Ah, the world of virtual events. They've been a game-changer, haven't they? For event organizers, event planners, and event marketers alike, virtual events have quickly transformed from a novelty to an essential part of the event landscape. These digital get-togethers are breaking geographical boundaries, enabling large-scale interaction, and empowering businesses to connect with their audience like never before.
As impressive as they are, there's a vital piece of the puzzle that makes these virtual events possible - online event management software. Picking the right one can sometimes feel like looking for a needle in a haystack. But fear not because that's where we step in with a user-friendly guide to aid your selection process.
The Rise of Online Event Management Software
During the pandemic, the world shifted gears towards remote work and digital collaboration, and the event industry was not to be left behind. From webinars to virtual conferences, the world saw a surge in online events, prompting a corresponding rise in the use of event management software.
Fast forward to today: Virtual event technology has become central to the success of virtual, hybrid, and even in-person events. Online event management software now offers deep integrations with popular CRM systems, real-time event analytics, and mobile app solutions, where onsite attendees can use their mobile phones as a second screen to watch an onsite session. In other words, we see how virtual event management tools have become the backbone of a successful event.
Understanding Your Needs
Before jumping into the nitty-gritty of event management software, it's crucial to understand your needs. Are you planning a small online seminar or a sizeable virtual conference? Do you need attendee management for a webinar or ticket sales for a networking event? Maybe you need an all-in-one solution for a hybrid event, combining in-person and virtual elements. When it comes to event planning, no two events are the same, and neither are the tools you'll need to make them a success.
Key Features to Look for in Event Management Software
Your perfect online event management software should be like a Swiss army knife, equipped with all the necessary tools. Here are some key features to consider:
- Event Registration and Ticketing: A customizable registration process and a flexible ticketing platform are essential for a smooth attendee experience and efficient data capture.
- Check-In and Badge Printing: Look for assisted and self-check-in options with built-in badge printing. Some virtual event platforms, like Accelevents, also offer a drag-and-drop badge designer so you can create professional name badge designs in minutes.
- Audience Engagement Tools: Interactive features like live in-app messaging, surveys, polls, gamification features, and speed networking will keep your attendees hooked.
- Real-Time Reporting and Analytics: Event analytics allow you to measure your event's success and make data-driven decisions.
- Customizable Templates: For event pages, registration forms, or email marketing, customizable templates will ensure consistency in your brand's look and feel.
- Multi-Event Management: A multi-event management function can streamline your workflow if you're an event planner handling various events simultaneously.
- Mobile App For Attendees: For an increasingly mobile audience, an event app enhances the event experience by providing real-time notifications, an up-to-date agenda, and interactive venue maps.
- Mobile App for Admins: If you're an event planner managing multiple virtual and hybrid events, an event management app can boost your productivity while on the go.
What To Consider When Evaluating Online Event Management Software
Aside from features, there are other factors to consider when evaluating online event management platforms:
Ease of Use and User Interface
Navigating the event planning process shouldn't be like trying to crack the Da Vinci Code. The software should be user-friendly, offering a simple yet functional design. Features like drag-and-drop website builders or intuitive floor plan designs can make the process a breeze.
Security and Privacy
Given the digital nature of these events, security should be a top priority. Look for software that prioritizes data security and privacy, providing features like secure payment processing and encrypted communications.
Customer Support and Services
Robust customer support is like the cherry on top. You want a team that's there for you, helping you troubleshoot any issues or answering queries promptly. Look for a virtual event platform that offers round-the-clock support in real time and has a solid reputation for customer service.
Software Pricing and Packages
Pricing is a critical aspect. Look out for software that provides clear invoicing and packages that scale according to your event size. It's about finding that balance between cost and functionality. Remember, the cheapest option might not always be the best fit.
Exploring Top Event Management Software Options
There are numerous event planning tools on the market, each boasting multiple features and functionalities. However, what counts is the software's adaptability to your unique needs.
Accelevents, Eventbrite, Bizzabo, and Cvent are some top-tier software solutions. Each of them supports virtual, onsite, and hybrid events.
Accelevents is an award-winning, enterprise-grade event management solution that supports virtual, hybrid, or in-person events at any scale. We cater to all types of events, including conferences, trade shows, expos, symposiums, career fairs, seminars, workshops, fundraisers, and more.
The platform's broad range of features includes an event website builder for creating branded event websites and customizable workflows for online event registration.
The platform also offers efficient event ticketing tools, comprehensive exhibitor and sponsor management, an agenda manager, and automated speaker onboarding.
Live streaming is made effortless with the option of using either an in-house broadcasting studio or a preferred A/V provider.
Boost attendee engagement with tools such as speed networking, gamification, virtual breakout rooms, and virtual lounges. Accelevents also offers robust event apps for event attendees and event professionals so that everyone can stay connected at all times.
Lastly, the software features native integrations with popular CRMs and compatibility with Zapier and webhooks, ensuring seamless data flow across your event ecosystem.
Bizzabo is a robust, cloud-based event management system that supports in-person, virtual, and hybrid event experiences. The platform empowers users to manage events, engage audiences, and deliver impactful business outcomes, all while keeping attendee data secure. Bizzabo offers features such as individual RSVPs and group registrations, ticketing, self-check-in, payment processing, social media promotion, sponsorship management, badge management, vendor & exhibit management, contact management, and marketing tools. With an integrated event calendar and reminder system, Bizzabo ensures your event gets noticed.
Cvent is an event planning software with many beneficial features, including a mobile event app. This all-in-one platform efficiently manages attendees, clients, vendors, and guest lists, while also supporting sponsorship, venue, and travel management. It simplifies online event registration and facilitates social promotion. Lastly, the platform also provides opportunities for gathering feedback and conducting surveys.
Cvent caters to various events, including meetings, conventions, seminars, and trade shows. With its array of conference, meeting, and registration features, Cvent is a comprehensive event management tool.
Eventbrite offers an intuitive platform for organizing, promoting, and managing events from a desktop or mobile device. Users can easily create event listing pages complete with analytics, customer support, and an integrated payment system. These listing pages include an embedded checkout for a seamless ticket-purchasing experience. For free events, Eventbrite waives its fees on free tickets. The platform's robust search engine optimization makes your events easily discoverable.
Making the Final Decision
Ultimately, choosing the best event management software comes down to understanding your event's needs and aligning those with what the software offers.
Compare features, evaluate pricing, check out customer reviews, and, if possible, book a demo. At Accelevents, we offer a free demo to explore our enterprise-grade event management platform. Because at the end of the day, our goal is to make your event planning and management as seamless and successful as possible.
In the realm of events, whether virtual, in-person, or hybrid, having the right event management software is crucial. It's about picking a tool that automates your processes, empowers your marketing, and enhances the overall event experience. So, are you ready to host your next successful event? We can't wait to see what you create!