Apart from the many affordable event management systems available today, there are plenty of free event management software options for event professionals. These can be total game changers for your business.
Using spreadsheets and manual processes to manage your venue and events can slow down your business growth. And with software getting more affordable, there’s really no excuse not to get your hands on some great tech.
Free solutions are ideal when you don’t have the budget or aren't sure about committing to a new software platform. You can try the software's core features without any risk or financial impact. Generally, these free event management tools also offer paid plans that give you more advanced features and functions.
Before you choose an event management solution, it's always a good idea to know what free options you can experiment with first. For the purposes of this article, we’re going to focus on ten top picks that hospitality groups, restaurants, caterers, breweries, hotels, and unique venues will find helpful.
What is Event Management Software?
Event management software provides the tools that event and venue managers need to plan and execute successful events. This includes tools that automate event processes, streamline operations, and enhance communication.
Typically you can expect to find features such as events calendars, communication tools, document templates, and payment processing on these apps. A central dashboard provides a place to oversee your event management tasks and keep all stakeholders up to date in real time.
In general, these platforms centralize the information and processes involved in event and venue management across the event lifecycle. Free systems give you a glimpse into the software’s functionality and allow you to test whether they’re a fit for your business.
10 Best Free Event Management Software Options
1. Perfect Venue
Top of the list is Perfect Venue, a comprehensive all-in-one event management platform for unique venues, including restaurants, wineries, entertainment venues, and hospitality groups. Perfect Venue offers an impressive free version that allows anyone to get started with event venue management.
What’s great about this is that it’s a free-forever plan and not a limited-time free version, which is often the case when you’re not paying for software. As a result, you can take your time testing the features and user experience to ensure the platform is a good fit before committing to it.
On the free plan, you get the essential features, including a CRM, proposals, free BEO templates, and payment processing. Besides those, you can also list your venue on Perfect Venue’s marketplace, where you can potentially get it in front of people interested in hiring event space.
Two other key features on the free plan are analytics and integrations. Event managers can automatically generate detailed insights into their event performance in real time. And with a wide range of software integrations, it's easy to fit Perfect Venue into your existing workflow. Connect your Gmail, Outlook, QuickBooks, OpenTable, Tock, Wedding Wire, BentoBox, and WordPress, to name a few.
From a user perspective, the interface is modern and easy to use. If you get stuck on anything, there is email support and a help center with tutorials to guide you.
The free plan offers the basics to get you started with unlimited users in one location. But there’s very valuable functionality on the paid plans. They start from $59 per month and pack your toolbox with features such as task management, calendar view, e-sign option, ACH processing, and multi-day events.
- Central events calendar and dashboard
- Digital proposals and documents tool
- Real-time analytics
- Integrations and payment processing
- Free trial, free plan, and demo available
- User-friendly and affordable
2. Social Tables
Social Tables is event planning software with floor planning, event diagramming, and sales and catering CRM solutions for event organizers. The platform offers several free tools, so it’s easy to fit into your existing workflow without any risk or investment.
Without paying for the software, you’ll get access to a venue search engine, seating software, diagramming software, and guest check-in tools. In general, these are useful if you want to create floor plans and optimize seating arrangements.
Also, note that you can only use the tools to support one active event and a single floor plan at a time.
- Interactive floor plans
- Event diagramming
- Sales and catering CRM
- Event planning tools
Odoo is open-source software that provides an integrated all-in-one solution for managing various business functions. This includes the Odoo events module, which event managers can use to cover stages of the event planning process.
Signing up for this module on its own will give you free access, as your first app is free on Odoo. You’ll only pay if you install more than one. Also, note that you’ll be limited to cloud-based software and need to pay for on-premise deployment.
Using Odoo, you can create event landing pages and websites, manage attendees, and run multiple events simultaneously. There’s also a calendar function that is helpful for staying on top of upcoming tasks and event details.
However, we can’t help but notice that the platform lacks certain features event spaces need, like custom proposals and event documentation.
When it comes to integrations, you can connect to Odoo’s app ecosystem, Google Analytics, SEO tools, email software, and social media platforms to help measure the impact of your event marketing efforts.
- Attendee management
- Mobile registration
- Talk proposal management
- Drag-and-drop landing page editor
- Email marketing
Asana is not event management software - it’s a general project management tool. This means it doesn’t offer unique features for event planners and venue managers, like custom event documents, event invoicing, floor plans, or catering tools.
However, the basic plan that offers free project management tools has plenty of helpful features for event venue managers. So, if you’re looking for free software to complement your existing event management software tools, Asana could be a good choice.
Bigger hospitality groups with multiple locations to manage may find Asana handy, as you can set up unlimited tasks for an unlimited number of events. There’s also an activity log, and you can assign tasks and due dates to help track who’s doing what.
A calendar view helps your team keep sight of what’s coming up in the pipeline and have a complete event overview. IOS and Android apps are available, along with integrations with the third-party apps you already use.
- Task management
- Mobile app
- Timelines and calendars
- Communication and collaboration functions
MeetingHand is an online event planning platform with features for planning, organizing, and marketing events. You can use the software to set up your event website, market your event, and manage event registration. There are also ticketing and attendee management features.
MeetingHand has a central dashboard that displays custom reports. There are also tools that allow you to send push notifications to your audience or offer online chat functionality.
In general, the tools are ideal for engaging directly with guests and improving the way you promote events. However, the platform can be pretty limited for venue managers who want to enhance task management and operational duties surrounding events.
Note that MeetingHand is only free to a certain point. When signing up, you’ll receive $150 worth of credits to use on the platform.
Once you’ve burned through the credits, you access the platform on a pay-as-you-go basis without monthly billing. Billing is worked out at $2.99 per registration. At this point, even if you don’t have any active registrations, you can continue using certain solutions for free.
- Event registration
- Event abstract management tools
- Virtual events
- Event marketing
FLOOR offers tools to market and monetize your events with virtual communities. While it isn’t necessarily the most extensive free event management software for venues, it can help you streamline some of your operations with handy event management tools.
You can support up to 50 attendees per event on the free version, making it better suited to smaller venues. If you want to update to a paid plan, the Basic version starts at $150 per quarter.
This cloud-based software offers features like an event website creator, event marketing tools, audience management tools, live streaming, and booking and ticketing functionality. It also provides data on events to help you determine how successful your events are.
Besides those, you can access mobile apps, remote audience interaction tools, and tools to promote events across multiple channels.
Overall, FLOOR’s features are geared more toward event planners, so it may not be the best event management software. But there are useful features for ticket sales and online registration if you need them.
- Social conferencing
- Community event platform
- Automated communication
- Real-time analytics
- Custom branding
- Marketing tools
Eventee is a cloud-based platform that offers event management and engagement features at in-person, virtual, and hybrid events. The free version supports up to 100 attendees at one event per year, which is quite limiting. Any more than that, and you’ll need one of the paid plans starting at $999 annually.
Without paying, you can access the mobile and web apps for attendees, live questions, live polling, as well post on an event newsfeed. Only one team member can use the platform, and although you get basic analytics, event data is only available for one month.
So, as you can see, the main drawcard for Eventee is the attendee engagement tools. Over and above that, it lacks many of the great venue management features hospitality venues typically need, such as BEOs and event documents or automated task lists.
- Event homepages
- Web app and mobile app
- Networking tool
- Live feedback
- Live polls
- Ticketing system integrations
Cvent is cloud-based event technology with solutions for event planners and marketers. Its key features focus on budget management, event planning, online ticketing, and analytics. Notably, there are helpful tools for managing attendee engagement.
Integrations and automations help to streamline your workflows. You can connect to the likes of Google Analytics, HubSpot, Oracle, Salesforce, and Zoom to extend the functionality of your event management system.
Although Cvent doesn’t have a free version as such, anyone can sign up and build and launch events without being billed. You only pay for the registrations you capture from that point on.
- Event marketing and management
- Venue management tools
- Planner and venue connection tool
- Event budgeting
- Event insights and engagement scoring
9. Zoho Backstage
Zoho Backstage offers a solid events management platform to help organizers streamline their tasks. The platform helps you create an online presence for your events through an event website builder with pre-built themes and templates. This makes it a great tool for spreading awareness around an event and increasing your reach.
Zoho Backstage also offers ticketing and event registration, sponsorship management, and a dashboard to track important event metrics. Plus, there’s a module for hosting virtual events.
Unlike many other free event management software options, Zoho Backstage’s free subscription is relatively comprehensive. You can run unlimited events with 100 attendees per event, and it’s not lacking features.
While Zoho Backstage is excellent for building events, it falls short of functionality for efficient venue management. For example, there are no task automation tools, no central events calendar, and no tools for creating event documents and proposals.
- Website builder
- Session management tools
- Real-time event analytics
- Webcasting software
- Check-in and badging solutions
Eventbrite’s software caters to several industries, including the food and beverage industry. It’s more of an event planning tool than venue management, but if you mainly want to sell tickets, engage diners, and have a small team, this simple solution might do the trick.
Event organizers can create branded event listings, target the right patrons, and engage their community using Eventbrite’s tools. There is also secure payment processing, customizable emails, and waitlists to help sales and fill seats.
Important to note is that Eventbrite is only free if you’re hosting a free or charity event. If you’re selling tickets, there’s a handling fee to pay that you can pass onto attendees or absorb yourself. The Essentials plan starts with one ticket type, payment processing of 2.5%, and a fee of 2% plus $0.70 per ticket.
- Ticket sales (one ticket type)
- Public or private event listings
- Email and social notifications
How to Choose the Right Event Management Software
The free event management software solutions we’ve listed above cover a wide scope of features, functions, and even industries.
While they are all designed to streamline events and event management processes, they are also very different from each other. So, how do you choose the right solution?
Well, there are some rules you can apply no matter what industry you work in.
First, it’s essential to understand the different event technology available. Some platforms offer all-in-one solutions, which means they provide tools that handle the entire end-to-end event management process.
Others only focus on specific features of event management.
Generally speaking, a platform that works across the entire event lifecycle is valuable for keeping everything in one place. This helps you save time, money, and effort.
To help you understand this, let’s break down some essential functions to look out for in event management software.
Running an event involves a lot of time-consuming manual tasks - many of which can be automated. The best event management tools can automate repetitive tasks, like generating and updating proposals and filling out forms.
Task management tools can also just offer simple visualizations and reminders of what you need to do. This is why many event managers use project management tools to ease their workflow.
Related to the project management functionality mentioned above, having a centralized calendar that displays all your event information is crucial. This lets you easily view upcoming event dates, bookings, and any attached information. Ideally, this calendar should sync up with any other calendar tools you already use.
A key part of running successful events is understanding your data and using this to improve future events. The best event management platforms store all of your event and venue data and offer detailed reports and insights from this data. This lets you easily access all the information you need about event performances in one place.
One critical feature that sets event technology apart from standard project management tools is the ability to generate unique event documents. This includes documents like BEOs and professional proposals. Many event software solutions also include tools for designing menus, creating invoices, and more.
As mentioned above, try finding a solution that automatically generates these documents when needed. You should also be able to easily customize these documents with your unique branding.
Running an event involves a lot of back-and-forth communication between clients, vendors, and prospects. Staying on top of these communications through disconnected channels can be tricky.
For this reason, some event management platforms offer centralized email threads and templates within the platform. This makes it easy to stay on top of all communications and never miss a message or detail.
Online Bookings and Registrations
Securing bookings or registrations is key to running any kind of event. Some of the best event management tools provide online booking solutions that allow you to easily accept and manage bookings from your central software platform.
Customer Management and Engagement
Some event management tools offer functions to help you manage and engage with clients and event attendees. This works like a traditional CRM to help you understand prospects, nurture leads, and develop stronger customer relationships.
The whole point of using event management software is to save time and make your life easier. To do this, you must ensure that the system easily fits into your existing workflow.
Always pay attention to what integrations are available, which would allow you to connect your software systems for a more streamlined experience.
The features above are some of the core functionalities of any event management software. However, many tools offer a more comprehensive range of features and abilities. This can include:
- Tools for creating event websites and landing pages
- Digital event tools
- Event marketing tools
- Seating plan/floor plan tools
- Catering/menu management tools
When choosing the right platform for your business, make sure that it offers the right mix of these (or more) features. The great thing about free software solutions is that you can test these features without having to commit before you’re ready.
The right event management software will significantly impact how you run events and manage your venue. Luckily, plenty of excellent free tools are available to help you pull this off.
Be sure to consider the options above and try their free versions. It could totally transform the way you manage your next event.
If you’re a unique venue, restaurant, hospitality, or event space ready to try Perfect Venue, sign up for a free trial today. We won’t ask for your credit card details and promise excellent service from one single platform.