Planning a large-scale event? You need event management software. Designed to handle various aspects of event planning with easy-to-use digital tools, event management software allows event planners to plan better events with less headaches and hassles. However, not all event management software platforms are created equal. Some are geared toward specific aspects of event planning, while others focus on entirely different areas. Some are easy to use; some are not. Some are expensive; some are not. In this guide, we break down what to look for when choosing the best event management software for your needs.
Choosing the Best Event Management Software: High-Level Considerations
The best event management software is one that meets your needs. Before diving into feature-based details, we’re going to outline a few high-level considerations that every event planner should think about when choosing an event management software platform.
- Can I do everything I need to do with this event management software? Think long and hard about each task and function that needs to be accomplished for your event. Ask the event software provider if the product you’re looking at can accomplish those event management tasks. If the answer is no, you may want to take your search elsewhere. Otherwise, you’re going to be looking at multiple products to handle one event.
- Does this event management software have clients with needs similar to mine? One of the fastest ways to find out if the event management software you’re considering is the right choice for you is to look at the software’s past clients and case studies. Do these clients have needs similar to your own? Do the software’s specialties line up with your needs?
- Does this event management software offer exemplary customer service? When it comes to event management software, the software itself isn’t the only thing you’ll want to consider. Another incredibly important factor is the service that the software company provides. From helping you get set up to giving you support years down the road, your event management software provider should deliver excellent service at every step of your software’s lifetime.
While it can be difficult to gauge the degree of service without actually purchasing the product, a good place to start is any reputable online review site. You can also pay close attention to how each software provider responds when you reach out — which brings us to our next section.
Demo the Software Before Buying
If you have an opportunity to demo the software before buying it, you should. Look for companies that offer free demos to give an in-depth look at their software platforms in action. This will give you a better idea of how features work in the wild, which will help you see, firsthand, if the software has what you need and if the user interface is a good fit for you.
Finding the Best Event Management Software: Features to Look For
As you begin to narrow your search and schedule demos, you should also compile a list of features you need to accomplish your event management goals. In the sections that follow, we cover several essential features to look for when choosing the best event management software.
Event registration is a vital part of any event. A good event management software platform should have robust event registration capabilities that allow prospective attendees to sign up, pay, and learn more about your event. These functions are typically provided through a website, though they can be accomplished through web forms as well. You want to be sure that your event registration tools are fully customizable so that you can create the exact registration experience you want, while gathering the right information you need. You also want your registration tools to report and present all registration data to you, as this can be helpful for event decision-making down the line.
Attendance Tracking and Analytics
The best event management software platforms offer powerful data collection and analysis tools to help event planners get the most out of their events. Attendance tracking tools for general admissions and sub-events (such as panels and small shows) are essential. Tools like event registration forms and QR tracking give you valuable insight into what your event attendees are loving, and what they aren’t. They also help you allocate resources intelligently.
On top of tracking, the best event management software platforms also provide analytics tools to help you arrive at meaningful insights quicker. These platforms don’t just gather and provide the information — they present it in a way that’s accessible and insightful.
Content Management (Speaker and Abstract Software)
The “content” of your event, whether it’s multiple panels with PowerPoint presentations or speakers onstage, is what people come to see, but it doesn’t come together magically. To get everything organized and presented with eye-catching appeal, you need event management software designed to facilitate content management. Today’s top platforms offer tools for collecting, presenting and even peer-reviewing speaker materials. The best event management software platforms will allow you to present this information in an engaging way to prospective attendees.
No event is successful without good marketing, and no event management software is truly complete without marketing tools. Marketing your event with the same platform that you’re using to manage it takes care of two birds with one stone. Look for an event management software platform that offers robust event marketing capabilities, including targeted emails, HTML message creation, click-through tracking, invoicing and more. These tools allow you to spread the word about your event while providing a tailored experience for your attendees.
As events unfold in real time, changes are often required. For event planners, it’s convenient to have control of an event management software platform from any mobile device. Mobile compatibility is also a necessary tool for attendees, who may use your event’s mobile app to learn more about panels at your event, view your event app and more. Your event attendees can also sign in/up using QR code technology, which you can track for valuable insights about attendance vs. registration and more. Without mobile integration via your event management software, however, none of this is possible. Search for an event management software platform that allows you to manage your event from your mobile device — and one that allows your attendees to get involved.