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When people are considering using our software, we often get questions about how Planning Pod compares to our competitors Honeybook, Dubsado and 17hats.
Although there are quite a few similarities between our event and client management software and those business management software solutions, there are many differences that are important to consider as you shop for a small business solution that’s the right fit for you.
The biggest difference?
First and foremost, Planning Pod is event business management software built specifically for event professionals to manage both business functions (like leads, invoices, payments and calendars) AND event details (like attendees, timelines, budgets and room/space designs).
While Honeybook, Dubsado and 17hats do promote their products to event professionals, their applications are more general client/CRM and business management platforms designed for solo entrepreneurs and freelancers and do not include many core event management tools.
With that said, to provide you with an initial apples-to-apples comparison of the four platforms, we would like to walk you through the strengths, weaknesses, pricing and ideal audience of each.
The information we provide here is based on what we have heard from prospects and customers who are assessing Planning Pod, Honeybook, Dubsado and 17hats as well as information gleaned from our competitors’ websites and marketing materials. We have done our best to provide honest and accurate information and feedback about all providers.
If you’re an event professional looking for an all-in-one event business management software, give Planning Pod a try. Our platform offers 20+ integrated, easy-to-use tools that streamline workflows and save event pros 62+ hours a month in busywork. Get started today >
|Pricing & Users|
|Yearly Pricing Starting at…||$59 per month||$32.50 per month||$29.16 per month||$25 per month|
|Number of Users||Unlimited||Unlimited||Three(extra $$$ for more)||Five|
|Bookings & Appointments Calendar|
|Task & Project Management|
|Files & Note Management|
|Event Floor Plan Design Tool|
|Venue + Room & Space Management|
|Guest List w/ Seating Arrangements|
|Timeline & Itinerary w/ Notifications|
|Event Budget Management|
|Event Registration & RSVPs|
|Event Vendor Management|
|Centralized Email Inbox|
|Online Client Portal w/ Payments|
|Credit card transaction fees starting at 2.39% +$0.29, ACH transaction fees at $0.64 (via PaySimple)|
|Integrations w/ Stripe, Square, Quickbooks Payments||Stripe & Square Only||Stripe Only|
|Lead Management w/ Contact Webform|
|Contact CRM Manager|
|Forms & Questionnaires|
|Proposals & Contracts|
|Online Electronic Signatures|
|Invoicing & Online Payments|
|Workflows & Automations|
|Templates & Customizations|
|Integrations w/ Other Applications|
|Reporting & Dashboards|
NOTE: We are not affiliated with our competitors Honeybook, Dubsado or 17hats, and all information in this post (webpages, videos, screenshots, etc.) was either derived from resources that those three companies have made publicly available or provided to us by prospects and customers who evaluated those event business management platforms and shared with us their opinions and observations.
Who Is It For
We built Planning Pod for busy event professionals and business owners who run event- and hospitality-related businesses of all sizes, including:
- Event planners
- Wedding planners
- Event management firms
- Event venues and spaces
- Small hotels, B&Bs and restaurants
Since we launched in 2013, our tools have helped 10,000+ event pros run their businesses and manage 200,000+ events.
Planning Pod Pricing
Our event + business management packages start at $59/month (paid yearly).
Planning Pod’s base pricing includes…
- All 20+ tools that we offer – No functionality is excluded and we don’t nickel-and-dime you with fees for add-ons
- Unlimited users – Including staff, team members, contractors and clients – no fees for additional users
- Email/chat support and live webinars – Also, training is included for enterprise-level packages
If you compare the pricing of our base $59/month package (with 20+ tools) to what all those tools would cost you separately, here’s what that would look like…
|Planning Pod(Planner Package)||Purchase Tools Separately|
|Business, CRM & Billing Management||Included||Honeybook – $32.50 per month|
|Event Floor Plan Design Tool||Included||AllSeated – $49 per month|
|Timelines & Itineraries||Included||Timeline Genius – $34.95 per month|
|Files Storage & Sharing||Included||Dropbox – $9.99 per month per user|
|Task Management||Included||Asana – $10.99 per month per user|
|$59 per month||$137.43 per month|
Finally, all our packages are based on the number of booked events you manage at any given time, so smaller packages allow for managing fewer events, and larger packages let you manage more events.
Our customers have found this pricing to be very fair because they are only paying for the capacity that they need; they can always upgrade to a larger package if they need to manage more events. And you can have unlimited leads, proposals, contracts and invoices in your account at all times.
Planning Pod Strengths
Of the four platforms discussed here, Planning Pod is the only all-in-one business management + event management software solution that is specifically built for the needs of event professionals.
In addition, we realize that you don’t have lots of time to waste with a long learning curve, so you can have your account fully set up in 4-12 hours. And once you are up and running, you can expect to save lots of time … our customers tell us that they save an average of 62 hours every month in busywork by using Planning Pod.
What follows are the main reasons our customers have provided to us on why they chose Planning Pod over Honeybook, 17hats and Dubsado…
1. Planning Pod offers business management tools built specifically for event professionals and venues
Many event professionals find that general business management tools aren’t the perfect fit for their needs because, frankly, the events and hospitality industry is special in a few key ways. For example…
- Event clients expect the royal treatment – This means they want a white-glove, red-carpet client experience every time, all the time, with colorful proposals and visuals and lots of digital convenience baked into how you do business with them.
- Things change constantly with events – Headcounts, design or attire specs, meal and entertainment options … the list of things that can and will change for an event is almost endless. And your tools need to be able to accommodate for these constant changes.
- Business processes need to be maximally flexible and and easily repeatable – Because you don’t have lots of spare time to recreate things or enter lots of data. Like dropping a task list template into an event that backs all items out from the event date. Or being able to quickly set up multiple auto-payment installments on an invoice in a few clicks.
Planning Pod’s tools have this level of color, convenience, customization and flexibility built into every business management tool and function, including:
Booking and appointment calendars – A color-coded, drag-and-drop calendar lets you easily track your event bookings, payment and task due dates, client appointments, walk-throughs and more. Plus it integrates with other e-calendars like Google, Outlook and Apple.
Client CRM – Easily track all the contact and business information for your leads and clients plus staff, vendors, contractors and any other business contacts in one convenient place. Upload your existing contacts in a few clicks.
Lead management – Take in leads with embeddable lead contact forms on your business website. Then manage these potential clients through every step of your sales pipeline and simplify follow ups with task reminders and email templates.
Appointment scheduling – You can embed an appointment scheduling webform on your website so prospects can schedule a meeting or call with you. Or you can send them a link to schedule an appointment.
Proposals – Build colorful, detailed proposals with image galleries, line items + categories, markups/discounts, service charges, gratuities and more. Collect electronic sign offs and create change orders on-the-fly.
Contracts – Add your own legal language to reusable templates (with smart fields for things like client names and event dates) and then provide electronic contracts to clients to collect signatures online.
Invoicing – Instantly create invoices from proposals or from pre-built templates. Set up multiple payment reminders or schedule auto-payments for set-it-and-forget-it payment installment automations. Connect to bookkeeping programs like Quickbooks and Freshbooks via our integration with the Zapier platform.
Payment processing – Easily collect credit card and ACH (bank transfer) payments online via our fully integrated payment partners Stripe, Square and PaySimple. Rates as low as 2.39% + $0.29 U.S.
2. Planning Pod puts the focus on team and client collaboration
Whether you’re a wedding planner, meeting planner, event sales manager or venue business owner, your ultimate objective is to create an amazing client experience and maximize attendee engagement so that everyone leaves with unforgettable memories.
To do this requires constant interaction and clear communication with your clients, team members and vendors so that everyone is always on the same page and no detail is overlooked or lost.
Planning Pod’s collaboration tools simply the job of staying in touch with and keeping tabs on every person involved in your events so you can spend more time focusing on your clients and building your biz:
Client portal – Give clients their own password-protected portal where they can easily view and sign proposals and contracts; pay invoices ; fill out forms and questionnaires; track assigned tasks; see and create floor plan designs; track RSVPs and guest lists; and more.
Forms and questionnaires – Easily collect input and feedback from clients and team members with custom forms and questionnaires. Great for onboarding and event surveys. Create online capture form templates that you use frequently and quickly add them to leads and events.
Integrated email with inbox – Never again miss emails because they are buried in your or someone else’s inbox. Only Planning Pod offers an account email inbox where you and each of your team members can use your own email addresses to send/receive emails with clients and view all event-related communications in one central place. Integrates with our CRM tool.
Dashboards and reporting – See at-a-glance what’s happening across your entire account or in each lead or event. Overview dashboards show you what’s upcoming, overdue, recently completed or things you are waiting on. And reports give you a deep dive into details regarding events, sales, invoices, payments and more.
Task management and checklists – Add and assign tasks to users and clients; track files and due dates; and set email and text reminders. Build task list templates that, once loaded into an event, will trigger an automation to back out tasks from the event date.
File management and sharing – Upload, organize and share files with clients and team members. Convenient place to manage files for each lead and events.
Vision board – Create an online inspiration board to collaborate visually with staff and clients. Upload, categorize and share comments on images. Great for creative entrepreneurs who thrive on bringing their visions to life.
And to make it easy for any user of your account to view any piece of information anywhere, anytime, you log into Planning Pod on any device – including iPhones / iPads, Android devices, PCs and Macs – via our mobile friendly interface (no mobile app needed).
3. Planning Pod is the only option that offers a full suite of event management tools
A primary reason why many event professionals choose Planning Pod over Dubsado vs Honeybook vs 17hats is because our platform solves the problem of having to juggle multiple applications, spreadsheets, files, emails and notes to track all their business and event details.
Planning Pod integrates 20+ tools into one convenient platform so that all your data is centralized and organized, saving you from wasted hours, lost information and the need to double-enter data into multiple software apps.
Included in our solution are essential event planning tools that Honeybook, Dubsado and 17hats don’t offer, like…
Event floor plan builder – Create colorful, to-scale event layout designs that will impress clients and provide a clear picture of your vision. Drag-and-drop elements and auto-setup functionality make it easy to create professional designs in minutes, which you can share via the client portal or via PDF.
Event registrations and RSVPs – Set up event registration forms and collect registrations and payments online. Or upload an attendee list so people can RSVP. And set up an event website (with full customization features and social media integrations) where your attendees can sign up and read about your event.
Timeline/itinerary creator – Create to-the-minute, multi-day event schedules with timed items that you can assign to categories. Assign people and rooms/spaces to items and schedule email and text reminders to prompt staff and/or clients prior to each item on the schedule. Download custom itineraries for each person.
Attendee management – Track all your guest information in one place plus assign guests to seats in your event designs for assigned seating charts. Use the check-in tool to manage guests at the door.
Budget builder – Always know where you stand with your expenditures and income for your events. Set up detailed budgets with line items and categories. Track estimated and actual costs plus payments and payment due dates.
If you are a small business owner or manager of an event space or venue, we are also the only software platform described here that offers a venue management software package that includes:
- Food and beverage management – Manage your food items and menus (including costs, serving sizes, ingredient lists, etc/) and easily create packages for events and add them to proposals and invoices.
- Room/space booking management – Easily manage your event bookings via the calendar and get notified if you try to double-book a space or time. Use the timeline view to quickly view your availability.
- BEOs and other internal documents – Generate banquet event orders, kitchen sheets, delivery sheets and other business-critical documents on the fly with tools that automatically pull data that’s already been entered into the event.
4. Planning Pod simplifies your work life with automations, workflows and customizations
Most event professionals have their own processes and unique ways of doing business and managing events, so their systems and tools need to be flexible to meet their needs.
Unlike some solutions that offer one-way workflows, Planning Pod doesn’t lock you into a fixed process or complicate things with difficult to configure automations.
Instead, we provide intuitive customizations and automations that work within your processes while providing the flexibility you require when an event or job doesn’t follow a predictable path (and most event business owners know to expect the unexpected).
The result: a clean and modern front-end interface with a powerful back-end engine that gives you the ability to automate lots of tasks and functions.
Our customization features include:
- Reusable templates – Build out your own templates for task lists, checklists, itineraries/timelines, proposals, contracts, invoices, emails, floor plans and budgets. Or start with our 30+ pre-built templates that come with every account.
- Timesaving automations – Set up dozens of automated actions that do the work for you. Smart fields that auto-fill in data like names, event dates and prices. Automated task and payment reminders. Scheduled invoice auto-payments. Automated emails and task lists for leads. And many more.
- Branded account and documents – Add your logo and brand color to customize your account interface, client portals, email templates, PDF downloads and more.
- Software integrations – Connect your Planning Pod account directly to other popular applications like Gmail/Google Drive and Outlook as well as the Zapier platform, where you can share data with hundreds of additional platforms like Quickbooks, Salesforce, Calendly and social media sites.
Planning Pod Weaknesses
Although our customers appreciate the value they receive with our all-in-one event business management platform, some prospects have told us that they feel a little intimidated by the number of tools in our platform.
Although we do offer 20+ tools, we have made sure that each tool is easy to use and that the learning curve is so short for each one that it usually takes less than 10 minutes to get comfortable with any tool.
Also, some prospects have said that they don’t have a need every tool we offer when they sign up, so they feel like they are “overpaying.” However, this is also a reason many of our customers choose our software … because our platform has the capability to scale as they expand their business and they will never outgrow our tools.
In the end, we built our platform to be powerful enough that it helps you grow now (in terms of processes and revenues) and that it will grow with you as you expand in the future.
Who Is it For
According to its website and client list, Honeybook focuses on offering business and project management tools for small business owners and creative entrepreneurs, which include independent graphic designers, interior designers, portrait and wedding photographers, event planners, production companies and other microbusinesses.
Honeybook’s base price is $32.50/month (paid yearly); this includes unlimited team members.
Note that Honeybook pricing rates include an introductory package for $9/month, but once you pass $10K in transactions you must upgrade and support is time-limited on that package.
Like Planning Pod, Honeybook offers an impressive number of small business management tools, including a client CRM with lead capture forms, email communications, scheduling, proposals, contracts, online signatures, invoicing, credit card and ACH payment processing, questionnaires, client portals and task management.
Other notable business and client management features that Honeybook provides include:
- An appointment scheduler tool that integrates with their booking calendar to allow clients and prospects to schedule appointments with a link.
- A configurable workflow that lets you set up a linear process of your business flow (like proposal to contract to signature to invoice payment).
- Many automations for setting up action triggers based on behaviors or dates.
- Mobile apps for iPhone and Android devices.
From a functionality standpoint for event professionals, Honeybook does not offer any core event management tools like floor plan designs, itineraries/timelines, vendor management, attendee management, registrations/RSVPs, event websites and event budgets.
It also does not offer venue management tools like room/space management, food-and-beverage management or venue documents like BEOs.
Honeybook only offers payment processing through their own proprietary processor, so they don’t integrate with popular credit card processors like Stripe, Square or WePay.
Who Is it For
Dubsado promotes itself as a business management software solution for small business owners and entrepreneurs, including marketing, PR and legal professionals; web and graphic designers; event planners; bookkeepers; portrait and wedding photographers; and cosmetic artists.
Dubsado’s Premier package is priced at $29.16/month (paid yearly) for up to 3 users and unlimited clients and projects. They charge extra fees for additional users: $25/month extra for 4-10 users; $45/month extra for 11-20 users; and $60/month extra for 21-30 users.
Dubsado provides many of the business and client management tools found in Planning Pod and Honeybook, including client CRM, lead tracking and contact forms, proposals / quotes, contracts and e-signatures, email communications, scheduling, questionnaires and forms, invoicing and payments, client portals and calendar and task management.
Noteworthy features that Dubsado offers include:
- Form builder tool that’s adaptable, allowing you to build custom forms for contracts, proposals, questionnaires and file uploads.
- Appointment scheduler that allows prospects and clients to schedule appointments via a link.
- Payment processing integrations with the credit card processors Stripe, Square and PayPal.
- Time tracker tool for tracking hours spent by each team member on projects.
- Lots of workflows with actions triggered conditionally (day/time or activity).
- Solid reporting features, especially for financials and bookkeeping metrics like tracking income/expense items and charts of accounts.
Like Honeybook, Dubsado does not offer core event management tools for creating and tracking things like event room designs; attendees and guests, including registrations, ticketing and RSVPs; vendors and venues; itineraries and timelines; and event budgets.
Dubsado also lacks venue management tools for tracking room/space details and bookings; food-and-beverage order information and packages (including menus, ingredient lists, headcounts, etc.); and venue biz documents like BEOs and kitchen sheets.
Who Is it For
17hats promotes itself as a business tool for solo entrepreneurs and freelancers, which includes professionals like graphic designers, web developers, coaches, event planners, musicians, photographers and consultants.
17hats charges $25/month (paid yearly) for its Level Two annual package. NOTE: 17hats caps the number of account users at 5, with no ability to add additional users to the account (their site mentions they may allow for additional users in the future).
17hats offers a suite of business and client management tools that compares with the prior three platforms. This includes a CRM address book, lead management for potential clients, project and task management, a client portal, questionnaires, quotes and contracts w/ online signatures, invoicing, payment processing, email communications, a business calendar and a time tracker.
In addition, other notable features and functionality offered by 17hats include:
- Automations for setting up workflows based on account triggers and actions.
- Onboarding functions for new clients, including automated questionnaires and email templates.
- Lightweight bookkeeping features like transaction tracking and income/expense items.
- Direct back-end integrations with Stripe, Square, PayPal, Authorize.net, Quickbooks and more.
17hats does not offer core event management tools for creating and/or managing event layout designs, event itineraries/timelines, attendee and RSVP management, event websites and event registration and ticketing. It also does not provide specific functionality for venue room/space management and food-and-beverage management (like packages/menus, recipes, ingredient lists, etc.).
17hats also focuses on serving microbusinesses (as they limit the number of account users to five), so you may want to reflect on this if you have a larger team, have more complex collaborative processes or need a platform that can grow with you as your team expands.
In Summary – Honeybook vs Dubsado vs 17hats vs Planning Pod
We hope if you are researching Planning Pod, 17hats, Dubsado and Honeybook alternatives that this article provided you with a good start on your quest.
We highly recommend before you start conducting your analysis of these tools that you first sit down and write down a list of your needs and requirements for event business management software. This way when you are in the midst of comparing platforms you don’t get lost in all the different features or lose sight of your objectives.
Also, we recommend you sign up for a free trial for each of these options so you can test drive them and check out both the back-end functionality as well as the client experience provided by each.
If you run an events-based business, Planning Pod is the only all-in-one platform that provides you with the tools to manage all your event details AND your business functions for as little as $39/month. Get started today!