws breakfast seminars for the public. A third one organised a trade fair for thousands of participants, for which we made registration and ticket scanning happen. The possibilities are endless! This one time, back in the day, a Lyyti event functioned as a web shop selling frying pans. But that's a completely different story!

Petri Hollmén
Petri Hollmén
Founder and CEO, Lyyti Ltd

 

What does the Lyyti team look like? Take a peek!

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