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Event Management Software 2020: A Beginner’s Guide

What is Event Management?

Event Management refers to the process by which professional event organizers plan, organize and conduct corporate/professional events. Some of the event types would be Conferences, Seminars, Exhibitions, Trade shows/Expo, Shareholder Meeting, Product Launches, Board meetings, Corporate Dinner events, etc. Event sizes can range from small and exclusive participants ( less than 30-50), mid-size events ( few hundreds) and very large scale events ( in thousands). By the very nature, event management involves both offline ( logistics-related) and online (promotion, ticketing, payment, attendee registration) set of activities. Hence managing events is a complex task

Event Management includes broadly 4 areas

Logistics related - venue, transport, hotel accommodation, catering

People related - exhibitors, attendees, support staff, sponsor company members

Marketing/Promotion-related - email, social media campaigns, event website, advertisements, sponsor management, event app

Revenue/Cost management - event expenses, ticketing, payment solutions

Above all this, events should provide seamless and best in class experience for attendees, sponsors, and exhibitors as the impact will have great benefit for the business.

What is Event Management Software?

Event management software primarily refers to the all-in-one platforms that cater to all aspects of planning and organizing professional events. It should provide the best in class digital experience for the online aspects of event management and at the same seamlessly integrate with offline activities. There are several point products that specialize in supporting specific activities like venue management, ticketing, attendee registration, website creation, audience response tracking, etc. However, consideration here is to analyze event management platform software which provides all-in-one support.

What are the key benefits of Event Management Software?

Event Management, being a very complex set of activities, adoption of software provides numerous benefits to simplify planning and execution. It makes life easier for event organizers and reduces chaos, unpredictability and enhances the overall experience for visitors, sponsors, exhibitors.

Simplify Planning Process

What are the key benefits of Event Management Software?

Few areas like guest registration, guest contact list preparation and invite process, ticketing, secure payment solution, online check-in are some of the areas where event management software makes a big impact to smoothen the operation. Some tools provide easy mechanism event-specific websites and apps

Improved engagement

One of the key goals of hosting business events is to maximize the opportunity of face-to-face interactions. Event management software ensures that interactions with guests happen in smooth, seamless and integrated fashion across different channels like email, social, mobile that overall enhances the experience. These interactions start well before the event and carry on till the event finishes and sometimes even post-event it can continue. It is common to have event-specific apps that are tailor-made and personalized to enhance the guest experience.

Automation and Professionalism

One of the key advantages of using event management software is that it automates many of the tasks like email outreach, guest registration, guest check-in, payment processing. This overall reduces the manual effort, time taken and error-free without which events can become chaotic. Smooth conduct of events adds professional touch thereby enhancing experience.

Targeted Marketing

Event management Software provides specialized tools to carry out email and social media campaigns and outreach that are tailored for a specific event. It is possible to customize guest lists who have matching interest levels, thereby targeting the right audience for the event and increasing the chance of higher attendance.

One-stop solution to reduce time and effort

Event management activities are a combination of online and offline activities. Event management platform software brings together all aspects like venue management, facilities, accounts, marketing, staff management, payments, exhibitor and sponsor management - thereby reducing time and effort. It is more cost-effective.

Audience Management and Lead Generation

The adoption of event management software helps in consolidating all data from different aspects of events like guest attendance, engagement, and feedback, which can be used to generate insight into the target audience. This can lead to a more effective lead generation. Also, event management provides numerous reports related to accounting, attendance, and expense that can be used to measure ROI.

What are the business problems solved by Event Management Software

What are the business problems solved by Event Management Software

Event Management

Event management software simplifies and automates the entire event planning process. It handles end-to-end all aspects of the event starting from venue sourcing, venue management guest management, speaker, exhibitor and sponsor management, budget management right up to providing analytics and reports about the event.

Conference Management

It is about planning and organizing conferences, trade shows and conventions. This is characterized by large scale attendance. The tools help in covering all aspects like guest selection, conference registration, online check-in and badging, speaker management, session attendance tracking, sponsor/exhibitor management to name a few. It can extend to include other logistical support like venue management, hotel blocking for visitors ( done through integration with travel tools), food and catering arrangements. Some tools like Cvent provide specialized support like abstract management and networking among the participants through event-related appointment tool.

Increase Attendance

Predictability and increase in guest attendance can happen only when the right guests are chosen for the right event. Event management software provides a set of tools to engage with invitees/guests right from the word go. It simplifies the process of guest selection by filtering the target audience, engage with them through event-specific websites and event apps. It helps in targeted marketing thereby improving guest attendance and making the right people attend the right events.

Budget management

One of the most complex tasks in organizing events is to keep track of expenses incurred, revenue generated through ticketing, exhibitors and sponsors. Event management software provides support for the accounts team to manage expenses, specialized ticketing modules and payment solutions that are seamlessly integrated. At any point, it is possible to generate reports to analyze expenses and this helps in overall budget management. Conference related intelligence tools provide more numerous insights to measure ROI.

Event-related marketing and branding

One of the key factors for making an event successful is to create and promote the event through the marketing of the event itself and brand building around it. This process is made easier by event management software through the creation of event-specific websites and mobile apps, that boost branding, and visibility. Most of the software provides support for email and social media based campaigns.

Who are the users of Event Management Software?

Mainly event planners from event management companies are the primary users of event management software. However, inhouse groups or departments who are responsible for holding and managing corporate events are also potential users of such tools.

What are the key capabilities of Event Management Software?

Online Registration

The self-service online registration mechanism is built into event-specific websites or integrated into existing websites. Typically it supports multi-track and multi-session registration processes. Using the self-service process, attendees will be able to book, modify, cancel or get a refund for the registration. Configurable registration approval workflows are built into the system. More advanced event management platform software like Cvent has a built-in content library that includes policies, floor plans, maps, brochures, etc.

Custom Event Websites and Event Apps

Many of the event management platform software provides support to create an event-specific website that greatly helps in event branding and visibility. There are templates available to quickly launch such websites which act as one-stop-shop for all event-related information, registration, payment, etc. One can also create an event-specific mobile app, which will be greatly useful during the event to get dynamic information about ongoing sessions, venues and also participate in all live interactive sessions. This greatly improves engagement and experience. Similarly, there could be apps for organizers as well who can use this to track, monitor and promote events.

Ticketing and Payment

Event Management software eases the process of handling event fees by providing online mechanisms to collect fees and automate refunds in a secure and reliable manner. Usually, they provide support for multiple modes of collection and multi-currency and provide integration to payment gateways. Some of them provide integration capability to specialized ticketing software as well.

Email Marketing

Event-related email marketing is built into event management platform software - which helps to handle all promotional activities around events. Using custom and branded templates, one can reach out to the target audience through emails, track email interaction and also improve engagement through personalized emails.

Social Media Campaigns

Given the popularity and dynamic nature of social media usage, it is a trend for event management software to support the creation, publish and management of social media campaigns related to the event. This extends the reach and helps in finding the right audience.

Integrations

Event management involves both online and offline activities and also connects with multiple and disparate processes that can cross organization boundaries. Hence it is important to provide integration hooks to several other applications that deal with customer/audience data, accounts, payments, vendor management, etc. It is likely that there might be a need to use specialized point solutions for specific processes like venue management, ticketing, etc, in such cases the core platform software needs to integrate with those applications.

Event analytics

Event Management software comes with built-in analytics to provide insight into various activities associated with the event. Events generate a lot of data related to audience registration, attendance, type of audience attending like influencers, experts, celebrities, etc, meeting and sessions tracking, traffic, exhibitor session traffic, most trending sessions, etc. Analytics based on such data provide valuable insight to organizers and exhibitors to take action/respond in real-time. There is other revenue/expense related analytics that can be generated out of payment and ticketing data that helps organizers to plan their logistics. Providing a holistic solution to capture, process and analyze event data not only helps in organizing the event successfully but also helps in future planning. Audience related analytics helps in knowing various trends around audience interests, where they spent the most time, who they connected with and what they are likely to buy.

Lead Generation

Event analytics around audience management help in generating qualified leads that can be used by marketers. Such leads are generated out of registration and session attendance data. Exhibitors can also get automated lead generation through the audience who attended their sessions.

Some advanced event management platform software provides additional capabilities like venue management, speaker management, event-related content management, exhibitor management, and sponsor management. These include specialized features to manage specific workflows, automate activities, calendar management, schedule and appointment management etc.

Guide to Choosing Event Management Software

B2B or B2C Event

Determine whether your target audience belongs to the Business or Consumer segment. Some event management software provides specialized features for arranging consumer-facing events and comes with associated features. B2B centric event management can support specialized features like speaker management, exhibitor management.

The scale of the event

The scale of the event brings in associated complexities. Event size can vary from a very private and exclusive corporate dinner to a large trade show. The software that is used to manage complex events needs a lot more capabilities like ticketing, venue management, audience response to name a few. Depending on the scale of the event, choose the software that comes with the necessary capabilities.

Point Product or Solution

Event Management Software market is abundant with point products that specialize in catering to specific capabilities like venue management, ticketing, audience response, feedback software etc. At the same time, there are platform software that comes with built-in capabilities that work out of the box. Depending on your need, you can choose platform software or choose point products in conjunction with the platform. In such cases, it is important that both point products and platforms come with necessary integration capabilities.

Omni Channel Support

During the course of the event as well as during the pre-planning stage, it becomes necessary to interact with various players associated with the event - organizers, sponsors, exhibitors, speakers, attendees, marketers, etc. Depending on the choice of the channel that is preferable to you, choose the software that supports the required channels. It is a trend now to have web, mobile, social media as the requisite channels.

Integration Support

Event Management software needs to interact with various other applications - either corporate-specific applications, customer data-related applications, or point products chosen for specific needs. So you can assess the integration capabilities to get a seamless experience.

Business process Support

Event Management involves many different online and offline activities. So you can assess the capabilities of the software to automate and optimize the required business processes.

Security Considerations

Payment solutions that are built into such software need to provide secure and reliable payment mechanism that conforms to local regulatory needs. Also, a lot of audience data is collected during the event. Privacy and security aspects of such data need to be handled by the software.

What are the challenges in adopting Event Management Software?

Event organizers who are the key users of such software, need to invest in time and effort to adopt tools. This also requires training. Since event organization and management is a very time constraint activity always with schedule challenges, it poses a challenge to organizers to spend the necessary time and effort to invest. Unless they see huge advantages from their current processes, there is a reluctance to adopt the software.

Event Management involves both online and offline processes. Event organizers are essentially experts in the aspects of organizing events and not so much in the technical aspects. Unless the technology offers tremendous value, it will not become need to have or essential tool for them.

Mobile event apps offer cool capabilities. But unless attendees download and start using, it will remain underused. Since the app usage is limited to the duration of the event, many attendees might give it a miss. There is also App fatigue looming.

Event Management Software

Eventleaf Icon

Eventleaf

4.83
★★★★★
★★★★★

Eventleaf | Online Event Registration

Whova Icon

Whova

4.81
★★★★★
★★★★★

Whova: Award-winning Event Apps and Event Management Software

Tix Icon

Tix

4.74
★★★★★
★★★★★

Tix: Event Ticket Management Software | Sell Tickets Online

Eventsquid Icon

Eventsquid

4.70
★★★★★
★★★★★

Eventsquid | Eventsquid software enables planners to automate their event registration, website & mobile app creation, exhibitor sales, attendee communication, agenda management

Attendify Icon

Attendify

4.69
★★★★★
★★★★★

Attendify: Mobile Event Apps and Online Registration Software

Splash Event Marketing Icon

Splash Event Marketing

4.67
★★★★★
★★★★★

Splash: Event Marketing Software

Configio Icon

Configio

4.66
★★★★★
★★★★★

Configio: Event & Conference Management Software

Eventgeek Icon

Eventgeek

4.65
★★★★★
★★★★★

Simplify event management

Eventdex Suite for Event management Icon

Eventdex Suite for Event management

4.64
★★★★★
★★★★★

Eventdex: Event Management Software | B2B Matchmaking Platform

Eventory Icon

Eventory

4.63
★★★★★
★★★★★

Eventory - Event and conference app, platform, guide, analytics.

Jifflenow Meeting Automation Icon

Jifflenow Meeting Automation

4.62
★★★★★
★★★★★

Jifflenow | Meeting Scheduling | Meeting Automation | B2B Event ...

Guidebook Events Icon

Guidebook Events

4.59
★★★★★
★★★★★

Guidebook: Mobile Apps for Events, Enterprises, Colleges and ...

Bizzabo Icon

Bizzabo

4.59
★★★★★
★★★★★

Bizzabo: The World's Most Loved Event Software

Eventmobi Icon

Eventmobi

4.58
★★★★★
★★★★★

Eventmobi | End-to-End Event Management Platform has everything needed to create engaging event experiences, online or in-person

Certain Touchpoint Icon

Certain Touchpoint

4.55
★★★★★
★★★★★

Best Event Mobile App | Certain Touchpoint - Certain, Inc.

Sched Event Schedule Icon

Sched Event Schedule

4.52
★★★★★
★★★★★

Event Schedule & Agenda Builder App | Sched

Evite Icon

Evite

4.48
★★★★★
★★★★★

Free Online Invitations, Premium Cards and Party Ideas from Evite

Eventzilla Events management Icon

Eventzilla Events management

4.41
★★★★★
★★★★★

Eventzilla: Online Event Registration and Management Software

Dryfta Icon

Dryfta

4.39
★★★★★
★★★★★

Dryfta | Event management software for universities & non-profits

Pathable Icon

Pathable

4.39
★★★★★
★★★★★

Pathable | An intuitive platform and mobile app powering virtual, hybrid and in-person events

Cvent Event Management Icon

Cvent Event Management

4.35
★★★★★
★★★★★

Cvent: Event Management Software & Hospitality Solutions

Ticketleap Icon

Ticketleap

4.33
★★★★★
★★★★★

A mighty fine ticketing platform

Azavista Icon

Azavista

4.28
★★★★★
★★★★★

Azavista ‚Event technology

Event Farm experiential marketing Icon

Event Farm experiential marketing

4.00
★★★★★
★★★★★

Event Management Software Solution | EventBank

Bevy Icon

Bevy

4.72
★★★★★
★★★★★

Bevy Build Communities in Real Life.

Kahoot! Icon

Kahoot!

4.70
★★★★★
★★★★★

Kahoot! | game-based learning platform, used as educational technology

Wild Apricot Icon

Wild Apricot

4.54
★★★★★
★★★★★

Wild Apricot | #1 Membership Management Software Award (6 years ...

Optimo Icon

Optimo

4.51
★★★★★
★★★★★

Optimo | VENUE & EVENT MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE

Chili Piper Icon

Chili Piper

4.43
★★★★★
★★★★★

Chili Piper | The Buyer Enablement Platform

Channeltivity PRM Icon

Channeltivity PRM

4.42
★★★★★
★★★★★

Channeltivity: Partner Portal Solution ‚Channel Partner ...

Sansan Icon

Sansan

4.35
★★★★★
★★★★★

Cloud-based Sansan Contact Management System | Sansan

Oracle Datafox Icon

Oracle Datafox

4.34
★★★★★
★★★★★

DataFox | Account Data Management for Accounts

MeetingPackage Icon

MeetingPackage

4.26
★★★★★
★★★★★

Book meeting rooms and venues online | MeetingPackage

Event Management With Salesforce® Icon

Event Management With Salesforce®

4.23
★★★★★
★★★★★

Event Management software with Salesforce® - Click & Pledge

Constant Contact Icon

Constant Contact

4.05
★★★★★
★★★★★

Constant Contact: Email Marketing Software