Here's a useful guide for anyone planning an event – no matter the sort or scale and whether you're working directly as the client or as an agency or PCO (Professional Conference Organiser). As you move through the event planning timeline, you'll see how the level of detail gets more granular. The devil is indeed in the detail!
Here's how to get started, hopefully you'll find this useful.
1) Establish the event objectives.
It begins with establishing your event objectives. Is the event being held to launch a new product, as a client or employee incentive experience, to generate brand awareness or maybe it's to raise money? It's also important to know what your break even number is for the event – if it's a ticketed event, how many tickets do you need to sell to break event on the cost of your suppliers?
2) Get cost estimates.
To help you with budgeting, you'll need to work quickly to establish some of the key costs:
- Food & beverage menus (F&B)
- Room rental (and if this can be waivered if a minimum F&B is met
- Additional furniture (often high tops / dry bars need to be brought in)
- AV requirements
- Décor (including linen, florals, votives and other such items)
- Entertainment (including speakers, acoustic and roving entertainment
- Printing / signage requirements
- Hotel transfers (if guests are staying outside of their home city)
- Insurances (ensure all insurances are up to date)
3) Build a registration site.
- Design an event logo
- Build an event website or landing page to provide detail for your guests
- Establish a registration timeline (including the registration build, testing and go live date)
- Consider event registration software to help manage the process. There's a number of providers that are available in this space to streamline the process.
- Identify the VIPs (including a head shot) to put on your event brief so that all event staff know exactly who to identify amongst the guests
4) Build in event sponsorship.
- Depending on your event, this might be a perfect opportunity to recoup or cover some of the expenses – especially the cost of staging or performers. You can afford to get creative in this space and sponsors will love your ingenuity – especially if it helps to build brand engagement.
- Some of your suppliers may also consider a form of sponsorship in return for brand recognition and promotion pre, during and post the event.
5) Ensure the event is inclusive.
- Make sure the registration process is accessible and that forms are inclusive i.e. give guests the option to nominate their preferred pronoun and name
- Select a venue that is accessible
- Invite speakers who represent different backgrounds
- Ensure your menu and beverage selection is wide and caters for the range of dietary requirements.
Of course, these are just a few top line considerations. Next blog I'll share with you the timeline for your event plan. The earlier you start working on your event, the better. Ideally, you would want to have your event planning process well under way by the 4 – 6 month mark.
We'll work through these stages next. In the meantime, I hope this has been a useful resource.