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How to Plan an Event: A Complete Guide

Unleash your inner event planner with our in-depth guide. Our step-by-step event planning guide covers everything from venue selection to post-event analysis, ensuring your event is a resounding success.
May 16, 2023

Are you ready to throw the event of the century? Or you're tasked with organizing a conference, fundraiser, or company retreat that will knock everyone's socks off. Whatever the occasion, planning an event can be an exciting and daunting task. But fear not, event planning newbies and seasoned pros alike, because this complete guide will walk you through every step of the process. From establishing a budget to measuring your event's success, we've got you covered. So put on your party hat, grab a cup of coffee, and start planning the event of your dreams!

What is an event plan?

An event plan is like a mastermind's roadmap to hosting an epic event. It's the secret recipe for bringing people together, creating unforgettable experiences, and ensuring everything goes smoothly while impacting your brand. It's a detailed, well-crafted blueprint that considers everything from the guest list to the catering menu, the decorations, the entertainment, and even the weather forecast. Think of it as the party planner's Bible, the guru's guide to throwing a shindig that people will talk about for ages. So, prepare to plan, prep, and host events like a pro!

event plan

What are the core features/elements of an event plan?

The core features of an event plan typically include the following:

Each element is essential in creating a successful event plan, and careful consideration and planning can help ensure a memorable event for all involved.

20 steps to creating a comprehensive event plan

1. Define your event goal and objectives

Defining your event goal and objectives is a crucial first step in creating an effective event plan. Your event goal is the overarching purpose of your event and why you are hosting the event. It is a broad statement that encapsulates what you hope to achieve through the event. For example, your event goal might be to raise awareness for a particular cause, launch a new product, celebrate a milestone, or bring together a community.

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Once you have defined your event goal, you need to set specific and measurable objectives that support your goal. Objectives are the specific outcomes or targets you want to achieve through your event. They should be clear, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. For example, if your event goal is to raise awareness for a cause, your objectives might be to:

  • Attract 500 attendees to the event.
  • Generate 500 social media shares using a unique event hashtag
  • Secure media coverage in at least two local newspapers or TV channels
  • Raise $10,000 in donations through the event

By setting clear objectives, you can measure the success of your event and ensure that every aspect of your event plan supports these objectives.

event goals

2. Build Your Team

Building a solid team is crucial to executing a successful event plan. Here are some steps to make your team:

  • Determine the roles and responsibilities needed for your event: Based on the scope of your event, define the specific roles and responsibilities required to execute the event plan. This could include roles such as event coordinator, marketing specialist, social media manager, volunteer coordinator, logistics manager, etc.
  • Identify potential team members: Look for individuals with the skills and experience required for each role and who share your passion for the event's purpose and goals. You can reach out to your personal network or post job openings on relevant job boards.
  • Interview and select team members: Hiring potential team members by conducting interviews to assess their qualifications, skills, and compatibility with your team. Consider their availability, personality, work style, and communication skills in selecting.
  • Train and onboard team members: Once you have selected your team, provide them with the necessary training and resources to carry out their roles effectively. Make sure they have a clear understanding of their responsibilities, timelines, and expectations.
  • Foster a positive team culture: Building a positive team culture is essential to maintaining motivation and momentum throughout the event planning process. Encourage open communication, collaboration, and constructive feedback, and recognize team members' efforts and contributions.

By building a strong team, you can leverage the skills and expertise of each team member to create an exceptional event that meets your goals and exceeds your attendees' expectations.

event team and staff

3. Recruit & train volunteers

Recruiting and training volunteers is a vital component of any successful event plan. Volunteers can help expand your event team, provide valuable support, and contribute to a positive and engaging event experience. To recruit volunteers, you'll need to define the specific roles and responsibilities of volunteers during the event and develop a recruitment plan that considers the skills and experience required for each role. Once you have recruited your volunteers, it's important to provide them with the necessary training and resources to carry out their roles effectively. You can maintain their motivation and engagement throughout the event by fostering a positive volunteer culture, recognizing their contributions, and providing opportunities for them to connect and build relationships with one another. With the right volunteers, your event can run smoothly and create a memorable experience for your attendees.

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4. Establish a budget

Establishing a budget is crucial to event planning, as it ensures you clearly understand your financial resources and constraints. To create a budget for your event, you need to determine your event goals, create a list of expenses, categorize your expenses into fixed and variable costs, set a budget for each category, determine your revenue sources, create a spreadsheet to track your expenses and revenue, and monitor your budget regularly. By following these steps, you can stay within your budget and adjust as needed to ensure a successful event that meets your goals while staying financially responsible.

event budget

5. Set the date

Setting a date for your event is important because it allows you to plan other aspects, such as venue selection, vendor bookings, and marketing initiatives. When selecting a date, consider factors such as the availability of your target audience, seasonality, and any potential conflicts with other events or holidays.

6. Create an Event Master Plan

Creating an event master plan can seem daunting, but it can be a manageable process with the right approach. Developing an event master plan is crucial for maintaining organization and keeping all aspects of your event on track. The event master plan should cover various key components, including:

  • Venue, logistics, and catering management: This involves handling contracts, permits, insurance, and overseeing the logistics of the event space, as well as coordinating catering services.
  • Speakers and presenters: Identify, confirm, and manage the logistics for the speakers and presenters, ensuring their smooth participation in the event.
  • Activities and entertainment: Plan and organize engaging activities, entertainment options, and any special attractions or performances for attendees.
  • Publicity and promotion: Develop a strategy for online and offline marketing, such as creating a dedicated event website, utilizing online promotion channels, coordinating with media outlets, designing signage, and leveraging social media platforms.
  • Registration: Establish a system for online sign-up, payment tracking, and on-site sign-in to efficiently manage attendee registration and check-in processes.
  • Sponsor and partner management: Manage relationships with sponsors and partners, ensuring their expectations are met and that their contributions are acknowledged and integrated into the event.
  • Volunteer management and responsibilities: Recruit and assign roles and responsibilities to volunteers, ensuring they are well-coordinated and supported throughout the event.

By following these steps, you can create a comprehensive event master plan that will guide you through the event planning process and help ensure that your event is a success.

7. Choose Your Event Software

The event management platform market size was valued at $31.23 Billion in 2022 and is projected to reach $60.01 Billion by 2028. Choosing the right event software can significantly impact the success of your event. According to a recent survey by EventMB, 92% of event planners use event technology to some extent, with event registration software being the most commonly used technology. When choosing your event management software, consider your specific needs, such as event registration, ticketing, attendee management, and marketing automation. Look for user-friendly software with robust features, integrations with other tools, and excellent customer support. Using the right event software, you can streamline your event planning process and create a memorable experience for your attendees.

event management platform

8. Book Your Venue

Securing a suitable venue is crucial to the success of your event. Consider factors such as capacity, location, amenities, and cost when selecting a venue. It's important to book your venue well in advance to ensure availability and allow sufficient planning time.

9. Develop event branding

Developing event branding is an essential aspect of event planning that can impact attendance and engagement. According to a survey by EventMB, 91% of event planners believe that branding is critical to the success of their events, and 64% report that they spend up to 20% of their event budget on branding and design. Consistent branding across all event materials, including the website, social media, and promotional materials, can increase brand recognition and improve attendee engagement. When developing your event branding, create a unique and memorable visual identity that aligns with your goals and audience. Use high-quality graphics and design elements to create a cohesive and professional look that will capture the attention of your attendees. By investing in your event branding, you can create a strong brand presence and increase the success of your event.

event branding

10. Confirm Speakers & Special Guests

If your event involves speakers or special guests, confirming their participation well before the event is important. This allows you to plan their logistics, such as travel and accommodations, and to promote their involvement in your event to attract attendees. It's important to communicate clearly with your speakers and guests to ensure that their needs are met and that they have a positive experience at your event.

11. Identify and Establish Partnerships & Sponsors

Partnerships and sponsorships can significantly boost your event by providing your target audience with financial support, resources, and additional exposure. Identifying potential partners and sponsors early on in the planning process and establishing mutually beneficial relationships can help you to create a successful event. 93% of event organizers use the sponsor and exhibitor listings available on event apps.

event partnerships and sponsorships

12. Create a compelling & interactive event agenda

Creating a compelling and interactive event agenda is crucial to engaging your attendees and making your event successful. An effective event agenda should be designed to meet the needs and interests of your attendees while also achieving your event goals. According to a study by EventMB, 81% of attendees say that the agenda is the most important information they look for when deciding to attend an event. To create an engaging agenda, consider incorporating interactive elements such as panel discussions, Q&A sessions, and workshops that allow attendees to participate and learn from each other. Use visual aids such as infographics and videos to keep attendees engaged and break up long presentations. Finally, provide clear and concise descriptions of each session, including the speaker's name, title, and any relevant background information. By creating an engaging and interactive agenda, you can keep attendees interested and motivated throughout your event.

13. Create a Marketing & Promotional Plan

Creating a marketing and promotional plan is essential to spreading the word about your event and driving attendance. An effective event marketing plan should be designed to reach your target audience through a variety of channels and strategies. 87% of marketers use email marketing for event promotion. However, social media and content marketing are also important tools for promoting your event, with 73% and 28% of marketers citing them as effective strategies. When creating your event promotion strategy, consider your target audience and the channels they will most likely use. Use compelling visual and written content to capture their attention and drive engagement. Consider leveraging partnerships and collaborations with influencers, industry associations, and media outlets to reach a wider audience. Finally, track and analyze your marketing efforts to measure success and optimize future campaigns. By creating a comprehensive marketing and promotional plan, you can increase visibility and drive attendance for your event.

event marketing and promotional plan

14. Determine Day-of Processes

The day of the event can be chaotic, but having a well-defined plan can help things run smoothly. This should include clear instructions for vendors, speakers, and volunteers, as well as contingency plans in case of emergencies.

15. Work with suppliers based on your event needs

Working with suppliers such as caterers, decorators, and AV providers can be critical to ensuring that your event runs smoothly. Selecting the right suppliers based on your event needs, negotiating contracts, and establishing clear expectations can help suppliers deliver on their promises.

16. Send reminders

Sending email reminders to attendees, vendors, and volunteers leading up to the event is an important part of keeping everyone on track and ensuring everyone knows what to expect on the event day.

Send event reminder emails

17. Sell tickets

Selling tickets is a critical part of ensuring that your event is successful. Creating an easy-to-use ticketing platform, setting clear ticket prices, and promoting your event to your target audience can all help drive ticket sales.

event pricing strategy for selling tickets

18. Come up with a contingency plan

No matter how well you plan, things can still go wrong. An event contingency plan for potential problems, such as inclement weather or a speaker cancellation, can help ensure your event is still successful.

19. Remember post-event activities

Post-event activities are just as important as the event itself. They allow you to evaluate the success of your event and build upon the relationships you have established with your attendees. A comprehensive post-event plan should include several key components. First, send out a survey to your attendees to gather feedback and insights that you can use to improve future events. According to a study by EventMB, 90% of event professionals agree that feedback is important for improving future events. Second, analyze the data and metrics collected during the event to determine what worked well and where improvements can be made. Third, share highlights from the event on social media and other marketing channels to extend the life of the event and maintain engagement with attendees. Finally, follow up with attendees and sponsors to thank them for their participation and discuss any opportunities for future collaboration. By implementing a comprehensive post-event plan, you can build upon the success of your event and create a strong foundation for future events.

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20. Measure the success of your event

Measuring the success of your event is crucial to understanding the impact of your efforts and identifying areas for improvement. To effectively measure the success of your event, you need to establish clear goals and metrics before the event begins. These metrics should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). For example, you could set a goal to generate a certain number of leads or achieve a certain level of attendee satisfaction. According to a study by EventMB, 77% of event professionals use attendee satisfaction as a metric to measure the success of their events. Other common metrics include attendance numbers, revenue generated, and engagement on social media. After the event, analyze your data and compare it to your pre-established metrics to determine whether you achieved your goals. Use this information to refine your event strategy and improve future events. By measuring the success of your event, you can demonstrate ROI to stakeholders and continuously improve your event planning process.

event KPIs to measure the success of your event

Things to Keep in Mind on the Day Of Your Event

As an event organizer, there are several things you should keep in mind on the day of your event:

  1. Ensure that everything is set up: Ensure that everything has been set up according to the event plan and that all equipment and technology are working properly.
  2. Confirm vendor and speaker arrival: Confirm that all vendors and speakers have arrived and have everything they need for their presentations or booths.
  3. Communicate with your team: Stay in communication throughout the day to ensure that everything is running smoothly and handle any unexpected issues.
  4. Monitor the event: Continuously monitor the event to make sure everything is going as planned and that guests are having a positive experience.
  5. Handle any issues that arise: Be prepared to handle any issues, such as technical difficulties or guest complaints, promptly and professionally.
  6. Keep the event on schedule: Keep the event on schedule by ensuring that each session or presentation starts and ends on time.
  7. Take care of payments: Handle payments to vendors, suppliers, or other parties promptly and organized to avoid disputes or misunderstandings.
  8. Keep guests engaged: Keep attendees engaged by providing a variety of activities, speakers, and entertainment throughout the event.
effective event audience engagement

Frequently asked questions about planning an event

How much time do I need to plan an event?

The amount of time needed to plan an event can vary depending on the size and complexity of the event. A small event may only require a few weeks of planning, while a large conference or trade show could take several months to a year to plan.

How do I choose the right venue for my event?

Choosing the right venue is crucial to the success of your event. Consider factors such as the location, size, layout, and amenities each venue offers. You should also consider your budget and your attendees' needs.

How can I promote my event?

To promote your event, you should develop a comprehensive marketing and promotional plan that includes social media, email marketing, advertising, and other tactics. You can also leverage partnerships and sponsorships to help spread the word about your event.

How do I manage the logistics of my event?

Managing the logistics of an event can be challenging. It's important to develop a detailed event master plan that outlines all the tasks and responsibilities associated with the event. Also, consider using event software to streamline communication and collaboration among your team.

How do I measure the success of my event?

To measure the success of your event, you should establish clear KPIs and metrics before the event begins. These metrics should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). You can then analyze your data after the event to determine whether you achieved your goals and identify areas for improvement.

Now that you know how to plan an event

Now that you know how to plan an event, it's time to implement your newfound knowledge! Following the steps outlined in this guide, you can create a successful and memorable event that leaves a lasting impression on your attendees.

However, planning an event for whatever format you choose can be time-consuming and complex, so using event management software like Hubilo can be a game-changer . With Hubilo, you can manage your event from start to finish, streamline your workflow, and engage with your attendees in real time.

If you want to learn more about how Hubilo can help you plan and execute your next event, request a demo today. Our team will be happy to walk you through the platform and answer any questions. Good luck with your event planning!


Hubilo is the webinar platform built for marketers that helps you 2X your pipeline. Founded in 2015, Hubilo's powerful engagement features, dedicated client experience team, and custom branding tools have helped create over 12K virtual events & webinars, creating hundreds of millions of minutes of high-engagement experiences and counting. Headquartered in Bengaluru and San Francisco, Hubilo's 200+ employees are dedicated to enabling webinars & virtual events that convert.

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