After the ups and downs of live gatherings in the past few years, many of us are a bit rusty when it comes to event planning. You might have catering ticked off the list but what about cutlery? The key speaker might be booked for the event but where will they sleep the evening before? There are so many little things that are easily forgotten which can make or break an event. Here is our ultimate event planning guide for novices and expert planners, to ensure you’re not forgetting a single thing.
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1. Defining the Events Purpose
First rule in event planning: define the purpose of your event and set objectives for its outcome. Do you want to educate or inspire your attendees? Can you provide enough interesting and diverse topics to keep all attendees engaged?
2. Choosing the Right Time for the Event
Choose a date and time for your event, perhaps after a short survey of potential attendees. Check the listings for the local area ensuring there are no similar events on the same day. You should also check for festivals and concerts in the area which might have increased demand for accommodation or impact supplier pricing.
3. Finding the Right Location
Secure the perfect event location for your unique event needs. Ensure it is accessible to all types of attendees and has the catering facilities you require. You’ll also need to work with an experienced in-house events team, who can help you with almost every aspect of planning.
4. Research Accommodation
Research or secure accommodation for event attendees and speakers as needed. If applicable, you could ask for a discount for visitors as an extra incentive to attend. Ensure the area has appropriate facilities and amenities. Estimate your event budget. Evaluate past events, do some industry research and contact multiple suppliers to ensure you’re getting the best quote. Overestimate by 10% for your event to give you a buffer for unexpected and increased spending.
5. Control the Costs of the Event
Estimate your event budget. Evaluate past events, do some industry research and contact multiple suppliers to ensure you’re getting the best quote. Overestimate by 10% for your event to give you a buffer for unexpected and increased spending.
Arrange catering for your event. Are you happy with tea coffee and biscuits or does your event admission include a four-course meal? Discuss this in detail & agree menus with your chosen venue well in advance of the big day. Check if your caterers will supply a full service, including cutlery, napkins etc and waste disposal.
Consider branding for your event. Account for all areas of your venue from the entranceway to the stage, planning how you would like them decorated and branded. Are you planning a goodie bag for attendees? Order branded items long before your event to avoid late delivery stress.
6. Find the Right Speaker
Securing event speakers. Consider their field and relevance to your event. Do they enhance your attendee experience and offer something new and interesting to the discussion? Book your speakers as soon as you have secured a date for your event. Consider their transport and accommodation if you are responsible for same.
7. Market the Event
Market your event. For some events, social media ads and word of mouth are enough. For others, more broad, traditional advertising is appropriate such as newspapers, radio and billboards.
Consider the specific target audience and where they learn about upcoming events. You might need the help of a PR company to get the best from your event marketing and event planning.
8. Ticket Sales
Ticket sales can be a stressful and time-consuming aspect of any event. Considering using a vendor or supplier to deal with ticket sales and admin, especially if you are a small team running a big event. Keep your price points as reasonable as possible, considering all of your expenses. Make sure T&Cs are clear and understandable for every transaction including policies on refunds and what will happen if the event is cancelled.
9. Event Planning #1 Rule: Be Prepared
Contingency planning cannot be underestimated in the current climate. While we are sure we’ll never have another full-scale lockdown in our lifetimes, other extenuating circumstances could cause an upset in even the most perfectly laid plans. Consider what you’ll do if your speakers cancel, or travel is difficult due to bad weather. Having an online attendee set up is not a bad idea.
10. Find your Suppliers and Vendors
Get quotes from multiple companies for supplies and if possible, get samples. Read reviews and ask for advice from other event planners and your venue if you are unsure. Remember, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Closer to the event, coordinate with your conference or event space and discuss the exact set-up you’ll need on the day. On the day of the event, it’s advisable to be there for set up in case there are any last-minute queries or issues. Make sure everything is as you want it before guests start to arrive.
This event has come at the end of months, possibly years of hard work for you and your team. Don’t forget to enjoy it! Make sure you enjoy the catering and enjoy a glass of bubbles to celebrate a job well done. A post-event evaluation is a good idea to learn from anything that might have gone awry or to see where you can improve.
Author Bio: Katie Mcgarr is one of the passionate writers for Meet in DCU, a unique conference venue in Dublin Ireland that is perfect for corporate meetings, conferences, seminars, and events. Writing articles about travel and lifestyle is one thing she finds enjoyable, next to playing the piano.