8 essentials that separate the best seating chart apps from the rest
When you are creating event table layouts and seating plans, there are three things that matter more than others.
- Accuracy - You want your seating charts and floor plans to represent what you will get in real-life so that you aren’t cramming too much equipment, tables or chairs into the allotted space.
- Aesthetics - Because we are usually showing seating arrangements and event designs to our team, peers and clients, we want to make a big impressions and don’t want them to look slapdash.
- Time - We are all pressed for time, and although we want our seating charts to look professionally designed and be accurate, they shouldn’t take hours to build. The best seating chart makers give you the tools to create highly accurate and aesthetically pleasing designs in a short span of time (usually less than an hour).
So what should you look for when evaluating such a tool? Consider these eight attributes.
1. Guest List Management
What comes before adding guests to seats in a layout? Managing contact info for those guests in an organized fashion so your seating plans are detail-rich with items like names, RSVP status and meal choices. Guest list managers can also come with features like at-the-door check-in apps and Excel file downloads.
2. Registrations and RSVPs
And what comes before a guest list full of rich information? Collecting that information via customizable event websites equipped with registration and RSVP forms that electronically feed that data into your guest list. An added bonus is the ability to collect registration payments and detailed responses to custom questions.
3. Flexibility of Event Type
Top tools allow you to build layouts for any type of event, including wedding reception seating charts, banquet table setups and seating plans for dinners, galas, parties, conferences, concerts, classrooms and corporate meetings and events.
4. Adaptable to Any Venue and Space
Do your event spaces typically have unique contours and dimensions? A solid seating chart generator will allow you to easily replicate those dimensions so you can build restaurant seating charts as well as seating plans for hotel meeting and ballrooms, reception halls, conference centers, wineries and even arena-like layouts for concert halls and theaters.
5. Large library of elements
Any seating chart maker worth its weight should offer a variety of table and chair element options, but the more advanced ones will also offer architectural elements like walls, floors doors; staging elements like podiums and lighting; A/V elements like amplification systems; and exposition elements like trade show booths and aisles.
6. Virtual Collaboration
This is where Web-based seating chart apps excel because they have the flexibility to allow others to access to seating charts via the Internet to provide feedback and even create and edit shared designs. This allows an entire team of planners and vendors (like caterers and rental crews) to see designs ahead of time. An added bonus are features that offer 3D walkthroughs to enable users to fully visualize the setup as well as other integrated event software tools for collaboratively managing budgets, timelines, etc.
7. Ease of Use
Most popular event design tools offer drag-and-drop functionality so you can simply place elements on the layout or drop attendees onto seats (or drag them off seats to remove them). In addition, some table plan software apps are also mobile-friendly and can be used on both computers and mobile devices.
If you are seeking to make an impression on vendors or internal / external clients, customizations will help you sell through your ideas. Such features can include customizable colors and fonts as well as background uploads. A timesaving feature to look out for is the ability to create seating chart templates for designs or setup you use repeatedly.