Do You Really Need Event Planning Software?
If you’ve been pursuing your interest in becoming an event planner, you’ve probably seen the term ‘event planning software’ come up in your research. What is event planning software? Who uses it and how does it work? Is it absolutely necessary to use? Understanding how software is used by event planners before you become one can help you make a decision about using them later in your career. The more informed you are about industry tools like planning software, the more prepared you’ll be to assess whether you really need them.
What is event planning software?
Different types of event planning software provide different services. Some software are programs that you can download to your computer, while others are online services used by logging into an account on a website. For planners who prefer to use their mobile devices, like smart phones and tablets, there are even event planning tools that can be downloaded as apps. Some of these apps are their own planning programs, while others link with your account on a website so you can use them more easily when you’re on the go. Very simple planning tools, like the ‘Events’ feature on Facebook, are offered as free services, but in-depth professional software usually comes at a price. Simple or free services will help planners communicate basic information (like the date, place, and time) and send out electronic invites. In addition to these basics, more in-depth planning services often include features like seating plan templates, contact lists, interactive calendars, picture boards, and sharing abilities for keeping clients and team members informed.
Who uses event planning software?
Many free event planning software are used by the general public. People who are not professional planners, but who are organizing an event for themselves or someone else, might take advantage of the services on websites like Eventbrite or Splash. These websites are free, but they still offer a variety of organizational tools, like ticket tracking and information pages for guests. Because they are often user friendly, event planners might also use these free tools in cases where their clients are more involved in the planning process. For planning professionals organizing large or complicated events, web and mobile software like Grenadine Event Planner are more useful because they include features like budget management tools that free services don’t provide. Grenadine, and other software like it, is designed specifically for event planning professionals. These programs often offer free trials or demos, but the full service must be purchased. The majority of professional grade planning software that offer a full range of organizational tools are intended for and used by event planners working in the industry.
The ‘pros and cons’ of using software
Event planning software are undoubtedly useful, and they’re becoming a bigger part of the industry as time goes on. That doesn’t necessarily mean, however, that you should rely on them entirely or use them for every event you plan. When you use planning software and which tools you take advantage of is up to your judgment and you should consider whether you need them carefully before each event. There are definitely several pros to streamlining your process through the use of planning software, but there are also cons when it comes to relying on these programs completely.
- Using event planning software streamlines the handling of information. Rather than having to look in several places to find your contacts, schedule, and budget, you can consult your app or online account to update all three in one place.
- Many software make your information accessible across multiple devices. This means you can get the details you need even if you’re not near your home computer. From your main account, you can access your different planning tools from your phone or tablet when you’re on the go. These programs usually also make it very easy to share information between you and your clients so they stay informed.
- Using planning software can literally lighten your load. Rather than carrying your address book, day planner, binder of sample pictures, and hand drawn seating plans, you can simply bring your smart phone, tablet, or laptop and still have access to everything you need.
- Technology isn’t fool proof. Relying upon it too heavily, particularly in a situation where other people are depending on you, can be risky. What if your mobile device runs out of power and you can’t charge it? What if the app crashes and you don’t know how to fix it? You should have all of your information backed up and stored somewhere safe but accessible in the event that technology doesn’t come through for you.
- Even if your technology works flawlessly, you can still rely too heavily on your planning programs and not on your own skills. Remember, anyone can fill in the blanks on an electronic seating chart. It takes more than that to be a great event planner. Don’t let planning software take over your ability to be an innovative and quick thinking planner without it.
- Not every planning software is as user friendly as the next, and knowing which one to choose takes research. It also takes time to learn how to use each software well enough to successfully plan an event. Remember that people are paying and depending on you. If you don’t know how to use your planning software, you won’t be providing them with your top quality service.
So, do you really need to use event planning software?
Whether or not you use event planning software for particular event is up to your judgment. The more the planning industry shifts towards taking advantage of electronic and online tools, the more software is worth considering. You should at least have knowledge of what these programs offer you, and perhaps even a base knowledge of how to use some of them. It could reflect poorly on you to clients and other planning professionals if you don’t know anything at all about planning software and haven’t tried to learn.
At the same time, you should never let yourself rely on planning tools instead of your own skills. Planning software is definitely no replacement for intuition and attention to detail. Clients will be most impressed if they can see that you’re up to date and able to use the latest technology but that you still apply yourself to organizing their event, rather than letting the computer do it for you. The most professional planners are those who can organize a great event both with and without the help of planning software. You’ll do well if you can stay versatile and balance your skills between classic planning tactics and modern technological tools.
Interested in learning more?
Even if you’re still researching whether or not event planning is for you, it’s never too early to prepare yourself for making decisions like when to use event planning software. If you’d like to learn more about different planning tools, check out the courses here at QC Event School!