By now, you might be using event management software to manage your venue or events, or at least you should be. Long gone are the manual processes and disconnected systems that have you running around like crazy. No one has time for that, especially since there’s integrated software readily available that can make your life much easier and your business more profitable.
If you’re just waiting to find the right software or ready to upgrade whatever you’re using, you’re in the right place. There’s a lot of software out there and it can be challenging to know what you really need. As with any software purchase, one of the best pieces of advice we can pass along is that you shouldn’t pay for features you’ll never use, but you want the software to scale with you as your business grows and your needs change.
We’ve put together some of the essential features you want to look for in event management software. We’re gearing this list towards the live event industry, particularly live music. Why? Because live music events continue to grow in popularity. The industry is predicted to grow by $10.6 billion in the next four years, thanks to a younger generation who flock to concerts, music venues, and music festivals in droves.
Increased ticket sales are good news for you, but that doesn’t mean smooth sailing for your business. In fact, it may mean rough waves ahead if you can’t keep up. That’s why investing in an integrated event management software solution is so critical. It can help you do more with fewer resources and costs, ultimately helping you stay more organized, efficient, and profitable.
Event Management Software Features to Look For
Not all event management software is the same. Not by a long shot. They all offer different features and functionalities, have varying pricing structures, and provide diverse levels of customer service.
The best way to know what features you really want to pay for is to look at your current operations and the applications you use to get things done.
- What type of calendar are you using and does it offer the level of detail and functionality you really need or are you bouncing from one system to the next?
- How do you book talent and build offers – and how long do those processes take?
- How do you compare deals and scenarios to know if they will be profitable?
- What system(s) are you using to manage your expenses, costs, and sales?
- What kind of real-time analytics do you have access to?
- How do you manage settlements and generate reports?
- How do you and your team collaborate and can you easily track that correspondence?
- How do you manage and track approvals for various operations?
- What kind of visibility do you have into your key metrics?
If any of these capabilities are non-existent or just a pain in the ass, it’s time you look for something else.
The key to becoming more efficient and organized (a.k.a. get more done with less effort) is to make sure whatever solution you choose integrates all of the above capabilities and more into a single, integrated software solution. Your goal is to have a single source of truth that is always in real-time and always accessible via the cloud. That ensures you can work from anywhere with the most accurate, updated information possible.
The average number of apps a small business uses is around 53. You may not use that many, but if you count up the ones you do use to run your business, you might be surprised. Bouncing from one application to another, supplementing with spreadsheets, and using systems for things they weren’t really built for is a colossal waste of time and energy. It can also introduce more risk than you probably want to take – risk for things being missed, human error, delays, and pissed off clients.
Built for the Live Music Industry by Live Music Industry Professionals
Many off-the-shelf solutions advertise that they are geared for any type of event, like weddings, conferences, parties, and live music, but one-size-fits-all almost never works the way you expect. While all of these examples fall under the “events” umbrella and share several commonalities, they each have nuances that one single solution simply can’t address.
When you go this route, you end up with are features you’ll never use (but you’re paying for), features that aren’t extensive enough for your business needs (so you have to supplement with some other program), or a complete lack of features your particular operations require (so you eventually become frustrated and look elsewhere).
If you’re dealing with live music events, you need a software solution that is built specifically for live music professionals. Even better, if the solutions are developed by live music experts, you can be certain the software will address your pain points with features you actually need.
One of the most critical parts of your business is the financial component, yet most event management software products completely ignore it. Sure, you can use a separate financial program, but it’s much more streamlined and efficient if it’s part of your event management software.
Look for an event management solution that offers top-line financials, analytics, revenue and expense tracking, budgeting, settlement, break-even calculations, and net sales calculations. You can also benefit when this financial component is linked directly to your ticketing platform so you can see how your sales are impacting your profitability in real-time. This helps you make informed decisions earlier so you can make adjustments and course-correct sooner if needed.
Whether you have dozens on your team or just a handful of staff, you need to be able to collaborate easily with them and all of the stakeholders. Your event management software solution needs a robust collaboration tool that allows you to work together in one place while controlling access to sensitive information.
Okay, we know. Email works. But it doesn’t work all that well when it comes to managing teams and tracking work. You have to create folders and manually drag and drop emails into the right folder. And how many emails are you getting every day? One study shows the average office worker receives approximately 121 emails every day. What are the chances an email is missed, lost, or put into the wrong folder?
Email is fine for some things, but it really isn’t ideal for managing events where you are dealing with staff, vendors, talent managers, etc. That’s why you want all of your communications in one place, automatically segmented by show, team, or whatever makes it easier for you to keep track. Look for a solution that has a built-in approval system for confirmations, challenges, budget adjustments, offers, and settlements, too. It’s the easiest way to make sure you never miss an important deadline and can keep your operations running smoothly, even when you’re not in the office.
Your business lives and dies by the calendar. The best event management software solutions will have an integrated calendar management feature that enables you to manage holds for your rooms, shows, and markets in one place. You should be able to quickly add multiple dates and holds to a show, generate hold reports to streamline communications with your customers, and automatically select the right hold level based on the selected date.
And as with all of the features, your calendar must be accessible and operational via your mobile device. You shouldn’t have to tell an agent or promoter that you’ll get back with them when you’re in the office. Having all of the information you need in the palm of your hand allows you and your team to be more productive and gives you a better quality of life when you’re not tied to your desk.
Take a look at the event management software products on the market and choose wisely. Your goal should be to find a system that organizes the entire booking process and automates the repetitive processes that suck up all of your time. It’s a good time to be in the live music business. Let modern technology make your life easier and your business more successful.