Looking to plan your next important business event? Whether you’re planning a big event or just getting your feet wet in event management, this checklist has all the information and tools you need to succeed. Even seasoned professionals are always on the lookout for new ideas and ways to make their event better, so check out our tips below!
The event logistics
Venue: This is the most critical aspect of planning an event. You should pick a venue that meets your needs and has a strong reputation for hosting events. Consider picking a place that can be easily modified to accommodate your specific event. Also consider non-traditional venues such as a trolley that can take passengers to a progressive dinner event across multiple locations in town! Event life is much more than a large ballroom or conference room.
Location: Location, location, location! How will attendees get there? Is there public transportation nearby if parking near the venue will be limited? And while location is important for an event, it’s not just about where you choose to hold the event. It’s also about how you present the location to your audience. How will they know they’re at the right place? Will they recognize the building? Are they supposed to be looking for a branded sign outside of the venue to know they’re at the right spot?
Logistics: This includes everything from checking on permits to making sure catering and other critical elements are in place, like how many bathrooms you need and whether or not you’ll need insurance for your event (hint: you do!). If you’re just starting with an event, keep this section organized and intentional, as you don’t overwhelm yourself with too many logistics for first time events.
Your event’s purpose
The first step for planning your event is to figure out what you want to accomplish. What are your goals? What do you want attendees to walk away with at the end of your event? Do you want them to have fun and network? What is the specific objective in mind?
Once you have a clear idea of what your event is all about, it will be easier to set up the proper logistics and keep it organized. You can even use this information as a guide for future events.
You also need an official budget to plan an amazing event! Have a budget and stick to it. With creativity and the right tools, your next event can be a success regardless of its budget.
Finally, mind maps and floor plans are a great way to conceptualize ideas and map out plans for events. They provide an easy-to-understand visual representation of complex data which can be very helpful when brainstorming new ideas.
Defining your event’s theme
Defining your event’s theme is an important step in planning your event. It’s critical to know what it is that you want people to walk away with, whether it be memories, knowledge, or new connections after attending your event. Your theme and event experience should be crafted with intention around your overarching goals.
It should express the idea behind your event, and it should be clear to everyone who attends. If you’re not sure how to plan your theme, ask yourself these questions:
What do you want people to remember after attending your event?
What is the main goal of your event?
What is the main message that you want to send?
Then, you can decide the format that’s most appropriate for your event, theme, goals, and audience.
Choosing your venue
Choosing your venue is not just about the space and what it looks like, but also about what it means for your target audience. The venue should help you market or provide a gathering place for your specific demographic. For example, if you are hosting a networking event for young professionals in San Francisco, you might want to choose a venue that is centrally located within the city, is close to public transportation, and has high-end local flare options.
One other important aspect to consider is the size of the venue. Make sure to choose one that accommodates everyone who will be attending your event on any given day and night. A large venue may be great for an evening event, but it may not be sufficient for a smaller, daytime educational seminar or training session.
Making the right entertainment choices
There are several different kinds of entertainment to consider while planning your event. Some examples of entertainment include:
-Bartenders, Sommeliers, or Mixologists
The importance of a good event strategy, operations plan, and timeline
You’ve likely heard of Astroworld. That was one of the most devastating event incidents in recent history. The biggest takeaway is: event planners need to have safety and contingency plans in place, along with proper permitting for their events. And if something goes wrong, it’s important to take action quickly and do what needs to be done.
In order to help reduce any challenges that may come up with your event, make sure you have a good strategy and plan in place to execute your event. As for timeline, plan your run of show and make sure it’s shared with all internal and external stakeholders that need to be aware of it.
Organizing the logistics of your event will require some time and effort on your part, but when everything is under control and going smoothly, it will make the day much more enjoyable for everyone involved!
The importance of getting creative with the food
One of the most important aspects of an event is the food! If you’re not creative with your menu, you might want to rethink your event. Instead, plan a menu that will appeal to all guests and be able to cater to specific dietary needs. For example, plan a vegan or gluten-free option for your guests with dietary restrictions. When planning food for an event, think about what types of dishes will have the best impact on attendees and experience. Some options include hors d’oeuvres, desserts, and drinks!
Most restaurants or venues will work with private event hosts to design custom, on-brand menus for their clients. Create a beautiful, customized menu to control costs but still present your options in a very high-end way.
How to set up social media marketing for your event
One great idea is to leverage social media marketing. You should use it before, during, and after the event and have a plan on how to execute that. The benefits of social media marketing are numerous, but one important aspect is that social media can reach people who may not be able to attend your event in person. You can post photos and videos of your event. You can also use platforms like Youtube, Instagram, or Facebook, which allow you to post a live stream of your event. This is a great way to create buzz around your event!
Social media marketing also allows you to keep an eye on what your competition is doing. You can see what other events they’re hosting or attending and how many people are attending those events. This will allow you to stay ahead of the curve and make sure your event marketing goes off without a hitch!
What to bring the day of your event
Something that is often overlooked when planning an event is the day of. It’s important to bring every necessary item with you on the day of your event as well as have contingency plans in place. If you have an indoor/outdoor event, what’s the plan if it rains all day and you have to accommodate your audience in a smaller space? Day of preparedness is extremely important. Thing to include or bring with you:
- Cash/checks for tips and final vendor payments as needed
- A healthy snack for hungry guests or employees/volunteers
- A phone charger
- Water bottles for guests and staff/volunteers
- Hand sanitizer
- A plastic bin with event materials: extra pens, zip ties for outdoor banners, name tags, and other supplies
- A well-stocked first aid kit
- A camera to capture all the moments
When planning an event, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the number of things you need to do. But follow these steps and your next amazing event will be well on its way! If you need help planning your next event, reach out to our event experts at The Source. Contact us today!
Kristin is the CEO/Founder of The Source Marketing Group. The marketing agency is focused on elevating female-, veteran-, and minority-owned businesses.