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What is event management software?
Event planners use event management software to simplify and organize the logistics of planning meetings and events. Event management software gives planners a digital space to collaborate with each other, with clients, and with exhibitors and vendors. Application tools manage coordination, attendee registration, marketing, badge creation, calendar generation, and venue space management.
These applications also offer many self-service functions for event attendees such as online registration, content delivery, and fee payment.
The benefits of event management software
- Planning efficiency: Event planning is full of complex logistics, and an oversight in any one area has the potential to derail an event. Event management software keeps all the details in one place. This makes events easier to organize, and keeps planners focused on fulfilling expectations rather than juggling details.
- Exhibitor and vendor management: Exhibitors pay a lot for booth space and special access, and vendors provide goods and services needed to make events a success. These logistics are critical, and the best event management software applications have dedicated tools to help.
- Room block and travel management: When event planners invest in dedicated event management apps, room block and travel details become more manageable. Search hotel block rates, create paperless contracts, and record VIP itineraries right in the application. Adding these capabilities can grow event planning businesses to include room blocking and travel management as revenue centers.
Typical features of event management software
- Attendee management: Capture and store information about the people attending events, including contact information, food preferences, session sign-ups, VIP status, and arrival plans.
- Client management: Collaborate with event hosts and consolidate their contact information and preferences in one system.
- Exhibitor management: Manage table and booth space, sponsorship levels, room reservations, and other exhibitor metrics.
- Vendor management: Maintain your relationships with AV technicians, IT staff, caterers, janitorial services, and other vendors. These databases store contact information, conversation history, budget data, contract details, etc.
- Event scheduling: Plan and track venue reservations in event management calendars.
- Meeting management: Schedule one-on-one meetings, meetups, breakout sessions, planning meetings, and similar networking opportunities during an event.
- Reporting and analytics: Track metrics for a variety of purposes, including event expenses and revenue for accounting, and online user engagement for social media analytics.
- Ticketing: Organize, market, sell, distribute, and process event admission tickets and special access packages.
- Email Marketing: Correspond with potential attendees and clients via email with easy guidance for online ticket sales and other calls to action.
The event management software directory lets you filter by feature(s) to only view options that meet your business needs, which can help you narrow your software shortlist.
Considerations when purchasing event management software
Beyond the cost, and core features, there are a few more considerations to make sure the software you choose meets all of your event management needs.
- Ensure the software offers marketing tools that suit your needs: Standard event management software should include an event website designer, social media promotion tools, and email marketing capabilities.
- Consider software integrations: Software integrations with accounting, membership management, and other software make it easy to share data across different systems. This can speed up workflows and prevent mistakes.
Relevant event management software trends
Event management software developers are quickly adopting new technologies. Capterra’s research has identified two key technology trends that will shape the next generation of event management software.
- Wearable technology: According to our research , 54% of small and midsize businesses say they are using or plan to use wearable computing technology within the next one to two years, and 41% believe that the technology is critical to their business. Big-league events have already moved to ticketing systems built on radio frequency identification (RFID). Event goers just swipe their bracelets, name tags, watches, or other wearables over a scanner. The scanner reads embedded RFID chips to manage admissions, purchases, etc. Soon, however, wearable admission systems will be available at all kinds of events. They turn wearers into sensors. Event planning businesses can gather valuable analytics about guests’ movement through the venue, food and beverage consumption, and more.
- AI-enabled smart apps: According to our research , 53% of small and midsize businesses say they are using or plan to use AI technology within the next one to two years, and 39% of them believe this technology is critical to their business. Artificial intelligence (AI) is creating smarter software. Broad adoption and increased competition is making AI more affordable. We anticipate that leading software tools will use some kind of adaptive AI over the next couple years. This includes event management applications. Predictive AI tools will soon give event planners better attendance forecasts. Attendees will receive registration guidance that is more relevant to their interests. Facial recognition software may someday preclude the need for tickets and wearables altogether.