Did you know that 40% of event planners turn to event management software to help them make their meetings, conventions, and virtual events a success? Some companies are able to save over 200 hours a year planning events thanks to powerful software suites and tools.
Needless to say, if your company is not using an event management system, you are likely spending more time, effort and money than necessary.
In this post, we are going to introduce you to event management software tools that can reduce your costs and boost your ROI.
But first, let’s explain what event management software is for, and how it can help you achieve success.
What Can You Do With Event Management Software?
Event management apps and programs can provide you with a broad range of functionality. Exact features and tools vary from product to product. But here are some of the things event management platforms can do for you:
- Make it simple, fast and straightforward for attendees to register, boosting attendance.
- Facilitate facial recognition check-ins.
- Provide a streamlined channel of communication for your event planning team.
- Diagram the layouts of event venues and seating.
- Capture and manage your leads.
- Simplify catering so you can order just what you need.
- Provide tools to speakers so they can offer more compelling content to your attendees.
- Incorporate social media for engaging event marketing.
- Make it easy for members of your team to communicate as they plan the event.
- Improve networking and communications during virtual and hybrid events.
- Offer polls and other content with which event attendees can interact.
- Cut time and costs all around while putting together events that are more engaging and successful. The right event management platform can pay for itself.
Those are just a few common examples. You will discover that there are quite a few specialized solutions out there. So, whatever your event management needs, the tools to help you succeed are waiting for you.
Key Point: You can use event management software to handle leads, layouts, marketing, registrations, and much, much more.
How Can Software for Events Help? 3 Key Case Studies
1. Colorado Judicial Branch
When the Colorado Judicial Branch (COJB) brought event planner Angelia Meaux onboard to help with its annual conferences, she observed that event registration was a mess, as was communication between departments.
Her team ended up turning to RegOnline® by Lanyon to solve the registration problems and automate certain tasks.
Event Manager Blog says, “By making it easier to invite court employees – and easier for them to register – COJB planners doubled the number of attendees for their largest conference. And they did it with fewer hours spent sending emails and on the phone helping registrants through the process.”
Multidisciplinary design firm Parkhill was previously relying on event management software described here as a “nightmare.” It was too rigid to adjust to their requirements each year, and also was simply a pain to use.
To replace that outdated solution, Parkhill partnered with Primitive, a company that developed custom event management software for the design firm. The new software made it easy for them to take care of registration, hotel bookings, catering, scheduling, and more.
As a result, Parkhill’s team was able to save time and headaches going forward, with software tailored to their exact needs.
3. National Association of Stock Plan Professionals (NASPP)
NASPP had fairly specific goals when it came to event management software. They were looking for a way they could reduce printing costs for their brochures while also boosting engagement at their Annual NASPP Conference and Exhibition.
NASPP used CrowdCompass by Cvent to go digital with their event materials and make it easy for participants in their conference to make the switch away from paper.
They achieved both of their goals with astonishing success. Their engagement rate soared as high as 97% after a four-year adoption period. They were also able to cut $30,000 in printing costs along with 150 hours of work.
Key Point: Organizations can save thousands of dollars in costs planning events with the help of management software. They also can reduce work hours, freeing up staff for other responsibilities. Moreover, they can host more engaging, successful events.
Key Considerations When Choosing Corporate Event Management Software
Now you know more about how business meeting planning software can help you out. But how do you choose the right app for your needs?
Event Manager Blog reports, “The most important consideration in event management software is support (79%), followed by the features (78%) and analytics (69%). Value for money is listed by 67% of event planners and for 58% it is important that they are not limited in terms of the number of events or attendees.”
You also should think about your intended use. Different software suites are aimed at different applications. You might not choose the same software to help you plan a business meeting online as you would to plan an in-person expo.
Something else to ask yourself is, “Do I want an all-in-one event planning app, or am I looking for a program simply to help me with one thing, like corporate event registration software?”
Take an inventory of your needs and assess your budget. Then, take a look at our list of recommendations to find the event management software that will help you maximize your ROI for your next event.
Key Point: Support, features, analytics, value, and number of attendees and events are a few important considerations when you are comparing different event apps.
Questions to Ask Before Selecting Event Software Solutions
An easy way to assess your requirements before you pick a program and tier is to ask yourself the following questions:
- What are our current pain points? What problems are we looking to solve with our new software?
- Do we have any current software solutions we are using for our events? Do we need to be able to integrate the new and old solutions? Or are we looking to totally replace our existing approach?
- Who will be using the software? What features will help those team members in terms of ease-of-use and coordination of their efforts? Make sure you actually ask your team members for their thoughts.
- How many events a year do we hold? How large or small are they? How many attendees will they have?
- How complex are our events? What experiences do they entail? How are we looking to evolve our events going forward to make them more immersive and engaging?
- What are our goals? How do we want to measure results? Increased attendance? Increased engagement?
- Do we expect our events to grow? Do we need a solution we can easily scale?
- What is our budget? Do we need free software? Or can we afford to pay for event software? Note: In most cases, your answer should be “Yes, we can afford to pay.” Why? Because the software should more than make up for the cost through time and money saved through more efficient event planning.
Key Point: By asking yourself the series of questions above, you can narrow down your search for the ideal event software for your organization.
Should You Use an All-in-One Platform for Event Management, or a Combination of Event Planning Tools?
You will notice pretty quickly that most event planning tools fall into either of two categories:
- All-in-one event management software suites
- Specialized tools for one or several purposes
Which is better—a single suite that can handle everything, or a range of specialized tools you combine?
Event Manager Blog states that in 2019, 18.8% of event planners were relying on multiple solutions. But after the pandemic started, that chunk of planners shrunk, with the overwhelming majority now relying on single platforms for all their needs.
According to G2, “Companies using multiple event software solutions have 2x more problems demonstrating event ROI than companies with one integrated event software. (Bizzabo).”
It does make sense that one integrated platform would provide a more consistent, streamlined experience.
There would be less task-switching involved with planning events, and everyone would be coordinating through the same software as well.
On the other hand, some companies may be planning fairly simple events, or just looking to close certain gaps in their existing solutions.
For those businesses, it might make sense to just invest in some specialized solutions.
Key Point: For many companies, it will likely be most efficient to just use one unified platform for all event management tasks. But in some scenarios, a specialized app may be a better fit.
Top Recommended Event Planning Software
Now, let’s jump into our list of suggested event management software suites and apps.
We will start out by recommending Cvent, the same platform we mentioned in the case study about NASPP.
Cvent is a popular all-in-one conference management app that is ideal for meetings that are large or small. There is a version of the platform designed for in-person conferences, and another built for virtual meetings. More than 200,000 users rely on it, including major clients like RE/MAX, PennState, and Kaiser Permanente.
You can use this platform to automate numerous tasks and to manage marketing efforts across multiple channels. It can also assist you with venue sourcing and diagramming, speaker management, lead capture and conversion, budgeting, registration, appointments, event insights, and so much more.
Some companies that use Cvent have seen as much as a 630% boost in registrations!
Something else you will love about Cvent is how easy it is to connect it with other solutions you may have in place with the use of Cvent Integrations™.
Best For: If you want comprehensive corporate meeting planning software that will let you streamline and automate tasks from beginning to end with your events, Cvent is a great choice.
In fact, based on our research, Cvent is our top overall recommendation for event management software.
If you are looking specifically for an event management site that you can use for ticketing, Eventbrite is the go-to solution for numerous planners.
Whether the event you are planning is virtual or will take place in a brick-and-mortar venue, you can create a customized Eventbrite page through which to sell tickets, or you can sell them on your site instead. An email campaign system is also fully integrated into Eventbrite.
There are also some tools to help you raise engagements and analyze your results.
Best For: If you mainly need help with ticketing, Eventbrite may be for you.
3. Zoom Events
Do you make use of Zoom each day for business? Then you will be excited to learn that Zoom offers software to manage events online.
With Zoom Meetings, you can take care of your ticketing and registration needs for virtual events. A wide range of scheduling options makes Zoom Events a versatile option.
Zoom Meetings also offers tools to facilitate networking between your participants and event sponsors.
You will probably be happiest with Zoom Events if you are planning small to mid-sized events rather than large ones, and if your needs are fairly simple and straightforward. It also makes sense if you already rely heavily on Zoom for web conferencing. Onboarding your team should be a rapid process.
Next in our event registration software comparison, let’s take a look at Bizzabo. Major clients like CNBC and HubSpot turn to Bizzabo to help them manage webinars, conferences, field marketing events, and more. This open platform features ironclad security and is easy to scale up or down for large or small events.
In fact, its adaptability may make it a suitable product if you expect your needs to grow in the future.
Numerous capabilities are packed into this software suite, including a system for marketing emails, easy registration, advanced scheduling, and more.
If you need events scheduling software that is ideal for hybrid events, this should be one of the top options you consider for your event planning software.
As Bizzabo itself points out, a lot of businesses are still struggling to get the hang of hybrid events, and “too often, attendees are left with a generic experience that leaves them feeling disconnected.”
This software will help you build that bridge between the digital and physical environments and create a sense of connection between participants, sponsors, and your brand.
Bizzabo’s tools are designed to deepen immersion in hybrid events, and to help you personalize the experience for each of your attendees.
What if you do not have a large budget for events? You might consider free event management software such as Eventee.
You can use Eventee for events that are online or at brick-and-mortar venues. It also supports hybrid events.
This product is described as “minimalistic” by its developer. So, if you have found other event management platforms overwhelming, this one may be a little less daunting.
Even with its simplicity and low cost (see below), major companies with big budgets like Toyota and Avast have selected it for their event planning needs.
It is also a favorite among academic institutions such as Stanford University and the University of Oxford.
The basic Eventee plan is free forever. That said, it is limited to a single event in a year, and no more than 100 participants. It also lacks the premium features of the paid plans.
Paid plans start at $999 per year. You need the top tier plan if you want unlimited attendees and events.
We suggest Eventee if you have a small business, nonprofit, or other organization that has limited funds, but also does not host a lot of major events.
You can save a lot of money with the free or Premium plan and still get access to the tools you need to streamline planning for a successful event.
6. Zoho Backstage
Whether you are launching a new product or hosting a conference, you will find Zoho to be a comprehensive, versatile platform.
Some top clients to utilize this software include Amazon, the Discovery Channel, and Levi’s.
You can promote your event easily through social media using this software as it streamlines the development of banners for social marketing channels. You can also use it for registering participants, ticketing, sponsorship packages, speaker management, and engagement tools.
For big events like expos, Zoho Backstage is perfect. It provides what you need for just about every aspect of event management. On the other hand, it may be overkill if you just want to host a small, basic event.
Do you just want to make it easy for participants to register for your events so you can drive higher attendance? Are you on a tight budget? If you answered “yes” to both of those questions, RegFox is worth considering.
This specialized software has helped more than 60,000 organizations to register their attendees effectively. Some of RegFox’s clients have included Toyota, Nestle, Cisco, and the American Red Cross.
It is easy to get up and running with RegFox thanks to an on-demand demo. Watching it will give you a tour of the features. These include an event page builder, workflows, merchandise sales, social media integrations, custom branding, deposit payments and more.
Many of the customers who turn to RegFox are operating startups. They need to minimize cost outlays for event planning tools while maximizing attendance. RegFox can help them get the job done right at an affordable price.
While a lot of specialized event planning tools are focused on event registration, Caterease is a specialized platform that helps you manage (you guessed it) catering.
The company that makes this software recommends it for hotels, restaurants, universities, country clubs, caterers and more.
Some of the features this product includes are event booking, automatic checklists, scalable recipes, and an intuitive, user-friendly interface that makes catering management a breeze.
This software is aimed at caterers and others in the foodservice industry—not at clients looking to hire catering.
Another platform to consider if you want to streamline your event planning with an all-in-one solution is Whova.
This software is the winner of the People’s Choice Award and the Best Event App Award. Just a few of the major companies that have used it include Ford, American Express, Microsoft, and Oracle.
Along with corporate events, you can also use it for trade shows, academic events, and more. Its features are ideal for increasing engagement, promoting networking opportunities, and drawing attention to sponsors.
Whether you are planning a virtual, in-person or hybrid event, you will discover that Whova offers all you need to manage your event in one combined platform.
Looking for a platform that is aimed exclusively at virtual and hybrid events? You might join some of the companies that have made use of Hubilo, like Coca Cola, WordPress and Roche.
Hubilo states that its primary mission is to “drive deep engagement.” It does this through the use of the Hubilo Engagement Cloud, which it describes as the “industry’s largest suite of virtual gamification and engagement features.”
You can quickly integrate Hubilo with any tools that you are relying on at present.
Something else we like about Hubilo is how dedicated this company is to providing reliable, accessible support.
For an intuitive virtual and hybrid event management platform that is backed by solid customer service, consider Hubilo.
Get the Event Management Solutions You Need Now
That wraps up our event management software reviews. Whether you are looking to increase attendance, reduce time and costs for planning meetings, make check-ins faster and easier, or handle any other aspect of event planning, the best event management software can help you do it.
If you are ready to plan more successful, engaging, memorable events now, click any of the links in this post to get the software you need.