Event managers are not unfamiliar with stress as it comes with the territory of planning large-scale functions. In 2016, Forbes ranked event coordinators as one of the top five most stressful jobs, right after police officers and airline pilots.
Event planning can be rewarding. But, the days and months leading up to an event can be challenging—even with the most organized and thoughtful planning.
In honor of event managers everywhere who understand the physical and mental requirements of putting on a successful modern event, we’re here to make things a bit easier. With the help of automation, you can simplify your event planning, save time on manual tasks, and focus on the important stuff (proving ROI and smashing goals). Humans are not superheroes after all—there are some things only software can do.
This article will introduce you to event management tools that will simplify your event management and streamline your processes. Yes, event planning does get easier, and we’ll show you how!
Automating several or more of your event management tasks saves time as it replaces your manual tasks with automated processes. Automation carries out your workload behind the scenes (without errors) while you are taking care of more important things.
How do you automate event management? Here’s one simple example:
Instead of manually entering attendee profile data as people register, event registration software automatically captures customer data directly from your registration page and ports it into your database for further segmentation and organization. You can even direct advanced software to segment data according to user input.
In addition to automation, the benefits of event management software are numerous:
- Boost growth without hiring more people
- Simplify and streamline – Simplify complex processes and let technology handle the tedious work. Automate marketing, registration, project management, and more, and replace manual work with automated systems.
- Minimize errors – Fewer manual tasks equates to fewer mistakes
- Get more done in less time – Reduce the time it takes to plan your events and let automation speed up your workflows and reward you with more time
- Save money in your event budget by replacing manual labor with automated software
Looking for more event management tips? Check out our blog on the essential event management components you need to power your next event!
So you’re ready to save time with event management software—the next step is to figure out which tasks you want to automate.
Choosing the right event management technology boils down to figuring out which ones meet your goals and helps you automate the tasks that will save you time and money.
- If you want to automate registration, choose an automated registration tool.
- If you are looking to increase engagement in your meetings and events, select a tool that helps members connect, interact and engage.
- If you are looking for multiple features such as engagement, live streaming, sponsor opportunities, marketing, and analytics, choose an end-to-end event management tool that houses everything you need to host memorable virtual events all under one roof.
If you’re planning a smaller event that consists of one or a series of webinars, webinar software will satisfy your requirements. We recommend Webex Events, and will discuss this tool more in the next section.
If you’re planning a fully immersive and interactive virtual event, consider an event management platform like Socio. You’ll need robust engagement features to keep your guests fully immersed and engaged in your event.
Working with several dedicated tools can be cumbersome. Even though you‘re automating event tasks, you have the additional responsibility of connecting your software so they can communicate with one another. If you go this route, ensure that each software solution offers an API (application programming interface) that allows the tools to talk to one another without difficulty. Without an API, you might need to manipulate your data before importing it into another tool, which can be cumbersome and frustrating.
Most tools offer integration with a 3rd-party application called Zapier, allowing communication with hundreds of other software tools. Before you choose your event management tools, check that they integrate with your software, or at a minimum, can connect via Zapier. We will talk more about Zapier later in the article.
You’re already pulled in many different directions; you don’t need more frustration added to the mix. If you are hosting large-scale events, bypass this multi-tool complexity by using an all-in-one event management technology that houses most or all of your event planning and management functions under one roof. We will talk more about this type of technology in the next section.
Below we will discuss 21 event management tools that will simplify and streamline your event planning. We organized the tools into categories and added our recommendations to each.
We’re starting our list with all-in-one event management technology. These platforms are for the event organizer who wants to simplify event management and work with one or a few tools instead of many.
Founded by event pros, Socio is an end-to-end event management platform that powers in-person, hybrid, and virtual events—and does a lot of the heavy lifting for event managers.
Socio provides world-class features that delight attendees, provide value to sponsors, and measure performance, so you can prove ROI and achieve your event goals.
Use Video Rooms to curate specialized talks for attendees and roundtable discussions, allow sponsors to lead demos, or create topic-focused breakout sessions. Attendees can engage in one-on-one networking conversations or gather together in groups. Video Rooms also come powered with Socio’s top engagement features in an easy-to-use format so attendees don’t have to navigate away from the rooms to interact.
Socio also offers comprehensive data analytics and reporting that allows you to measure performance before, during, and after the event.
Get data on top-level metrics such as registrants and session popularity, and dig into more granular metrics at the attendee level, such as questions asked and profile messages sent. Also, access real-time data during the event so you can make immediate changes if needed to keep your event flowing smoothly.
Socio Features for In-Person Events
Socio also offers a fully customizable mobile event app that accompanies your in-person events, encourages networking, and promotes a more interactive (and effortless) event experience for attendees.
In addition to the mobile event app, Socio offers in-person engagement features such as Live Display, which keeps attendees engaged with the event’s happenings, session scheduling, event changes, and more. Live Display also connects to Socio’s mobile app and encourages attendees to interact, join challenges, and connect to event conversations.
Socio is a feature-rich, full-scale automation and event management platform for organizers who want to hand over the frustration and receive white-glove service.
We compiled a brief list of Socio’s features to help you compare and make your decision:
- Fully customizable with full branding capabilities
- Registration pages
- Advanced analytics and reporting
- Live chat / Live polls / Q & A
- Virtual stage
- Social wall
- Video Rooms
- One-on-one and group networking
- Customized content and messaging for membership sub-groups
- Sponsorship opportunities (banners, push notifications, topic-focused discussions, and product demos)
- Virtual booths and exhibits
- Mobile event app
- Live Display
- Lead Retrieval
- Educational training
- Professional services
- Technical and production assistance
- And more!
If you’d like to take Socio for a test drive to learn how the platform can power your virtual, hybrid, or in-person event, schedule a personalized demo here.
2. Webex Events: Webinars and Events
Webex Events by Cisco is webinar software on steroids. The robust platform can facilitate smaller meetings and webinars and accommodate up to 100,000 virtual attendees for large-scale events.
Webex also offers high-engaging features such as Q&A, polling, live chat, and emoji reactions. Host smaller breakout sessions and encourage interactions with immersive share and virtual backgrounds. Webex also translates into 100+ languages to promote inclusivity and encourage equal contribution.
Did you know that Socio is now part of Cisco? Together, we’re joining forces to create the world’s first completely end-to-end hybrid event and meeting technology suite. Read more to learn about this unique partnership that will transform the event industry.
3. Regfox: Registration
RegFox offers a simple event page builder for creating branded registration pages. Use conditional logic to create custom workflows (Ex: offer group discounts or date-based pricing) and set dynamic pricing. Sell merchandise during registration and set up flexible pricing with automatic deposit payments.
Regfox also offers the ability to host interactive video sessions with built-in video chat, screen sharing, and comment moderation. If you’re looking for event registration software with additional event features, check out RegFox.
4. Eventbrite: Registration
Eventbrite is no stranger to the events space; the online ticketing platform offers features you would typically find in event registration software: branded registration pages, analytics and tracking, built-in payment processing, and more. Eventbrite also integrates with platforms such as Zoom and Vimeo to seamlessly connect your sessions to your Eventbrite event listing.
Eventbrite shines with its marketing and communication features. Organizations can enjoy access to the global platform’s community of millions searching for local and virtual events. Also, send customized messages and launch automated campaigns based on your budget. Eventbrite integrates with Facebook to allow you to target past attendees or lookalike audiences. You can also sell tickets to your event directly on Facebook.
5. Regpack: Registration
Regpack is online registration and payment software that offers custom onboarding processes for event managers. Generate unlimited attendee types, facilitate group registration, and set up a shopping cart for physical product sales. Regpack also facilitates registration, payments, and check-in on mobile devices or via embedding the software on your website.
Regpack simplifies your event operations with easy customization and quick report generation. Also, take advantage of Regpack’s other tools such as post-event surveys and automated tasks, emails, and user information porting.
6. Trello: Event Planning
Trello is a Kanban-style project management tool that caters to the organizer who prefers managing tasks via drag-and-drop cards.
Trello was one of the first tools to incorporate Kanban boards into the interface, and it became popular for its simple drag-and-drop dashboard. Create lists for each stage of your projects, and cards for each event task.
Each card houses information about the task and allows team communication and file sharing. Complete cards or move them over to different stages to keep track of their progress. You can also view your tasks on a calendar.
Trello is suited to small to medium-sized event planning. Using Trello to plan larger events may feel limiting as it doesn’t allow task dependencies or use Gantt charts. Trello does offer list and timeline views as a new feature of their premium plans.
7. Monday: Event Planning
Monday is another project management tool that’s simple to use and makes project management seamless. Customize workflows, columns, and automations, and use multiple interfaces (Gantt, Calendar, Timeline, Map, Kanban) to keep track of your plan and your team’s activities while working the way you want.
Like Trello, Monday uses Kanban-style boards, but the tool also has Gantt charts to keep track of milestones and leverage dependencies for advanced planning.
Monday also offers ready-made templates to simplify event planning. Choose from 200+ templates and 30+ column types to customize your plans and create workflows that satisfy your project management style and keep your team aligned.
8. Asana: Event Planning
Asana is a comprehensive project management tool. Similar to Monday, it offers multiple board views, task and workflow management, and project visualization. Customize your workflows and create unique automation rules that speed up your processes and make your planning more efficient.
Asana and Monday offer similar features; however, Asana integrates with more than 100 software tools. If you are looking for project management software with robust integrations, Asana might be the right choice.
Either Asana, Monday, or Trello will serve your event planning needs. If you aren’t concerned with advanced project management or Gantt charts, try Trello. If you need more robust project management, give Monday or Asana a try. All three software tools offer free trials (Trello and Asana provide free plans), so you can try them before buying.
9. Miro: Event Planning
If whiteboarding is your planning method of choice, Miro might be a solid option to accompany your event planning. Miro is digital whiteboarding software that helps you coordinate many moving parts while visually organizing event components and collaborating with your team.
Miro also provides event organizers with an event planning template with a visual checklist and event map to organize all of your event details at a macro and micro level.
10. Wix: Event Websites
Wix is a website-building tool that offers pre-built templates for easy website creation. Use Wix’s pre-made event templates and customize them to create your branded event pages.
Wix doesn’t offer any other features besides website building. So if you’re looking for event planning or engagement tools, consider using an all-in-one platform that includes customizable registration pages that automatically update as you update your event details. Using multi-functional tools like this can simplify your event planning. However, if you’re just looking for an event website, Wix is an excellent option to try.
Wix can be a little clunky, but it’s the most user-friendly for novices out of the three options we presented here. However, Wix’s templates can be limiting and not allow advanced customization and branding without a bit of coding.
11. WordPress: Event Website
WordPress.org is one of the most popular website-building platforms due to its customization capabilities via various plugins and add-ons.
WordPress offers event landing page themes and event plugins to create fully functioning event websites and registration pages. The benefit to WordPress over a site like Wix is its flexibility and customization capabilities. The caveat is that you manage the hosting, security, and website upkeep, which might require technical assistance.
WordPress can also be challenging to learn for a tech novice who has no coding or HTML experience. But WordPress is free and open-source, so there is no monthly fee like third-party website-building platforms. In exchange, you have to manage your website and keep it secure. Your costs will include hosting, security certificates, premium themes, and plugins.
12. Webflow: Event Websites
Webflow is a website builder created with web designers in mind. Similar to WordPress, advanced customization is possible, but it might require the assistance of a web designer or programmer as the interface isn’t as user-friendly as Wix.
Some people consider Webflow the alternative to WordPress but with additional features like hosting, free security certificates, and automatic backups. Webflow users can leverage some of the advanced customization capabilities of WordPress but hand off the hosting, backups, and security. Webflow offers a CMS and Zapier integration as well.
Webflow also offers many event website templates to customize with your branding.
13. Restream: Streaming
Virtual and hybrid events require live streaming, which streams your broadcasts to the web for your virtual attendees to consume in real-time. Restream is a popular live-streaming service that enables you to stream to 30+ platforms and multiple channels within each platform. For example, stream to a Facebook group, profile, and business page simultaneously.
Restream also offers digitally-moderated live chat and robust analytics so you can understand your audience and their content preferences.
14. HubSpot: Marketing Platforms
HubSpot is an all-in-one CRM, sales, and marketing automation platform. HubSpot is a good option if you are looking for a marketing automation platform to promote your event and service your customers. In addition to CRM (CRM Hub) and marketing (Marketing Hub), HubSpot offers products that help you manage customer service and sales (Service Hub, Sales Hub).
HubSpot is known for its free plan, which is quite limited depending on your needs. The platform can get pricey as you scale, so talk to a rep about pricing for your specific needs before you sign on.
15. Salesforce: Marketing Platforms
Salesforce is one of the most comprehensive CRM, sales and marketing platforms in the industry. It offers over a dozen products, including service, commerce, sales, analytics, and more. Salesforce also has an artificial intelligence feature (Einstein AI) to boost lead generation by monitoring your leads’ conversion patterns and leveraging the data to generate new leads.
With Salesforce, purchase only the solution you need. For example, if you’re looking for a marketing platform, review Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud, which includes email and social marketing, customer journey building, advertising, content and loyalty management, team communication, and more.
16. Zoho: Marketing Platforms
Zoho is another comprehensive CRM and marketing platform that offers a software suite of products to cater to your specific needs. It provides sales, customer service, finance, office, project management, and more software tools.
Marketing Plus is Zoho’s marketing suite and includes email and social media marketing and automation, website builder, surveys, analytics, webinars, event management, forms, commerce, and analytics.
PRO TIP: If you’re looking for marketing software for isolated marketing activities such as email marketing or social media marketing, HubSpot, Salesforce, and Zoho might be overkill. For more isolated marketing needs, search for software that manages exactly what you need.
17. Zapier: Marketing Automation
Zapier is one tool that just about every marketer should have in their toolbox. When working with multiple tools, integration is essential to keep processes streamlined and software tools communicating seamlessly with one another.
Zapier moves data between your web apps so you can automate your processes between separate tools. Build custom workflows (Zaps) that automate your processes behind the scenes. For example, connect Asana and Google calendar and automatically create new Asana tasks when creating an event in Google calendar. Or connect Paypal with your email software and automatically subscribe Paypal customers to your email lists. If you can think it, chances are, Zapier can get it done for you. Zapier currently connects more than 3,000 apps and counting.
18. Slido: Event Activities and Engagement
Created by Cisco, Slido makes meetings more interactive
Whether you’re running a wide scale virtual event or a company training call, Slido provides engagement tools that build strong connections and facilitate meaningful interactions.
Slido’s Q & A feature collects questions in advance and allows members to upvote questions to encourage participation anonymously. Also, democratize the conversations to equalize perspectives and keep everyone feeling like they are on a level playing field.
Live polls facilitate audience feedback, but you can also use them for icebreakers and fun challenges. Slido’s live poll feature includes multiple-choice, word clouds, quizzes, rating polls, open text, and ranking polls. Also, use Slido’s poll feature to send surveys and collect feedback any time during or after your event or meeting.
Slido also offers gamification in quizzes to make learning more fun (and incorporate some friendly competition). Participants can interact with the quizzes from any device via QR codes without logging in.
Slido also boasts robust analytics that allows you to analyze the top questions and topics and understand your audience at a deeper level. Slido’s new feature Questions Sentiment analyzes each question’s tone as positive, negative, or neutral.
Slido also integrates with multiple software platforms such as Webex, PowerPoint, Microsoft Teams, Google Slides, Live Video. Embed Slido anywhere and use Slido’s Switcher app to switch between Slido and your presentation seamlessly.
19. Everwall: Social Media Wall
Automatically display posts from Twitter, Instagram, and Slack, or from SMS texts in real-time for your event attendees via a social wall.
Increase engagement by showcasing your event’s thought leaders and high engagers on real-time leaderboards. Or post event announcements and results of social media event polls.
Everwall enables you to moderate your wall, if desired, so you can read the posts before they publish. The platform also offers moderation services 24/7 and tracks your wall’s activity, volume, reach, and more.
20. Allseated: Floorplan Software
Allseated helps event organizers visualize their venue space and seating via an interactive platform.
With its Allseated OPS tool, design event layouts and arrange seating charts, manage guest lists, RSVPs, catering, and even design tabletops to visually experience your event before it occurs.
With Allseated Vision, use virtual reality technology to show your event plans to clients and sponsors via the Oculus Go VR headset. Virtually meet with your team within your virtual event space and inspect the floorplan and event space without leaving your office.
Allseated recently launched its exVo virtual platform, which brings the live in-person event experience to virtual attendees. Virtual attendees can navigate and explore the event space, enter meeting rooms and interact with in-person and virtual attendees inside the area.
21. Caterease: Catering Planning
Caterease is event planning software that facilitates event catering planning and management. Create catering proposals, manage food staff, and create menus for attendees. Caterease also helps you plan your food and beverage needs. Event registrants can enter their food selections and help you budget and plan accordingly. Also, easily port customer selection data to cooks and create food prep lists.
When choosing event management technology, the choice will always boil down to your goals and preferences. Choose a platform or tool that will allow you to meet your goals in the quickest time possible—and do so with ease.
We also recommend considering an end-to-end event management platform, especially if you are planning a mid-to-large-sized event. Your time is precious as an event manager, but chaos often comes with the job description. Automating most of your tasks and managing your event within one software platform will save you time and energy—and keep you more focused on proving event ROI instead of getting caught up in the weeds of event management.
This is why we created Socio. Event pros came together to solve the industry’s problems and develop a platform that makes event management simple and fun!
There’s a reason why Socio was crowned G2’s Summer Leader for 2021 for Best Support, Best Results, and Momentum Leader, and scored high marks in event management. It’s also why brands such as Nike, Google, Stanford University, and thousands more in 70+ countries chose Socio to power their events.
Socio combines simplification and ease with award-winning support and memorable event experiences to produce seamless, ROI-driven events.
Want to see Socio in action? Schedule a personalized demo here and get an insider look at how Socio can simplify your event management and level up your events.