Best Event Management Software of 2020
Before we take an in-depth look at some of the best event management software on the market today, let’s look at the basics of what event management software is, its benefits and how you would go about choosing from the many options available.
What is event management software?
Event management software is a broad category of applications devoted to applying project management principles and processes to planning, promoting and running events of all kinds, including meetings, conferences, corporate events, galas, fundraisers, parties and weddings.
Event management software applications are usually equipped with one or more of the following sets of features:
- Attendee management - For managing attendee and guest lists, attendee contact information, meal and session choices, travel/room details, name badging and event check-in.
- Business and accounting - For tracking contacts/CRM, leads, legal contracts, proposals, invoicing, payments, revenues and ROI.
- Communications - For event collaboration and communication via email and text messaging among team members, contractors, vendors and speakers as well as with attendees.
- Design and seating - For building and tracking event floorplans, space or room layouts, production and logistics planning, and assigned seating arrangements.
- Event project management - For managing budgets, calendars, tasks/to-do’s, schedules/timelines, checklists, files, dashboards and reporting.
- Exhibitor and sponsor management - For managing sales, payments and deliverables.
- Marketing and promotion - For creating and deploying event websites, email marketing, event mobile apps, surveys/forms, video marketing and social media promotions.
- Personnel and vendors - For coordinating staff, clients, contractors and volunteers as well as selecting and managing vendors, venues, speakers and other content providers.
- Registration and ticketing - For building registration pages, forms and sites; collecting ticket payments and attendee details; and managing ticket revenues and attendee information.
What are the benefits of event management software?
Event planning software provides event professionals with dozens of advantages over managing their events via paper binders, spreadsheets and juggling among many applications and emails. Here are the biggest benefits.
Single place to manage details
Events involve hundreds or even thousands of details, and overlooking or missing even one of them can make the difference between a mountaintop experience for attendees or an avalanche of complaints for you. Event management software solutions (especially all-in-one platforms that offer a dozen or more tools) consolidate and organize all that data into one convenient platform so you and your team know exactly where to put and find every piece of information.
Oh, and no more lost files or emails. No more details scattered across event spreadsheets/templates, documents and post-its. No more time-consuming manual processes.
Automation of processes
Event management systems not only organize your information but they can also create timesaving workflows that streamline how you and your team manage data and move from one task to the next.
Up-to-the minute reporting and analytics
With all your data in one place, you can easily view consolidated dashboards to instantly assess the status of items and quickly run accurate, detailed event reports to get a current assessment of a number of key metrics, like budgets, timelines, assigned/completed tasks, registrations, revenues and much more.
Improved collaboration with teams and vendors
Now you and your team (which can include staff, contractors, vendors and volunteers) have a centralized place where you can all log in and share information. Plus you can more easily manage their activities and progress to make sure everyone is on task and on schedule.
Increased revenues and decreased costs
Studies and individual use cases have shown that event management software saves users considerable time and resources and can improve revenues through more efficient billing and registration processes. A recent study from Enterprise Event Marketing asserts that event technology can play a major role in decreasing costs by 20-30%, increasing event attendance by 20% and boosting productivity by 27%. And in a study with our customers, Planning Pod discovered that event professionals who used our event management software regularly saved an average of 62 hours a month in busywork.
Anywhere, anytime access to event details
Most event management software systems are now cloud-based and mobile friendly, which means that if you have an Internet connection, you can access your event information anywhere and on any device (including PCs, Macs, iPads, iPhones and Android devices). In addition, cloud-based apps also store and back up your data for you, so you have less risk of losing your data in case you lose your computer, tablet or smartphone.
Enhanced attendee engagement
With an integrated CRM and event marketing tools at your fingertips (including event apps, email software, event website builders, online event registration and surveys/forms), you can boost your attendee engagement and experience by easily and effectively reaching your audience, communicating with attendees, delivering them content and allowing them to communicate with you and each other.
Improved logistics management
Applications that are equipped with the ability to design event schematics and floorplans enable you to map out your event layouts to efficiently move people and equipment into, through and out of the event space. In addition, email communications tools allow you to conduct organized outreach to any vendor, exhibitor or attendee with regard to logistical instructions and setup/teardown.
How to choose the best event management software?
Because in 2019 there are many options when trying to evaluate event planning applications, it’s important that you approach selecting a platform with the right criteria in mind. Here are ten factors to consider as you start your search.
Easy to use
The user friendliness of the event management software you choose is vital for the quick adoption of the platform by you and your team as well as your continued use of it. Even if the app has all the features you need, if the user interface or navigation isn’t intuitive, you will find yourself struggling with the system and eventually not using it.
Fits your organization’s needs
Don’t get overwhelmed by all the bells-and-whistles and cool features that many applications offer. Before you dive into your search, sit down and compose a list of must-have features and another list of nice-to-have features based on what you need to accomplish in planning your events. This list will be your road map in aligning a solution to match your needs.
Delivers value based on the price
Comparing the cost of event management systems can be difficult because you may feel like you are comparing apples to oranges. Not all systems offer the same features, and some may charge per user or per seat while others may charge per event. And add to that the per month or per year pricing options as well as additional credit card processing fees, startup fees, training fees, etc., and you have quite a bit to consider regarding pricing. Your best bet is to narrow down your choices to ones that meet your needs as described above, and then to compare the price of each of these to see which delivers more value for the money.
Customizable and brandable
Every event professional plans events in a slightly different way (as do event venues run their businesses in their own unique ways). So it’s vital to choose a system that gives you flexibility to customize the application to some extent to suit your needs, whether it be the ability to build custom templates, configure data fields or employ data merges. Also, you should be able to brand your account and any output documents with your organization’s logo and name (some applications may even allow for white labeling).
Attentive customer service
At the absolute least, the platform you select should offer regular email support hours. However, you should also look for solutions that offer live chat and phone support as well as provide resources like an online help center and articles, tutorial videos, webinars and custom training sessions (either complimentary or paid).
Integrates with other applications
Even if you opt for an all-in-one event management software solution, you will still probably need to use additional applications to manage other things like accounting, social media marketing, memberships, etc. As such, it’s important that your software either connect to an integrations platform like Zapier (which allows hundreds of separate software platforms to share data with each other) or have its own stand-alone APIs connections to apps like Quickbooks, Xero, Google apps and Gmail, Outlook, Saleforce, MailChimp, etc.
Most event professionals don’t stand still for long and are often not sitting at a computer all day working, so it’s important that you consider systems that either are compatible with mobile web browsers (that is, they can easily be used on a mobile web browser) or that have their own event app for smartphones.
Offers a free trial or demo
Unless you have the ability to test drive the software yourself or see how it works up close and personal, how are you really going to know if it’s the right fit for you? Luckily, most of the systems mentioned on this page offer some sort of free trial or personal demo so you can explore the software yourself.
Security and data protection
Events often involve managing lots of sensitive information, including personal contact information for attendees and users. Considering this, you should make sure the event management software apps you are considering take the proper precautions to secure their servers and data transmissions as well as regularly back up their customers’ data offsite.
Positive reviews and case studies
Finally, you should conduct a thorough Google search for websites, forums and directories that review event management software and offer relevant articles, case studies and buyer’s guides on the applications you might consider. Give special attention to industry forums, blogs and Q&A sites like Event Manager Blog, Event Planning Blueprint and Quora, as they will likely have more impartial reviews and opinions provided by actual users and industry experts. A few web directories to consider include Capterra, Software Advice and G2.
What is the best software for event management?
There are literally hundreds of event management software systems to choose from, all with varying feature sets and strengths. We have distilled them down to the 25 most popular and best reviewed applications so you have a solid cross-section of the top event planning software apps among event professionals.
With 20+ easy-to-use tools spanning from event registration + ticketing, on-site check-in, lead/sales tracking and payments/billing to attendee management, event layouts and event websites, Planning Pod is the ultimate online hub for managing events on any device. As one of the true all-in-one event management systems on this list, it automates event planning processes, centralizes email communications and keeps event managers and their teams on the same page at all times.
Planning Pod’s task management, scheduling/timeline, budgeting, CRM and reporting/dashboard tools simplify event project management and provide detailed insights for improving event operations. It is also one of the few platforms here that offers solutions for both event planners/managers and venue managers who want a better tools to manage venue bookings, sales and spaces. Plus it integrates with hundreds of other applications via the Zapier platform.
An impressive enterprise-level solution, Cvent is a standby for meeting planners who manage large conventions and trade shows. It has modules for practically every aspect of event management, from registration, payment processing and housing/travel booking to exhibitor, speaker and vendor management. It also offers event marketing features such as event apps, websites and email marketing. A big plus is a venue search and sourcing component that automated and provides information on choosing and booking event venue spaces.
Bizzabo creates an immersive experience for both users of the platform and for attendees with its user-friendly tools that focus on helping event managers maximize attendee engagement. Tools like event registration forms, event apps and event websites are built to boost registrations and facilitate attendee interactions, while back-end reporting and metrics provide users with insights into attendee behavior and updates on where they stand regarding their goals. Also integrates with other applications via native integrations and Zapier.
Formerly eTouches, Aventri helps global enterprises streamline their event management processes and increase ROI through integrated marketing tools and real-time metrics and reporting. It has a strong offering of highly customizable registration forms and websites; event promotional tools like email marketing and invitations, event websites, and abstract management; and on-site features like event check-in, name badge creation and event mobile apps. It also offers a venue sourcing feature as well as integrations with other applications.
This platform takes a modular approach in its setup by offering a standard set of features (including CRM, event file management, invoicing/payments and communications) and then letting clients customize their account with suites of tools for event, venue, financial and inventory management and much more. It also offers both cloud-based and desktop options for those who wish to store their event data locally. Offerings include event registration, booking tracking, catering/beverage management, reporting and integrations.
With an event app that enriches the attendee experience and an online platform for planners to manage event details, this system offers a broad spectrum of event management and event registration and communications features. Along with ticketing, payment processing and email invitations capabilities, ClearEvent offers planning tools like a schedule builder, budgeting tool, task management and even an on-site kiosk for self-service registrations and check-ins.
This software suite prides itself in its ability to scale to any size of event and has some unique tools for exhibition and trade show management. Along with event management tools for vetting and selling tickets online, building event websites and sending event marketing email, Eventtia offers an event app with matchmaking capabilities for expanded attendee networking plus exhibitor management tools for building online exhibitor catalogs, managing leads and booths and collecting fees.
Geared toward attendee engagement at corporate events, academic events and conferences, Whova offers a number of tools that streamline how event managers manage event details and the attendee experience. Among their features include a brandable event app with custom agendas, maps, content and live chat; online event registration software and payments; sponsor and exhibitor promotion and sales aids (like in-booth business card / QR code scanning); and marketing tools for bulk emailing, social media management and event websites.
One of the largest event ticketing sites in the world, Eventbrite offers tools for promoting events and managing event registrations and on-site check-in for practically any kind of event. Included in its event marketing capabilities are event websites, email invitations, social media sharing and a popular searchable events directory for listing your event. It also has integrations with Facebook and Instagram for promoting your events there and includes payment processing, analytics and flexible registration forms.
Selling tickets online and managing attendees is Ticketbud’s forte, and it includes in-depth tools for maximizing revenues and ensuring smooth operations at your events. Flexible event registration setup, easy-to-use event websites and quick payouts are just a few of its notable features. It also offers event marketing tools for email blasts and social media integration plus metrics tools for referral tracking, link tracking and custom reporting. A plus is that it includes integration with the Zapier platform.
As hinted in its name, rsvpBOOK excels at helping event managers easily set up attendee ticketing and event marketing so they can start collecting event RSVPs, registrations and revenues as quickly as possible. As part of their event website and registration setup, they offer brandable templates to facilitate the process, and they also provide email marketing and invitations plus onsite check-in functions. Great for managing training and classes as well as conferences and tradeshows, this event management system has comprehensive reporting and is mobile friendly.
This application boasts the ability to handle any event through its entire lifecycle, and it delivers a suite of tools that follow attendees from an event website and online registration through receiving email notifications and interacting via an event app to post-event surveys and followup. There’s quite a bit here for event planners to benefit from, including the ability to create personal online experiences for attendees with custom agendas, polls and real-time content delivery. Includes detailed reporting and integrations with other popular applications.
This event management software app delivers a wealth of event promotional tools with specific solutions for conferences, fundraisers and training/classes. It boasts a streamlined event website builder for creating stylish sites, ticketing across a number of platforms (website/blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc.), email invitations and reminders, surveys and reporting.
With a focus on theaters, music venues, festivals, tour companies and sporting events, ThunderTix was built to help small venue staffs streamline their ticketing operations. Many of their tools have the objective of maximizing revenues, including fundraising, reserved seating, merchandise sales, season subscriptions, gift cards and customer loyalty programs. They also offer email marketing and social sharing; electronic and hard ticketing (including print-at-home and thermal printing); sales reporting; and integrations with platforms like Mailchimp and Google.
Social Tables began as an event layout tool and has since expanded into event CRM and sales management. With it, you can quickly set up 2D and 3D diagrams of your event layouts as well as create seating charts and collaborate with team members in real-time. Its sales tools let you capture leads from your website - while scoring and assessing each lead as it arrives - plus manage your sales pipeline and generate sales reports and banquet event orders (BEOs).
This software application also started out as an event diagramming tool and has focused on innovating that area to offer 360-degree 3D layouts and virtual reality views of event spaces. It rounds out its offerings with guest list management (incl. meal options and RSVPs), assigned seating arrangements and event check-in. In addition, it boasts a library of thousands of floorplans from hundreds of venues.
Serving arenas, stadiums, convention centers and performing arts centers, Event Booking concentrates on creating calendaring tools for managing event bookings and scheduling events. In addition to serving venues, it also offers a module for event promoters and has features for document storage and task management. Integrates with Google and Outlook.
This event management platform also specializes in tools for venues, namely for bookings, leads and sales management. Gather has a full suite of calendaring features as well as lead collection and pipeline tools plus sales tools for managing proposals and contracts. It’s mobile friendly and offers a directory listing service to add venues to sites like Yelp! And OpenTable.
Skedda specializes in tracking bookings and scheduling for venues like meeting spaces, sports venues, studios, co-working spaces, classrooms and public facilities. It offers a robust, color-coded bookings calendar for managing multiple rooms and spaces and lets you establish rules and policies for adding bookings. There’s also a self-service option to allow external users to book events and pay for the space rental. This software is cloud-based and integrates with other applications.
A comprehensive event management software suite for hotels, restaurants and other venues, Tripleseat is focused on increasing sales and streamlining processes for its users. Included are bookings calendars, a centralized CRM and communications hub, and sales tools for managing contracts, proposals and BEOs. Its leads tools assist in the capture of leads from the venue’s website, Facebook and Tripleseat’s own venues directory. Integrates with other applications.
One of the most popular event app platforms going today, EventMobi provides an easy-to-use interface to both event managers and attendees to boost attendee engagement at conferences and meetings. Featured are registration and check-in tools; live polling and surveys; attendee content delivery; gamification functionality; and notifications and analytics. Its attendee networking tools are particularly strong, with one-to-one messaging, group discussions and real-time activity feeds.
Attendify offers global solutions to event managers who are looking for a streamlined and high-touch way to enhance the attendee experience. Besides offering event registration, branded websites and check-in features, they also deliver leading event apps with robust attendee networking, event guides/content, in-app sponsor promotions and lead processing for exhibitors. For users, their platform provides CRM and audience segmentation capabilities plus reporting and data insights on every attendee interaction.
Recently purchased by Cvent, this event management platform is well-suited for building communities and enhancing the attendee experience at large-scale, high-profile events. It covers event marketing with event CRM, website and registration tools; pre-event engagement with customized content delivery and email communications; and day-of-event interactions with an event app featuring notifications, messaging, one-on-one meetings, community dashboards, promoted posts and polls.
Fundraising and donor campaigns are the big strengths of Paperless Transactions, which serves many non-profits, charities and faith-based organizations. Event management plays a notable role in this platform, including event webpages, ticketing/giving pages and widgets, and numerous payment acceptance modalities (online, mobile, text, etc.). It also offers email promotions and mobile apps and integrates with Facebook pages, Salesforce and Hubspot.
Great for professional associations and non-profit events, Wild Apricot is membership management software that also has several key event management software tools embedded within its platform. Organizations can attract and manage members with a website builder, mobile apps for users and members, web-based application forms and online member access and directories. And on the events side, the platform is equipped with event registration pages and forms, payment processing and email communications.
Although not specifically built for event management per se, Asana is an adept workflow and project management software tool that has many useful applications for event planners and managers. Included are tools for task management, timelines, calendaring, workload management and user permission settings. You can also use it to manage emails, files and tickets, and it integrates with 100+ other software platforms, and it has helpful pre-built event planning templates.
What tools are in event management software?
As you can see from all the event management software profiles above, no two applications are alike when it comes to feature sets or functionality. However, here are a few dozen or so key tools that many top event planning systems share in common.
Although very few event platforms offer a full suite of accounting tools, many offer tools for reporting revenues related to registrations/ticketing, related merchandise, invoicing and donations. Many also integrate with accounting software like Quickbooks, Xero and Freshbooks.
This is a very broad category, but it usually includes items like guest lists, attendee contact information, registration or RSVP details, meal and session preferences, seating assignments and any other attendee data collected (like from event apps, surveys, etc.).
Billing and Invoicing
Collecting payments via invoice is critical whether you run an event management firm, an event venue or bill sponsors or exhibitors. So look for comprehensive event invoicing capabilities with line items (including taxes, markups/discounts, service charges, gratuities, etc.), payment installments, email notifications and multiple payment options (check, credit card, etc.).
Keeping your events on track fiscally is a huge key to their success, so it’s critical to have an event budget tool that lets you track your estimated, negotiated and actual costs as well as payments and due dates. Reminder notifications are also important to make sure vendors are paid on time.
Staying on schedule is possibly the most important aspect of event management. As such, your app’s calendar should let you manage multiple sub-calendars and track event dates and holds, appointments, tasks, venue bookings and schedules/timelines as well as set ticklers for budget due dates, invoice payments and more.
Catering software tools for food-and-beverage tracking can include items like menu and ingredient management, entree and meal choice selections, banquet event orders or BEOs, meal delivery schematics and bar inventory management.
Whether you serve clients by offering event management services, venue space rentals or catering or serve internal clients in your organization, you will find tools for client CRM management, email communications, sales/billing and forms/surveys to be helpful assets when tracking and conversing with clients.
Managing email messages for your events in one centralized place can be a massive timesaver, so seek out software that lets you integrate your existing email addresses and platforms (like Gmail, Outlook, etc.) so you can send and receive email from multiple email addresses. Options that are available in many platforms include email communications with team members and/or invitations and notifications for attendees, and some applications also offer text messaging (SMS) capabilities.
Legal contracts and signature collection are musts if you are working with clients, vendors, speakers, exhibitors and sponsors. Fortunately many event management systems offer cloud-based event contracts tools for collecting electronic signatures, automating the entire process.
CRM and Contact Management
Having a flexible, full-featured event CRM or contact management tool for managing information on your business contacts, vendors, speakers, exhibitors and sponsors as well as your attendees and any marketing lists is essential. A plus is any platform that offers custom fields, group management, importing/exporting data and search/merge functions.
A few event management sites offer directories that list either event-related businesses (venues, rental companies, caterers, event management firms, etc.) or upcoming events that are being planned on their platform. Although a nice side feature, these are no substitute for actively promoting your events and event-related business via the web, email, social media and other more traditional methods.
Although a big reason for using event management software is to eliminate the inefficiencies of storing data across many documents and spreadsheets, it is still impossible to truly eliminate electronic documents from the event planning process. As such, many platforms offer file management and storage tools for tracking files and even scanned paperwork.
Donor Management and Fundraising
If you manage non-profit events, you will find that some event software apps allow you to collect donations plus event registrations and provide additional fundraising features like live auction management and donor CRM tracking.
Every attendee appreciates minimal or no lines at the door, so it’s a huge advantage if your event management software offers an event check-in application that lets you quickly process attendees at multiple entry points on any device and has a QR code or barcode scanner for printed tickets or name badges.
Event Websites and Webpages
Event website builders come in all shapes and sizes, with options from building multi-page websites to single web pages. Features to consider are registration forms, contact forms, layout tools (formatting, images, fonts, site colors, etc.), social media integrations, custom URLs and analytics tracking.
Do you run larger trade shows or exhibitions? If that’s the case, then exhibitor tracking will be essential for you, including sales/lead management, proposals, invoicing, payment processing, booth maps, room/space reservation tools and logistics planning.
Floorplans and Event Layouts
Knowing exactly where everything should be placed at your event and ensuring proper foot traffic flow are critical to the success of your events, so having a to-scale map/plan of your event space is essential. Look for event design tools with pre-built elements for tables, chairs, booths, stages and architectural elements plus the ability to incorporate your space boundaries and place guests on seats.
Forms and Surveys
Often you need to collect feedback from your past attendees or input from future ones, and a form or survey tool integrated into your online events planner means you don’t have to search or pay for an external questionnaire tool. Some event apps also offer a live polling feature for collecting input in real time.
Integrations With Other Applications
Chances are you won’t be using one piece of software for managing your events (even if you have an all-in-one platform … yes the irony). So the application you choose should integrate with other software apps via an integrations platform like Zapier; integrate directly with other applications; or offer at-rest APIs so your developers can make their own customer integrations.
Although not a common tool found in most event management software, inventory management tools are useful if you have a large rentals component of your business or manage lots of event-related equipment and resources (like for a production company). Critical features include inventory adding/importing, resource reservation, item check out/in, cleaning/repair status and invoicing integration.
If you don’t want to use another stand-alone CRM or lead software (like Salesforce), then look for platforms that include event sales management features like event request and lead capture forms, lead pipeline tracking, communications, proposals and electronic signoffs.
Event Marketing and Promotion
Marketing is the key to maximizing attendance at your events, and popular event marketing tactics include event websites, email communications and invitations, social media engagement, video marketing, search engine marketing/optimization and online and print advertising.
Not only are name badges a key factor in attendee networking, but they are also essential for event security and for check-in processing (especially if name tags are applied with scannable QR codes or bar codes). Look for software that offers both badge printing and scanning capabilities.
Whether you are accepting payments for event registrations or for event-related invoicing, the software you choose should offer a way to process event credit card payments online (usually via a third-party service like WePay, Stripe, Square or PayPal) as well as accept cash or check payments. Make sure to inquire what credit card processing fees are involved.
Registration, Ticketing and RSVPs
A solid event registration toolkit includes the ability to sell tickets online via custom registration forms that can include multi-ticket options, VIP options, add-on tickets, merchandise sales, session selections, seating options, discount codes, arrival/travel details and uploads (like for collecting applications or abstracts). Well-rounded toolkits also include RSVP forms for collecting headcounts and meal choices.
Reporting and Dashboards
No event management software is complete without comprehensive, downloadable reports for a variety of metrics (revenues, budgets, expenses, registrations, tasks, inventory, social media, email logs, etc.). A big plus are real-time in-app dashboards that provide up-to-the-minute glimpses of mission-critical metrics (overdue items, appointments, payments due, current registrations, website visitors, etc.).
Room and Travel Management
Especially vital to corporate events and high-profile conferences, room and travel tracking tools help event managers to stay on top of all the room bookings, air travel and hotel transfers for attendees and VIP guests. Also useful are tools that integrate with hotel booking systems to manage room blocks and attendee reservations.
Schedules and Timelines
Successful events run like clockwork, and with an event schedule builder in your arsenal you can create down-to-the-minute, run-of-show timelines for your events, including exact timing of sessions, breaks and meals; stage, sound and lighting directions; staff and personnel instructions; and much more.
Social Media Engagement
Social media plays a significant role in modern life, and so it also does with most events. As such, integrations with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn are an important part of event promotion, attendee notifications and networking, and content delivery.
Speaker and Presenter Management
Managing event speakers, presenters and even entertainers and their assignments can require immense resources. That’s why tools for managing content and content providers are critical … so you can easily track subject matter assignments, scripts, time slots, room assignments and dry runs.
Tools for tracking sponsorship sales efforts, proposals, contracts, invoices, payments and deliverables can help event managers both increase sponsorship revenues and spend less time tracking related details.
One way to view events is that they are massive projects requiring advanced project management skills. And behind every good project/event manager is a project and task management tool that allows for managing to-do’s, attaching due dates, assigning team members and tracking progress via lists and calendars.
Because event vendors and contractors are instrumental in the success of most events, having adequate tools to manage them - including contact details, task management, budgeting / payments and communications history - is vital. This includes managing caterers, AV technicians, IT staff, event security and janitorial services.
Whether you are an event planner or a venue manager, tracking things like room/space bookings and reservations, assigned assets/resources, setup requirements, event and seating layouts and budgeting is essential in making sure your events run smoothly. Some event management software services also offer venue search and sourcing for conferences and expos.
Especially for events run by non-profits and professional organizations, tracking volunteer roles, responsibilities, assignments and communications can be time consuming, so having tools to assist with these tasks is very helpful.
Who uses event management software?
The users of event management software span across a number of different roles, which frequently include:
- Event planners and coordinators
- Marketing professionals
- Meeting planners
- Office managers
- Non-profit employees
- Wedding planners
- Vendors and caterers
- Venue managers and sales reps
- Volunteers and assistants
What events can you plan with event management software?
Most event management applications are built to be flexible enough to manage a variety of events, including:
- Association events
- Awards and recognition ceremonies
- Banquets and luncheons
- Classes and courses
- Competitions and tournaments
- Concerts and performances
- Corporate events
- Dinners and galas
- Exhibitions and trade shows
- Faith-based events
- Networking events
- Parties and celebrations
- Promotional and brand-building events
- Retreats and trips
- Seminars and workshops
- University and school events
What are the latest trends in event software?
Tech tools and advancements have probably had the largest transformational impact on the events industry in the last decade and are poised to do so for the foreseeable future. Here are a few of the biggest trends we are currently seeing or are poised to grow in the next few years.
Automation of Business Processes
The tech industry has done a great job of automating event ticket sales and attendee event apps, but not such a good job of streamlining event processes for sales, leads, proposals, invoicing and communications between people planning and managing the event (team members, vendors/contractors, etc.). This is changing right now and will come to maturity in the next 5 years.
Improved Data Sharing Across Platforms
Very few event organizations and businesses operate a single piece of software (in fact, most use between 5 and 20 different applications). Most event management software providers have realized this and so are either building one-to-one stand-alone integrations with single applications or are joining an integrations platform like Zapier where hundreds of applications can share data. Data portability across applications like this will continue to improve in the coming years.
Artificial Intelligence Enabled Tools
As AI trickles down from mega-advanced uses and applications, more and more event technology will be equipped with AI modules for conducting things like advanced data analytics and predictive tools for forecasting, helping event professionals make better decisions early on in the planning process.
Event Mobile App Adoption
Early on, event apps were only seeing adoption rates in the 20-30% range. That has increased over the last few years thanks to clearer communications about benefits; gamification with built-in challenges and raffles; improved attendee networking tools for social media integrations, live chat, activity feeds, group discussions and community building; and customized schedule and content delivery based on attendee preferences.
Social Media Integrations
Most people at events still rely on their social media profiles (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn) for event-related notifications, content and connecting with other attendees. And event tech has followed suit by integrating with these platforms and embedding their functionality (where possible) into the event management software app itself.
Mainly used for on-site operations at large conferences and trade shows, near-field communication (NFC) technologies are gaining more widespread use and could trickle down to smaller events in the near future. Such applications include radio frequency identification (RFID) chips embedded in bracelets, watches and name tags; beacons that detect attendees entering a particular area; and entry scanners that immediately detect NFC enabled tags and wearables.