Struggling to manage your events smoothly? Check out these top three free and open source event management solutions for some help.
Imagine this: You’re using a free event management software platform to manage your event. You’ve used it for event planning, registering event attendees, and payment processing. But, now it’s two days before the event, and you need to send a reminder email to all your registered attendees—but the software doesn’t offer that feature.
Failing to send a reminder email can result in a lot of no-shows to the event, simply because it slipped their minds. Had you evaluated the software more thoroughly before choosing it, this situation could have been avoided.
There are several open source and free event management systems on the market. However, finding a planning tool that meets all your needs as an event planner requires an evaluation of its features. To help you do that, we have prepared this list of the best open source and free solutions, in alphabetical order. To be considered for this list, the software had to offer at least the following functionalities:
- Enable organizers to create an event page or website with details such as location and times.
- Allow event registration so attendees can sign up or buy tickets/passes.
Other important event management features include attendee management, barcode/QR scanning, event website management, event marketing, and an event management app. However, these features were not considered “must have” for the software included in this list.
What do we mean by “best”? Each of the three tools included in this article has been taken from our Top 20 event management software report for 2020. For more details on how we selected these products, you can review our methodology at the bottom.*
Odoo Events is an open source event management platform that offers features for all stages of the event planning process. Event organizers can use it to design and set up an event website or page, organize and schedule multiple subevents, and manage attendee registrations. You can also use it for event marketing via email and integrations with social media, search engine optimization (SEO) tools, and Google Analytics.
The software integrates with other Odoo applications, such as Website Builder, Blogs, CRM, and Email Marketing. Given the platform’s open source architecture, you’ll need to take the costs of deployment into account. You can choose to host it on-premise if you already have the necessary infrastructure or budget to build it up. Otherwise, you can choose to host it on Odoo’s Cloud Platform for a custom price or with a third-party cloud provider.
Here’s what reviewers on Capterra say about Odoo:
Cost to upgrade: If you’d like to integrate with other Odoo tools, that costs starts at $4/month. Without integration with other Odoo tools, it is free.
Mobile apps: Not available (Odoo integrates with third-party vendors for event-related apps and app integrations).
Most suitable for: An event manager or planner of recurring events with a mass audience, such as sports leagues, music festivals, and auto shows.
Highly rated by: 85% of Odoo’s reviewers came from small businesses, 9% from midsize businesses, and 7% from large businesses.
RSVPify is an end-to-end event management platform for in-person and virtual events. It offers features such as guest list management, ticketing, and embeddable RSVP forms for attendee registration. It also offers a drag-and-drop seating chart maker to plan optimal seating, menu options to allow guests to share meal choices and dietary needs, and age-verification for events that have age-restrictions.
In addition to other common event planning tool features such as a check-in system and digital invitations, the solution also offers secondary events. This allows event professionals to invite select guests to secondary events such as rehearsal dinners or a post-conference VIP dinner. The free version of the solution is cloud-based and allows advanced access for up to 100 guests.
Here’s what reviewers on Capterra say about RSVPify:
Cost to upgrade: Starts at $29 for a premium plan or 1.95% + $.90 per ticket for ticketed events.
Mobile apps: Only available for iOS.
Most suitable for: Organizers of small community events such as office parties, corporate events, or small-scale performance events.
Highly rated by: 73% of RSVPify’s reviewers came from small businesses, 15% from midsize businesses, and 13% from large businesses.
Splash is an event management and marketing solution for in-person and virtual events. It offers a range of design features, as well as branded templates to create event collaterals and registration pages. It also offers invitation automation for custom and personalized event invites, reminders, updates, and follow-ups.
Splash also offers custom data dashboards and event analytics to help you better understand and analyze the performance of the event. You can also channel the data you have toward marketing by segmenting your audience by social influence, engagement, location, and more. The free plan for Splash is cloud-based and only offers features for guest registration, templates and design, and event promotion.
Here’s what reviewers on Capterra say about Splash:
Cost to upgrade: Starting $9,500 per year for a basic plan for small businesses and teams.
Mobile apps: Available for iOS and Android.
Most suitable for: Organizers of small scale performance events, especially if you’re looking at some in-person and some virtual attendance.
Highly rated by: 16% of Splash’s reviewers came from small businesses, 24% from midsize businesses, and 60% from large businesses.
Selecting event management or event planning software can be an overwhelming experience. There are various factors to consider, such as number of attendees, feature requirements, and hosting. Therefore, it is always a good idea to thoroughly explore a few solutions before choosing one.
To help you better evaluate event management solutions, here are some important points to keep in mind:
- Size of events you plan to host: While some free solutions are equipped to handle hundreds and even thousands of attendees, others might cap the attendees at 100. Before you choose a solution, know the size of the crowd you intend to cater to, and choose accordingly.
- Marketing and promotions needs: Online marketing is an integral part of selling tickets for your events. While some tools let you do various marketing activities within the system, others integrate with third-party tools for marketing automation and promotional activities. Explore marketing-related functions of the tool thoroughly before choosing one.
- Deployment options: In cloud-based deployment, the vendor is responsible for hosting the solution and taking care of any maintenance. You can choose a plan priced on a per-user per-month or per-attendee basis. On the other hand, with on-premise deployment, the responsibility of hosting and maintaining the solution lies with you. You might need technical expertise to host it. Choose a deployment model that you are technically as well as financially equipped for.
- Experience of other users: Find out what the users of a tool have to say about it. Watch out for any common problems users are facing and what kind of customer support the tool offers. You can read user reviews on Capterra to learn more.
Product selection methodology
We shortlisted all products in the Capterra Top 20 Event Management Software report for 2020. From this list, we evaluated each product to find one that was free. We classify a product as free if:
- It offers a stand-alone free version of the software.
- This version is not a trial version of the software that requires you to purchase the product after a set period of time.
All the products that met the criteria were included in the article.
Note: The listed pros and cons are derived from features listed on the product website and product user reviews on Gartner Digital Markets domains (Capterra, GetApp, and Software Advice). They do not represent the views of, nor constitute an endorsement by, Capterra or its affiliates.
*This was the rating on the product’s Capterra page as of October 30, 2020.
Looking for Event Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Event Management software solutions.