Right around the beginning of 2010 I embarked on a new career path—I decided to become an event planner. Since starting, I have managed events in Singapore, Paris, Dubai, and Cancun, organizing everything from intimate banquets to large-scale opening ceremonies. Each event was unique and I loved every moment of it.
Even though it was only five years ago, when I first started my new endeavor, good event-planning tools were hard to come by. There weren’t many software solutions or mobile apps designed for event planners, so I was forced to make do with Excel spreadsheets, Powerpoint presentations, and lots of Word documents.
But things have changed a lot in a very short time.
Today, event planners have some pretty cool tools at their disposal to simplify their complicated workflow. I’d like to share some of the best ones I’ve made part of my event planning toolkit.
Finding Creative Inspiration
One of the most useful apps for finding creative inspiration is Pinterest, the popular social network for collecting and sharing images. You can browse thousands of photos and images to find creative inspiration for your next event. This immense picture library is especially helpful for coming up with ideas for event décor, design, and themes.
Available on: Web, iOS, and Android
Pro tip: Create a Pinterest account and set up a separate “board” with each client. This way you can share ideas with one another without emailing back and forth.
Keeping Notes and Planning Materials Organized
When it comes to staying organized, there is no better friend than Evernote. This app allows you to keep all your “stuff” in one convenient place, be it images, text, any kind of note—even entire web pages. You can also categorize everything as needed by adding tags.
Available on: Web, Mac, Windows, Android, iOS, and Windows Phone
Price: free, premium for $5/month, business for $10/month (per user)
Pro tip: Install the Evernote Web Clipper browser extension and quickly save the most interesting content you find online to your Evernote account.
Power user hack: Use IFTTT to automatically import images you save to your Pinterest board, ensuring you have everything in one place.
Communicating With Team Members
Having to manage a large team as well as various outside vendors at the same time can be tricky. But Slack makes communication more efficient by replacing long-winded emails with short, “chat room”-like texts. Slack also allows you to create separate groups and add tags to messages to find info more easily.
Available on: Web, iOS, Android, Mac, Windows (Windows Phone coming soon)
Price: free (for up to 10,000 messages), then plans start at $7/month (per user)
Pro tip: Create different groups for different segments of your team to keep your back-and-forth communication targeted and efficient.
Collecting Event Images
Have you ever wanted to keep track of your entire event production, including all images from vendors and different team members? Capsule is a great solution. Ask all parties to download the capsule photo app, then all the pictures they take will be imported into your shared “capsule” online. No more chasing everyone down for their photos!
Available on: Web, Android, and iOS
Pro tip: Recommend this app to your clients—they will love you for it! There is also a marketplace available where users can order prints of their images.
Although you probably work with each vendors one on one, sometimes everyone on a project needs to attend a group meeting. Coordinating a date and time that works for everyone is no easy feat, but Doodle allows you to propose different options and get poll-like responses from each attendee.
Available on: Web, iOS
Price: free, premium for $39/year (a business version also available that starts at $69/year
Managing Every Aspect of Your Event
Having event information scattered across different apps, emails, and computer files can greatly impair the success of your next event. Having a central workspace makes it easier to stay on top of things. Planning Pod is specifically designed for event planners, and offers over two dozen event-management tools. This video provides a good overview of all that Planning Pod can do:
Available on: Web
Price: free trial (30 days), then plans starting at $19.99/month
Pro tip: You can share Planning Pod with your team (and clients if you like) to assign tasks, set deadlines, and manage all team collaboration.
Keeping Clients in the Loop
Planning Pod offers a feature that lets you keep your clients informed about every aspect of the event-planning process, but sometimes you want a tool that lets you share just the most important parts with them. Blossom (built by a dynamic team of my fellow Austrians!) is a project-management tool designed to let you follow event progress in stages. It was chiefly designed for use by tech companies to keep track of product development, but it also works perfectly for managing events.
Blossom allows you to create “cards” for each event task, which can be moved from stage to stage as each part is completed. You can also add a “client approval” step at the end that allows your client to give each item a final review.
Available on: Web
Price: free trial (14 days), then plans starting at $19/month
Pro tip: Blossom integrates with Slack, making it easy to follow up with team member about items listed in Blossom.
Managing Invites, Registration, and Ticketing
If you are planning an event that requires registration or ticketing, Bizzabo allows you to create an event, add ticket types, build an event website, and send out your invitations—all within one application. Bizzabo also helps you stay on top of what people are saying on social media about your event. On the day of the event, the app allows you send push notifications to attendees about any delays or program changes. This video provides a good overview of how Bizzabo works:
Available on: Web, iOS, and Android
Price: plans range from free to paid custom plans
Pro tip: Bizzabo offers a special extra for event attendees: they can use the app to network and message one another to set up meetings, etc.
As you can see, there are a lot of awesome apps and web tools out there that can help you make your next event one to remember. Do you use any others we missed? Please share with us in the comments below.