Planning and managing an event isn’t easy.
While planning an event can indeed be exciting and highly rewarding, it’s no secret that it can be very challenging with all the different variables and moving parts: booking the venue, securing sponsorships, coordinating the event team, and so on, and so forth.
Fortunately, there are multiple event management platforms that you can use to make planning easier. There are various tools designed to help you with different aspects of the event management process, and by choosing the right solutions, you can streamline the event management process, save your time and resources, and especially, help you in planning and managing a successful event.
However, with all the different options available in the market, choosing the right tools for your event and your event planning business can be a daunting task. Not to mention, you may need different tools for different aspects of the event planning process.
This is why in this guide, we’ll review the best of the best event management tools across different categories. Each one of them will help you in different stages of the event management process.
Yet, it’s very important to pick the right tools based on your needs, and not the other way around, so it’s crucial to first understand what types of tools and solutions you may need for various types of events and various stages of the event management lifecycle.
How Technology Can Help Different Aspects of Event Management
Event planning and event management, as we know, is highly complex with different moving parts, and different types of events may also require different planning and management processes.
With that being said, here are the different areas of the event management process where various technology tools can help:
- Team collaboration
Unless you are going to plan, manage, and host the event on your own, then most likely you are going to work in a team. Leading and managing a team and ensuring effective collaboration between team members can be a significant challenge on its own, and you may want to resort to technologies to help you in this aspect.
- Project management
Planning and managing an event is a project on its own, and often quite a complex one at that. Having an appropriate project management tool can significantly help you in streamlining the whole process from start to finish, from keeping track of your schedule, creating and monitoring budget, clear timelines for different tasks, and so on.
- Virtual event platform
A crucial tool to have if you are running a virtual event, which will essentially be the foundation for the whole event by providing a video conferencing space with built-in engagement and communication features. A comprehensive virtual event platform will also help you in monitoring the performance of your virtual event by providing analytics and reports.
- Ticketing and registration system
In this digital era, prospective attendees simply expect to be able to register for your event and purchase the ticket online. It’s crucial to integrate an event registration/ticketing platform into your website and social media pages.
- Event website
Even if you already have a strong social media presence, your social media page(s) is not an adequate replacement for a well-designed, functional event website. As mentioned, the event website should also have a functional online registration/ticketing feature on it. Fortunately, there are now various tools and platforms that can help you easily design a professional website, so you don’t have to hire an expensive website developer to help you.
- Attendee management and check-in
Managing attendee check-ins can be a major headache both in virtual and in-person events, but there are tools that can help you not only manage and monitor check-ins but also to manage guest lists and track attendee’s activities throughout the event.
- Online polling and Q&A
If you want to run an engaging virtual event, you’ll need to add interactivity to it, for example by adding Q&A and live polling to the event. There are various tools that can help you easily add online pools and Q&A to your event. For in-person events, you can also use these tools to collect feedback and encourage interactions from your in-person attendees, which can help improve the quality of your event.
- Live streaming
Live streaming your events is simply a necessity in today’s always-online world for both in-person and virtual events, and if you want to broadcast your events live, it’s crucial to choose the right live streaming platform depending on the type and size of your event.
- Sponsorship management
Finding and securing the right sponsors for your event is quite often some of the biggest challenges of planning an event, but fortunately, there are various sponsorship management tools that can help you use data to find the best sponsorship partners, automatically collect and manage sponsorship requests, and monitor/manage all sponsorship projects in a single platform.
- Event promotion tools
Don’t underestimate the importance of promoting your event. No matter how well you’ve planned the event, it’s doomed to failure if you can’t attract enough attendees. There are various tools and solutions that can help you market your event in various different ways: social media marketing automation, email marketing, marketing analytics, and so on. It’s crucial to find the right tools that can help you leverage your favorite marketing channels and win your audience’s attention effectively.
How To Choose The Best Event Management Tools
There’s no one-size-fits-all tool that can help you solve all your event management problems, and as we’ve discussed above, there are various different tools for different aspects and stages of the event planning lifecycle.
Below, as mentioned, we will review some of the best event management tools in these different categories, but here are some key considerations you should have when evaluating different event management tools for your event:
- Your needs
It’s crucial to first identify and prioritize your unique needs. Identify which area(s) of the event planning process that you most often struggle with: is it managing your team’s collaborations? Securing sponsorships? Creating and updating schedules over and over again? Online registration?
- Type of event
Is your event going to be an in-person event, virtual or hybrid? Will it be a keynote speaker session? A conference? A musical concert? Evaluate whether the tool(s) can indeed help your event type.
- Reliability and mobile-friendliness
Is the solution reliable? Is it mobile-friendly? Can your team members and/or attendees easily use the solution? Will it offer a mobile app for your attendees to use before and during the event? If the tool/solution offers a free-trial period, make the most of it to assess reliability.
- Reviews and testimonials
Nowadays, we can easily check online reviews and testimonials for virtually any tools and software solution, so use this to your advantage. Read online reviews to check other users’ thoughts about the solution, which can help you in deciding whether it’s the right investment for you.
- Your budget
The last but not least consideration is your budget. How much are you willing to spend on these tools? There are, as we know, various tools for each category with different price tags and features offered, so knowing your budget can help you in choosing the best possible solution for your event and/or your event planning business.
However, it’s also crucial not to always choose the most affordable solution every time, unless you are really tight on budget. Instead, evaluate the value you’ll get for the price you pay. It’s okay to pay more (if your budget allows) if the solution can indeed help you plan a better event.
Top 12 Event Management Tools in Different categories
Here, we will review up to two solutions on each different category: one is the absolute best, based on our review, and the other will either be a runner-up or a solution that offers different benefits than the best tool in the category.
Without further ado, let us begin.
- Best event collaboration tools
The popular team communication and collaboration is popular for its reasons: it’s intuitive and easy to use, it’s affordable (even the free version is usable), and it’s reliable with a rich set of features.
Slack is not just a glorified group chat app, but is a very powerful tool both in the event planning and management process, and can even assist you in various different ways during the D-Day of the event.
Slack allows you to create different channels within the single workspace, which can be useful for facilitating collaborations within different event committees. If you want, you can also create a public Slack channel for attendees to use throughout the event to facilitate engagements and interactions.
Trello is an especially powerful tool to use in your event planning process. It is basically an advanced to-do list that allows you to add drag-and-drop cards to a shared board, providing you with a visual space for collaborations that is very intuitive and easy to use.
While in many different ways it’s better than Slack when it comes to project management and collaboration, it’s not very powerful in terms of communications (a thing Slack is really good at). So, these two tools can complement each other pretty well to facilitate collaborations while also allowing effective monitoring of progress throughout the event planning process.
II. Best all-in-one event management tool
Eventtia is an all-in-one event management platform covering basically all you need from an event management solution, including but not limited to:
- Online registration: fully functional event ticketing module and online event registration management
- Check-in management: check-in mobile app allowing you to streamline the check-in process and manage the access flow.
- Virtual event platform: get your virtual events up and running with just a single platform
- Project management: manage your event planning project from start to finish with a robust task management function.
- Team collaboration: you can easily monitor and manage collaborations between team members
- sPermission management: invite more team members or external stakeholders (i.e. sponsors) to join the collaboration
- Email marketing management: built-in EMS allowing you to send targeted emails to prospective attendees
- Attendee management and tracking: managing your event guest list and tracking attendee activities during the event
Using an all-in-one event management platform will offer the benefit of having everything centralized in just a single platform, so you and your team members don’t have to switch between screens and apps throughout the whole event management process.
Eventtia is an affordable and robust all-in-one event management platform, with big names like Red Bull and Kapersky as its clients. If you are looking for a comprehensive solution to streamline your event planning and event management process, then we’d definitely recommend Eventtia.
III.Best virtual event platforms
Note: You can use Eventtia’s virtual event features as an all-in-one solution to power your virtual event, but if you’d like other options for one reason or another, here are our recommendations:
Wonder is a totally free tool that is designed to replicate real-world networking with unique features like “areas”, that will allow you to create different rooms to help your event attendees find like-minded people. You can be creative and use this feature in various different ways, for example by creating different areas for different phases of the event to build a meaningful experience for your attendees.
In Wonder, attendees can approach others in a similar way they would in an in-person networking event: directing their virtual avatar towards another avatar to initiate a conversation, and if the other person does the same, a conversation session will be opened.
Recreating an in-person networking experience is often one of the biggest challenges in a virtual event, and Wonder can help you in this aspect.
- Zoom Events
It’s no secret that the brand Zoom has become an overnight sensation throughout the global pandemic, becoming the staple video conferencing tool all over the world.
Quite recently, Zoom has launched their virtual event platform, called Zoom events, which is designed to be an all-in-one virtual event tool focused on webinars, allowing users to host sessions via live streaming (with Zoom conference’s technology), managing registration/ticketing, facilitating networking between attendees, and more.
Starting at $79/month, Zoom Events is fairly affordable and can be a viable solution if you want to run webinars for up to 500 attendees. Great set of features, and of course, Zoom’s reliability and data security.
IV. Best event website builder platforms
Wix a very popular website builder platform in the past couple of years or so, part of the reason being its aggressive marketing campaigns back in 2019, but it has also proven itself as a reliable, intuitive, and easy to use website builder where you can customize everything in a visual—drag-and-drop style— builder.
The free plan offers free hosting, an unlimited number of pages, and more than 100 templates, while premium plans start from just $4.5 per month, making it a very valuable option for building your event website. You can then easily integrate online ticketing/registration functions, for example via platforms like Eventtia, to the website.
Affordable and very easy to use, there’s simply no more excuse not to have a functional, well-designed event website.
WordPress is totally free, although you’ll still need to pay for hosting and domain name.
If Wix offers a very easy-to-use visual builder and won’t need any coding experience, WordPress will require you a bit of CSS/HTML programming experience but will reward you for it by offering more versatility and freedom in customization.
In short, if you want a website builder that won’t require any coding experience, then you should go with Wix. However, if you do have a bit of coding experience, especially in CSS, and you’d like more versatility, then go with WordPress.
V. Best event registration and ticketing tools
Note: You can use Eventtia’s online ticketing and event registration features for this purpose, but here we will share a couple of alternatives.
- Google Forms
Yes, the free (and reliable) Google Forms actually offer a built-in Event Registration Tool, although to use this function you’ll need to have a Google Business Plan, which starts from just $6/month.
With Google Event Registration Tool, you can easily create intuitive event registration forms for prospective attendees. The forms are fully customizable with drag-and-drop form builders, and you can also add images, videos, and custom rules as required.
You can easily embed the Google Event Registration Tool to your website for a fully-functional online registration.
- Wild Apricot
Wild Apricot is a dedicated event registration software that also offers basic event management features like the option to create a mobile app for event check-ins and email automation features for promotion purposes.
The event registration tool is very easy to use: simply create an event, and the event will be automatically added to Wild Apricot’s real-time calendar. You can then embed Wild Apricot to your website so prospective attendees can sign up for the event from anywhere.
Wild Apricot’s free plan is pretty usable, and premium plans start from $48/month.
VI. Best online polling and Q&A tools
Slido is a very popular online polling and Q&A tool so you can easily add live polls to your virtual and in-person events to encourage attendee engagements. You can also run live quizzes and trivia games with Slido, providing even more interactivity to your events, and all of these activities will be compiled with the Slido Analytics feature so you can get valuable insights from your events and activities.
There’s a forever-free basic plan (which is pretty useful for small-scale events), and Slido’s premium plans start from $8/month.
VII. Best event attendance management tools
Boomset is actually an all-in-one event registration tool, offering features like the ability to create branded event registration pages and take online payments.
However, Boomset is especially useful as a check-in management and attendance tracking tool, with the Boomset app allowing you to admit attendee entry through QR code scanning, face recognition, or NFC. You can allow attendees to easily create their own schedules, or you can enforce session access on your own, which can be useful in cases where you offer different tiers of tickets.
Boomset actually offers one of the most reliable facial recognition check-in features at the moment, which can help in ensuring an immersive experience for your attendees. A great choice if you’d like to add a fast and immersive check-in tool to your set of event management tools.
Zkipster is designed as a comprehensive attendance and guest list management tool, which basically offers all you need in attendance tracking and management: creating a guest list, designing a seating chart for seating events, and facilitating guest check-ins when they arrive at the venue.
Also, Zkipter was recently updated with new features for virtual and hybrid events, for example, it can now connect to Zoom so you can use Zkipster’s guest list management on your Zoom conferences.
A key highlight of Zkipster is its ability to locally save data, which is actually pretty useful in situations when Wi-Fi suddenly becomes unavailable on the event’s D-Day. In this case, you can keep the attendee registration going, and once Wi-Fi is available, Zkipster will automatically resync the offline data across all devices.
To summarize, a great, comprehensive attendance management tool to ensure a fluid experience for your attendees.
Now that we’ve shared 12 of the best and most popular event management tools available in the market today, you can use this list to re-evaluate your needs as an event planner and decide which tools are the best according to your needs and available budget.
Also, remember that each event is unique, so a solution that works best for one event might not be as effective on another.
Having the right event management tools under your belt can significantly make your job as an event planner easier, and by using our list above, you can make a better-informed decision in choosing the best tool for your unique needs.