10 Event Planning Tools To Make Your Life Easier

Meeting planning can be exciting, varied and incredibly rewarding. There are countless opportunities to meet new people, travel to far-flung locations and visit unique destinations. However, event planning can also be tiring, intense and pretty stressful. Conferences often involve short lead-times, tight budgets, ever-changing schedules and ever-evolving technology.

So, how can planners make their lives easier? We’ve consulted industry experts on ideas to help simplify your future event planning.

For event planning design ideas and inspiration…

1. Pinterest

The social media network and creative playground –  Pinterest continues to be a popular design inspiration tool for many people. Pinterest offers an abundance of inspiring visual content, (it also offers handy tips and insightful articles). Users can save ‘pins’ to their own or others’ Pinterest ‘board(s)’.

Planners often use Pinterest when searching for the latest conference trends, inspiring event themes, appealing menu choices, unique meeting locations and even team-building ideas.

It’s also an effective work showcasing platform – approximately 250 million people use Pinterest per month. According to Pinterest  – its users are twice as likely to say their time on the platform is well-spent” (vs other similar platforms).

Cost: Free to use.

For project management…

In people’s personal lives, the idea of ditching the smartphone for the traditional pen and paper approach is often glorified. However, (back in event planning reality) to streamline and enhance event management, key tasks should ideally be tracked using an online project management platform. Your trusty notebook will be its perfect companion!

I am a big fan of using a project management and/or group collaboration tools for event management logistics.” Corbin Ball, meeting and technology expert.

Project management

Image courtesy of Unsplash.

2. Basecamp

Neither client or meeting professional wishes to add to their ever-growing inbox. So, efficient project management tools can help mitigate the daily influx of emails.

Basecamp, the real-time collaboration tool, is ideal for meeting planners. The user’s homepage can be divided into projects, making it easier for users to switch between clients or different aspects of an event. For example, technology and meeting room design.

Many PR and marketing agencies use Basecamp for both internal and client communication. Basecamp’s Campfire feature is also ideal for discussing creative ideas with clients.

Cost: There’s a range of price plans and a free trial.

3. Slack

I wish I received more emails…said no one. laughs Lucy Giovando Watts, CEO and Founder of LASSO40.

Slack was primarily designed to replace email being people’s primary communication method. However, it can also act as an efficient project management tool. It segments both private messages and group chats into manageable real-time chains. Online alerts can also be created to highlight any brand mentions.

Slack continues to grow at lightning speed and it also integrates with an ever-growing list of apps (including Mailchimp, Trello, Skype, Zoom and Google Docs).

Event planners can also invite event attendees to use Slack. The platform is proving to be effective at increasing attendee engagement throughout all stages of the guest experience. Specific target audiences or discussion groups can be segmented by their interests or chosen agenda seminars.

Meeting professionals can also glean insight and feedback from attendees’ conversations and use these to even hone the event’s agenda in real-time and to inform future events.

Pricing: There’s a range of price plans including a free option.

4. Trello

Fans of the humble sticky note should check out Trello – its online counterpart.

The slickly designed task management board behaves like virtual Post-it notes – albeit with much heightened technology!

Trello is ideal for logging extensive to-do lists in a succinct manner – helping to boost productivity and reduce workplace clutter!

Pricing: It’s free to use. However, there’s a price plan for Trello Business Class.

Weekly planner

Image courtesy of Unsplash.

5. Otter.ai

Always on the move? Why not consider using the AI-powered Otter to take notes and capture thoughts? Meeting notes can be transcribed into recordings and even podcasts.

CSN Connects Maribeth Grandpre uses Otter to turn her conversations into smart notes, which she can then easily search and share whenever needed.

Who wouldn’t like a virtual assistant like Otter?

Virtual assistant

Image courtesy of Pixabay.

Pricing: There’s a range of price plans including a free option.

6. Google Docs

Perhaps surprisingly, many meeting planners still mention Excel when discussing their preferred project management tools. For a more sophisticated version (without Excel’s collaboration limitations) – consider Google Drive’s Google Sheets.

Google’s tools enable all parties to comment, chat and make real-time edits to documents, forms and slides.

Pricing: Free to use.

For integrated event management

Event management platforms incorporate many tools to streamline the meeting planning process.

The more sophisticated platforms offer a combination of software, covering conference planning and marketing, registration and ticketing. They also encompass reporting and analytical functionality.

Corbin Ball considers that the following tech tools are needed for most events.

      An online registration system

      A contact/sales management database (ensuring it’s GDPR compliant where needed)

      An email management/marketing/sales automation system

      A responsively designed content management system

      A mobile polling/survey/social Q&A system (ideally incorporated into the event’s app)

      Analytical reporting functionality

7. AllSeated

AllSeated is a collaborative event planning platform for meeting planners, venues, caterers, and vendors. This innovative platform helps streamline processes and increase operational efficiency.

All key elements of event management are covered. Tools include 2D and 3D floor plans (with easy-to-follow templates), guest list management (including seating plans), mobile check-in and there’s even table and buffet “Builders”!

Innovative VR features include immersive property walkthroughs and web-integrated widgets.

Pricing: Free to use and exemplary 24/7 customer service support is offered.

8. Cvent

Cvent’s event management platform automates and simplifies all elements of meeting planning and it encompasses CrowdCompass (its range of bespoke mobile event apps).

Planners can use Cvent for everything from venue selection to producing insightful analytical reports. Other tools include email marketing, surveys, agenda ‘builders’ and even menu selection software.

CSN Connects Maribeth Grandpre also uses Cvent to source and compile bids.

Pricing: POA.

To increase audience engagement…

Depending on the scale of the conference, planners should ensure that an integrated mobile event app or microsite is designed. Producing an event app helps to set the tone and generate excitement pre-event and facilitates ongoing communication throughout proceedings.

Using a mobile event app, such as EventMobi, can help you to create engaging and in turn, memorable attendee experiences. EventMobi covers all areas of event management – including registration, agendas (with calendar integration) polls, surveys, gamification and even digital signage.

9. Hootsuite

Streamlining social media content can be simplified by the social media management platform, Hootsuite.

Hootsuite enables planners to efficiently monitor a client’s social media activity across a variety of networks. It’s a great tool to promote meetings and conferences and target audiences with tailored and timely content.

Updates can be scheduled and posted across platforms including Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Hootsuite also offers many templates to further simplify matters (including content calendars and analytical reports). Hootsuite can also be integrated with Cvent (see 8. – above).

Cost: There’s a range of price plans and a free trial offer.

10. Take Charge of Your Wellbeing


Image courtesy of Unsplash.

Whilst ensuring all your guests’ needs are met, don’t overlook your own. The mental and physical health of event professionals is vital too.

Stress management techniques abound – all highlighting the vital benefits of quality sleep, reading, relaxation, frequent exercise and adopting a healthy balanced diet.

Consider downloading Calm – a hugely popular sleep, meditation and relaxation app. This award-winning platform provides users with “Sleep stories” narrated by well-known figures, exclusive music and visually striking imagery. There’s a range of price plans and a free 30-day trial.

Taking time away from screens is also vital, time spent outdoors and with nature has been continually proven to improve both physical and mental health. 

Big conference on the horizon? Ensure you have a vacation in the pipeline. It might never seem like a “good time” to take a holiday, but breaks are proven to boost both creativity and productivity.

Lucy Giovando Watts recommends that event planners consider daily meditation after all being present is the only way to be.

Pricing: Your wellbeing is priceless!

Technology might be constantly evolving, but there’ll always be a place for tradition, even if simply to complement the latest advancements in technology.

Ultimately, your choice of meeting planning tools is down to personal preference. However, hopefully these ideas will help to streamline your event planning and improve your work life balance.

For more event planning tips, ideas and industry insight, please follow us on social media.

Searching for your next ideal meeting space? Use IACC’s Venue Finder.

With many thanks to:

            •           Lucy Giovando Watts, CEO and Founder of LASSO40

            •           Corbin Ball, Meeting and Technology expert

            •           Sandy Hammer, Co-Founder of AllSeated

            •           Maribeth Grandpre, VP, Global Accounts, CSN Connects

            •           Anne Dalgaard, Meeting Planner at EventAnne

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