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Organizing an event can be a daunting task for small businesses with limited staff and resources. But participating in or organizing events are important to showcase and market your products and services.
Event management software can help simplify and automate many of the tasks associated with organizing an event including managing attendees, ticket collection revenues, booking rooms, and more.
In this buyer's guide, we discuss the core features of event management software, the different types of solutions available, and the latest trends in the market.
Here's what we'll cover:
What are some important event management software integrations?
Event management software is a set of tools that help you plan, organize, and manage events. It helps in automating workflows associated with every step of organizing the event including event planning, attendee registration, event scheduling, revenue management, post-event feedback surveys, and analysis.
Event management software automates many of the manual tasks like collecting participant details, collaborating with the marketing and logistics teams, maintaining event cash flow accounts, travel management, and post-event analysis.
Managing an event involves multiple tasks such as planning the event, scheduling the event, managing ticketing, coordinating with logistics teams, setting up web conferences for online attendees, and more.
There are different types of event management software available in the market today. Some of them offer specific capabilities targeted at one or few functions associated with an event, such as ticketing or post-event surveys. Others offer a broader range of capabilities that can help you in the end-to-end organization of an event.
Some of the different types of event management tools include:
Ticketing apps: Ticketing apps help specifically in the generation and distribution of tickets for the event. The tool allows you to sell tickets online or offline and collect payments. Advanced versions may also support sales of custom tickets and attendance management.
Event scheduler/planner: Event scheduling and planning apps help guests check-in for the event sessions or programs of their choice without having conflicting calendars. The tool also helps participants to reschedule or cancel their bookings.
Polling/survey apps: Polling and survey apps are used to get opinions of participants during or after the event. It helps to generate results to questions posed to the audience and analyze the success of the event.
Web conferencing apps: Web conferencing and live video streaming apps help broadcast your event to a larger audience. With global attendees, web conferencing and video streaming apps help your out-of-station attendees be a part of the event in real-time from a different location.
End to end event management apps: Comprehensive event management solutions offer features that support almost all activities from your pre-event preparations to post-event analysis. These solutions offer all features including ticketing, revenue and expense management, event scheduling, event marketing, and feedback collection.
Event-specific apps: The market also offers event management apps specific to support certain types of events such as weddings, company conferences, etc. These apps provide some niche features needed to conduct certain types of events as well as offer relevant designs and themes.
Key question to ask your event management vendor before you buy: Are the different features offered in an end-to-end event management solution as deep and powerful as those offered in niche solutions?
Event management solutions, like other software products, are offered either as cloud-based or on-premises solutions. Most organization prefer cloud-based solutions because you can access the tool from anywhere. With most event organizers not always working from a fixed location and constantly on the move, this becomes helpful.
Most event management software also offer mobile apps to help your field staff capture and update event details easily.
High one-time investment costs
May need additional investments in hardware such as ticketing machines
Not easily accessible from locations outside of your office
Customizable according to your needs
Low upfront costs and charged on a per-user or attendee basis
Can access it from anywhere using the internet
Updates and upgrades to the software are shared by the vendor
Scale up or down easily based on the number of users
Use on mobile devices and tablets
Offline access often possible
Easy-to-use from anywhere
Key question to ask your event management vendor before you buy: Is your solution accessible on a mobile browser or do you offer native mobile apps along with the subscription?
Event management software tools come with many features. Some of the most common ones include:
Attendee management: Captures and stores information about people attending the event, including contact details, travel plans, session sign-ups, and meal preferences. It also helps in planning and sharing attendee seating arrangements, escort staff details, poll, and Q&As to enhance the attendee experience.
Attendee management in Purplepass
Ticketing: Facilitates the sales of event tickets and registration forms through offline and online channels. It also helps you to collect payments via cash or e-payments. You can also customize ticket prices, set quantity limits, offer discounts or special packages.
Ticketing feature in Eventdex
On-site management: This includes managing event-related activities on the spot including printing name badges, accepting new registrations, modifying session sign-ups, and integrating with self-service kiosks for easy check-in.
On-site management features offered by Brushfire
Exhibitor management: This feature helps you to allocate booths to exhibitors, collect charges from them, manage sponsorship levels, and booth reservations. The tool can also help you prepare maps of your venue layout with exhibitor and booth numbers included.
Sponsor management feature in Socio
Reporting and analytics: Generate attendance reports, expense and budget reports, and track user-engagement on the various event marketing initiatives, both online and offline. Analyze post-event success using metrics collected throughout the course of the event.
Reporting and analytics in Eventbrite
Event marketing: Event marketing features should be able to connect both your offline and online activities include pushing out email messages, publishing social media posts, and create promotional posters and websites.
Event marketing feature in Eventzilla
Budget management: Budget and revenue management features help you to manage and track the expenses of your event. It helps you capture all event transactions, track quotes and deals, calculate costs and determine ROI.
Revenue and budget management in Thundertix
Key questions to ask your event management vendor before you buy: What are the features offered in the basic version of your software? Do you allow customers to customize the tool with the features they want?
No business function works in isolation. The successful organization of every event is due to the combined effort of different teams – events, marketing, sales, operations, and product. To get the best results, it's important that your event management software integrates with a plethora of other applications such as social media marketing, accounting, and customer relationship management (CRM).
Some of the important event management software integrations include:
CRM: Integration of an event management tool with a CRM software helps to share and keep customer details. You can import leads from the event management tool into the CRM system and vice versa. It also helps to record details of customers collected during the events to create a better overall customer experience in the future.
Marketing: Integrations with marketing tools helps to send relevant promotional offers and other materials to the participants. The event management tool will have to integrate with your various marketing solutions including:
Email marketing: Helps correspond with clients and potential attendees via email for online ticket sales, sending schedules, etc.
Social media marketing: Publish social media posts to promote the event and create buzz.
Channel management: Manage promotional activities on different channels to support ticket sales.
Accounting: Help in accurate recording of cash flows by capturing ticket sales data, event expenses, and other costs. Integration with accounting tools helps to avoid double-entry and reduces errors.
Point-of-sale: Integrating with point-of-sale systems is important to support online ticket sales. It supports payments via debit or credit cards, e-wallets, and net banking.
Key question to ask your event management vendor before you buy: Do you offer APIs to connect with other applications?
The future of events is being driven by emerging technologies such as augmented reality, smart venues, wearables, and more. The events are being managed is also changing. Event management software vendors are also incorporating the latest technologies such as big data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), beacon technology, and more into their apps.
AI-powered smart apps: Artificial intelligence technology in event management software can help predict attendee participation, response, and revenues. It makes guest registration easier using facial recognition systems as well as allots them seats based on their preferences. Event management tools may also offer AI-driven chatbots to address queries from guests quickly.
Big data analytics: Event management apps will be able to track customer behavior during the events, their social media posts, and other preferences to help the organizers provide a better customer experience. By analyzing customer feedback and non-verbal expressions, they can gauge their interests and prepare for future events and invite relevant guests accordingly.
Wearable technology: Event management apps must be able to authenticate participants using RFID tags on items like badges and smartwatches. Wearables will also help the event planning teams easily gather analytics about guest movements, food preferences, and more.
Key questions to ask your event management vendor before you buy: What latest features have you added to your product? How often do you offer upgrades?
Back to event management software directory
Note: The applications selected in this article are examples to show a feature in context, and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations, obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.