What is Event Management Software?
Event management software are products that help with multiple aspects of planning, marketing, and execution of private, corporate, or charity events. These products offer an all-in-one platform that helps event organizers create project timelines, track attendance, promote across multiple platforms, drive engagement with attendees, monitor budgets, handle on-site management, contact and attract potential vendors, and deploy assets, among other features. Event management software products tend to be incredibly versatile and include many integrations and support features for both on-premise and virtual events.
Event management software is useful for streamlining the many aspects that come with planning academic conferences, parties, receptions, virtual seminars, workshops, business meetings, charity auctions, and just about any event you can think of, regardless of scale. Many event management packages come with built-in data analysis and future planning features, which are helpful for events that occur in multiple stages.
Because event management software can provide such a vast coverage of project planning, it’s common to find affordable price points, meaning that there is a low barrier of entry for new businesses and smaller enterprises as well. This makes event management software extremely useful for successful growth, engagement, and networking. Event management software incorporates many elements of popular project management solutions, including timelines and real-time updates, but there are also robust marketing, revenue, and lead generation tools as well.
Event management software includes many similarities with products you can find for customer relationship management (CRM), event registration software, and virtual event platforms. Event management software combines most aspects of these types of solutions into a unified platform that can handle all stages of planning and execution. Additionally, event management software includes many additional end-user facing features, including self-registration, asset distribution, employee scheduling, vendor branding, and multiple forms of integrated communication.
Event Management Software Features
These are the most common features across all event management software products:
- Event planning models
- Automated ticketing management
- Point of sale management
- On-site management (seating, floor planning, room scheduling, etc.)
- Centralized exhibitor and vendor management
- Centralized supplier management
- On-premises deployment
- Cloud-based and on-premise options
- Integrated communication and conferencing features
- Marketing and promotion
- Invitation management
- Budget management
- Attendee management
- Sponsorship management
- Revenue reporting and analytics
- Attendance reporting and analytics
- Survey construction, delivery, and analysis
- Custom event website design
- Mobile app use and customization
- Virtual check-in
- Badge generation and delivery
- Speaker, exhibitor, and attendee support
- Social media integration
- Future event and multi-event management
Event Management Software Comparison
When choosing the best event management software for you, consider these factors:
Branding and marketing features: The degree to which the event management software allows you to promote your event is an important consideration. Some services have packages that allow for detailed customization, including personalized tickets, badges, websites, apps, and social media features that allow for unique and consistent engagement with attendees. This is especially important for events that host multiple exhibitors or vendors, as they will want to be able to market themselves as well. Wrike, Whova, Cvent, and EventMobi offer the widest array of branding options.
On-premise, virtual, or hybrid event: The suitability of an event management product can hinge on how it supports the the physical or virtual aspects of your event. Many on-premise events, like academic conferences or trade shows, require badges, tickets, or invitations to be used in person, so you’ll need to see if you want the software to mail physical credentials to attendees or print them out on location. If this is a feature you need, Eventleaf and Cvent are worth looking into. If you’re hosting a virtual or hybrid event, you’ll want to prioritize a service that has extensive communication options like video conferencing and live-streaming features. For these purposes, Bizzabo, Socio, and EventMobi are some of the best options.
Anticipated number of attendees: The number of attendees you anticipate may be a deciding factor. Attendee size can determine a variety of outcomes, including a product’s overall costs (see below) and server performance. Cvent and Wrike offer the best support for large in-person events but are also some of the most expensive solutions available. Conversely, Eventbrite, monday.com, and TicketSource offer free or low-cost options that may be better suited for smaller events, though you may find their list of included features lacking compared to other options.
Usage fees: Some event management software has fees for processing individual registration, payment, ticketing, or refund incidents. Some vendors also do not include multiple events as part of their software package pricing. These fees may also stack on top of purchase or licensing fees, so for large or continuous events, this means that costs can accrue quite quickly. Bizzabo, Swoogo, and Cvent have single-payment options that may cover these concerns. However, for smaller, one-time events, the per-user or per-event costs of using monday.com, Eventbrite, Ticket Tailor, and TicketSource may be a better fit.
International attendees: If you anticipate having international attendees, you’ll need to make sure that your chosen solution can accommodate foreign currencies and distribute attendee assets in multiple languages. Ticket Tailor and Aventri explicitly offer multi-currency and multilingual support. Contact the product vendor to determine their policies on this. The good news is that most event management software has a wide degree of integration with external point of sale systems or payment gateways like PayPal.
Event management software pricing can vary, as vendors offer a wide range of plans, including per-month, per-user, and per-event pricing. Most vendors offer free trials and plans. Vendors should be contacted about specific plans.
The following event management software offer award-winning customer relationships, feature sets, and value for price. Learn more about our Best Of Awards methodology here.