Planning a business event is a mammoth task. You need to find a venue, create the agenda, get sponsors on board, sort out seating plans and meal arrangements—and that’s all before you even start selling tickets.
Event management software makes the process less of a headache. Event planners confirm: In a recent survey from Social Tables, 35% of respondents said that event technology has been the biggest gamechanger for the industry.
There are dozens of event planning apps that do everything from engaging your attendees to digitally rendering floor plans. And, while they all offer wildly different features, they have one thing in common: They eliminate the DIY approach and streamline the event management process.
What Makes a Great Event Management App?
Event management apps come in all shapes and sizes—and promise all sorts of successes. Here, we’re showcasing apps that save you time and energy when managing logistics, deadlines, and attendee engagement. The event management apps listed here are a combination of companion tools that can be used together for ultimate productivity as well as end-to-end event planning software.
Different events require different functionality, but each of the apps featured here meets the following criteria:
- Eliminates the piecemeal approach to event planning by centralizing information in one place
- Helps you collaborate and communicate with at least one of your key audiences, whether that’s colleagues, vendors, or attendees
- Offers a dashboard to track and measure success
Depending on the size of your event and your biggest pain points in planning, you’ll want to select different event management software and even mix and match apps. To help you choose, here are the 10 best event management apps listed in rough chronological order of the average event planning process.
The 10 Best Event Management Apps
- monday.com for internal planning and organization
- Eventzilla for streamlining registration
- Explara for building a branded mobile app
- Splash for customizing attendee communication
- Eventbrite for connecting with Facebook
- Bizzabo for an all-in-one solution
- Social Tables for creating floor plans and venue visuals
- Boomset for automated entry management
- Socio for gamifying in-person attendee engagement
- Event Farm for measuring offline efforts
monday.com (Web, iOS, Android)
Best event management software for internal planning and organization
monday.com is primarily a project management tool, but it has an event management feature that helps you bring together the tasks and deadlines of all staff involved. Everyone can access the workflow of their colleagues and see event planning progress at a glance from a single dashboard.
Here’s how it works: You create boards filled with Pulses (task rows), each of which represents a different to-do item for your event. You can then assign a staff member to the task and group Pulses together into categorized boards for each project.
The built-in event management templates help you organize timelines, manage your budget, and coordinate speakers, while the individual Pulses let you track dates, event spaces, and registration numbers. The combination means you’re able to see the big picture without losing sight of the details.
One of the best features of monday.com is the built-in messaging threads assigned to each task. Everyone involved can see every piece of communication about a particular task in one place, meaning conversations won’t get lost or buried in email inboxes. You can also assign a customized email address to every task so that when you send an email to that address, the communication gets added to the internal feed in monday.com.
Within the feed section, the Infoboxes area lets you upload relevant files, floor plans, and attendee lists; add notes; and create Q&As that can be accessed by all team members. For a complete overview, you can zoom out and see each board laid out on a color-coded calendar.
monday.com Price: Free 14-day trial; $10/month for one user for the Standard plan, which includes unlimited boards and 5 GB of file storage.
Connect monday.com to 1,500+ apps with monday.com’s Zapier integrations.
Eventzilla (Web, iOS, Android)
Best event management software for streamlining registration
Selling tickets is the first of many hurdles for event planners, and it’s easy to get bogged down in the registration process. Eventzilla helps automate the registration process by creating embeddable widgets, managing attendee lists, and building attractive landing pages where attendees can sign up.
The no-frills dashboard means there’s no tech know-how needed to set up a unique, branded registration page and start selling tickets right away. There are options to create customized sales widgets or buttons that can be added to a WordPress site, a Facebook page, or a Twitter feed by copying and pasting a line of code so attendees can buy with one click.
Further down the sales funnel, the event registration form can be completely written from scratch to gather all the information you need, whether it’s specific food requirements or song requests for the DJ. You can also choose whether to offer free tickets/registrations, paid tickets/registrations, merchandise/add-ons, or tickets/registrations by donation. You can then customize email communication with attendees based on ticket type. For example, you could send an email to all attendees who purchased merch in addition to their tickets.
At the checkout stage, Eventzilla integrates with major payment gateways, like PayPal, Square, and Stripe. Individual discount codes can be set up and easily applied for early-bird tickets or groups of attendees.
And on the day of the event, attendees can download the app to manage their tickets and check in online.
Eventzilla Price: Free for free events. $1.25/ticket for three paid ticket types, refunds, and embeddable widgets; 1.9% + $0.99/ticket for unlimited ticket types and customized branding.
Connect Eventzilla to 1,500+ apps with Eventzilla’s Zapier integrations.
Best event management software for building a branded mobile app
For event planners looking to create a digital world around their event, Explara is the best option. The integrated platform juggles tools that ten other apps might offer individually, helping you streamline registration, day-of-event engagement, and post-event reporting all in one place. Even completely tech-phobic event managers can create a fully branded app experience for attendees to use on the big day.
When you log into Explara, you’ll see a dashboard with 15 tiles, each one allowing you to do something different (like build a survey, create emails, or manage tickets). The first step is to click the Events Ticketing/Registration tile to create your event. Once your event is added to Explara, you can then leverage all the other tiles.
The minimalist interface makes it easy to add extra modules to your app, like incorporating a game to encourage interaction during a session or creating an agenda. You can also add images and videos, send emails and notifications, or reward users with points for completing certain actions. And it’s all done with a single click.
To get a better sense of what’s working for your attendees, there are built-in analytics that track app usage throughout your event. You can see app installs on iOS and Android, web views, image and video views, the most visited pages, top agenda sessions, and more.
You can always go back to the main dashboard page and explore the other tiles. You can design and print event badges, build a merchandise page to sell products related to your event, or create a “stay and track package” to share information on lodging for attendees who are traveling.
Explara Price: Free 14-day trial; 1.99% + $0.49 per ticket for the registration feature only; $99 per 100 registrations for access to all the Pro features.
Connect Explara to 1,500+ apps with Explara’s Zapier integrations.
Best event management software for customizing attendee communication
Every memorable event makes a good impression from the very start. Splash helps you create a customized landing page for your event, while the backend gives you everything you need to dig deeper into your guest list.
You can tag attendees based on the data collected during the registration stage and their digital actions on the day of the event, or add your own tags at any point. You can send one-off marketing emails or automate custom and personalized event invites, reminders, updates, follow-ups, and more.
Advanced segmentation capabilities help you separate your audiences based on interests and ticket level with one click, and you can send personalized content that’s dependent on how your attendees use the app during the event. For example, you might want to send an email to everyone who attended a certain talk, and Splash makes that easy.
Inside the dashboard, you can use the Hub section to categorize similar events and see if there’s overlap among attendees or if there’s a certain kind of guest that regularly buys VIP tickets or other add-ons. This means you can send out personalized campaigns to different types of registrants and optimize your messaging for that segment of users.
This level of segmentation and customization is reminiscent of a traditional marketing CRM tool, but Splash presents all its features in an intuitive, easy-to-learn interface. This way, event planners can leverage the power of digital marketing without having to learn a new skill set or complex tool.
Splash Price: Free for small events (up to 1,000 invitations and 50 emails); pricing available on request for larger events.
Connect Splash to 1,500+ apps with Splash’s Zapier integrations.
Eventbrite (Web, iOS, Android)
Best event management software for connecting with Facebook
As one of the biggest names in event management and online ticketing, Eventbrite offers all the features you would expect: easy-to-build event pages, built-in payment processing, and real-time reporting. But it also has something else up its sleeve: a robust integration with Facebook that allows you to market your event on the social network and allow attendees to buy tickets via Facebook’s checkout.
There are a few caveats: Your event must have a physical location (online events aren’t eligible) and you must have free and/or paid ticket types. And you can only post to a Facebook page, not to a Facebook group or personal user profile.
If your event meets these criteria, you first need to log in to Eventbrite, create an event, and publish it. Then, under the Invite & Promote tab, click Add to Facebook. Here, you connect Eventbrite to your Facebook profile, select the Facebook Page that is “hosting” the event, and publish your event directly to the page. If your event details or tickets change, you just make the changes in Eventbrite and click the Update on Facebook button to automatically reflect those changes.
Attendees who view your event on Facebook can click Get Tickets to purchase a ticket via PayPal or credit card and register for your event. There are no extra costs to your attendees: Your free or paid tickets are the same price on Facebook as they are on Eventbrite.
Eventbrite Price: Free for free tickets. Starts at 2% plus $0.79 per paid ticket with the Essentials plan.
Connect Eventbrite to 1,500+ apps with Eventbrite’s Zapier integrations.
Bizzabo (Web, iOS, Android)
Best event management software for an all-in-one solution
Bizzabo is a one-stop solution for creating a streamlined, on-brand event experience for attendees. From building a website for your event to selling tickets, gathering attendee data, and creating reports, Bizzabo has tools for every aspect of your event.
The software’s drag-and-drop website editor lets you build a branded site or embeddable widgets that include the most important features of your event. You can add widgets for the agenda, speakers, and exhibitors, depending on which areas you want to place the most emphasis on. Your creation can then be turned into a dedicated event app that attendees can access to create personalized schedules and view the built-in networking communities.
The guest list options are pretty clever too: You can easily segment attendees using tags to create smart lists of speakers, attendees, and VIPs, and then use Bizzabo’s email marketing feature to send personalized emails to each segment.
Finally, Bizzabo offers unique tools, like the Hot Leads feature, which lets you run targeted remarketing campaigns to attendees that haven’t completed the sign-up process, and the Ticket Boost feature, which helps attendees spread the word on social media with a single click.
Bizzabo Price: From $8,000/year for 1,500 registrants and 3 events.
Connect Bizzabo to 1,500+ apps with Bizzabo’s Zapier integrations.
Social Tables (Web, iOS)
Best event management software for floor plans and venue visuals
Social Tables uses interactive content to help event planners visualize their venue, collaborate with attendees and staff, store and share documents internally and externally, and optimize sales with a built-in lead capture feature. Big brands like Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and Forbes are already using the accurate diagramming software to bring events to life long before the doors open.
Inside the software, events are listed on Cards with a brief overview of important details, like date, time, and event type. Then comes the power: creating a diagram. You can create your own architectural plan from scratch, but in most cases, you’ll probably start with one of the provided templates. For example, if your event needs a theater-style layout, you can simply choose the theater template and adjust to your liking.
From there, you can dive into the hundreds of pre-made objects and drag and drop them into your floor plan to start building the visuals. Think dinner tables, stages, projectors, bars, and everything in between, all of which can be added in bulk and then individually edited to reflect differences like VIP areas and break-out spaces.
These floor plans can then be shared internally with staff members—so the operations team knows what needs to go where and when—or externally via a copy-pasted link.
Social Tables Price: Free for one user and one active event; $99/month for the Professional plan for two user accounts and two active events.
Boomset (Web, iOS, Android)
Best event management software for automated entry management
Every event planner wants their attendees to have a smooth and fun experience. Boomset is a feature-rich event management platform that customizes and automates the check-in experience on site for attendees.
Attendees can register for an event via popular ticketing platforms, and their registration data is immediately pulled into Boomset. From the backend, you can access raw attendee data, control access points, and determine who is attending what sessions, among other intuitive features.
What sets Boomset apart is the Design area of the dashboard, where you can use the click-and-drop builder to create attendance certificates and name badges that attendees can print at event kiosks on the day of the event. Attendees can also monitor available seats in real-time at the event so they can strategically choose their sessions based on seating availability and attendance.
Boomset Price: $350/year for 700 attendee credits and unlimited events; $6,000/year for 5,000 attendee credits, customized support, and feature-rich reporting. Pricing varies based on software and hardware requirements.
Socio (Web, iOS, Android)
Best event management software for gamifying in-person attendee engagement
Many of the most popular event management apps focus on organizing your event and getting attendees to show up. Socio takes it one step further and offers gamification features to help ensure attendees are present and engaged once the event actually starts.
After you create your event in Socio, you have the option to add “features,” which unlock additional planning, sharing, and engagement capabilities. You can choose from 14 features, like creating an agenda, adding speakers, or uploading documents. This is also where you’ll find Socio’s first gamification feature: the “Event Game.”
This allows you to incentivize attendee actions by creating challenges and rewarding points when those actions are completed. For example, you could award 100 points to each attendee who connects with 15 other attendees via the app or award 25 points to everyone who checks in and receives your free gift bag. You can create as many of these challenges as you want and customize how many points to assign to each task. As attendees earn points, they can see their rankings in real time on a leaderboard.
Let’s say you also want to enter all attendees into a raffle. You can use the Attendee Drawing feature to automatically generate each attendee’s name and spin through the names live to select a random winner. The drawing can be displayed on one or all screens throughout the venue, so attendees can see their names appear on the big screen.
Socio also adds playfulness to the in-person networking experience. Attendees who download the Socio app link all their information, including email, phone number, and social media accounts, to their Socio profile. At the event, they simply shake their phone to find other nearby attendees. The app will automatically display a list of all potential connections and attendees just need to click the Add button to instantly exchange information via the app.
Socio Price: From $799-$7,999 per event depending on the number of participants. Custom quotes are available for recurring events.
Event Farm (Web, iOS, Android)
Best event management platform for measuring offline efforts
Events are in-person experiences, so understanding what your attendees are doing offline is just as important as tracking their movements online. Event Farm provides an innovative solution for planning and managing events, combining wearable tech and event planning software to bring the online and offline worlds together.
The software integrates with near-field communication (NFC) technology, which allows two portable devices to connect when they’re within close range of each other. In the case of Event Farm, this technology is used in wristbands to allow attendees to check in or bring up personalized schedules on remote tablets. The idea is to engage attendees in-person with a range of tech-powered activities and to gather data through wearables that track attendees’ movements around your event.
Inside the dashboard, you have access to a whole host of different reporting features, including graphic check-in reports that visually show how many attendees have checked in, what their ticket level is, and what time they checked in. With one click, you can also generate transfer lists and reports on email campaigns set up from inside the platform.
Event Farm Price: Pricing available upon request.
Connect Event Farm to 1,500+ apps with Zapier’s Event Farm integrations.
Which Event Management Software Should I Use?
Each of these platforms will help ease the event planning process and provide you with the tools you need to host and manage a successful event. The key is to choose an event management app that ties into your specific needs. For example, if you’re hosting a local event and you’re worried about a drop-off in ticket sales, pick software that’s heavy on marketing. But if you’re putting together an all-singing, all-dancing conference and need to create floor plans with your team, choose an app with digital diagramming capabilities. Whatever you choose, event planning software absolutely beats the DIY approach.
Title photo by Freepik