As rewarding as event planning is, it can also be exhausting. In fact, Event Coordinator was listed as one of the top 5 most stressful jobs, with some organizers working up to 20 hour days. This means you probably know what it's like to miss sleep making sure everything comes together!
However, having the right event planning software under your belt can make a world of difference. Like a superhero needs their trusty sidekick, you need a set of event management tools to save you time taking care of logistics, so you can streamline your event to stay more productive and create the best experiences.
In this article, we'll review the 9 best event management software, each one useful for different stages of the event planning process. With many events already moving back to in-person, we've also made sure to highlight the best tools for in-person events, so you can choose the best option for your unique event.
Start by prioritizing your needs. Do you want to save time handling tedious event management tasks such as creating and updating conference schedules over and over? Would you like to increase attendee participation and help your exhibitors create more businesses? How about saving money with a better event registration / ticketing system?
Next, make sure each tool provides what you need. While you read through the "Organizers' Favorite Event Management Software" listed below, ask yourself these questions:
This is a popular ticketing solution for events ranging from small meetups to large concerts. The system is customizable and can also be used to send email confirmations and reminders. It also allows people to register from both their phones and computers.
They charge an extra 3.5% of the ticket price plus $1.59 per ticket. While Eventbrite is well-known, some organizers think the fee is a bit high.
Summary: Popular for smaller or entertainment events, however a bit pricey compared to other registration tools and all-in-one event planning software. For example, Whova only charges 2% + $0.99 per paid ticket, which can save you several thousands of dollars.
Whova is an award-winning all-in-one event management platform. It received the People's Choice Award and the Best Event App Award at the Event Technology Awards (the 'Oscars' of event technology) and is also the only event management software on G2's Global Top 50 Best Software.
Rather than juggling multiple specialized event software platforms, Whova is built to help you manage your events from beginning to end with one system. Whova's event planning software include:
Summary: An affordable, mobile-friendly, all-in-one event management platform. Whova is widely used by 30,000+ in-person and virtual/hybrid events in the US/Canada, UK/Europe, Australia, Asia, and more. With the highest ratings in app stores and software review sites among all event apps, Whova offers customers a variety of time-saving tools.
ConfTool helps you manage the submission and review process of academic abstracts and papers. It features advanced import and export options, facilitates communication between authors and participants, and uses customizable submission and review forms for contributions.
Organizers can choose between two different plans depending on their requirements: one for smaller events of up to 150 participants with basic features, and one for larger events with a wider range of features. In addition to managing abstracts, organizers also use the Pro package's conference management software for scheduling, registration, administration, and invoicing, among other features.
Summary:If you're holding a research heavy academic conference and want a reliable tool for abstract management, ConfTool is worth looking into. However, it isn't currently accessible on mobile, and is designed to support only limited aspects of the event, rather than function as a comprehensive event management software.
Boomset is an event attendance tracking tool that provides check-in, on-demand badge printing and guest list management system. In addition to allowing facial recognition check-in, organizers can also track attendees with RFID-enabled wristbands. Using badges and wristbands, attendees can even purchase merchandise, meals, drinks during events.
If you'd like to add a fast check-in tool to your current event planning software, Boomset is a good option to consider. However, if you are hesitating to adopt a special device only for attendee check-in, first check whether your event management app provides a check-in feature with QR scanning.
Summary: While suitable for a big festival or a crowded event that needs a fast check-in, you might not want to adopt a special device just for check-in. If so, consider event management apps like Whova, which supports day-to-day check-in, session check-in, session capacity, and attendance management on smartphones.
This popular resource for team communication has also been used for session interaction within events. Slack allows you to create different channels for various topics within one workspace; so you can have private channels for your team to communicate, or public ones for attendees to use as discussion topics throughout the event.
In addition to group conversation, users can also message each other one-on-one, make video and voice calls, and share files through the app.
Summary: A great way to get in touch in the moment, though it will be hard to keep any back-end planning organized. While the easy communication is a great benefit, it can also be annoying for attendees to switch between platforms. You may want to consider a platform like Whova that can integrate communication features with the rest of the event.
If you're into the 'to-do', 'doing' and 'done' task management approach for your event, you'll love Trello a project management software with a strong visual interface, simple usability, and easy-to-use collaboration features.
While communication within Trello is strong, it's not very powerful when it comes to allowing users the ability to take a step back and get a big picture of the entire event management process. It's also not specifically designed as an event management tool, and there is no master calendar view for a bird's eye picture, only a task-by-task view.
Summary: A good tool to track the progress of each task throughout your event planning. While it can be used for some aspects of event planning, it's hard to see the entire project status for event or conference management.
Wix is a popular website-building tool used by organizers to create event webpages. It offers pre-made themes and templates, some designed specifically for event websites, and is fully customizable.
However, while it definitely simplifies website building, you still may experience a bit of a learning curve using Wix for the first time. What's more, you’ll have to manually update event content such as conference agenda and speaker information each time something changes, which is tedious and error-prone.
Summary: Wix is a general website builder, not an event planning software, but there are a few built-in themes for event websites. Still, its content management isn't integrated with any other event management tools. As an alternative, you may want to look into all-in-one event management systems, such as Whova, that will auto-update your web content (e.g., agenda, speaker lists) based on the information in the conference management software. Whova also provides an easy-to-use event website builder with many templates.
A well-known Q&A and live polling tool, Slido enables users to crowdsource top questions in order to drive meaningful conversations. A live poll increases attendee engagement and participation, so many event apps and conference management tools also provide live poll features.
If you are hesitant to adopt another app only for QA/live polls, first check whether your event app already offers these features. For example, some event management platforms will display results on a big screen, provide numerous live poll question templates for easy setup, or support question ranking, auto-reminders, embedding Q&A into speakers' slides, etc.
Summary: Slido is a specialized mobile app that can collect attendees' questions or get feedback through live polling. So if you'd like to have one versatile app providing other features as well (personalized agenda, announcement, networking, gamification, document/photo sharing), check out other tools like Whova.
Chances are you're already familiar with Zoom and how to use it, making their upcoming event tool, Zoom Events, an intriguing option. The platform is meant to help organizers handle several aspects of event management, such as hosting sessions via streaming, helping share events and manage ticketing, and more.
However Zoom Event has mostly been focused on smaller courses and webinar series. It also lacks some of the more advanced features other platforms might have, like digital booths for sponsors and exhibitors, so if you're planning a bigger conference or event, this may not be the right fit.
Summary: Zoom Events combines a few different steps of the event planning process, and is worth considering if you’re planning a small-scale event that won’t need all the features that all-in-one event planning software can provide. However, you may still want to consider these platforms if they allow you to opt in and out of which features you’ll need.
Curious how event planning software like Whova works? The video below shows how Whova helps busy event organizers save time and money and enhances the overall attendee experience.
Now that we've given you this breakdown of popular event planning software, you can confidently decide which options to further explore. Keep in mind that it's not necessarily about which software we say is best. As events move from virtual to in-person or hybrid, no two events look exactly the same. It's about finding the solutions that work best for your event that will help turn you into a rockstar event organizer.