Analysis software for event planners?
November 29, 2012 1:51 PM   Subscribe

I'm an event planner. How do I analyze my events?

Two years ago, my career path sort of naturally flowed into event planning, and I've been keeping my head above water with just Google Calendar/Tasks, many Excel sheets, and many many Post-Its. It occurs to me now that there are probably other resources out there that I should think about incorporating into my arsenal.

Specifically, I would like to have a better way to analyze events after they're over--which events were better attended, which were more viewed on YouTube, with variables sussed out like time of day, topic keywords, and how much spent. I'm picturing something kind of like's visual representations. I currently maintain task checklists, projected/actual budgets, and track attendance in separate Excel sheets (out of inertia--I had these handed to me by previous event planner). I also have a Word doc full of event ideas that I've been trying to translate into an Access database in my free time. Oh and I have more Excel sheets full of venues, caterers, etc. Is there a software into which I can dump my event-planning brain?

PS. I don't have a smart phone, and am unlikely to get one, so apps don't help.

PPS. I found this, this and this, to not much avail.
posted by lily_bart to Work & Money (2 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
If you view events as projects, would Project Management Software fit the bill?

There are web based versions and desktop versions. Many will give you a trial to see if what they have will work for you.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:05 PM on November 29, 2012

I am an event planner, and I have just recently moved my team from tons and tons of spreadsheets all over the place, to a centralized, much smaller set of documents using Google Drive.

Each event (we produce three a year currently) gets its own folder on the drive. Within each folder are the pertinent documents for each:

* Budget spreadsheet
* Marketing spreadsheet (who does what, by when)
* Agenda and speakers doc
* Sales inventory spreadsheet (What's available, at what price, what benefits come at each pricing level, who has bought what so far)

... and that's about it. My goal has been to simplify things as much as possible, into as few documents as possible, and so far it's working. Key to that has been properly setting sharing permissions - for instance, the sales inventory spreadsheet is shared with the sales team with read-only status. Likewise with the agenda - only the people who are involved in identifying and booking speakers have the permission to make changes.

Also, along the lines of minimizing the number of documents, make use of the multiple tab feature on the spreadsheet tool. That means, ONLY ONE BUDGET SPREADSHEET FILE. Only one, and it is the one budget spreadsheet to rule them all. Cross-tab formulas are your friends.

As for reminders and to-dos, Google Calendar is great at that. When you put a new line item on the marketing spreadsheet ("Send postcards to printer"), you go ahead and make an all-day calendar entry on the date that it's due, with reminders going to the appropriate people. Then you can forget about it. If it's a multi-step process ("Send postcard design specs to design," "First postcard proof from design," etc.), you back up accordingly and make all-day entries on the appropriate days in order to make it happen.

As for after-the fact brainstorming and brain-dumping, I wouldn't go down the road of an Access database - that seems like a lot of work and heartache for not a lot of return. I'd use something like Workflowy for that.

Feel free to me-mail me if you like. Best of luck!
posted by jbickers at 2:24 PM on November 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

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