32 Must-have Event Management Software Features
Hosting an event is complicated. Event professionals must consider millions of details and build a strategy that ensures the event goes smoothly. All it takes is one wrong decision, and your next get-together could fall apart before you know it! Luckily, with the help of event management software, nailing the details is much easier.
Unfortunately, you can’t just invest in any event management solution and expect great results. You must do your due diligence to ensure you pick the right solution that helps you seamlessly execute your event strategy. Consider these findings from our State of in-person B2B conferences report:
- 68.9% of organizers say event software has a major impact on the success of their events
- 67.4% of organizers say they have changed or plan to change their event management software vendor within the next year
- 72.5% of organizers say their event management software played a major role in the success of their most recent conference
- 62.9% of attendees say they expect in-person conferences to use modern technology (e.g. wearable event technology)
Choosing the best software for event planners can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Keep reading to learn more about event management software, why your selection matters, and 32 must-have event management software features.
What Is Event Management Software?
Event management software is a comprehensive tool designed to help event organizers and professionals streamline every aspect of event planning and execution. This type of software for event planners provides a centralized platform where planners can manage tasks such as event registration, attendee engagement, venue selection, speaker scheduling, ticketing, and much more, all within a single interface.
The primary goal of conference management software is to simplify the event planning process by automating manual tasks, organizing event details, and providing actionable insights through data analytics. This helps save time, reduce errors, and enhance the attendee experience, ensuring every event is seamless, successful, and measurable ROI.
Here are some examples of features or tools you should consider as part of your event management software tech stack:
- Event registration and ticketing
- Attendee and speaker management
- Agenda and session management
- Communication and engagement
- Vendor and venue management
- Reporting and analytics
- Mobile event apps
- Smart event wearables
- Sponsor management
- Virtual event management
By integrating these functionalities into one platform, event management tool empowers event professionals to focus more on strategic decision-making and creative aspects of event planning rather than getting bogged down by administrative tasks. Whether it’s a corporate conference, an educational seminar, a trade show, or a social gathering, event manager software is the backbone that supports the creation of memorable, well-organized events that meet their objectives and delight all participants.
Event Management Software Must-haves
1. Centralized Management Hub
Your event management system should be feature-rich by design, giving you everything you need to build, manage, and execute events in one central location. According to a recent report by Qatalog, 45% of individuals say that context switching — moving from one application to another — makes them less productive. By picking an event management solution that brings everything you need together in one place, you can minimize context switching, giving you more time to plan the best event possible.
Bizzabo’s Event Experience OS includes a Command Center that enables you to manage all aspects of your event in one place. The Command Center lets you set goals and build, design, grow, measure, and optimize your event. It also allows you to track the event pulse in real-time and make adjustments on the fly.
2. Simplified Workflows
With so many details on their plates, event professionals need software that helps them work as efficiently as possible. In other words, you don’t want to click 10 times to complete a single action when other solutions allow you to do the same thing in a click or two. As you search for an event management solution, looking for a tool that offers simplified workflows is essential.
Bizzabo offers simplified and automated workflows with responsive updating, enabling event teams to work more efficiently.
3. User Roles and Permissions
Securing sensitive event information is more critical than ever in the age of high-profile data breaches. According to IBM, the average breach in the United States costs $9.44 million. To protect your systems and data, looking for a solution that offers granular roles and permissions is essential. That way, you can prevent unauthorized individuals from accessing sensitive data.
Bizzabo has robust access management features that enable teams to establish permissions for each role on the event team. Additionally, Bizzabo offers event organizer single sign-on (SSO), which empowers you to manage access to the Command Center according to access control and security policies.
4. Speaker and Moderator Portal
Putting on the best events requires you to enlist the help of any number of speakers and moderators. The easiest way to engage these folks is by making the experience as easy as possible for them. This is where speaker and moderator portals, which consolidate all critical information and tasks in one place, can make all the difference in the world.
Bizzabo offers intuitive speaker and moderator portals. Using the portals, speakers and moderators can easily see their responsibilities and keep up-to-date on due dates and approvals. Plus, the software automatically reminds both groups when due dates are approaching. It’s an easy way to make speakers and moderators feel like VIPs.
5. Dynamic Registration
In today’s age of hybrid events and virtual events, event organizers are offering all different kinds of event experiences. For example, some attendees might want to experience the event in person, while others might want to participate virtually.
At the same time, some folks might want a general admission ticket, while others might want to splurge for the VIP experience. Whatever the case may be, leading event management solutions give you the ability to personalize the event registration process and empower attendees to pick the perfect option for their circumstances.
Bizzabo offers a dynamic, personalized registration experience that enables organizers to segment the event by attendance, ticket, location, or other categories.
6. Reporting and Analytics
The most influential event professionals continuously study data and try to improve. As a result, looking for an event management solution that offers robust reporting and analytics capabilities is essential. That way, event professionals can slice and dice event data however they want to determine what’s working and what isn’t — and figure out the best way forward.
Bizzabo offers powerful event intelligence features, including registration analytics, networking analytics, engagement analytics, and cross-event analytics. See key event metrics — including conversions, registrations, attendance, and revenue — at a glance while analyzing how many networking connections were made, how many attendees participated in sessions, and emerging trends across multiple events.
These days, it’s not uncommon for organizations to use hundreds of different tools. To make the most out of your event management platform, it’s important to choose a solution that easily integrates with the other tools your team uses every day.
Bizzabo offers easy integrations with popular tools like Slack, Salesforce, HubSpot, Marketo, and Microsoft Dynamics 365. It also integrates with Zapier, connecting Bizzabo with various tools. Depending on the plan you purchase, you can even gain access to Bizzabo’s APIs to build custom integrations.
Event Engagement Software Must-haves
8. Smart Event Wearables
The advent of smart event wearables marks a paradigm shift in how attendees experience events. Smart badges transcend the capabilities of traditional name badges because they’re crafted to enhance networking, streamline operations, and gather insightful data, all while adding a layer of excitement to the event.
Smart event wearables are revolutionizing the attendee experience by enabling effortless networking through simple gestures, acting as digital icebreakers that dissolve the usual awkwardness and foster a space ripe for connection-building. These devices don’t just encourage interaction — they’re powerhouses of personalization, allowing organizers to categorize attendees, send tailored communications, control access, and even introduce gamification for an enriched event experience. Beyond enhancing interpersonal connections, they’re analytical tools providing real-time insights into attendee behavior and engagement, empowering organizers to make data-driven adjustments on the fly. Moreover, in an era emphasizing sustainability, these wearables are stepping up, featuring designs that prioritize reusability and recyclability, resonating with modern organizations’ eco-conscious ethos.
Among the array of smart event wearables, Bizzabo’s Klik SmartBadge™ stands out. This innovative device encapsulates all the essential features of event wearables, offering seamless networking, enhanced engagement, and valuable data insights. Its user-friendly design ensures all attendees, regardless of technological prowess, can engage and interact with ease. Moreover, Klik’s commitment to sustainability with recyclable options and a system for refurbishing aligns with the pressing need for eco-friendly solutions. Whether for small seminars or large-scale conferences, the Klik SmartBadge is a testament to how smart wearables can profoundly enrich the event landscape.
9. Digital Venue
In the age of virtual and hybrid events, teams still need to deliver unique and engaging experiences. One way to do this is by choosing an event management solution with a virtual event venue where attendees can congregate to listen to content, network virtually, and engage with speakers via live chat, polls, surveys, and other mediums.
Bizzabo includes The Venue, a virtual event venue where attendees can register for events and sessions, engage with content, and network with speakers and other attendees before, during, and after the event.
10. Custom-branded Mobile App
During your event, attendees have a lot on their minds. When is the next session they’re attending? Where exactly is it? What’s on the agenda for the rest of the day? This is where having a custom-branded mobile app can be a game changer. With a mobile app for your event, attendees can easily find the information they need at their convenience. They can also use the app to communicate with speakers and other attendees and engage in interactive polls and surveys, among other things.
Bizzabo offers a branded mobile app that enables event organizers to deliver the entire event experience on attendees’ mobile devices. All event content and information is automatically mirrored on native iOS and Android apps, and attendees can easily interact with speakers and session content. Bizzabo’s branded mobile app also offers on-screen branding opportunities for sponsors, which can help drive additional revenue.
11. Chat Channels
The best events are interactive. Attendees don’t just sit in sessions listening to a speaker drone on and on. Instead, they use technology to engage with event content and communicate with their peers, sharing ideas and insights as speakers lead their sessions. For this reason, you should choose an event management solution that enables you to offer dedicated chat channels where attendees can connect.
Bizzabo enables event organizers to create dedicated chat channels that they define. Using these channels, you can keep conversations focused on specific topics, tracks, or personas while allowing attendees to discuss distinct topics during live sessions and get the most out of your event.
12. Audience Reactions
According to Bizzabo data, 52.9% of event marketers say creating memorable experiences for virtual event attendees is harder. After all, there’s quite a difference between experiencing an event in the comfort of your home and going to a massive exhibition hall filled with many people. Since you want to engage virtual attendees, it’s important to look for an event management system that offers unique features geared toward virtual audiences — like the ability to clap virtually during sessions.
Bizzabo enables attendees to share reactions in real-time, such as virtual clapping and using emojis, and experience other attendees’ reactions, too. It’s easy to show excitement and support for the speaker and the event content — previously exclusive to in-person events.
A straightforward way to engage audiences during live sessions is by using real-time polling to gauge their thoughts on topics or experiences. Polling the audience can help validate assumptions while teaching the audience that other attendees share their pain points.
Bizzabo offers in-session polling capabilities that enable attendees to interact with speakers through live polling on screen. This helps sessions become more interactive and attendees become more engaged.
Another way to increase audience engagement at events is by empowering participants to ask speakers questions during sessions, which speakers can address in the middle or at the end of their talk, depending on their preference. For this reason, one event manager software feature you need is the ability for your audience to participate easily in Q&A sessions.
Bizzabo enables speakers to engage with attendees during sessions via a dedicated Q&A channel. Other attendees can upvote questions, making it easy for speakers to prioritize popular topics.
Want to boost engagement at your next event? Read “20 Surefire Ways to Maximize Event Engagement.”
Event Networking Software Must-haves
Leading event management tool platforms are designed to help you build, activate, and grow your community. At the same time, they also let event attendees network with other like-minded individuals and grow their communities. While searching for an event management solution, looking for a community-oriented platform is important.
Bizzabo makes it incredibly easy for attendees to find new people to connect with via community search and navigation functions and an AI-powered matchmaking engine that automatically connects attendees who share similar interests (e.g., job titles or hobbies). Just 39% of solutions include this feature, according to Skift Meetings. The platform also enables attendees to connect via chat easily, initiate a video call in one click, and book virtual and in-person meetings ahead of time.
Once attendees connect with sponsors, speakers, or other attendees, they may wish to continue the conversation throughout the event and beyond. One of the easiest ways to facilitate these connections is by investing in an event management solution that allows attendees to message one another directly.
Bizzabo gives attendees everything they need to communicate with the people they meet digitally, with inbox chat they can use before, during, and after events.
17. 1:1 Meetings
In addition to connecting via chat and text, attendees, sponsors, and speakers may wish to take their conversations to the next level by meeting virtually or in the flesh. As such, ensuring your event management solution enables users to schedule and launch meetings easily is important.
Bizzabo allows attendees to book meetings at both a virtual or in-person location based on each participant’s availability. With a built-in smart scheduler, both parties can easily see their mutual availability, making booking meetings a breeze. Plus, Bizzabo allows participants to launch in-the-moment video meetings, allowing for spontaneous connections easily.
Boost event networking opportunities with help from our guide: “Event Networking: 5 Hacks to Keep Virtual Attendees Engaged.”
Event Marketing Software Must-haves
18. Website Builder
To ensure attendees can track down all the details they need to make the most out of your event, you need to create a dedicated event website that includes all relevant information. Unless you’re keen on building said website from scratch, you may be better off looking for an event management solution that includes a website builder.
Bizzabo offers a flexible website builder that helps organizers create beautifully branded websites however they’d like. Depending on their preferences, event organizers can use templates to build SEO-optimized websites without writing any code, or they can create fully custom websites with ease. With Bizzabo, you can embed external widgets on the website or embed Bizzabo widgets externally elsewhere.
19. Email Marketing
To attract more attendees, keep registrants, speakers, and sponsors engaged, and otherwise ensure everyone who should be is informed about your event, you need to prioritize email marketing in the months leading up to the event and during it. You’ll also have to email these stakeholders after the event to keep them engaged and excited about next year. The easiest way is to choose an event management platform with email marketing tools.
Bizzabo makes it easy to email audiences before, during, and after events using email automation, including smart lists and fields, to enable personalization and tools to improve open and click-through rates. The platform enables you to keep large audiences engaged without any heavy lifting.
20. Personalized Registration Experiences
The best events let attendees control their own experiences, letting them choose between various ticket types, whether they’ll attend in person or remotely, or whether they’ll show up in New York or San Francisco in the case of satellite events. Your event management solution should support dynamic, personalized registration experiences to accommodate these desires.
Bizzabo enables event organizers to offer entirely personalized registration journeys to attendees according to their attributes, including ticket type, location, and attendance type.
21. UTM Tracking
Which channels helped drive the most ticket sales for your event? What content was most closely correlated with conversions? To answer these questions and others like them to increase the reach of your next event, it’s essential to use an event management solution that offers UTM tracking codes and other return-on-event (ROE) tools.
Bizzabo integrates with Google Analytics and Tag Manager and offers pixel integrations for Meta platforms. This enables event organizers to use trackable links and ROE tools to power attribution, campaign tracking, and data-driven decision-making.
22. Promo Codes
To drive more ticket sales and encourage more folks to attend the next event, many event organizers use promo codes. These codes incentivize ticket purchases with discounts that can be managed, tracked, and limited.
Bizzabo includes the ability to generate promo codes automatically and manage and track their use. It’s an easy way to leverage the power of social selling to drive more registrations for your event.
Need help with event marketing? Check out this free guide: “10 Steps for Creating a Great Event Marketing Plan.”
Onsite Software and Hardware Software Must-haves
23. Event Check-in
The big day has finally arrived! The last thing you want is to greet event attendees with a negative experience by having issues during the check-in process. By choosing an event management solution with support for event check-ins, you can increase the chances the first impression of your event is favorable.
Bizzabo delivers a check-in portal that automatically pulls data from the event registration list. As a result, event staff can mark registrants as attendees for tracking and reporting purposes. Bizzabo also offers self-check-in capabilities that enable attendees to facilitate the process themselves.
24. Badge Printing
Badges play a vital role in the success of any event. Not only do badges help attendees quickly learn who someone else is and what they do, they can also help sponsors and exhibitors with lead tracking. With the right event management solution, they scan someone’s badge and have all their essential information in one place.
Bizzabo allows event organizers to quickly edit badge text and designs to create on-brand badges. Additionally, Bizzabo offers a lead tracking app that organizers can resell to exhibitors at a premium, allowing them to track, take notes about, and qualify and retrieve leads by scanning badges on the spot.
25. Session Check-in
Understanding which sessions were most popular at your event is a great way to ensure your content hits the mark. At the same time, it also helps you improve your content offerings for next year. In addition to event check-in functionality, the right event management solutions will let you easily track and analyze session attendance.
Bizzabo’s Event Experience OS includes support for session check-ins. The platform makes it easy to determine, at a glance, who went to which session and which sessions were most popular.
26. Passive and Active Tracking
Making the most of your next event requires collecting and using much data to inform your event strategy. Leading event management platforms enable organizers to manage data actively (e.g., by scanning someone’s badge) and passively (e.g., by setting up beacons that automatically collect attendee information) — giving teams the information they need to make the best decisions.
Bizzabo’s Klik SmartBadge™ technology offers this functionality. At INBOUND 2022, the HubSpot team could gauge how many people engaged with content on the show floor; the only way that engagement could be measured was through passive tracking.
Media and Video Event Software Must-haves
27. Breakout Rooms
While large sessions are a great way to disseminate information to many people at once, breakout rooms facilitate more intimate conversations. One event management software feature to look for is the ability to spin up breakout rooms during your event quickly.
Bizzabo helps event organizers promote collaboration and discussion through live breakout rooms. During a session, the platform can automatically group folks to converse about the content they’re experiencing.
In today’s age of connectivity and real-time experiences, livestreaming is more popular than ever. To engage and excite audiences, it’s wise to look for event management tools that features support for livestreaming. That way, you can share content with remote audiences in real time, helping them feel like part of the show — like they’re not missing out on anything.
Bizzabo enables you to captivate audiences with studio-quality live video that delivers high-definition content at scale.
Of course, when you’re streaming video live, mistakes can happen. One way to mimic the livestreaming experience while eliminating the possibility of something off-script occurring is by streaming pre-recorded video. If this sounds appealing to you, one event management software feature to look for is simulive video capabilities.
Bizzabo offers support for pre-recorded video streaming. With Bizzabo, you can engage large global audiences of any size, without capacity limitations, with low-latency streaming to broadcast pre-recorded video content.
30. On-demand Content
Your event may be done, but the learning process never stops. As you search for an event management solution, it’s essential to look for a feature that lets you easily serve up video content on demand once it’s recorded. That way, attendees can rewatch the most inspiring sessions, and you can also repurpose event content for other uses (e.g., to attract more registrations next year).
Bizzabo enables you to extend the use of event content and collect additional leads through video-on-demand capabilities. With Bizzabo, attendees can watch pre-recorded content at their leisure in the same virtual environment as the original live session. Plus, organizers can gate said content if they’d like, ensuring only registrants can access it.
Learn how to take your video strategy to the next level in this free guide: “How to Choose the Best Video Tools and Strategy for Your Virtual or Hybrid Event.”
Sponsor and Exhibitor Event Software Must-haves
31. Sponsor Portal
To attract and engage sponsors, you need to make participation as easy as possible for them. This is why leading event management software solutions include sponsor portals where all important information is conveniently located, giving sponsors easy access to everything they need to make the most out of the event.
Bizzabo’s Event Experience OS includes a dedicated sponsor portal that streamlines management and communication at scale, simplifying logistics for your event team and your sponsors. With Bizzabo, ensuring a positive sponsor experience is that much easier.
32. Lead Retrieval Tool
Unfortunately, sponsors don’t usually fork over money solely out of the kindness of their hearts. Instead, they want a return on their investment. Companies are unlikely to sponsor your event next year if it is not worth their time. That’s why lead retrieval tools are one of the most important event management system features you can have.
Bizzabo offers powerful lead retrieval tools that organizers can sell to sponsors and exhibitors, enabling them to qualify and manage leads quickly.
Want to take your sponsorship game to the next level? Check out “The Ultimate Guide to Event Sponsorship for 2023 and Beyond.”
Choosing the Right Event Management Software For Your Company
As you can see, the right conference management software is the event planner’s best friend.
When choosing the best system for your needs, you can manage your entire event online instead of using a notebook and many urgent emails. The right tool will affect every aspect of the event-hosting process positively. Now you know what to look for in a solution for your company and what separates a great solution from a sea of average ones.
Want more guidance on how to choose the right event management software partner? Download our Event Software Buyer’s Guide now.
Editor’s note: This article was initially published in 2019 and has been updated for quality and relevance.