event management

The Ultimate Guide to Event Management

This ultimate guide to event management is all you need to organize your future event! Here’s a guide with the steps to organize or manage your first event!
Archan Dholakia
February 3, 2020

Managing an event, whether it is hosted in-person or online, is a challenging task that requires skills and a lot of knowledge. Yet, the global events industry doesn’t stop growing and is expected to reach a value of $1,552.9 billion by 2028

If you’ve landed on this page, the chances are that you are about to organize or manage your first event. Fortunately for you, in this article, we will explain what event management is and guide you through the steps to manage the best event!

What is Event Management?

Event management is the process of planning, organizing, coordinating, and executing large-scale or small-scale events. They may be in-person, virtual, hybrid, social or professional events. For any type of event, the event manager is required to handle the overall logistics, from the first steps of the planning process, such as choosing a date and location for the event, to post-event analysis, which is when the event manager gathers data to measure the event’s success and ROI. The goal of event management is to create a planned agenda of the event to give the opportunity for attendees to interact with each other and to successfully exchange knowledge, experience or a solution for any particular challenge.

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Event Management vs. Event Planning

Is there a difference between event management and event planning?” you may ask. While both terms are often used simultaneously, they don’t have the same meaning. Every event requires planning, from determining a budget, deciding on a date, choosing a theme, and so on. All of these decisions are part of event planning. An event planner’s mission is to design and envision the event. In other words, he’s responsible for planning the “big picture” of the event. On the other hand, event management is similar to project management. It has more to do with taking care of the details, making sure that all the event plans are being well executed. Event planners and event managers often work together as their roles often overlap.

Virtual Event Management

The pandemic has led event managers to use their knowledge and to adapt it to the new normal of virtual event management. While in-person events might still be the preferred type of events for some people, virtual events will keep growing in popularity for their many benefits. When managing a virtual event, you won’t have to worry about tasks specific to in-person event management, such as finding a venue, or thinking about additional costs related to traveling. As an event manager, one of your tasks will be to make sure that your content is relevant and that your guest speakers are experienced with speaking at virtual events. To make the experience even better for your audience and to keep them engaged, you will need to find the right technology including the perfect event platform for the type of event you want to host

Hybrid Event Management

You can’t decide which to host between an in-person and virtual event? Why not hosting a hybrid event? Hybrid events are a combination of in-person and virtual events, which combine the benefits of both. However, hybrid event management also comes with its set of challenges. As an event manager, you will be in control of a virtual and an in-person audience. For every decision you will have to make, you will have to make sure that it is in accordance with your two audiences. 

Event Management: Why Does It Matter?

As an event manager, when you’re hosting an event, you want everything to go according to plan. An event’s success doesn’t depend on how good the venue or the food was –even if it contributes to it– but on how well it was planned and managed. For that reason, some crucial steps in event management, such as establishing a budget and planning logistics, are vital to the success of your event!

How Does Event Management Work?

Whether you’re planning a wedding, a convention, or a pop up shop, event management consists of supervising all logistics before, during, and after the event. There are many tasks that an event manager is responsible for, to make sure that everything runs smoothly and that attendees have a memorable experience. As we’ve mentioned earlier, event planners and event managers’ roles often overlap during the planning of an event, but some tasks are specifically performed by an event manager. 

If we started enumerating all the responsibilities involved in event management, the list would be too long. Plus, depending on the type and scope of the event, the job responsibilities of event managers vary. But just to name a few, event managers are in charge of: 

  • Hiring and coordinating staff and vendors
  • Choosing and booking the perfect venue for the event
  • Selecting speakers and entertainment to keep the audience engaged
  • Arranging accommodations such as hotels, parking, and transportation 
  • Obtaining required licenses, permits, and insurance
  • Designing an emergency plan
  • Monitoring the event

Different Aspects of Event Management

Create the Perfect Event

When planning an event, your goal is for it to be a success. A lot of decisions have to be made, from defining your objectives to choosing the type of event that will help you accomplish them. Your tasks may vary depending on the type of event you are planning, for example, for an in-person event, you will have to find and reserve a venue, whereas for a virtual or hybrid event, you will need to find the right event platform. You will have to secure staff, vendors, speakers, and make sure that you have relevant content and fun activities to keep your audience engaged. Create a branded event website to build excitement and promote your event. To offer a better experience to the attendees, make sure that all the technology, such as Wi-Fi and A/V equipment, is ready and up and running for the event. 

Promotion Across Channels with Automation

Once your event is finally starting to come together, the next important step is to promote and market your event. We recommend doing it ahead of time, between 3 to 6 months ahead, to give you enough time to create a promotion plan and to build excitement among your audience. If your target audience doesn’t hear about your event or doesn't know the benefits of attending it, little are the chances they will show up! You want to get the word out so that attendees can start register and share about the event across their own channels. Consider offering early-bird discounts to boost registration. Another great way to promote your event is to ask your guest speakers, sponsors, vendors, and partners to use their social media and other communication channels to build curiosity around your event and to engage with the audience to entice them to participate. If you’re lacking inspiration on ways to promote your event, do some research on similar events to see how they are being promoted. 

Managing Attendee Information and Communication

Networking is an important part of any event, so as an event manager, you want to provide attendees with fun and easy ways to share information and communicate with each other. For example, if you organize a virtual event, you can use a software platform with a feature that’d allow you to host virtual booths. A virtual booth is a space within the virtual event that allows one-on-one networking and facilitates communication. Events are a way for companies to make new connections that can lead into future sales. As the event manager, your role is to manage these leads, which will be an element to analyze post-event to measure your event ROI.

Measuring Your Event Success to Prove ROI

Now that the event is over, you think that you can finally relax, but not so fast! Your job as an event manager does not end when the event does. You’ve worked very hard for months to plan and manage the event and it is finally time to measure its success and to determine areas that might need improvement in the future. Gathering and analyzing attendee and engagement data, as well as asking for attendee’s feedback will help you do that. To optimize your chance of getting relevant feedback, live polling and online surveys are a great way for people to share thoughts about the event. And remember, having definite goals and objectives from the start of the event management process will help you to create the perfect event but also to determine your key metrics to measure performance.

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Event Management Process: 6 Steps and Stages to Launching An Event

Any in-person, virtual, or hybrid event has to go through steps and stages of planning, also called event management process. The stages go as follow:

1. Set ROI-Driven Event Goals and Objectives

When planning an event, the first thing to do is to determine clear goals and objectives. All the other decisions in the process will be made so that they can help you accomplish them. When the event is over, how can you determine if your event was a success? You might already have an idea if your event was successful, but your opinion might not be objective. Plus, you need real metrics and data to measure event ROI. Your set goals and objectives are what will guide you in defining your key metrics to measure performance and should be specific and easily measurable. For example, a specific goal such as “selling 200 products” can easily be measured. An event is considered “well-executed” if it successfully achieves the goals like lead generation, revenue by sales through event participation and overall event attendance.

Event Goals & Objectives

2. Create a Solid Event Budget

Different events have different needs and hence budget allocation is a function of the type/purpose of your event. Planning this is the second big step. Having a set budget will help you make other decisions such as choosing a venue– or an event platform if it is a virtual event -, hiring caterers, and so on. It will help you stay on track on what you can afford to achieve your set goals and objectives and prove event ROI. To guide you in this step of the event management process, you can use a checklist to list all of you the components of the event. Start listing the high-priced elements, such as the venue, caterers, and technology. It can be difficult to estimate costs for each component, so taking a look at past events can help you determine the event budget and have a better idea of costs. Also, we recommend asking multiple quotes from vendors, venues, and caterers for example. It will give you a better idea of your potential costs and help you decide who you want to hire. 

3. Choose Your Theme and Design The Event

What type of event will help you achieve your goals? This decision has to be made by event managers, whose role is to design the event to meet clear objectives. In this step of the event management process, event managers can use their creativity to include color, sound, or even lighting to the event. Choosing a theme will help you select the right venue for your event, for example if the theme is rustic, you might want to book a venue that has a lot of wood elements. If you are planning a professional event, the focus will be on selecting speakers, putting together fun and engaging activities, and establishing event signage and swag.

4. Focus On The Details for a Successful Event

Select an Event Platform/App

An event platform is a software that will allow you to host virtual or hybrid events such as webinars or conferences. As you would be looking for the perfect venue for an in-person event, when you organize an online event, you want to choose an event platform with features that will help you promote, execute, and manage your event to achieve your goals. 

Implement Seamless Event Registration

Create an event website that includes a feature that allows attendees to pre-register and ask guests to pre-register online. This will prevent long queues and chaos the day of the event and will give you an idea of the head count. When choosing an event platform or event planning software for your event, look for the ones that offer automated registration features to facilitate the registration process, whether it is online or in-person. There are other useful registration features that you might want to consider such as ones that would allow you collect and keep track of data, incorporate secure payments, and offer on-site check-in/badge reading.

Assemble Event Committees

Event managers are responsible for putting together an event committee and assigning roles to each member, who, by working closely together, will execute the event plan. The size of the team is proportional to the size of the event, and the type of event committee depends on the kind of event. For example, for in-person events, some teams are responsible for managing the stage, while for virtual events, team members can be in charge of tech assistance. As an event manager, you’re also responsible for creating schedules, defining and communicating clear expectations as well as writing contracts and keeping track of milestones. 

Tech and Production

When you include technology in your event, you increase the chances to keep your attendees engaged and to offer them the best user experience. Of course, your need for technology will vary depending on the type and size of the event, so it is important that you determine what you exactly need. Do you need access to Wi-Fi or AV equipment? If the answer is yes, you might want to check with the venue to see if it is something that they can provide. To make sure not to forget anything, you can make a list of tech and production elements you will need for the event, such as projectors, mobile event app, and production stage. Don’t forget, you want to make sure that everything is up and running before the event, and have an assistance team to help you in case something is not working. 

Provide Engaging and Fun Activities

As an event manager, one of your goals is to deliver a fun and memorable experience to your guests. Whether the event is social or professional, keep your audience entertained with high-engaging and fun activities. There are different ways to make a lasting impression, based on the type of event. For example, you can provide tasty food, organize fun games or hire a visual art performer when you organize an in-person. You might find it trickier to keep your audience engaged when hosting a virtual or hybrid event, and it can be true. But no worries, there are ways to make your guests stay focused! Choose an event platform that will allow you to use features such as live chat, polls, quizzes, to keep attendees engaged, but also include gamification to your event to make it even more fun! 

Networking and Sponsors

If one of your event objectives is to generate revenue, you might want to think about sponsorship opportunities to help you achieve it. Sponsors are looking for events that will give them brand recognition and a chance for them to reach a bigger audience. Make sponsors an offer they cannot refuse, and if possible, show them data from past events that demonstrate sponsor ROI. You can keep sponsors interested by offering the opportunity to use their logo on your event page, or by giving them unique networking opportunities. 

Marketing and Promotions

Now that everything is starting to come together, it is time to promote your event. Remember to start ahead of time, between 3 to 6 months before the event. This will give enough time for attendees to learn about the event and to make mindful decisions, and for you to create buzz through promotional videos. 

It is important to have a clear marketing strategy when organizing an event. Through market research, you can identify your target audience. Doing research about your audience will help you come up with strategies and tactics to market and promote your event. For example, if your target audience spends a lot of time on the internet, you might consider using social media channels for promotion.

Event Execution: Coordinate the Day of the Event

Today’s the big day! You’ve spent months working hard to make sure the event would be a success. 

The day of the event, have a checklist to make sure you do not forget anything and to guide you through each task that needs to be accomplished. Do a last-minute recheck with your teams to go over everyone’s responsibilities and take a final look at the schedule. Be sure to assist speakers and participants and to welcome attendees. But most importantly, take a deep breath! Remember, you can be as much prepared as you can be, you still need to be prepared for –inevitable– last minute changes.

5. Post-event Guest Communications and Team Debrief

Event managers duties don’t end when the event does. After the event, stay in touch with the attendees to ask them for feedback. Of course, during the event you want to check on your guests to make sure that everything is going well and to come up with solutions to any last minute issues, but you cannot be everywhere at once. Asking for feedback from everyone present at the event will be a way for you to evaluate what went well and what needs improvement. Not everyone feels comfortable giving an honest opinion so if you want to gather reliable feedback, consider an anonymous survey.

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6. Evaluate Your Event’s Performance and Power Future Events

You did it! The event is now over, but how can you know if it was a success? Data gathered from post-event surveys and feedback can be analyzed to measure the event ROI. This part is crucial in determining the strengths and weaknesses of the event and for coming up with plans for future events. For example, if the attendance was not as good as expected, what strategies should be used in the future to attract more participants? Consider using event management platforms or event software, which are great tools to help measure performance. Now that you’ve gathered important information, your next event can only be better!

event tech with ROI

Quote by Dr. James Morgan on using event tech in the podcast #EventTalks

Wrapping up!

Planning an event is a rewarding experience that can be challenging but brings many benefits. As you probably understood by now, event management is key to setting up a successful event as it helps event managers stay focused while minimizing risks.

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Archan Dholakia

Passionate about Marketing & Branding, Archan is an avid Lover of Social Media Strategy, Especially, LinkedIn. A Technology Enthusiast Loves to Write about Event Tech solutions, Connect with me on LinkedIn

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