Events are becoming bigger and more extravagant than ever – even for presidential inaugurations! According to BizBash, the 2009 presidential inauguration had a budget of $63 million. Also, the countless balls and other events surrounding the inauguration hosted more than 27,000 guests.
Even if your events aren’t this large, it’s still important to ensure all moving parts are running smoothly – from the invitations, to promotions and ticketing. Event planners shouldn’t manage with spreadsheets and notepads…they should seamlessly track operations with event management software on their tablets, smartphones, and laptops.
If you’ve just begun your software search, I’m sure you have realized the list of Event Management Systems is immense. But don’t worry, we wanted to help out by narrowing it down and finding those top systems that are the easiest to use!
This research is part of our series of Top 20 reports. When ranking solutions, we consider usability (how easy a system is to use), available customer services (for when you’re stumped), and reviews from actual users of the different solutions in our report.
Usability is calculated through direct user testing. We determine common tasks that are representative of how most organizations would use a system to manage events. We then measure how many seconds and clicks it takes our team, on average, to complete these tasks in an event management system.
- Create and schedule event
- Add contact
- Email contact
- Register contact
- Check-in attendee
- Generate report
We tested all event management solutions made available to us, performing each task two times in every system. In the first round, we completed the task without accessing any training, testing intuitiveness. In the second round, we followed training materials provided by the software company, testing learnability.
Here’s how fast the Top 20 event management systems stack up:
The average task completion time for all the event management systems we tested was 37 seconds, which is not bad. However, out of our Top 20 Most User-Friendly solutions, the average task completion time was 32 seconds. Any amount of time saved is precious time that event planners can devote to guests…every second counts!
There’s one important factor to consider – speed isn’t everything. Getting the job done as fast as possible may be crucial to some event organizers, while others may be searching for more robust functionality. For example, some of the solutions we tested allowed us to create an event webpage and customize the invitations; it may have taken more time to complete the task, but allowed for more creativity and elaboration. Similar to any major purchase, it’s important to look at the big picture and not solely on one factor.
In addition to usability, we wanted to address another very important aspect, customer service. Strong, effective customer service is crucial when implementing and learning a new system, as well as providing reliable support if bugs/issues arise later down the road. To calculate this metric, we evaluated available implementation resources, training offered by the software vendor, and how many different methods a user could get in touch with the company’s support team if they had questions. The factors we tracked are listed below:
- Mobile compatibility
- API access
- Social Media
- Calendar integration
- CRM integration
- iOS and Android app for event planners
- Website integration
- Landing page creation
- Email marketing integration
- Google analytics integration
- Articles or training documents
- Free demo
- Training webinar
- On-site training
- Free trial
- Via email or help desk
- Through links to a knowledge base or FAQ page
- Over the phone
- Through live chat
To encompass the voice of the customers, we included customer reviews, specifically regarding “ease of use” and “customer service”. These reviews contribute to our evaluation by providing real world experience on a software product’s performance and insight into the level of customer service. Reviews data was gathered from Capterra’s website and our sister companies, Software Advice’s and GetApp’s, sites. We factored in the total number of reviews a system had and their customers’ average star ratings across all three entities.
This report was designed for you, the buyer, to get the ball rolling in your event management software search. The list of solutions is very long and this research barely scrapes the surface; that’s why it’s so important for you to continue exploring the market. One great way to find the perfect system for your organization is to get your hands dirty and sign up for free trials and demos!
Two other reports Capterra created that you can use to compare are the Top 20 Most Popular and Top 20 Most Affordable Event Management Software reports. They were created to help answer the questions “What is everyone else using?” and “Which is the best bang for your buck?”.
Another aspect you may want to explore – the event management software space is producing exciting, cutting-edge features! Industry trends include augmented reality and facial recognition, which allow event organizers and guests to engage more with each other and interact with their surroundings at the event. These features could potentially add another layer of functionality on top of core operations.
What do you think? Did we miss anyone? Let us know! We plan on updating this report annually.
Looking for Event Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Event Management software solutions.