In my past life in public relations, I used to do some event planning. Once, due to a conflict on one of the host’s calendars, we had to reschedule a fancy client-facing dinner. I changed the date on the invitations and made the new arrangements, but in the days leading up to the event had a terrible shower realization moment.
I hadn’t finalized the new date on the presenter’s calendar, and he was now double-booked. That meant I had to reschedule the event yet again—the restaurant reservation, the invitations, the follow-up emails to clients, everything.
If you’re in the events industry, you know how crucial the details are. Forget one tiny thing, and you risk having the entire event fall apart. That’s where a project management tool comes into play—it helps ensure no details fall through the cracks.
Why you should use project management software for events
A project management (PM) system essentially helps you keep track of every detail related to an event—both large and small—and can help you collaborate with vendors, partners, and team members to execute a successful event.
If you’re used to using a trusty spreadsheet to organize your events and are totally new to project management systems (don’t sweat it), check out our project management buyers guide and you’ll quickly become a pro at understanding these tools’ benefits and common features.
In addition to using project management software for events, another option is event management software. If your business solely focuses on events, you might want to check out these solutions—which include features like ticketing, attendee management, and on-site management. Our event management software buyers guide can help you determine whether a dedicated event planning tool makes more sense for your business.
However, if you do a mix of event planning along with other marketing or only put on a few events each year, we recommend sticking with a more general project management tool. These tools will help you stay on top of event to-dos while also helping you better manage workflows for other types of projects.
At the end of the day, a project management tool will have more flexibility than an event management tool. Think of it more like a Swiss Army knife, versus a can opener.
Ready to see some top tools? Let’s take a look at three project management systems that are highly rated by your peers in the event industry. PM tools that made the cut are listed in alphabetical order below; you can read our full methodology here.
- Overall rating from users in the events industry: 4.71/5 (21)
- Notable features: event planning templates, Gantt chart view, mobile app
Asana is a standalone project management tool that helps teams execute their work. Teams use Asana to create projects, and tasks within those projects. You can assign tasks to your team members, add them as task followers, share projects with them, or mention them in comments to keep them in the loop.
If you’re an event planner, rather than creating sticky notes, to-do lists, and searching through email, you can use Asana as an event planning tool to organize all event-related tasks. Asana even has ready-made event planning templates you can use to get started quickly. You can also display projects in a Gantt chart view, which can be helpful for visualizing tasks leading up to your event.
Asana also offers an app, so it’s easy to take on-the-go if you’re making site visits.
Event planning templates in Asana (Source)
User views about Asana (unedited; sourced from reviews on Software Advice)*:
- “It’s super user friendly and customizable to your organizations needs and styles”
- “The user interface is great – its easy to jump in and start using it, and then to get better at using some of the amazing features of it”
- “The software is very easy to use and gives you the ability to track multiple projects at once and share them with different teams which is awesome”
- “A very good tool to share, organize and prioritize your teams workload”
- “The mobile app is very good and is an easy way to assign tasks to remote employees”
- “Lack of reporting, and building relations with other tasks are limited”
- “For me, the only disadvantage of the software is about having lack of integration to other apps”
- “Too many email notifications are really annoying and this really bothers me”
- “Its not as intuative as some problems and some of our older team members had trouble learning the program”
- “There are so many features that a new user can feel a little lost at the beginning”
- Overall rating from users in the events industry: 4.04/5 (26)
- Notable features: ability to control what clients see, to-do lists, mobile app
Basecamp is a standalone real-time communication and project management tool that helps teams stay on the same page.
Of note for event planners, Basecamp has a lot of features that may be helpful for event planning such as to-do lists, calendaring, due dates, and file sharing.
If you’re an event planning team that serves clients, you’ll appreciate features in Basecamp like the ability to control what clients see (they don’t need to see how the sausage gets made). When you want to share a message or task with your client, it’s easy to do so by “flipping a switch” with a button on each task.
Easily decide what event planning tasks clients get to see in Basecamp (Source)
Basecamp also includes easy to-do list features that can be helpful for listing out all the items needed for a successful event.
To-do list functionality for day-of-event items in Basecamp (Source)
Basecamp offers an app version that can be accessed anywhere, so you don’t have to feel chained to your desk when running errands for your event.
User views about Basecamp (unedited; sourced from reviews on Software Advice)*:
- “Easy to use, great organization, and helpful integrations/compatibility”
- “It is accessible that by using the email you can join. Price is outstanding that fitted our budget”
- “Its great for small groups like ours to use with partners and keep track of everything”
- “It was good for small projects when it came to proofing. I did like that you could easily follow that status of a project”
- “It is also perfect for asset sharing for large files that cannot be sent over e mail”
- “As noted above, I consider myself tech-savvy and yet had a difficult time even starting to use the platform and just gave up”
- “It can be confusing for someone who comes from other communication tools”
- “The only negative on this product we found is the lack of some features on all versions”
- “The interface sometimes gets annoying by the limited reports you can use”
- “In rare cases the software fails to sync, resulting in data loss or overwriting”
- Overall rating from users in the events industry: 4.64/5 (45)
- Notable features: task cards, digital board, templates
Trello is a visual collaboration tool for planning projects and tasks. Trello is standalone in that it’s not part of a larger product suite with other capabilities. Trello provides the tools to define projects, their requirements, and tasks so you can determine workflow and ensure projects are completed in a sequential manner. Trello includes a digital board where you can create and prioritize tasks.
Managers can also define workflows, set deadlines, assign projects, and keep an eye on progress. Trello users can use cards to collaborate by leaving comments and attaching documents.
Trello also works great for planning events specifically, as you can organize task cards by timing, such as in the wedding planning example below.
Event planning: wedding template in Trello (Source)
User views about Trello (unedited; sourced from Software Advice reviews)*:
- “Ease of use, nice and clean overview of to-dos, great on both mobile and desktop”
- “The clean and easy to navigate layout makes it a great tool for managing your tasks”
- “A great way of formalising the working with a new team of otherwise perfect strangers”
- “Tons of user friendly tools to help you stay organized. I love the color labels and calendar deadline option”
- “It is intuitive and easy to customize to fit your business needs. It is reliable and secure and very rarely has bugs”
- “The pro of Trello is its fewer features, but its also something that hurts a bit”
- “Lacks a lot of features other apps have. The whiteboard interface if boring and appealing”
- “Its hard when trello crashes every so often. When their severs are down my work comes to a halt at times because I keep so much on trello”
- “The display of the cards becomes annoyance once you have too many of them”
- “The only issue that pissed me off a bit and wasted a lot of my time was the Microsoft Store nastiness for downloading the desktop app”
Use a project management system to ensure your next event shines
When it comes to event management, staying organized and on top of tasks can make or break your team’s success. A project management tool is crucial for prioritizing and ensuring no one drops the ball.
If none of these top project management products seem quite right for your needs, browse our project management software catalog or schedule a time to talk to one of our advisors for help finding the perfect tool.
*Reviews are taken verbatim from users and have not been edited for style or punctuation.
For the pros sections, we performed a sentiment analysis of reviews left for each product in the 24 months previous to the creation of this report. Reviews data may have changed since publication and may not reflect current conditions. Reviewer comments were not edited for conciseness or clarity.
The applications selected in this article are examples to show a feature in context and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations. They have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.
The three products with the highest ratings from events industry reviewers are featured in this article.
To be considered for this article, products must:
- Meet the market definition for project management software: Project Management software automates task assignment, resource allocation and milestone tracking for all phases of a project. Project Management tools and systems may take one of several approaches: collaborative, when multiple people work on a project; top-down, when one person works on a project at a time; or integrated, when multiple aspects of the organization are involved. There are a variety of project management systems and tools that have been designed to fit your project needs. Project Management software is related to Professional Services Automation software, Time and Expense software, Web Collaboration software and Workforce Management software.
- Offer the following core features: task management, collaboration, project tracking/reporting.
- Have at least 20 reviews from events reviewers in the past two years.
Only reviews from users in the events industry were evaluated to select the products featured in this article.