While planning killer events is becoming increasingly more difficult and complicated, plenty of new tools are constantly arriving in the event management market that can keep you on track and make your working life less chaotic. But how do you know which apps are right for you?
The first step in selecting event management tools that will improve your productivity, rather than just adding extra steps, starts with understanding the most intricate parts of your business and which areas can be the most challenging or time-consuming. By starting with some of the most common frustrations of the event planning profession that we have heard from planners, we’ve paired real-life problems with real event management solutions.
8 Essential Event Management Tools for Every Event Planner
Whether you’re a seasoned pro, a new events business owner or just dipping your toes into the world of event planning as a side gig, you’ll want to make sure your toolbox is bolstered with the event management tools and software that will keep operations running smooth and on time.
So we created a list of the eight most essential event management tools every event professional should have in their arsenal. Hint—spreadsheets, calendar books, planning binders, and day planners (yes, those too) didn’t make the list because they actually consume more time to manage and there are better alternatives.
BTW, if you want to try out all the tools mentioned in this article but don’t want to waste time with hunting down and then juggling lots of different apps, there’s an all-in-one event management platform that includes all these tools and more. Sign up here to try it out.
Most people are pulled into the world of event planning because they love reigning in the chaos, working under pressure, coming up with creative solutions and presenting beautiful and inspiring atmospheres. Numbers and bookkeeping aren’t usually a draw of the job. But instead of forcing yourself to love spreadsheets and calculations, a solid accounting tool like Quickbookx or Xero can relieve the pressure and make it easier to keep track of money going in and out so you, your client and your business can all stay on budget.
2. Billing and payment software
Professional event invoicing not only enhances your brand, but it can also help get you paid quicker—no more chasing payments (can we get a hand clap?). Your event billing software should allow you to create custom-branded templates, automatically generate new invoices for clients and offer them an opportunity to settle debts with easy and secure online credit card payment processing, straight from an electronic invoice.
3. Integratable calendar app
Event management can seem like it’s almost 5% planning and 95% juggling complex calendars. OK, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but having a tightly kept schedule is still extremely important for event professionals. Event planners need to keep track of everything from the day of the event itself to client and vendor meetings, invitation mailings, taste testing, entertainment auditions, vendor bookings, venue tours, room bookings, food orders, payment schedules and more. Using calendar applications that sync together and are easily shareable with people inside and outside of your network will make sure you (and everyone else) don’t miss an important date.
4. Project management software
Event managers are the orchestrators of the event, but when you are managing an internal staff, external vendors, clients, volunteers and maybe even guests, keeping everyone together and on task can be exhausting. However, with the right online management tools for boosting event productivity, you can easily assign tasks to staff and vendors, establish deadlines, get status updates and communicate with team members to quickly answer questions or make notes. Other features you should look for include file sharing, chat rooms and easy-to-build workflow templates.
5. Cloud storage
Relying on hard copies stored only on your computer is risky, and this goes for any type of business owner. An unexpected drop, theft or spilled drink could completely erase all of your hard work and cause some serious repercussions, like missed deadlines and failure to deliver. So don’t let spilled milk spoil your business (literally). Back up your documents either with a cloud service or by choosing an event management software that lets you work and store data online. As an added benefit, working in the cloud means that you can easily switch between devices and easily share documents and updates with team members who can also access the software online.
6. Floor plans and vision boards
For the client, event planning is all about efficiency, organization and visuals. Staring at a large empty room, clients might find it hard to imagine the dance floor, the seating for hundreds of guests and the beautifully draped fabrics from the ceiling. Event design tools make it easy to quickly create a true-to-scale seating plan and put together a beautiful and professional vision board replete with ideas to present to your client.
7. Email and social media management software
Digital event marketing plays a crucial role in event management. Finding ways to reach potential attendees and drive ticket sales with social media advertisements and email campaigns can feel like a full-time job in itself. However, tools like MailChimp and Hootsuite make it easy to create, customize, manage and schedule content on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and more.
8. Event registration tools and attendee event management solutions
Ditch the spreadsheets and manual registrations and go automatic and online. With online attendee management and event registration software, guests can easily RSVP to their invite and choose their plate option or register for your event and pay for their ticket. From this, you can download and share online registration and ticketing information to create guest counts, food orders, budget updates and more. You can even check-in your guests the day of the event with scannable tickets or digital check-in lists.
Finding a software program that does it all (or at least most of it)
While you can probably find dozens of options to solve all of the above problems, finding a mix of applications that all connect and work together can be extremely difficult, if not impossible. In many events, the hodge-podge of event app downloads can actually make things more complicated, decrease productivity and increase mistakes.
So instead of downloading a dozen different apps, then doubling up your work just to transfer over information and make them all function correctly, invest in a full-service software that offers a suite of applications that work together seamlessly.
Not that we like to brag, but Planning Pod mixes together just about everything you could need as an event planner. And for the stuff it doesn’t have? Well, it syncs up with other popular applications you’ll need to get your work done and attendees interested (like Google, Quickbooks, Zapier and MailChimp), so we don’t have to recreate the wheel, and you don’t have to move over information manually or double enter data. Basically, it’s like a project manager, digital marketer, designer, assistant and accountant all wrapped into one program.
In the end, this mix of top event management tools is what will serve any event or meeting planner very well and can save you hundreds of hours every year, so if you haven’t done so already, start giving them a try.