While event planning can be a very fun and exciting activity, it can also be (very) challenging at times.
Event planning, even for a fairly small event (in terms of size of participants), can involve many different variables and details: booking a venue, choosing the right catering, securing sponsorships, dealing with speakers/presenters/talents, and coordinating your internal team, just to name a few.
However, thanks to the advancements in technology, nowadays, there is a wide berth of tools, applications, and solutions designed to help event planners in the various aspects of the event management process.
With the right set of event planning software solutions under your belt, you can streamline the event planning process so you can focus on delivering the best possible experience for your attendees.
Yet, choosing the right solutions for your business can be easier said than done.
In this guide, we will review 10 of the best event planning software solutions that can help you in different stages and aspects of the event management process.
Let us begin, however, by discussing how technology solutions can help streamline different aspects of event planning.
Different Types of Event Management Tools and Their Functions
The event planning process can be very complex, with many different moving parts, and each aspect and/or stage may require the assistance of different technology tools.
With that being said, here are how different types of solutions can help different areas of the event planning process:
1. Ticketing/event registration
Today’s attendees simply expect to be able to easily register for your event 24/7 online. Technology tools can help you integrate event registration and ticketing functionalities into your website, mobile app, and even social media profiles.
2. Internal team management
Often the biggest challenge in the event planning process is managing your internal team’s communication and collaboration. Various event management technology solutions can help you streamline internal communication and collaboration, helping your team to work together in planning and delivering the perfect event to your target attendees.
3. Virtual event platform
With the rising popularity of virtual events in recent years, various companies have published powerful virtual event platforms that can help you quickly and easily host a virtual event. A comprehensive virtual event platform will also help you in monitoring the performance of your virtual event via analytics and reporting.
4. Attendee management and check-in
Managing check-ins and tracking attendee activities can be very challenging in any event, but they can be streamlined with the help of various technology solutions capable of performing real-time monitoring.
5. Live streaming
The help of live streaming solutions is crucial for any virtual or hybrid events. It’s very important to choose the right live streaming platform based on the type and size of your event.
6. Sponsorship management
Unless you are planning to fund the event yourself, most likely, you’d want to outreach to and secure the right sponsors to help fund the event. There is a wide variety of sponsorship management solutions that can help you in finding the most fitting sponsorship candidates, managing sponsorship requests, and monitoring your sponsorship projects.
7. Promotion/marketing tools
Event coordinators often underestimate the need to market the event and the time needed to effectively promote the event. Remember that no matter how good you’ve planned your event, it will be doomed as a 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.
8. Online engagement tools
Especially important for virtual or hybrid events, these tools can help you add interactivity to your online events, for example, via online polling, live chat, and live Q&A. These tools can also help you in collecting feedback in real-time and encourage interactions from both in-person and virtual attendees.
Choosing The Best Event Planning Software: Key Considerations
As you can see, different aspects of event planning would demand different types of event planning tools. Thus, choosing the best event planning software for your business can be a very daunting task due to all the confusion.
With that being said, here are some important considerations you should have when choosing your event planning solution:
1. Type of event you are planning
What’s the type of event you’ll frequently plan in the future? (both short-term and long-term.) Different types of events may have different nuances, and there might be technology solutions that won’t be a good addition to your overall workflow.
Are you going to plan an in-person, virtual, or hybrid event? Will it be a keynote speaker session? Concert? Conference? Or other types of events? You might want to answer these questions before deciding on an event planning software solution.
2. Your unique needs
When choosing a software solution, it’s very important to first identify your and your event’s unique needs.
Identify which aspects of the event planning process you might struggle with, and evaluate which technology tools can help you in these aspects. Be honest with your needs; the better you understand them, the better you can make your choice regarding event planning solutions that can help you.
3. Check reviews
In this digital age, we can easily check online reviews and testimonials, so you should leverage it to your advantage. Check online reviews of event planning software candidates and check other users’ thoughts about the solution. This can help you in deciding whether your investment in a technology solution can be justified.
Pretty self-explanatory: how much are you willing to spend on event planning solutions?
There is a wide variety of event planning software with different price tags and pricing structures, and many of them are completely free. So, knowing your budget can help you in choosing the best possible software solution according to your needs.
However, you shouldn’t always choose the most affordable solution every time unless the budget is really tight. Instead, evaluate the ratio between value and price. If an event planning solution can offer significantly more value than other alternatives, it’s also okay to play more.
5. Reliability and ease of use
Evaluate whether the solution is mobile-friendly and reliable (i.e., check its downtime history.) You may also want to evaluate whether your team members and attendees can easily learn to use the solution.
If the solution offers a free trial, make the most of it to evaluate these elements.
Top 10 Event Planning Software That Will Make Your Next Event a Blast
Type: all-in-one event planning software
Eventtia is an all-in-one event planning and management suite, offering all the features and functionalities you’ll need to tackle different aspects of the event planning process.
Using an all-in-one event planning solution will offer you the benefit of having everything you need in just a single platform, so you don’t need to switch between different applications and solutions when working on different aspects of the event planning process.
Here are some of the event planning aspects covered by Eventtia:
- Registration and ticketing: Eventtia offers fully functional event registration management features, including an event ticketing module.
- Virtual event: Eventtia can act as a comprehensive virtual event platform, so you can get a virtual event up and running without needing to use different (disconnected) solutions.
- Check-in management: a fully functional mobile app to help streamline the whole check-in process, including monitoring and managing access flow.
- Attendee management: fully-fledged attendee monitoring and management tools to help you manage your event guest list. Real-time monitoring of your guest activities during the event.
- Event management: manage your event planning project from start to finish, including a fully functional task management feature.
- Internal communication and collaboration: monitor and manage your team collaboration within a single dashboard. Also include a robust permission management feature, allowing you to easily invite more team members or external stakeholders (i.e., vendors and sponsors) to join the collaboration when needed.
- Promotions: Eventtia offers a built-in email management system (EMS) to help you send targeted emails and promote your events.
Not only is Eventtia powerful with a robust set of features, but it is also cost-effective. With Red Bull and Kapersky as its clients, among the other big names, Eventtia is definitely a viable option if you are looking for a robust solution to streamline the event planning process.
Type: ticketing, event promotion
Eventbrite is one of, if not the most popular event ticketing and registration solution, powering so many large and small events all around the world.
Eventbrite has three core features:
- Promoting your event on Eventbrite’s high-traction website
- Sell tickets online
- Manage registrations
Eventbrite makes it very easy to do those three: simply add the event’s details on Eventtia, create and publish tickets (including prices), publish a registration form, and basically, you’re done. Your event will then have its own dedicated page on Eventbrite’s website, where attendees can easily register and pay for your event’s ticket with just a few simple clicks.
Eventbrite also offers integration with popular platforms and applications like MailChimp (for email marketing), HubSpot, and Facebook, so you can easily integrate Eventbrite into your existing workflow.
For all these features (and more), Eventbrite charges 2.5%+$0.99 of the ticket price for every ticket sold and 3.5% of the ticket price for the payment processing if you use Eventbrite’s payment gateway.
An interesting takeaway, if you are not charging for tickets (or sell your ticket elsewhere) and only use Eventbrite to promote, Eventbrite is 100% free.
Type: virtual event platform
Wonder is a free virtual event platform designed to replicate face-to-face networking in virtual events.
Creating engaging and interactive networking activities can be a major challenge in any virtual or hybrid event, and Wonder can be a great software solution (that is totally free) to help event planners in this area.
Wonder’s unique feature is the ability to create “areas” in your virtual event, allowing like-minded attendees to meet each other in these areas. This feature is fully customizable, so you can create different areas throughout the different stages of the event or according to your attendees’ preferences.
A great (and free) tool to enhance your virtual or hybrid event, especially in engaging your attendees.
Type: event management and collaboration
Slack is undoubtedly one of the most popular team collaboration tools available at the moment, and not without its reasons.
Not only is slack very easy to use with a robust set of features, but it is also affordable, with even the free version being robust enough for facilitating collaborations in small and mid-sized event teams.
Slack’s main function is as a chat/communication tool, but it offers a plethora of useful features to help you throughout the event planning lifecycle, and even as a communication tool during the event itself.
You can create different slack channels to help facilitate communications and collaborations between different event committees, and when needed, you can also create a public Slack channel for attendees, for example, to conduct post-event surveys and Q&As.
5. Zoom Events
Type: virtual event platform, video conferencing
Throughout the global COVID-19 pandemic between 2020 and 2021, Zoom has surged in popularity as the leading video conferencing solution worldwide.
Quite recently, Zoom has launched its dedicated virtual event platform, called Zoom Events, which is designed as a one-stop virtual event software focused on webinars.
You can use Zoom’s reliable video conferencing technology (that most attendees would be familiar with) to host the virtual event, and the platform also comes with a built-in registration/ticketing management tool and various interactive networking tools. Of course, you’ll also get Zoom’s data security capabilities and resilient functionality.
Zoom Events’ plans start at $79/month, which is fairly affordable. So, if you are planning to host webinars in your next virtual or hybrid events, then Zoom Events is worth your consideration, ideal for webinars for up to 500 attendees.
Type: event project management, collaboration
Trello is a very popular and robust tool, giving you a Kanban-style list-making board to streamline your event project management. Trello offers an intuitive, easy-to-use visual collaboration tool your team can use to communicate and collaborate effectively.
A robust tool to track your team’s progress throughout the event planning process, and although it’s not specifically designed as an event planning software solution, you can use Trello in combination with other tools for many different purposes.
Even the free version of Trello can be useful, especially since it doesn’t limit the number of users in its free plan (so you can let your whole team use it.) Premium plans will unlock additional features and unlimited boards, starting at just $5/user/month.
Very affordable and a great tool to help turn your next event into a big hit.
Type: event website builder
Every event needs a professional-looking and functional website, and fortunately, there are now various tools and platforms that can help us easily build a well-designed website, eliminating the need to hire an expensive website developer.
With that being said, Wix has become one of the most popular website-building platforms in recent years. Part of it is because of Wix’s aggressive promotions, but also because of its ease of use despite its pretty decent set of capabilities.
With Wix, you can easily build a website via a drag-and-drop visual builder, and it is also very customizable.
Wix’s 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, so it’s a very cost-effective solution.
Wix also makes it easy to add online registration/ticketing to its website, for example, via platforms like Eventtia.
Type: attendee and guest list management
Zkipster is an all-in-one guest list management software, offering all the features you’ll need regarding guest/attendee tracking and guest list management.
You can easily and quickly create a guest list, design a seating chart (for seated events), and enable a streamlined guest check-in for your attendees at the venue.
While originally designed for in-person events, recently, Zkipster also introduced new features geared towards virtual and hybrid events. It can now natively connect to Zoom, so you can use Zkipster’s guest list management features on Zoom conferences and webinars.
Another key benefit of Zkipster you should consider, especially for in-person event scenarios, is that it can locally save your data offline. This is very useful in scenarios like a power outage or internet unavailability, allowing you to keep the check-in process going without the internet.
As soon as the internet/power is available, Zkipster will automatically resync the offline data across all your devices.
9. Wild Apricot
Type: event registration/ticketing
If you don’t want to invest in an all-in-one event planning software with a built-in registration function like Eventtia, then you may want to opt for a standalone event registration software like Wild Apricot.
While Wild Apricot’s main offering is its online event registration and ticketing feature, it also offers basic event planning/management functions, such as a custom mobile app builder to facilitate check-ins, as well as a basic email management system (EMS) for promoting your event.
A key highlight of Wild Apricot is that it is very easy to use. Simply list your event’s details, and the event will be automatically added to Wild Apricot’s online interactive calendar.
If you want, you can also embed Wild Apricot’s widget on your website, so your prospective attendees can register for your event from your website or mobile app.
Wild Apricot offers a free plan with basic (but usable) features, and premium plans start from $48/month.
Type: interactive networking, live polling, and Q&A
Slido has been one of the most popular live polling and Q&A software in recent years, thanks to its affordability and ease of use.
With Slido, you can easily integrate live Q&As and polls into your virtual and hybrid events to improve engagements. You can also run trivia games and quizzes to provide more fun and interactive activities for your events.
Slido also offers a built-in analytics and reporting feature to help track these interactive activities’ performances, which can also help you gain valuable insights from your events and activities.
Slido’s forever-free plan is fairly useful for smaller-scale events, but the premium plans are also very affordable, starting at just $8/month.
In this post, we’ve shared 10 of the most popular, the best of the best event planning software solutions available at the moment.
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 for another. In the end, it’s about finding the right solution that can cater to your unique needs and can work best for your event.
Having the right event management software solutions 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.