Like any consumer, you want to know the effect it’s going to have on your wallet. Of course, that depends on what you want to get out of your investment.
It’s like shoe shopping: Do you want the purple polka dot sandals, because you don’t have a pair of purple polka-dotted shoes yet and that’s clearly a need to be filled and (bonus!) they’re on sale? Or do you wish for the slightly more neutral brown flats that will go with nearly everything in your wardrobe?
This analogy is flawed because, of course, I want them both.
But let’s say you have to opt for just one, like with software. They each serve different purposes, are designed with different customers in mind, and carry different price tags.
You want this:
And definitely not this:
What’s the right pick? This post won’t help you choose shoes (I sure can’t – my closet is a testament to that), but it will make navigating software decisions easier. Keep in mind prices vary within each category depending on company and features – and, like shoes, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution – but this should give you a sense of how much event management software costs, and how to find the right fit.
Here are the different pricing models to consider:
A number of products (including big players Eventbrite and Eventzilla) are free to use for events that don’t charge admission. You get access to their features like an event page, online registration, mobile support, promotional tools, and reporting.
If your only needs are more limited, the ad-supported Evite lets you send online invitations (with a guest list limit of 750 per invitation) and keep track of RSVPs for free. There’s a premium version with more advanced design options, as well.
In addition, a lot of membership management software offer event registration and email contact abilities. Here’s a list of free and open source membership management tools that might suit your needs.
Pay Per Registration (Can Also Be Free)
Most event management software follows the pay-per-registrant model. You benefit by only paying for as many tickets as you sell.
Think of these like bright colored flip-flops – easy to slip on, a simple solution, except it’s not always flip-flop weather.
These tend to be user-friendly, but not customizable in terms of features or interface. Standard capabilities include online registration, payment processing, mobile tools, event pages, email communication, social media integration, and analytics.
There’s a range in price: Eventzilla charges $1 per registration for its full features, while RegOnline’s $3.95 per registration price tag includes unlimited free tech support, webinars, and venue search assistance for up to 999 customers.
Note that payment processing fees go on top of those rates, which are typically 2.5% to 5% per transaction.
For example, Eventbrite (which tops the list of the 20 most popular event management software according to Capterra research), charges 2.5% of the ticket price plus $.99 per ticket, as well as a 3% payment processing fee. All fees are capped at $9.95.
Don’t want to be left with the bill? All of those mentioned so far allow you to pass fees (or some portion thereof) on to attendees.
These products charge based on features, number of users, number of events, or length of time. Unlike most basic pay-per-registration products, these can also include set-up fees. The cost can range from $20 per month to more than $200.
Prices can vary within a solution, too. Regpack (whose system adapts to your existing design, has a form builder, and allows customers to use a payment plan) starts at $49 per administrator per month, for up to 200 applicants. It scales up to the Super level, at $249 per administrator per month, for up to 15,000 applicants.
Constant Contact’s EventSpot is another instance of software billed on a monthly basis, but its price is based on the number of events you hold. It costs $20 per month for up to one event, and goes to $150 per month for 41 or more events. It does invitations, landing pages, and social media, plus registration, payment processing, and reporting, and there are also nonprofit and pre-pay discounts from 10% to 30%.
This category is akin to those boots you splurged on that got you through the entire winter, slush and all. These more robust solutions are designed for larger-scale events and projects, suited for those expecting hundreds of guests.
These products are often designed for event industry professionals – not backyard concert organizers – with tools for housing and travel arrangements, financial records, vendor management, and more, packed into an all-in-one solution.
Most, like the popular event management platform from Cvent, is meant to power the event planning process from start to finish. It includes the functions of simpler models (registration, payment processing, reporting), but adds all-inclusive custom event websites, housing and travel management, on-site kiosk set-up, and more options.
Most software in this category is priced on an individual basis, so it’s tough to give a definitive range of costs. You could pay from $5,000 to hundreds of thousands of dollars annually, depending on the frequency and size of your events.
Some use the pay-per-registration model, where you can expect higher numbers (anywhere from $3 to $10 per registrant), though registration fees often decrease as the total attendees increase.
App creation can also incur an additional fee. For example, at the start of last year, the cost for Cvent’s mobile app was from $6,000 to $10,000, according to Forbes.
For a look at what’s out there by company, Event Manager Blog has put together a pricing table in its 2013 The Good Event Registration Guide.
Are there any pricing models we missed? Let us know in the comments below!
Looking for Event Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Event Management software solutions.