Today's planners have a lot of options when it comes to the technology they need to create and manage successful meetings and events. And while their core needs are often similar, their budgets, attendee numbers and more are huge factors in selecting the right providers.
The reality is there's a lot of great tools to choose from based on price point, the number of features, integrations and so much more. Check out this guide to the top online tools for planners.
- Good: Eventbrite —This event organizing and ticket managing website allows planners to create and promote local events on their listings page. Users can create an event page, register attendees, track attendance, and sell tickets online. The website also includes payment processing, analytics, and support. Eventbrite is free to use for free events; organizers are charged a small few for paid tickets.
- Better: Event Farm — Event Farm is an experiential marketing platform that can create and manage on-brand invitation emails and registration websites with its visual design editor, Canvas. Its attendee management tools include the ability to build segmented guest lists, personalize email invitations, and track who shows up with its check-in app. Users can leverage built-in reporting and extensive integrations to inform business decisions and understand event impact.
- Best: Aventri — Aventri's Registration tool is an easy-to-use, highly customizable and feature-packed platform that can power meetings and events of all sizes. Users can create an on-brand registration experience, including workflows per attendee category with session selection, profile questions and pre-loaded data. Aventri's reporting and analytics tools allow planners to evaluate event performance and attendee data in real-time. Registration data can also be integrated with popular CRM and marketing automation systems.
- Good: WordPress — With options at every budget (even free), WordPress allows users to build a website that meets their unique needs. It's intuitive editor is easy-to-use and includes HTML and Markdown support. Multimedia such as video, photos, audio, and documents can be drag and dropped into website pages. Website content can be updated from anywhere with mobile and desktop apps available for iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, and Linux systems.
- Better: Wix — With no creative limits and no coding required, Wix offers users more than 500 website templates to choose from. It also includes event specific features such as RSVP options, ticket selling, email invitations, contact management and social media promotion. Wix includes a free plan, as well as several premium options.
- Best: Aventri — This year, Aventri completely revamped its Website Builder to provide customers with the best technology and user-experience available. Planners can easily build an event website (no graphic design background needed!) with drag and drop building features, customized template creation, automatic mobile responsiveness, and more. Plus, because it's a part of Aventri's event management software platform, it's seamlessly integrated to registration forms, event and meeting agendas, event speakers, and other key event tools.
Event Email Marketing
- Good: Mailchimp — This marketing platform for small businesses includes design tools, such as drag-and-drop builders and multimedia management, that help users create professional looking email campaigns. Mailchimp also includes email automation features, as well as analytics tools that help users keep track of open rates, clicks, and segment data.
- Better: ActiveCampaign — ActiveCampaign lets users build customizable email marketing campaigns via their email templates or drag-and-drop email designer. Its segmentation features allow for email message personalization in order to send targeted emails to exactly the right contact. Automatic emails can be triggered based on purchases, site visits or engagement levels.
- Best: Aventri — This flexible and customizable Event Email Marketing platform from Aventri helps planners target and connect with the right attendees. It offers an easy way to create and manage professional email marketing campaigns, while measuring the exact impact and success of your email campaigns by tracking open, click-through and conversion rates. Planners can also setup automatic confirmation or drip emails to increase engagement and revenue.
Mobile Event App
- Good: Grupio — This tool creates customized, branded mobile app events that attendees can use onsite to look up information. Planners can include the event program and agenda, as well as list all sponsors and exhibitors in their own sections with logos, descriptions, and links to their websites. Other features include in-app messaging, social media feeds, and gamification options. Event information is uploaded from spreadsheets via Grupio's Content Management System (CMS).
- Better: Eventmobi — Eventmobi aims to replace a planner's paper-approach to onsite engagement, with live polling, survey and gamification options. Users can customize the look and feel of their event app to highlight their brand and match their event’s tone or theme. Attendees also have the ability to customize their mobile app experience with personalized schedules, private or group discussions, and sharing in an event activity feed.
- Best: Aventri — Aventri's Mobile Event App is a feature-packed digital event guide, that drives attendee engagement and provides real-time event performance insights. As their onsite companion, attendees have access to event program information, a personalized agenda builder, in-app messaging, live polls, and matchmaking for networking. On the flip side, features like push notifications and direct messaging enhance onsite communication for planners. There's also several options to monetize app features, like premium listings, to increase revenue from sponsors. Because it's seamless connected to Aventri's event registration, agenda and other tools, if there's a program change, it automatically updates the information in the app as well.
Attendee Survey Tools
- Good: Google Forms — As a part of the Google Docs suite, Google Forms is a great free tool for basic and quick surveys, email collection forms, quizzes and more. It includes a bunch of question options, from multiple choice to drop-downs to a linear scale. Images and video can also be added to questions, and page branching and question skip logic is also available. Users can upload their own photo or logo and select matching colors to create a unique survey, or they choose from a set of curated themes to set the tone.
- Better: Survey Monkey — Along with a basic free version, Survey Monkey includes multiple plans to fit a planner or planning team's needs when it comes to surveys. Users can custom build surveys, and they also have access to over 100 expert templates and over 2,500 questions approved by survey scientists. Surveys can also be collected via email, mobile, chat, web, social media, and more. Premium plans offer enhanced data, benchmarking and testing options as well.
- Best: Aventri — Fully integrated with its registration platform, Aventri's Survey tool offers full event lifecycle features that point solutions can’t compete with. Not only are surveys easy to build, but template creation and cloning features make deploying them to registrants or attendees a breeze. Aventri users also have no limit to the number of surveys they can create, and they can be customized to match the event branding and look & feel. Finally, users can review survey results in real-time with visual reports with graphical charts for easy analysis.
Overall, while there are a lot of great tools out there, but the best option is for an all-in-one, end-to-end solution that includes everything a planner needs throughout the event lifecycle. Not only does this save them time and money, but when all of your event technology can talk to each other and share data, it creates a more seamless experience for planners and attendees alike.