Venues use event management software to simplify their logistics and make event planning run a whole lot more smoothly. However, relying on separate calendars, email threads, spreadsheets, and documents can be a total headache. There are so many moving parts you need to stay on top of, which is why event management software is a must.
The right event management software will save loads of time and effort while improving the way your business deals with clients. But, in an expanding industry with a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 14.9%, you can bet that the market is competitive. So, how do you know which solution is best for managing your event and venue?
Follow this guide for everything you need to know about choosing the best event management software to streamline your business.
What is Event Management Software?
Event management software provides tools to help event managers at restaurants and venues plan, execute, and track event success for their business. It improves how they manage their venue and streamlines operations with event planners.
A lot goes into managing event bookings and providing a seamless experience for customers. An event management platform is designed to save time, automate manual processes, provide valuable insights and improve the experience that clients have with venues.
Various software solutions exist, each one offering something slightly different. However, the main idea behind these platforms is that they provide a dashboard where you can access all event planning and venue management functions.
This includes a central calendar that makes it easy to review bookings, tools to improve communication with leads and clients, the ability to create branded documents, and more. In addition, as there’s so much that goes into event planning, software solutions exist to unify all of the information and processes into one centralized place, streamlining the entire event lifecycle.
What to Look for in Event Management Software
There are many different options available when it comes to event management software. Each solution has specific features, so it’s essential to understand the unique needs of your business before choosing a platform.
Also, keep in mind that some platforms act as all-in-one solutions, while others focus on only a few aspects of event management.
If you’re looking for something that will work across the entire event lifecycle, here are some of the most critical considerations and features to keep in mind:
- Centralized calendar: This is essential for being able to access all of your event dates and information in one place.
- Documents and proposals: Event management solutions often come with tools and templates to create professional proposals and documents, like BEOs. These documents can be automatically generated and sent out to customers.
- Data insights: Event management platforms store all your event and venue data, so these tools should provide meaningful analytics reports and insights.
- Communication tools: Functions like centralized email threads with email templates are useful for staying on top of communications with clients and prospects. This can be enhanced with things like automatic email updates and reminders.
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM): Some event management software includes a CRM to make it easier to understand your prospects, nurture leads, and develop stronger customer relationships.
- Online bookings: Events tools could include functions for accepting online bookings and payments.
- Integrations: Integrations add functionality to your software and allow you to connect systems to create a more holistic software experience.
While these are a few core features to consider with event management software, many platforms exist with different areas of specialization. This could include website services, restaurant reservations, staff management tools, etc.
Best Event Management Software In 2022
Here, we’ve taken a deep dive into some of the top event management systems to help you find the right one for your business.
1. Perfect Venue
Perfect Venue is a comprehensive event management software solution for independent restaurants, venues, and hospitality groups. The platform includes everything you need to streamline event management, save time, and ultimately increase sales.
With Perfect Venue, venue managers can organize everything in one place. The platform includes a centralized calendar, a list of team tasks, an analytics dashboard, and insights into specific event details.
Additionally, Perfect Venue includes an email dashboard, where teams can effortlessly access and control email threads with individual guests. This includes one-click email templates to save time while still sending personalized responses.
Another excellent feature of Perfect Venue is the platform’s automatic documents tool. Event managers can automatically create BEOs and any other relevant PDF documents. Built-in templates make it easy to create fast, professional proposals, contracts, or invoices, whenever you need them.
Best of all, the interface is modern and user-friendly. Perfect Venue includes all the features any venue needs to improve event management. The platform also offers integrations with all of your business's major tools, such as Quickbooks, Gmail, The Knot, Tock, and WordPress.
If you’re interested, you can try Perfect Venue for free. There is also a free plan available with the essential features to get started. Paid plans start from $59/month and plans are available with no added credit card processing fees.
- Central events calendar and dashboard
- Easy email threads with automatic templates
- Digital proposals and documents tool
- Real-time analytics
- Automation for repetitive tasks (BEOs, proposals, reminder emails, etc.)
- Integrations and payment processing
- Free trial, free plan, and demo available
- User-friendly and affordable
Tripleseat is guest and event management software designed for the hospitality industry. The platform provides tools to streamline event management and bookings for larger hotels and chains.
As an all-in-one event and venue management software platform, you can track the entire event process from lead generation through to accepting payments and requesting customer feedback.
Just like Perfect Venue, Tripleseat includes a centralized platform where event managers can handle all of their tasks. This consists of a centralized bookings calendar, a documents tool, sales and event reporting, and a guest portal for e-signatures and payments.
Tripleseat has been around since 2008, and so it includes a pretty extensive set of tools and features. This is great for venues that need a lot of functions and insights for event management. However, it also means the system can be quite complex to navigate, and certain features may go untouched.
Cost-wise, Tripleseat can land up being as much as $3,000 annually after add-ons, integrations, and users are totaled. Tripleseat also charges additional credit card processing fees that cut into your revenue. The platform is also missing a free trial and the onboarding process can take weeks.
- Central bookings calendar
- Branded documents and proposals
- Automatic tasks
- Sales and event reporting
- Hotel booking and sales solution
- Online venue listing directory
- Catering and event booking tool
3. Planning Pod
Planning Pod is another all-in-one event management platform for venues and event organizers. Large venues, conference centers, hotels, and event venues with more than one sales manager use it to access complex functionality.
With three main products and 22 tools, it’s a large platform that takes some getting used to. The dashboard offers an overview of your to-do lists, appointments, contacts, and event information in one destination.
Perhaps its most notable feature is the floor plan product that allows you to create and customize event layouts. You can also build custom event webpages, launch online registration forms, collect payments, and create tickets. There is prospecting and billing management functionality available too.
In short, in addition to providing organizational tools, Planning Pod can also assist with event marketing and attendance.
On pricing, Planning Pod starts at $1,000 per year - but most customers may much more as they charge fees for having more events in the system, with additional credit card processing fees. Unless you’re using the floor plan features, it’s a considerable amount to pay for tools you might not use.
- Project management tools
- Event layout and design tool
- Attendee and registration management
- Prospecting and billing management
- Collaboration and communication tools
- Event booking and scheduling calendar
Gather was one of the best event management software solutions in its day. Unfortunately, it’s no longer an option for venues as they were merged with Tripleseat in 2020. Today, the two technologies have combined underneath the Tripleseat name and continue to provide software for event managers and venues in the hospitality industry.
- Calendar view and integrations
- In-app emails, including templates and automations
- Secure payment processing
- Document templates
- Event analytics
EventPro360 is a cloud-based event management platform. Although not limited to these, the solution was initially designed as event planning software for golf courses, country clubs, entertainment centers, and banquet venues.
The platform offers OK customer engagement solutions through features such as the CRM, event data and reporting, and an accessible events dashboard. Venues can use this to schedule and record interactions with leads and clients, receive automated email reminders about essential event updates, and create custom calendars.
A useful feature of EventPro360 is the fully customizable drop-down list ability. Venues and event planning professionals can create accessible item lists, menu lists, and document templates. They can also add taxes and services charges to documents.
While EventPro360 is an established software solution, it doesn’t include as many features as other all-in-one platforms. Being an older solution, it is very dated and can take awhile to train new team members on.
Annual pricing starts at $125/month and a free trial is available.
- Customizable drop-down lists
- Custom event calendars
- Customer relationship management tools
- Smart reporting
- Documents tool
If you run a catering company, you will likely have come across Caterease. It’s one of the industry’s most well-known event planning and catering software solutions. The platform offers tools to help caterers, venues, and event planners save time and improve the event experience.
The event planning software includes assisted event booking tools and automatic reminders and checklists to save time and improve productivity. There is a centralized calendar and real-time dashboards that display your event information.
Caterers enjoy this platform because it includes automatically scalable recipes, a venue selection checklist, automatic packing lists, and an event staff selection tool. You can also use the platform to create custom event documents and prints.
On the downside, Caterease isn’t your typical event management tool. The platform may lack certain functionality that you have to pay extra for. The user experience is also very dated compared with other options on the market.
You can get a free trial on Caterease. From there on out, plans start at $68/month, but you’ll be nickle-and-dimed for other features like integrating into your website and often easily pay upwards of $200/month or more. Plus, you can expect to pay a setup fee and will be charged for additional users, tools, and add-ons.
- Event booking function
- Automatic reminders and checklists
- Automatic recipe lists
- Custom event documents tool
- Lead management tools
- Analytics dashboard
7. BentoBox (Event Management Add-On)
BentoBox offers an event management tool that is less of a complete event management solution and more of a restaurant-focused website builder. However, it does have an event software add-on. So, we have included it in this list as a tool for hospitality venues to grow their online presence and improve how they manage events, bookings, and clients.
Broadly speaking, BentoBox offers two solutions: a restaurant-first website design service and online ordering functionality. Within those solutions, it has various tools and features to support the platform.
Although the platform has a more substantial offering for marketing and sales tools, the event planning software provides limited functionality. You can view a simple list of upcoming events and see basic event information.
However, if you're looking for a tool with a centralized calendar view, automated documents, payment processing, and email thread communications, you will need a different event management system.
As a ballpark, expect to pay upward of $119/month for just the event add-on in addition to your subscription.
- Venue website design
- Automated marketing tools
- Actionable data insights
- Online ordering and event bookings
HoneyBook leans toward being a more generic project management platform. It’s not specifically an event management software solution, but you can customize it to perform the functions you need. For example, you can set up online payments, automate tasks, schedule events, and create proposals, contracts, and invoices.
The downside of customizing every aspect of your software is that it takes a considerable amount of effort and time to set everything up the way you want it. Functions can be complex to navigate, and event-specific integrations and language may be missing in general.
HoneyBook pricing starts at $39/month. While this is one of the more affordable options on the list, it comes at the price of your time to set up. You’re also not able to perform specific functions related to events - for example, generate BEOs, charge cards on file, and manage space availability.
- Unique, customized event management system
- Automated online invoicing and quotations
- Online contracts and proposals
- Scheduling tools
9. Total Party Planner
Total Party Planner’s cloud-based catering software simplifies sales and manages operations for caterers and banquet managers. Using it, you can create proposals, draw up back-of-house reports, and manage the finer details of your event.
The dashboard appears dated, but has features to track event details, allocate tasks to the team, generate costings, and view reports. There is also a CRM where you can track leads and communicate with prospects or clients. However, Total Party Planner lacks modern features that many new event management tools have like online payments and a mobile-friendly user experience.
Although there is no free trial available, you can demo the software before signing up. There is a once-off setup fee to use the platform, and plans start at $65/month.
- Banquet management
- Central calendar view
- Online billing and payment processing
- Analytics and reports
- Kitchen and menu management
- Internal collaboration and communications tools
10. Event Temple
Event Temple offers hotel and venue management software that simplifies client dealings and event management. The platform is designed to save venues time while creating a better customer experience. This is achieved through a range of sales and relationship management tools.
Event Temple includes a venue CRM, a hotel prospector tool, and sales and catering tools. Venue managers can use the software to generate digital proposals, create sales pipelines, send automatic follow-ups and BEO confirmations, and access analytics reporting.
The platform also has tools for invoicing and payments, email, chain management, and automated workflows. It’s a comprehensive solution to help venues make more sales, nurture prospects, and improve how they deal with clients. This is reflected in its price, which starts at $99/month for two users.
- Pipeline and CRM
- Event management tools
- Digital invoicing
- Chain management
- Hotel group sales
Notable Mention - OpenTable
OpenTable doesn’t provide a full-service platform to streamline venue management and event planning. Instead, it is a combined restaurant reservations and management tool. We have included it on this list as a notable mention because the reservation software complements most event management platforms to make for an optimal event booking process.
The platform has an app that customers use to discover venues and make online bookings. And venues use OpenTable to build their online reputation, promote online visibility, and enhance the guest experience.
Looking at this in more detail from the venue perspective - venues use the platform to manage bookings and build a CRM. From the OpenTable dashboard, you can view information about guests, access tools for staff and table management, and stay on top of reservations in real-time. These insights help to shape the guest experience as you can provide diners with unique offers that drive loyalty.
But perhaps the biggest reason why restaurants use OpenTable is to get in front of its large user base and increase visibility online. The app is widely used by diners to search for nearby restaurants and read reviews. If you’re listed on the app, you can potentially send this traffic to your restaurant.
OpenTable’s basic plan starts free. After 30 days, you pay $1.50 per network cover. However, you are looking at upwards of $249/month for full-fledged functionality and features.
- Easy online reservations tool
- A bookings app for customers
- Access to a large network of diners
- Marketing and customer relationships tools
If you want to stay ahead of the competition and manage your event more efficiently, you need to use the right software. An event management platform takes the stress out of planning and executing events. The right solution should help you get more clients and ensure you provide a seamless customer experience along the way.
That’s a wrap from us as Perfect Venue. If you want to try out our platform for free, go ahead - you won't be disappointed. The software is easy to use, full of functionality and helps you win more customers.