The landscape of event management in Asia Pacific has never been more exciting. APAC’s MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, and Exhibitions) industry is expected to generate revenue of US$441.1 billion in 2025 from $229.0 billion in 2017.
As the region plays host to a continually growing number of small and major B2B events across virtually all industries, event organizers face increasing pressure to provide the best experience for attendees and exhibitors alike.
It’s here where automation tools can do a lot of good, simplifying certain tedious processes so you can focus your time and resources on more strategic goals, such as improving the attendee experience.
Automation also provides other critical benefits, such as improved planning efficiency, cost-effectiveness of event management, and post-event measurement success, all of which can improve your attendees’ experience.
But the question is: What kind of tools should you be using? Listed below are 14 tools that can make your life as an event organizer easier, automating tasks such as scheduling meetings, business matching, budget, and registration among many others.
Many event planners are all too familiar with the ever-growing list of to-dos and looming deadlines they have to deal with. Fortunately, there are event planning tools with automation features that make planning your next event less daunting.
1. Scheduling meetings
Today’s executives can spend up to 23 hours per week on meetings alone. And that doesn’t even include the time spent coordinating with others to agree on a time and place to meet.
Calendly is a simple and user-friendly scheduling tool that helps event planners save time and set more productive meetings. The basic plan is totally free and comes with automated event notifications to ensure meeting attendees stay updated with appointments and cancellations.
2. Project management and collaboration
Planning a successful event requires tracking a long list of tasks spread out across multiple parties working together to get things done. A project management app with automation features can help you stay abreast of what’s happening at all times.
Using Trello’s built-in automation feature called Butler, event planners can create rules to trigger a specific series of steps after certain events. For example, when your sales team moves a card (basically a task) to “Sponsorship Closed,” this can automatically trigger actions such as:
- Set a reminder for status update in 5 days
- Post the comment: “This contract is ready for review.”
- Copy the card to the graphic design team’s “Confirmed Sponsors” list
- Automatically create a card “Sponsor Logos”
3. Audience interaction
Whether it’s a conference, an exhibition or a networking event, any business event will have a wide range of stakeholders, from attendees to exhibitors. A live, interactive technology can instantly break the ice in the room and help create connections between people in these groups, making their participation in your event more productive and meaningful.
Toasty is an audience interaction tool designed for events, workshops, and gatherings. Its live and interactive technology allows event hosts to quickly turn the room into a lively atmosphere where every single person is engaged in meaningful conversations. Participants only need to scan a QR code to join, and everyone answers icebreaking questions together. Instantly, they’re matched into groups with relevant people and conversations start there. Toasty even allows participants to exchange contact through a collaborative click among the two participants.
In addition to breaking the ice, Toasty lets event hosts learn about their audience and use valuable insights to grow their events and communities. Audience interaction is no longer a task that involves guesswork, not when you have tools like Toasty that let you capture during-event data and to align with your event’s overarching strategy.
4. Speaker recruitment
There are also tools that simplify the process of finding and recruiting qualified public speakers for your event, whether it’s a training workshop, a school symposium, or a business conference.
Speakerhub makes it convenient for event organizers to connect with people who are ready to take on your speaking opportunities. Organizers can easily add their events to the site and browse through Speaker One Sheets—single-page PDFs automatically created based on a speaker’s topics and expertise.
5. Budgeting and expense management
Expense management tools with automation features allow event organizers to control and track event spending, revenue streams, and the overall financial performance of their event.
Aventri’s Budget Planner lets you create custom budgets for your events and stay on top of your spending and funds with automatic updates of expenses and revenue, from the planning stage to registration.
Event marketing and sales
Marketing and sales automation platforms allow event organizers to create personalized experiences for potential and existing attendees/exhibitors at a scale and level of efficiency that would otherwise require multiple teams and large budgets. For example, these tools can take information from event registration and automatically recommend segmented email messages according to the background, industry, and profile of each attendee.
6. Ticketing and registration
Tasks involving ticketing and registration (e.g. filling up forms, encoding the information on these forms into a database) tend to be repetitive, making them ideal for automation.
Use Eventzilla to simplify and automate ticketing, registration, and event promotion so you can focus on creating a fantastic event experience for attendees. This tool’s many automation features include sending automatic reminders to registered attendees, informing them of your event details to reduce no-shows.
7. Social media management
Let’s face it, social media management sounds easy but how often have you found yourself spending hours just reading what people are saying about your event on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn? Social media management tools with automation features can take care of this and other grunt work for you.
Hootsuite is a robust social media management platform with a plethora of automation features, including social media listening. Use it to monitor social media streams to track conversations about your event; the tool automatically creates reports with your desired insights.
Buffer is another social media management platform that lets you plan and craft all your posts for each social network in one place. They have a free version that lets one user connect three social accounts and 10 scheduled posts per month.
8. Sales assistants
According to Event Manager’s State of the Event Industry Research 2018 report, 17% of event professionals feel that sponsor retention rates are slipping. If anything, this makes it important to use tools that streamline sponsorship outreach.
Outreach.io is a sales automation platform offering a wealth of features for sales reps, including calendaring features that help you book meetings with fewer steps, multi-channel communications, and live call coaching. All of this is designed to help you locate potential sponsors and spend more time closing them.
Onesite management tools can be a lifesaver for organizers on the day of the event, streamlining registration setup, attendee and exhibitor engagement, and even creating personalized experiences according to segment. Practical applications of these tools include automated check-in cycles and tracking of badge collection.
9. Attendance monitoring
Program attendance is a tried and proven way to track your event’s success. By gathering feedback from attendees, you can translate this information into useful data to help you plan more exciting and engaging events in the future.
ScanTrakk provides event organizers with an “up to the minute” view of who has entered the exhibition floor and how much time each person spends with exhibitors. The platform also has a proprietary attendance tracking app that lets you scan event participants to collect their session attendance and time spent in each session.
10. Transcription of talks
Providing transcripts of keynotes, public speeches, and workshops allows you to maximize your event’s value, letting people who missed it know what happened. It’s also important for participants that absolutely need to disseminate workshop or training information to their employees.
Trint offers AI-powered automatic transcription of both audio and video files. Simply upload your files to Trint and the platform will use speech recognition to convert them into searchable and editable transcripts.
The only way to know if you have a successful (read: profitable) event is to measure it, which is where event measurement tools come in. These tools allow you to determine event’s ROI, taking into account factors such as event attendance, new client leads, client retention, survey results, and total revenue among other things.
Perhaps the simplest way to gather post-event feedback from your attendees and exhibitors is to ask them what they think about it. Survey tools offer an efficient way to do this, eliminating the tedious process of translating each survey form.
SurveyMonkey is the most recognized survey tools out there, and for good reason. The platform offers a wide variety of survey templates for practically every stage of the event planning process, from registration to post-event evaluation.
12. Review aggregation and analysis
As an event organizer, it’s important to be the first person to know when important conversations about your brand happen online. This ensures you can put out potential PR fires quickly or, at the very least, respond to feedback and suggestions from your attendees.
Awario is a social media and web listening tool that lets you track event mentions, monitor competing events, locate sales opportunities, and even find potential influencers in your niche. Aside from automatically notifying you every time your event is mentioned online, Awario has a social selling tool that uses predictive insights to find people looking for recommendations about topics/products that may be relevant to your event.
13. Data analytics
When it comes to event data, the devil is in the details. Every scrap of information can provide a potential valuable insight you can use to plan a successful event, optimize your event experience for the needs of your attendees, and create better events in the future based on feedback. Unsurprisingly, an event analytics platform is the best tool for the job.
Eventbrite’s analytics features allows you to group sales by ticket type, perform a deep dive into event activity according to a specific date range, and choose metrics by gross sales, net sales, and ticket quantity. The platform is also looking to roll out even more features in the future, including geographic tracking of attendees, promotional traffic sources, and more filters to group sales by.
How to choose your event automation tools
While by no means comprehensive, this list of tools provide a great starting point for any event organizer looking to be more efficient and cost-effective with their processes. As for which tools you should choose, the answer ultimately boils down to your needs. It helps to ask these questions:
- What are your goals? Do you want to make your marketing more efficient? Focus on marketing automation tools that allow you to market by segment.
- What is your budget? Narrow your shortlist to tools that offer free plans, like Trello and Calendly.
- How ready are you to use these tools? If all you’re doing is organizing a workshop with 50 people, focus on the most basic tools to get this simple job done.
- How easy is it to integrate this new tool into your existing stack of tools? If it’s too difficult to implement, might not be worth the trouble.
- Is this new tool going to add to your workload? This new tool should make life easier, not harder.
Bottom line? Event automation is the future of organizing events. Now is the best time to embrace new event technology.