In search of event management software? Perfect! You’re in the right place.
Shopping for software can be confusing, so to help you out we’re going to break down 6 different types of event management software. This will help you understand what kind of software is out there, how to choose what’s best for your needs, and guide you to the lucky company that’s right for you.
There are two main reasons you should get event software: it saves time and helps prove ROI.
The majority (89%) of businesses using event technology save roughly 200 hours per year. In addition, some (20%) businesses see 360 hours or more saved per year with event technology (Bizzabo, 2019).
That’s like 5-9 extra weeks of vacation. Or spending additional time working on other important projects your boss is asking for.
Ok, but how does this technology save time? It’s a one-stop-shop. Need to create a landing page, send out emails, and track it all? You got it. No need to bounce around and figure out how to use and tie together multiple software platforms. Your event management software should have it all, which honestly, makes life a whole lot easier.
As for ROI, don’t just take our word for it. Of marketers that are currently using event software, most (80%) do not have trouble proving ROI (Bizzabo, 2019). This is due to robust analytics that, again, tracks everything for you in one place.
One last note before you go down the rabbit hole of event marketing platforms—have an idea of what you want beforehand so you don’t get overwhelmed. Here are a few key questions to get you started:
- Will you run virtual, hybrid, or live events? Or all 3?
- What are some must-have features or integrations?
- What’s your budget?
- How many events are you planning?
- What kind of support do you want?
6 types of event management software
1. Event ticketing platforms
Event ticketing software is a basic platform where event planners can sell tickets online. Through the platform, you can create a ticketing website for an event and sell different ticket types (e.g., standard vs. VIP). The software may include basic marketing integrations for social media and email, and analytical tools for tracking sales. A drawback of event ticketing software is that they charge a flat fee for each ticket sold in addition to taking a percentage of the total ticket price. These fees are often offloaded onto the ticket buyer, which can significantly impact the overall ticket price. Due to event ticketing software’s simple features, this software type is often cheaper than more robust platforms, but you get what you pay for; you’ll be unable to fully customize your look and feel or run your whole event off a single platform.
Perfect for: Free events and events with a small budget
Event ticketing platforms: Eventbrite and Splash
2. All-in-one platforms for in-person, virtual, and hybrid events
All-in-one event management software provides event planners with everything they need to manage hybrid, virtual, and live events, including registration, marketing, networking, sponsors, and all the analytics. The software is completely customizable and flexible to the event planner’s wants and needs with CSS, integrations, and API connectivity. With robust all-in-one platforms, there may be a slight learning curve for new users, so customer service is of utmost importance.
Pricing is a flat fee dependent on the number of users using the software regardless of registrants or events.
Perfect for: Hybrid, virtual, and live events of any size, especially if customization and branding are top priorities
All-in-one platform: Swoogo
3. Video-based virtual platforms
Video-based virtual platforms are designed for virtual events and have limited functionality for live or hybrid events. They typically have above-average video streaming services while having simple features for engagement, networking, and marketing. Video-based platforms can be integrated with other registration and marketing software to make it more of an all-in-one solution; however, that can get expensive. Pricing varies but can be subscription-based as well as a percentage of each ticket sold.
Perfect for: Virtual events without live or hybrid options, best for broadcasts with limited attendee engagement
Video-based platforms: Rainfocus, Hopin, Webinar.net
4. Out-of-the-box platforms
Out-of-the-box platforms are for your run-of-the-mill live events that don’t need extremely robust customization and add-on features. Although they’re advertised as out-of-the-box, the software is actually usually the most difficult to learn, and most users report needing time to understand the platform before being able to use it. Out-of-the-box platforms are typically expensive and aren’t flexible (i.e., charge for each additional integration and feature you may need.) They also charge per registration per event, which quickly adds up.
Perfect for: Internal corporate events and companies with large budgets
Out of the box platforms: Cvent and Aventri
5. Networking platforms
Networking platforms are great for connecting attendees at hybrid, virtual, or live events. They are specifically developed to connect attendees and aren’t a full-scale event management system, but rather meant to be an add-on to your event marketing software. These platforms are best used when integrated into a more comprehensive, full-scale event management software for more robust networking capabilities. Networking platforms facilitate chats between attendees, sponsors, and speakers, as well as schedule meetings. The pricing for these platforms is cheaper than other solutions but will have to be paired with an event management system to run a full-scale event.
Perfect for: Increasing networking and integrating with full-scale software
Networking platforms: Brella
6. App-based platforms
App-based platforms are designed as support tools for event attendees. These platforms are not as robust as web-based platforms, although they are an important integration for web-based platforms at live and hybrid events. App-based software includes event-related engagement, networking, and analytical tools. They’re not made for streaming and watching the event, but rather used for surveys and gamification during events, as well as things like online maps and schedules.
Perfect for: Attendee engagement at live and hybrid events, and hosting maps and session schedules
Networking platforms: Attendify, Whova, Event Mobi
How to choose the right event management platform for you
Hopefully, you’ve narrowed down what type of event software is right for you, and now you need to choose which company to go with. Consider these three points:
- See it for yourself. Get a free demo if you haven’t already. This will show you additional features, how easy or customizable the software is, and let you get a better sense of exactly how you would best use the platform for your needs.
- Make sure you have support. If you’re going to spend thousands of dollars on event software, you better know how to use it— or have a great customer support team to fall back on. If two platforms are neck and neck, and one has better customer service, go with that one. Support for your software is almost as important as the software itself.
- Get more through integrations. Your software doesn’t have to do everything under the sun, but to make it a true event powerhouse, it better integrate with other platforms. Companies have different needs, and one event marketing software may not meet them all. Integrations make it so you can use one core piece of software, then add integrations to accommodate your specific needs.
Event management software is no longer optional if you want to save time planning and promoting your events. There are many options out there, so pick the one that best suits your needs and your audience. Time’s a-wastin’.