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 used it to create an event page for promotions, and you registered attendees with it. 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 free and open source solutions on the market. However, finding a tool that meets all your needs requires an evaluation of its features. To help you do that, we have prepared this list of the best free and open source solutions. 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 attendees to register for events and/or buy tickets/passes.
Other important event management features include attendee management, barcode/QR scanning, email marketing, and mobile apps. However, these features were not requirements for inclusion in this list.
What do we mean by “best”? Each of the three tools included in this article has had a minimum user rating of four out of five on Capterra’s software directory in the past year. For more details on how we selected these products, you can review our methodology here.
3 best free and open source event management software
Allevents.in is an event discovery and online ticketing platform that doubles as an event management tool. The platform helps you tap into an existing base of event-goers online and reach audiences more quickly than setting up a web page from scratch would.
In its free service, the tool offers event listing and ticketing, as well as 200 email credits that can be used to send promotional emails to attendees (one email credit = one email).
The tool helps organizers bring their events to local audiences with dozens of city pages—spanning 18 countries—that list events happening in each locale. When users open the platform on a browser or mobile app, they are automatically shown the events in their location; they can also choose to view events in other cities.
Here’s what reviewers on Capterra say about Allevents.in:
Cost to upgrade: Cost estimates not provided by the vendor; plans are customizable depending on buyer needs.
Most suitable for: Organizers of one-time or recurring events that want to reach a mass audience. These can include food festivals, book readings, auto shows, dance festivals, and cultural festivals.
Highly rated by: In 2018 and 2019, all Allevents.in’s reviewers came from small businesses (fewer than 200 employees) spread across a mix of industries, including event services, entertainment, arts and crafts, and music.
Eventleaf is a tool that allows you to create and promote event pages, as well as register attendees and sell tickets. The free version of the tool allows you to register up to 100 attendees per year, regardless of the number of events. It also allows you to build event websites and set up marketing campaigns for events.
While Eventleaf is primarily a cloud-based tool, the vendor also offers a desktop version. The desktop version functions while offline and syncs with the cloud version when connectivity is reestablished.
Here’s what reviewers on Capterra say about Eventleaf:
Cost to upgrade: There are three paid plans: Basic ($1 per attendee), Professional ($2 per attendee), and Ultimate (custom pricing).
Mobile app: Not available.
Most suitable for: Organizers of one-time or recurring events with a niche audience. These can include trade shows, corporate training events, seminars, networking events, and conferences.
Highly rated by: In 2018 and 2019, 64% of Eventleaf’s reviewers came from small businesses (fewer than 200 employees), 18% from midsize (201 to 1,000 employees), and 18% from large businesses (over 1,000 employees). Reviewers are spread across a mix of industries.
3. Odoo Events
Odoo Events is open source software that offers features for all stages of the event planning process. You can use it to design and set up events pages, organize and schedule events on an event calendar, and manage attendee registrations. You can also use it to promote events via email marketing; integrate with social media, SEO tools, and Google Analytics; and do online and offline ticket sales.
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: The tool is available for free.
Mobile apps: Not available (Odoo integrates with third-party vendors for event-related apps and app integrations).
Most suitable for: Organizers of recurring events with a mass audience, such as sports leagues, music festivals, and auto shows.
Highly rated by: In 2018 and 2019, 82% of Odoo’s reviewers came from small businesses (fewer than 200 employees), 10% from midsize businesses (201 to 1,000 employees), and 8% from large businesses (over 1,000 employees). Reviewers are spread across a mix of industries, including sports, telecommunications, and marketing and advertising.
Selecting event management 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 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.
If you are currently using an event management tool, or have used one in the past, feel free to share your experience with us in the comments below.
For more information on event management tools, check out the following resources:
Products considered in this list must be free. We classify a product as free if:
- It offers a stand-alone free version of the software.
- This is not a trial version of the software where you must purchase the product after a set period of time.
The products that met the above criteria were then evaluated against our event management software definition: Event management software automates marketing, registration, coordination, and scheduling of events. Allowing users to register or buy tickets, event scheduling, and attendee management were considered core features when evaluating the products. Any other features were considered a bonus.
Solutions that met the market definition also needed a minimum of 10 reviews published on the event management software category page between Sept. 20, 2018 and Sept. 20, 2019. During the same period, the product had to also have a rating higher than 4.0 out of 5. The three solutions that met all the above criteria have been included in this article.
Note: 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.
Looking for Event Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Event Management software solutions.