The Best Event Planning Apps & Tools
As event planning professionals, planning, managing, and executing events efficiently and strategically is our job. Event planning apps and software offer a wide range of features designed to streamline the event planning process, boost the event attendee experience, and encourage collaboration between colleagues and teams.
Technology has transformed how we approach the planning, organization, and execution of events. Before adopting a new event planning app or tool, you must define your needs and the needs of your organization or client. Do your research and compare the features of different apps and software. Determine your budget and planning timeline. While many high-quality free options are available, paid event planning apps and software may offer a broader range of features, capabilities, customization, and support (and, therefore, may be worth the investment!).
15 Must-Have Event Planning Apps & Tools
Here are 15 must-have event management apps and software options to streamline the event planning process and ensure event success.
Event Planning Apps for Registration & Ticketing
A seamless event attendee experience often starts with online registration. Many event planning apps offer customizable websites for registration. Through these platforms, event planners can showcase important event details such as the program agenda, speakers, and sponsors, collect attendee contact information and payment, send email invitations and registration confirmations, and access post-event reporting and analytics. Many event registration apps and software also offer on-site check-in tools.
Cvent is a popular event management platform that offers online event websites, registration, marketing, and venue selection. This platform provides event planners with tools to create and manage professional event websites and forms with a level of customization essential for larger, more complex events. Cvent offers multiple registration paths if your event has different guest or group, travel, and payment options, or other varying registration requirements. Through Cvent, event planners can send event-related emails and efficiently check-in attendees on-site. It also has a mobile app that allows event attendees to access event information and get real-time updates.
Eventbrite is another user-friendly platform that provides important tools for event registration, ticketing, and attendee engagement. However, it doesn’t offer the same level of detail and customization as Cvent. Therefore, Eventbrite might be more desirable for individual users and simple or free events (the tool is free when there is no registration or ticket fee).
RSVPify is another useful event planning app that assists with the registration and check-in process. It is an online RSVP and event software with unique features such as QR code-enabled check-in (no more paper tickets and confirmations!), seamless seating chart creation, and customizable event attendee communication templates.
Event Planning Apps for Floorplan Design & Seating
Floorplan configuration is another vital component of the event planning process. Floor plans provide a visual blueprint of the event venue’s space and how it will be configured. Allseated and Social Tables are planner tools to help effectively manage the event space. No matter the format of your event, these platforms assist event planners with the placement of tables, registration desks, food and beverage stations, tech booths, and more. They also help to create an essential visual of emergency exits and highlight areas of accessibility. Lastly, they can share to-scale floor plans with your team, client, and directly with the venues for review and collaboration.
Through virtual tour technology, Allseated helps make event floor plan design seamless. It is used to design floorplans to scale, create seating charts, manage guest lists, and create reports. AllSeated requires a paid subscription (though event planners can start with a limited number of free events to test the waters and ensure it is the right platform for them and their clients). All users within the same organization must be registered under one Allseated account.
5. Social Tables
Social Tables is another floorplan and seating arrangement tool for event planning professionals that strongly emphasizes communication. It offers real-time collaboration features that allow multiple planners to work on the same event simultaneously, which is vital in coordinating and communicating during the planning process.
Event Planning Apps for Fundraising
When an event has a fundraising component, having a platform to assist with fundraising and collecting donations is crucial. Event planning apps such as OneCause, GiveSmart, and Classy Live offer online bidding, auction management, tools for managing donation campaigns and annual appeals, and customizable event websites. They also provide vital tools for donor management, including tracking donations, dynamic reporting and analytics, and safe and secure payment processing. The Castle team is proud to work with many organizations with important and moving missions. Our job is to research and utilize the best event planning apps and software to ensure the success of their fundraising events.
OneCause specializes in fundraising event management, particularly at auctions, charity galas, and golf tournaments. The platform offers mobile bidding, guest registration and ticketing tools, and donation management. It also allows non-profit organizations to collect mobile donations through its Text2Give program and collects payments through SmartPay tools.
GiveSmart is an app that supports donations, pledges, and peer-to-peer fundraising. It also includes live streaming capabilities for virtual or hybrid events, and offers flexible, customizable features to support an organization’s online fundraising and donor management. The app supports mobile bidding and auctions through item management, self-checkout, and customizable bidding notifications (leading bids, “buy it now,” maximum bids, outbids, etc.). GiveSmart’s tools provide customizable event sites, text message communications to event attendees, secure payment processing, and reporting and analytics.
8. Classy Live
Classy Live is part of the overarching Classy platform, known for its online fundraising and donor management capabilities. It is designed for organizations looking to incorporate live streaming and virtual fundraising into their events. The platform offers customizable campaigns that are easy to use for both the administrator on the back end and the fundraising supporter.
The choice between these three platforms (among many others) depend on the event you are planning and its fundraising needs. If your event primarily focuses on auctions and fundraising, OneCause might be appropriate. GiveSmart typically offers a broader range of event management features for different types of events. Classy Live is ideal as a more comprehensive donor management platform.
Event Planning Apps for Communication & Collaboration
As event managers, communication and collaboration are crucial to event planning. With the increasing popularity of hybrid and remote work schedules (especially since the COVID-19 pandemic), we must work hard to collaborate as a team, bounce ideas off each other, and get quality “face time” with clients and vendors. While not explicitly designed for event management, tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and WhatsApp allow us to partner and collaborate with our clients. For Castle, these event planning tools help us enhance relationships, maintain constant communication, and keep the spirit of collaboration alive.
Zoom is a communications platform that allows users to connect by video, audio, phone, and chat. Event planners can use Zoom to schedule regular team meetings to discuss planning progress and share updates, conduct virtual meetings with clients and vendors, and virtually collaborate on all event features.
10. Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams is also designed as a comprehensive collaboration platform. It includes chat, file sharing, and integration with Microsoft 365 apps like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Microsoft Teams allows team members, clients, vendors, and venues to quickly check in, collaborate and communicate with each other.
WhatsApp is a messaging app that allows event planning professionals to enhance communication. Generally, WhatsApp is best used for brief updates, reminders, and announcements. Because WhatsApp has a large user base worldwide, event planning teams may consider using WhatsApp on-site at an event, especially when working with international event participants, clients, and vendors.
Event Planning Apps for Design & Inspiration
Event planning apps can also help with the “fun” stuff! What color linens will pop in the space? What kind of flowers will complement the theme of the event? What color lighting will enhance the look of the stage? What different décor options are available?
Pinterest is a valuable visual tool that allows event planners to gather inspiration, create and share images and idea “boards,” and bring event visions to life. With Pinterest, event planning professionals can create “pins” related to décor and desired ambiance and style. It also helps planners stay up to date on the latest event trends.
Canva is another way to get creative! It is a free-to-use graphic design tool where event planners can create event flyers, design logos and social media graphics, create event invitations and programs, and establish an event’s visual identity. Canva offers a wide range of design tools and templates, which makes it accessible to all event planners.
Event Planning Apps for Social Media
It’s vital to share! Whether spreading the word about an event to drum up interest and promote registration, showcasing in real time what is happening at an event, or sharing stories of success, social media (when used efficiently, smartly, and appropriately) is key.
Instagram can be a spectacular event planning tool. At Castle, it is essential to our work to share interesting and relevant content. We use Instagram stories to share “behind the scenes” work, client successes, interesting tidbits from an event speaker or facilitator, and captivating event images.
LinkedIn is another useful vehicle to share educational content from events, showcase event highlights, promote events, and share thought leadership pieces. In addition to sharing content, LinkedIn is also a hub for event planning professionals to connect and network with each other.
Want to learn more about event planning apps and software?
Event tech has reshaped the current event landscape and how we plan. To learn more about our methods and how we utilize event planning apps and software to plan and execute flawless events for our clients, check out Castle’s website or contact Castle’s Event Management team for support.