The ultimate guide to event planning you've been looking for

October 15, 2021

What’s Event Planning?

All types of events, right from a grand corporate event to a simple wedding, need planning. Organizing events is hard as hundreds of things can go wrong on D-Day.Simply put, event planning is the orchestration of every detail of an event - right from arranging the logistics to procuring the stationery.As an event planner, you need to dot the i's and cross the t's to make sure that the event is delivered successfully. You need to work closely with the client to understand their requirements.Based on their needs, you will be required to do any or all of the following:

  • Ideate the plan 
  • Decide the theme
  • Negotiate contracts with various vendors, hotels, caterers, and speakers
  • Coordinate transportation
  • Develop invitations and market the event 
  • Come up with the total cost taking your margins into consideration

In short, event planning is a journey where different elements of organizing, management, and promotion come together.

Benefits of event planning

It is common for mistakes to happen while conducting an event. These can take a toll on time, money, and other resources. Knowing the process of event planning helps you understand how to secure a backup for every situation without affecting the overall budget. Here are a few benefits of event planning.

1. Eliminates human errors

Event organization has a lot of variables at play. Things can easily go wrong due to human errors. Event planning takes care of all the undesirable outcomes that can arise while running an event. It ensures that the event is successfully conducted, thereby helping the client achieve their goals.

2. Saves cost for the client

When conducting an event, one has to talk to different vendors to understand their pricing and deliverables. It is difficult to find the best person who can provide quality products & services that are also cost-efficient. Event planning helps in this regard as event planners have a network of vendors who can execute quality work at a reasonable price.

3. Translates the vision to reality

Everybody has a vision of how their event should be organized. Event planning is the best way to bring that vision to life. Event planning takes every minute aspect of the imagination and brings them together seamlessly to frame a complete picture of the event.

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5 stages of event planning

Planning an event effectively helps you stay away from the risks of chaos, disorganization, and failure to meet the event’s goals. To help you avoid such situations, here is a 5-stage plan:

1. Research and capture the event goals

Even experienced event planners sometimes skip this step. No matter your experience, it is important to research the type of event you have undertaken to plan. You need to talk to the client and understand their end goal. If it is a corporate event, the goal can be to network, share knowledge, or simply improve brand visibility.[caption id="attachment_9008" align="aligncenter" width="640"]

virtual event planning

Source[/caption]Make a list of questions designed specifically for this stage. Ask about the budget, the number of attendees, date, and location. Don’t forget to document all these details.

2. Plan the event

This is the stage where you have the maximum responsibilities. After understanding the client’s needs, you need to finalize the venue and/or the virtual event platform based on the event theme, the number of attendees, and the budget. Start building a team and assign specific responsibilities to them. Remember to keep the plan as detailed as possible.

3. Start the branding of the event

If it is a personal event, this stage is all about sending invitations and intro videos to those involved. But if it is a corporate event, you need to market the event extensively, especially if the client's end goal involves an audience outside the organization. Based on the type of audience, you need to prepare promotional material and share it on social media, email marketing, and other channels.

4. Execute flawlessly on the event day 

When the day finally comes around, your primary job is to coordinate with all your team members to make sure everything is going as per the plan and the intricacies are managed. As an event planner, you have to ensure that the event is a success and the end goals are met for the client.

5. Evaluate the event

It is necessary to evaluate the event after it ends. Depending on the type of event, you can collect feedback by sharing a feedback form or talking to a few guests and getting to know their opinions on the event. This way, you can verify whether you have achieved the goals set or not and find out the scope of improvement.

Planning an event successfully

Here are a few tips that you can use to plan an event successfully:

  • Understand the demographics of your target audience before deciding the theme.
  • Be creative and open to new ideas.
  • Keep an eye on hashtags used by participants and create content targeted towards those hashtags.
  • Click as many photographs as possible and post them on social media.
  • Document everything.
  • Bring in sustainable and green elements into the event.
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Event management and event planning: What's the difference?

Here’s a simple rule-of-thumb: everything that happens before the actual event comes under the bucket of event planning. An event manager is responsible for everything that happens during the event.Here are the different responsibilities of an event planner:

  • Choosing and booking a venue and/or a virtual event platform
  • Planning the event theme and branding
  • Finalizing menu, caterers, and swag bags
  • Sending proposals to vendors
  • Managing budgets
  • Choosing music, band, and other entertainers

Here are some of the tasks of an event manager:

  • Solving conflicts during the event
  • Taking care of event day logistics
  • Executing emergency plans
  • Managing the hired staff
  • Ensuring everything is happening according to schedule

Key elements of event planning

Here are the five major elements of an event planning process:

1. Theme

An event theme is simply the overarching idea or the concept around which your event revolves. A theme not only gives your event a structure but can also reinforce the message you wish to convey through the event.To identify the right theme, you need to find out what is trending and also loved by the target audience. Remember, a theme is one way to create a great first impression for your event.

2. Budget

A budget of an event is the total cost that the client will incur in successfully running the event. As an event planner, your job is not only to formulate the budget before the event begins but also to keep an eye on the budget (so that it is not exceeded) while the event is going on.Remember to have an extra budget set aside for emergencies. Speak to multiple vendors and make sure to bargain and get the right price for everything. Maintain a budget sheet and monitor it closely.

3. Venue

Choose a venue that is easily accessible and is at a practical distance from public transport hubs. The venue should also have ample parking space based on the number of guests. Do prior research on the venue and know about the previous projects hosted there.In today’s world, many event venues have shifted online. Ensure you choose the right virtual event platform if you are hosting an online event and the right hybrid event platform if your event has both in-person and virtual components.

4. Speakers

The right speakers can bring life to an event. So, understand your audience and invite someone they like to hear. It could be a motivational speaker or a subject matter expert. Get a video recording of speakers' previous presentations and make sure they are apt for the event and good at content delivery.

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5. Sponsors

If your event is a fundraiser, mega-event, or celebrity event, you need to attract sponsors who can fund the event and also benefit from the event in the form of promotions. Reach out to sponsors based on the event type. For example, if you are organizing a health-related event, then you can invite hospitals and pharma companies as sponsors.

Event Planning Software

Since there is a lot of manual work involved in event planning, the chances of human errors are pretty high. This is where you need the assistance of software to streamline the entire event planning process.

Types of event planning software

Here are some tools that you can rely on to simplify event planning:

1. Attendee Registration Software

For large events, it is important to have a smooth and seamless registration process. An attendee registration software does just that. It gives detailed insights on people attending the event and delivers analytics in the form of charts and reports.Example - Eventbrite and Bevy[caption id="attachment_9010" align="aligncenter" width="640"]

Attendee registration software

Source[/caption]2. CRMCRM plays a major role in organizing the attendee's information. Using CRMs, you can track and manage the prospect’s journey. This data helps you calculate the ROI and also keeps the attendee’s information safe.Example - Hubspot and Pipedrive[caption id="attachment_9011" align="aligncenter" width="640"]



3. Email Engagement Software

Email marketing is essential to keep the attendees informed and give updates regarding the event. Such tools are widely used by event planners to market the event with bulk emails to the target audience. It is also used after the event to stay in contact with the attendees.Example - Mailchimp and MailJet[caption id="attachment_9012" align="aligncenter" width="640"]

Email Engagement Software


4. Hybrid Event Platform

Apart from a seamless, successful execution of the event, such platforms can perform many functions, from attendance management to performing robust analytics. They can also help create multiple breakout rooms or lounges, conduct polls, quizzes and contests for audience engagement, and help customize the virtual space with your brand colors and imagery.Example - Hubilo[caption id="attachment_9013" align="aligncenter" width="640"]

Hybrid event platform


Top online event planning tools

1. Project Management

Trello: This tool enables you to assign tasks and create checklists for each member of your team. You can also monitor their progress in real-time. Trello has an excellent user interface that lets you move tasks effortlessly between two stages.[caption id="attachment_9025" align="aligncenter" width="640"]


Source[/caption]Active Collab: Tracking payments is a tedious task. But if payments are not tracked and accounted for properly, you might end up taking a big hit with the margins. Active Collab helps you track all the spending during the planning and execution of the event. You can also create invoices and track time using the tool. It also has features like resource management, client access, and reports to track the event’s progress.[caption id="attachment_9014" align="aligncenter" width="640"]

Active Collab


2. Marketing

Hootsuite: You may want to post promotional content on various social apps simultaneously. By using Hootsuite, you can automate the entire process of social media distribution. You can also monitor the performance of your posts in the same tool.[caption id="attachment_9018" align="aligncenter" width="640"]


Source[/caption]Marketo:Marketo allows you to promote events across the globe. The tool has hundreds of advanced features clubbed under different categories like consumer marketing, mobile marketing, lead management, revenue attribution, and email marketing.[caption id="attachment_9021" align="aligncenter" width="640"]



3. Data Extraction/Reading

Google Analytics: It is a great tool to extract data on what is happening on your event website and understand your audience’s behavior.[caption id="attachment_9017" align="aligncenter" width="640"]

Google Analytics

Source[/caption]Snov: This tool helps you extract your website visitors' email addresses, which you can use to target email marketing campaigns.[caption id="attachment_9024" align="aligncenter" width="640"]



4. Budgeting

Mint: This tool allows you to manage your event budget free of cost. It is ideal for small and medium-sized events.[caption id="attachment_9022" align="aligncenter" width="640"]


Source[/caption]QuickBooks: This is an excellent tool for large-sized companies that run events around the year. You can easily manage monthly, quarterly, and yearly budgets using this tool. You can also create budgets based on your accounting data.[caption id="attachment_9023" align="aligncenter" width="640"]



5. Content Creation and Presentation

Canva: This is a great tool to create invitations, posters, ads, and videos to promote your event. It has both a free and paid version.[caption id="attachment_9015" align="aligncenter" width="640"]


Source[/caption]Typito: It is a great place to create simple and professional-grade videos with texts. The tool has a friendly interface with drag-and-drop options.[caption id="attachment_9026" align="aligncenter" width="640"]



7. Event Management

Hubilo: Hubilo is a hybrid and virtual event platform that helps you host engaging events that drive business results. You get access to a powerful analytics engine to track the event, leverage a suite of features for audience engagement, and so on.[caption id="attachment_9019" align="aligncenter" width="640"]



EventMobi: Using this tool, you can easily engage with the audience during all the phases of the event and also create live polling, activity feeds, and gamification using the tool.

[caption id="attachment_9016" align="aligncenter" width="640"]



Free resources to succeed with event planning

Event Planning Checklist

Event Planning Templates

Event Planning Internships

If you are just starting, doing internships will give you the experience to plan events effectively. This will also add value to your resume. Here are a few internship programs you can explore:

Event Planning Certificates

You need to keep yourself updated with the industry constantly. So attending seminars, webinars, and certificate programs can help you stay connected. Explore these offerings:

Event Planning Courses

Here are some interesting courses that you can complete to boost your event planning knowledge:

Event Planning Degrees

If you want to pursue a future in event planning, you can consider getting a degree in event planning and starting your career. This will enable you to work for big event planning firms or start your own event planning company. You can explore the following institutes for learning:

In-demand event planning jobs

1. Event planning resume templates

2. Event planning contract templates

Event Planning Timeline

What is an event planning timeline?

An event planning timeline is a guiding document used by event planners to set expectations and delegate duties with a timeline to each staff member in the team. It covers all the stages of event planning in chronological order with a scheduled timeline for each stage. Creating an event planning timeline is the first task on the to-do list for most planners.

Need for an event planning timeline

Planning an event is like cooking a dish. To cook the dish perfectly in the end, you need to follow each step in the recipe. On the same lines, working on events without having a timeline will lead to chaos. The more detailed the event planning timeline is, the more successful the event would turn out.

Long-term event planning timeline vs. day-of-event timeline

Any event planning team will have both long-term event planning timelines as well as the day-of-event timelines in their arsenal. Long-term event planning captures the activities way before the day of the event. Depending on the size of the event, these timelines can range from 2 to 12 months.On the other hand, day-of-event timelines have detailed information about the schedules, performances, and activities on the day of the event. This timeline is used to make sure the event is going as per plan on D-Day.

How to start an event planning business?

Here are the steps to start an event planning business:

  • Develop skills and experience

The long-term success of any event planning business depends on the experience that the planner brings to the plate. Your initial clients will always sign your business based on the experience you bring to the table. You can get the experience and skills by undergoing a course or by joining an event planning company for on-the-job learning for a few years.

  • Identify your target market

Event planning is a vast field. Depending on your experience and skills, you need to decide the core market you wish to target. For example, if you have primarily worked or completed a certification in wedding planning, then you should choose this as your primary market.

  • Build a business plan

Having skills and a target market isn’t enough to start a business; you also need a business plan. There are various resources you can use to build your business plan. Here is a sample one prepared by the US Small Business Administration.

  • Create a network of resources

Reach out to various suppliers and staffing personnel to procure and manage your resources. They are your go-to people for any event. The suppliers and vendors you choose should be trustworthy and have a good name in their respective fields. Sign long-term contracts with suppliers so that you get a good deal.

  • Establish a fee structure

Plan how you are going to charge for your service. Most small event planning businesses take a percentage of the total expenses of the event. Fix the profit by keeping your long-term goals in mind. Don’t fix the fee too high or too low, as both can have adverse outcomes. You can also charge clients based on an hourly rate, commissionable rate, or a flat fee.

  • Focus on business development and marketing

The final steps include choosing the right name for your brand, starting a website, designing business cards, and drafting proposals and agreements. Plan a budget for marketing and pick the correct type of marketing method that works for your target audience.

Corporate Event Planning

What is corporate event planning?

As the name suggests, this primarily involves planning events for a business. The main goal of a corporate event could be a new product launch, celebrating the company's achievements, or simply a morale-building program for employees.[caption id="attachment_9027" align="aligncenter" width="640"]

Corporate event planning

Source[/caption]While planning a corporate event, you are bound to face stumbling blocks like low attendance and poor budget. As an event planner, it is your responsibility to overcome these obstacles and help the business achieve its end goal.

Types of corporate events

Here are some popular types of corporate events:

  • Seminars
  • Product launches
  • Trade shows
  • Networking events
  • Conferences
  • Family days

Corporate event planning checklist

We have already seen the importance of having a checklist while planning an event. A corporate event is no exception. In fact, a checklist is even more important for corporate event planning. These events need to be run with utmost professionalism.Here is a checklist that you can use for corporate event planning:

  1. Set the end goal you wish to achieve with the event.
  2. Pick a date that doesn't clash with any internal schedules or major public events.
  3. Check venue availability.
  4. Negotiate terms and specifics with different vendors.
  5. Identify different people’s roles and responsibilities for managing the event.
  6. Set up a seamless registration process.

Corporate event planning companies

There are many event planning companies out there; competition is pretty high in the market. If you are looking for inspiration or a perfect outfit to join and learn the trade, here are a few popular companies in the corporate event planning business:

  • Bassett Events, Inc.
  • MKG
  • Colin Cowie
  • David Tutera
  • Rafanelli Events

Wrapping Up

In this guide, we have covered everything you need to know about making your event planning process a seamless and enjoyable task. However, if you are new to this business and planning to conduct a virtual or hybrid event, you’d need a powerful event tech platform like Hubilo. It will help you remove the unnecessary stress that can happen while planning the event.To know more about Hubilo and what we can do for you, book a demo now.

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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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