Event managers are moving a mile a minute through their day. You don’t have to stop and test every tool. You want to cut to the chase — and fast! — because you’ve got registration pages to make, emails to send, vendors to book, and virtual breakout rooms to design.
Want the best-in-class tools to help you do all of the above? Here are our top picks for the best event management software, many of which are cheap or free!
How to Vet Event Management Software Before You Commit
Take it from a few pros in the event management space that a little vetting can go a long way in helping you build your event software toolkit. Not having the right software or having too many tools can get in the way of productivity and do the exact opposite of streamlining and simplifying.
As you’re exploring your options, let the following points guide your decision:
Features & Functions
Events take many forms and sizes. Why bother with tools that don’t have the features you need?
Priorities are going to vary between event managers and planners, so even tools that others swear by might not work for you. That’s why it’s important to keep your need and goals top of mind when choosing event management software.
Start with your biggest pain points. For example, do you want to automate registration processes? Improve task delegation? Get a fast and secure onsite check-in?
Once you know your problems, you’re in a better position to find technology that solves them.
Capterra is an unbiased third-party software review site that lets you discover and learn about all types of software on the market. What’s more, you can compare software options side by side and make a shortlist of options to aid your decision-making.
You can learn a lot about various event management tools on Capterra. Software reviews are from real users who have rated their experiences and shared key details that you might not find on the vendor website. Plus, you can break down your list of event management tools by specific function (e.g., event marketing, live streaming, venue management, etc.) so you’re not wasting time combing through tools that don’t offer the features you need.
One facet of event management software that’s been increasingly in demand is custom branding. Organizers want to brand the event as much as possible to enhance the experience. If vendors or event attendees will be interacting with any part of your event management tools, it’s helpful to be able to customize that experience with consistent branding.
Not all event management tools offer this option. Those that do usually don’t make it available with their freemium versions. Paying for branding features can be a worthwhile effort, but make sure you budget for them before choosing an event management tool.
Price isn’t everything, but it is something. Typically, the more features a tool has, the more it’s going to cost. However, that cost can often be less than purchasing individual software tools that each handle one specific function.
Comprehensive event management platforms usually give you the best bang for your buck because you only have one system to learn and one tool to pay for. All the features are designed to work together, which means you’re not having to create workarounds to get your fragmented systems to do the same job.
Free event management tools are often limited in size and scope, but sometimes what they can do is all you need. Make sure you weigh the tradeoffs of free vs function to ensure your guests get the proper experience.
Our Top Picks
Now, let’s dive into our top picks for the best event management software that really makes your life easier:
Eventbrite: Best for Facebook Promotion
Facebook is a big piece of event promotion, and there’s no better tool than Eventbrite. This tool has two unique sides: one for planning and promoting events and one for discovering nearby events. The platform handles all aspects of ticketing, including built-in payment processing. Plus, you can access analytics such as event views and registration to know how your event promotion is performing.
Its big claim to fame is a Facebook integration that helps you seamlessly run ads and gain more attendees.
Price: Eventbrite takes a fixed percentage of the ticket price per attendee. For events with many participants or high ticket prices, this can quickly lead to high costs.
Vivenio: Best All-Around Event Management Software
Vivenio is a great choice for comprehensive event management software, handling everything from planning and organization to the back office and post-event follow-up. Its features are designed to work with virtual events and in-person functions alike, and even both at the same time!
The platform collects analytics at every stage, from marketing to registration to attendance and more. Invite team members to collaborate on tasks, meet deadlines, and stay in touch to keep event projects progressing. A built-in CRM lets you capture more details about your attendees and prospects and continue the conversation with them when the event is over.
All of these features are supported by a powerful, user-friendly interface that makes it easy to integrate into your daily workflow. In other words, a short learning curve means a faster time-to-value without having to reinvent the way you work.
Price: Vivenio offers a "Named User License" model where you pay a monthly fee per workstation. You can then run as many events as you like with any number of attendees at no additional cost. This makes vivenio particularly suitable for event managers who plan several or large events.
For event managers who plan smaller or fewer events, vivenio offers a more affordable lite version.
You can get a free online presentation before you commit.
Monday: Best for Internal Team Organization
It takes a village to raise a child and to plan an event. If you want to keep your team on the same page throughout your event planning, you need a tool like Monday.
Monday is colorful array of kanban boards, lists, and customizable workflows that give you greater visibility into projects. Assign tasks with just a few clicks, set deadlines, and watch as projects unfold.
However, it is a general tool and it is not specifically designed for event management. For example, there is no online registration or ticketing.
Price: A fixed price per user applies here as well. In the standard version, the costs are 10€ per user. However, since you do not have a ticketing tool with it, you have to plan with further costs for it.
Slack: Best for Event Communication
Whether you need to send updates to event teams or communicate important announcements with attendees, Slack is a powerful free event management solution.
You can create as many “channels” as you like: per person, per team, or per role. Users within each channel can share and communicate with other users on their channels. It’s a great way to build engagement, foster community, and ensure no important announcement slips through the cracks.
Price: Slack is free for small teams and starts at $6.67 per month for larger groups. However, you'll also need an additional budget for a ticketing solution, as neither online registration nor ticket purchasing is integrated.
Boomset: Best for On-Site Registration and Event Access
Boomset is a feature-rich platform spanning on-site and virtual events, but their registration processes alone are worth a callout.
The platform uses cutting-edge technology to promote safer events by verifying (and thus limiting) user access. Attendees can gain admittance to events via QR code scanning or facial recognition. Organizers can also control session access by user, a huge plus for events with limited seating or high-profile events with limited access.
A digital dashboard lets you track attendance. If certificates are your thing, you can use this data to issue certifications upon completion of sessions or events. These analytics can prove powerful in helping you build on past successes for future events.
Price: However, the price is quite steep and starts in the smallest variant with 1000 visitors at 4000$. Since the prices increase with the number of participants, quite high costs can also arise very quickly here.
Hopin: Best for Virtual Engagement
Since COVID rattled the event industry, many event organizers are turning to virtual-only channels. Hopin is helping to ease this transition by putting engagement at the forefront. Users can join rooms for breakout sessions in a way that’s similar to moving in and out of rooms at in-person events. Create polls and conduct life Q&As to connect with your audience. There’s also a chat sidebar so users can engage via messaging and keep the conversation going.
As with most digital event management tools, Hopin comes with an analytics dashboard that lets you track attendance, engagement, ticket sales, drop-off rates, and more.
Price: Hopin starts in the simplest version at 99$ per month, but increases quickly with the number of users. If you expect more than 100 visitors, this limit is reached very quickly especially for virtual events, you are already at 799$ per month. In addition, 7% of the ticket price is charged per ticket sold.
The Final Word on Best Event Management Software
In conclusion, there is no perfect tool that serves all requirements. Every event is as individual as your attendees. Your event management software should be chosen to support exactly your most important tasks. In our opinion, a solution that covers many areas, but is still highly flexible, is the best choice. Of course, we could simply claim that our solution is the best, but why don't you make up your own mind? We offer a no-obligation consultation in which we show you in a 30-minute online presentation how vivenio can improve your event management.