Planning an event can be stressful for anyone, no matter how many events you have planned. There are going to be bumps in the road within the planning process; that’s inevitable - however, how you navigate through those bumps in the road will help you create a successful and informative event. These 30 event planning tips will help you from the beginning, like creating a budget and guest list, to the end, like collecting feedback!
<span class="mid-size-title">1. Learn About Event Management</span>
There are people within the event planning industry who have planned hundreds of events, and they have extensive knowledge of event planning. If you haven’t planned events before, or need a refresher, there are plenty of courses to take to brush up on your skills! Planning an event isn’t just about inviting guests and ordering catering. Event planners also deal with marketing, creating a budget and logistics. Event planning courses can help individuals learn how to effectively plan an event and if it met or exceeded the event goals.
<span class="mid-size-title">2. Have A Comprehensive Event Plan</span>
A comprehensive event plan is a document that contains every detail related to your event, including any event goals and objectives. By creating this event plan, it helps event planners stay on track! This comprehensive plan can also be shared with the group or organization you are planning the event for.
<span class="mid-size-title">3. Choose Your Event Space Carefully</span>
Choosing your event space or venue can be determined by a number of factors. One of the biggest factors is the size of your event. If you have a large number of people attending, you need a larger space - nobody wants to be crammed into a small event space! Be sure to research properly sized event venues, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you have a certain visual in mind for your event, ask any potential venues if they have the means to fulfill your wish. Another question to ask is if the venue has caterers they partner with, or if you are allowed to bring in outside vendors; this may affect the venue that you decide on.
<span class="mid-size-title">4. Put Effort Into Event Branding and Design</span>
Event branding will be the first thing that your guests see when they walk into your event! Branding can be included on any emails, invitations, banners and swag bags you give away. Add your company’s color scheme throughout your event marketing as well as any company logos, reminding your attendees of who the event is for.
<span class="mid-size-title">5. Work Out An Event Budget</span>
Your event budget is going to be a pivotal part of your event planning. In order to correctly create a budget, brainstorm everything that needs to be purchased for your event. This includes food and beverage, swag bag items, entertainment and invitations. With all of this in mind, you will then be able to create a budget. Another thing to consider is any last minute items that may pop up that you may need to purchase. Working a small emergency fund into your budget will help with anything that may pop up during the event.
<span class="mid-size-title">6. Design A Strong Marketing Plan</span>
Depending on who your target audience is, you may want to consider different marketing plans for different platforms. If your event’s guest list is a younger demographic, you may want to market your event on popular social media channels. Marketing campaigns can also be done through email marketing, especially if the guests attending your event have attended events in the past. Adding a QR code or links to your event page will make it easier for guests to register or buy tickets to your event.
<span class="mid-size-title">7. Consider Creating An Event App</span>
Most everyone nowadays has a smartphone, and by creating an event app they can download, all of the event information will be right at their fingertips! Event apps can provide all of the information regarding the event, as well as send notifications right to their phones. The attendee’s ticket to enter the event can be housed right within the app, that way nobody has to print anything out. If you choose to, attendees can also provide feedback right within the app, so event organizers can have all of the feedback all in one place.
<span class="mid-size-title">8. Hire Amazing Staff</span>
Wherever your event is being held, you need to have an amazing staff to help your event run smoothly. If your event venue doesn’t offer an on site staff, then you need to hire your own. For each applicant, be sure that they have a list of references, and ask if they have worked at any type of corporate events before. Your events deserve to have top of the line service, and by hiring the correct staff, you can be sure that your guests will receive the best experience! Your event staff can help with check-in, be there to answer questions or help with the setup and breakdown of your event.
<span class="mid-size-title">9. Have A Backup Plan</span>
Everyone knows how unpredictable the world can be at any given moment. If you are planning an event, you definitely need to create a backup plan! Chances are you won’t need the backup plan, but in case you do, it will save you from scrambling at the last minute. If your event is outdoors, for example, you need to plan for having tents or at least for moving your event inside. If you have a backup plan for your event, and are able to execute it if necessary, you can avoid questions (and angry guests)!
<span class="mid-size-title">10. Pamper Your Sponsors</span>
Your event sponsors are going to give their funds to your event, and in return, they should receive some pampering! Whether this includes exclusive benefits like early access to your event, choosing their seat location at the event or free food and beverage, your sponsors will feel important as your event rolls on. Another way to pamper your sponsors is by adding their company logo to your branding. Their company logo will be seen by everyone attending the event, which is great exposure for them.
<span class="mid-size-title">11. Create An Event Hashtag</span>
Creating an event hashtag helps create a conversation between attendees. In the beginning of your event planning, create a hashtag that is relevant to your event. Then, add this hashtag to any marketing, branding and invitations. Attendees can use this hashtag on social media before, during and after the event and stay in touch with other guests they met at the event. Guests can post pictures of the event, which can also be used for event marketing in the future!
<span class="mid-size-title">12. Include A Separate Cloud Storage Drive</span>
Pictures, videos and files are going to need to be stored and saved from your event, without the worry of being lost. By using cloud storage within the internet, your files will be safe. Guests may have pictures and videos of the event that event organizers didn’t take that can be shared with everyone in the cloud. Technology can be fickle at times, and in the event of a power outage during the event, these files may be lost or difficult to find. Event organizers can also keep track of the RSVPs for guests, and they can be sure all of the information will be safe and secure.
<span class="mid-size-title">13. Have A Transportation Plan</span>
Your event may have guests coming to your city from all over the world, so putting a transportation plan in place will help your guests arrive at your event safely. Using rideshare services like Uber and Lyft can help get your guests to your event from the airport or train station. Adding a Google Map and directions to the invitation can help guests find their way around the city, especially if they aren’t familiar with the area.
<span class="mid-size-title">14. Make The Food And Beverages count</span>
Your event, no matter how long it may be, needs to have food and beverages for your guests. If your event is small, say only a few hours, small items like a cheese and cracker platter and one or two small hot dishes will suffice. If your event is all day, or even over the course of a few days, you will need meals for everyone; reach out to local restaurants to see if they would cater a meal or two for your event. Not only will you feed your guests, but the restaurant will also receive exposure! Food trucks are another popular way to feed your guests. There are several choices of cuisine to choose from for food trucks, so you can choose a few to accommodate everyone!
<span class="mid-size-title">15. Have An Entertainment Plan</span>
Your event should allow time for entertainment, whether games, contests or live music. This helps to break up the day by adding some fun for your guests! If your event has smaller groups that your guests are at throughout the day, adding contests in between each group will be a great way to generate a buzz between everyone! When inviting your guests, ask them what kind of entertainment they would like to see so you can implement that entertainment into your event.
<span class="mid-size-title">16. Keep Your Guests Informed</span>
There may be several updates and changes between the invitations and the actual event. Guests may need to be kept informed of these changes, but with internal event updates they don’t need to be kept informed. Guests can be updated through email or the event app. Getting these updates out to your guests as soon as possible helps them to prepare for your event!
<span class="mid-size-title">17. Invest In New Technology</span>
When you invest in new technology for your event, it can completely change the dynamic! For example, adding drones for your event can give guests a better look at aerial heights that they have never seen before. If you have a large event, it can be difficult to get a picture with everyone in it, but by using a drone, you can take a picture of the entire event! Virtual reality headsets can also put your guests in an alternate reality with games and different experiences.
<span class="mid-size-title">18. Collect Staff and Attendee Feedback</span>
Feedback from your staff and your guests is the best way to determine if your event was a success or not. By asking the right questions pertaining to your event, you can see if your guests learned anything. Cross referencing the feedback with your event goals will show event organizers the highlights of the event, and also what worked and what didn’t work.
<span class="mid-size-title">19. Maintain Communication Between All Involved Parties</span>
Your event will have many parts, and keeping the lines of communication between everyone open will ensure there should be minimal questions. Event organizers should be in constant communication with the venue, vendors, staff and guests at all times! Adding reminders and updates through email and the event app will help guests prepare for your event.
<span class="mid-size-title">20. Know Your Audience</span>
At the beginning of your event planning, you should have a good understanding of who your audience is. Understanding your audience plays a big part in the planning of your event, because a specific audience warrants a specific event. When inviting your guests, ask them if there is anything specific they wish to see within the event. This only helps event organizers get an even better understanding of why they are attending the event and what they wish to obtain from your event.
<span class="mid-size-title">21. Send Deadline Reminder Emails To Sponsors, Partners and Teams</span>
Deadline reminders help your vendors and guests know that your event is upcoming and how to prepare for it! Deadline reminders can be sent out for registering or purchasing tickets for your event. By creating a sense of urgency for your event, guests will be more likely to RSVP or register for your event, knowing that there is only a certain amount of time left to do so.
<span class="mid-size-title">22. Choose An Intuitive Event Tech Platform</span>
Virtual and hybrid events are still happening, and choosing the right virtual hosting platform can make or break your event. Be sure to research event hosting platforms, as there may be one that works better for your event. Event platforms can help with breakout sessions, hosting webinars and having attendees from all over the world join your event.
<span class="mid-size-title">23. Stick To Your Budget</span>
When you create your event budget, think about everything that you may need! Using a checklist helps you visually see what is needed for your event. Once you have created that budget, stick to it! If you start adding in extras, it is only going to cost you money, which you may not necessarily have. By sticking to your budget, and only using the money on the items you have on your checklist, there should be no surprises in the end.
<span class="mid-size-title">24. Create Multiple Drafts Of Your Event Timeline</span>
Creating an event timeline helps event organizers stick to their plan when the day of the event arrives! Be sure to add in transportation time, check in times and any meal breaks. Once you have written multiple drafts, you are then ready to write your final event timeline. Now, keep in mind that on the day of the event, there may be something that happens which can throw your timeline off. However, if this does happen, just try to remain calm and work with the situation. Once the incident is handled, revert back to your timeline as needed.
<span class="mid-size-title">25. Build An Agenda</span>
Your event agenda, along with your event timeline will help your event run smoothly. Your agenda should include items like vendor arrival, setup and breakdown of your event, and who the main point of contact is. You should also share this agenda with your vendors and any entertainment, so they know what time to arrive and set up. The event’s main point of contact should have all of their information on this agenda, in case any of the vendors have any questions leading up to the event.
<span class="mid-size-title">26. Create A Confirmation Checklist</span>
As time draws nearer to the event, event organizers will have a giant checklist of items to ensure everything runs smoothly. Items on this checklist can include confirming with vendors, entertainment and any guest speakers. Be sure to confirm everyone's arrival time, the amount of guests you may have, and any menus you have created with catering. If a vendor can no longer provide the services, you need to find a new vendor immediately. By having this checklist, all vendors can be on the same page with event organizers.
<span class="mid-size-title">27. Over-Communicate</span>
Your event may include a panel discussion, webinars or fireside chats with guest speakers. In the time leading up to the event, don’t be afraid to over communicate with them! Ask your attendees to send in any questions they wish to have answered by the guest speakers, and give these questions to the speakers ahead of time. This allows your guest speakers to prepare for the panel discussions, and allows the event to stay on track!
<span class="mid-size-title">28. Avoid Sending Invitations Out Too Late</span>
Event organizers should avoid sending out invitations too late or too close to the event. There may be guests who are coming to your event from all over the world, and they need time to prepare. When you send out invitations in a reasonable amount of time, you give your guests plenty of notice so that they can begin to make arrangements. Another thing to add is a calendar invite, so that when your guests RSVP to your event, their calendar sends them reminders about their upcoming event.
<span class="mid-size-title">29. Have A Master Planner</span>
When it comes to planning your event, there should be one master planner. This person is in control of decisions and all of the planning. Planning an event can be a lot of responsibility for one person, however, so don’t be afraid to delegate some tasks to others! Your master planner should have all of their contact information on every document they share, in case anyone has any questions.
<span class="mid-size-title">30. Align With Your Internal Stakeholders</span>
Your internal stakeholders want to see your event succeed! When it comes to inviting guests to the event, be sure to invite your stakeholders. They will want to be kept in the loop with all of the information regarding the event, and they can also help with any decisions regarding the event.
Planning an event, no matter what size, is no easy feat! There are many details, both big and small that need to be worked out in order to have a successful event. By creating goals, an event agenda and a budget, you have a framework for how you want the event to be. Once those aspects are set, you can then invite your guests and begin to acquire vendors and entertainment. Keep the lines of communication open throughout the entire event, as guests may have questions from the beginning to the end. After the event concludes, be sure to ask for attendee feedback! This will not only help you plan for future events, but it will also help event organizers determine if the goals were met and the event was a success!
Planning an event can be daunting but luckily this event planning checklist is here to help you organize a killer event!
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