Are you unsure how to organize an event? Sure, it can feel a little like attempting to learn alchemy when you think about it. You start with a vision and a budget, then expand it into a full-fledged event with visitors and moving pieces.
A lot of specifics will differ depending on the sort of event. But, no matter what, there are usually ten steps in the process of turning a concept into a party.
We’ve compiled a list of those steps, as well as lots of tried-and-true event planning advice. Best of luck!
1. Ensure that all stakeholders are on the same page about the event’s goal.
2. Determine your event budget 3. Determine who your possible attendees are 4. Locate a place that is appropriate for your event.
5. Form a team for the event
6. Develop a solid marketing strategy for your event.
7. Look for sponsors to assist fund the event. 8. Work with vendors to meet your event’s needs.
9. Make use of event technology to make planning easier. 10. Create an engaging and interactive event agenda.
1. Ensure that all stakeholders are on the same page about the event’s aim.
Recognize that attendees are seeking more than just an event company Manchester while planning an event. They’re searching for an experience. And, in order to create an experience, every aspect of the event, from the venue to the food, must tie back to the goal.
Working with key stakeholders to determine why the event is necessary is the first step in determining the purpose. Marriott’s “Meetings Imagined” framework, in our opinion, does an excellent job of distilling this concept into seven potential uses:
- Celebrate – Rejoicing over a victory or a milestone (Example: One millionth customer celebration)
- Decide – Outlining strategies or a course of action in some way (Example: Quarterly board meeting)
- Educate – To further one’s professional or educational goals (Example: SaaS user conference)
- Ideate – To come up with new approaches or ideas by working together (Example: Internal design sprint)
- Create possibilities for people who may have shared interests to connect by forming a network (Example: Tradeshow)
- Produce – Attendees collaborate to achieve a common goal (Example: Volunteer event)
- Promote – Introducing fresh products or ideas to a new audience in order to pique their interest (Example: Product launch party)
What criteria will you use to determine success?
One of the most crucial aspects of working with stakeholders is to agree on how you’ll measure the event’s success in terms of its goals. While attendance is a sign of success regardless of the aim of the gathering, success usually has numerous layers.
If the goal of the event is to promote a new product, the number of leads generated for your sales staff will most likely be the metric of success. While for an educational event, how well the information translates into attendee engagement will likely be a significant metric of success.
As an event planner, your success depends on your ability to not only organize a great event, but also to communicate that success to stakeholders using shared performance metrics that demonstrate event ROI.
2. Set a budget for your event.
From a visionary standpoint, the aim of your event is important, but the practicalities of what you can do are limited by your event budget. That figure is most certainly coming from your stakeholders, and there won’t always be opportunity for negotiation. But that doesn’t rule out the possibility of a deal.
Negotiating a larger event budget: Tips
When it comes to negotiating an event budget, data is the most commonly used language among stakeholders. Unfortunately, if you haven’t participated in previous events, you won’t have any evidence to back up your claim.
You’ll have to put in a bit additional elbow grease up front to attain the budget you want. Plan out every aspect of your event (we’ll get to that in the next part!) that will involve spending, as well as an accurate estimate of how much it will cost to execute it properly. Then there’s the most crucial element. Ask!
While you may not be able to receive enough of a boost to close the gap everywhere, you may be able to meet in the middle with a little extra spending for the items that matter the most.
How to Make a Budget for an Event
The majority of your money will go into the venue rental, food and beverage fees, and A/V requirements for a typical event. But there’s a whole lot more where that came from! Check out the infographic below, which was created with the help of Social Tables’ exclusive survey data.
To avoid going over budget, make sure you include each of these items in your estimates when preparing your event budget.
Pro Tip: When it comes to budgetary considerations, keep an eye out for hidden charges like last-minute print jobs or additional audio/visual resources. Estimate 3-10% of your overall costs and include them in your budget to protect yourself in case you come up with any amazing ideas or additions after your first budget.
3. Determine who would be interested in attending.
It’s time to find out “who” needs to come now that you know “why” you’re planning the event. It’s frequently a question of 1) who will benefit from the event’s objective, or 2) who needs to be present to achieve a goal.
Putting together and reaching out to a guest list for small events where you know your demographic might be simple. The attendee pool for larger events, such as a conference or a community-wide event, is likely to be much more dynamic.
Attendee personalities have a lot of clout.
If you’re arranging a large event, your attendees are likely to have a variety of tastes, desires, learning styles, and other factors. As a result, using the same formula at every level of the event funnel would dilute the effectiveness with which you engage each individual.
The more diverse and broad the audience, the more useful it is to divide possible attendees into personas based on shared characteristics. When you use these personas to develop focused tactics, you’ll end up with more tailored experiences that appeal to the people you’re trying to reach.
An example of how to plan around personas in the real world
Experient, a firm that specializes in event experiences, has a portfolio of 20+ event personas that can assist event planners in better understanding participant motivations. Planners used some of these characters in their own planning during a recent conference hosted by the organization to create distinct experiences for each.
The “be-wellster,” a type of attendee who is particularly focused on health and holistic wellness, was one of these characters. Experient arranged runs, yoga sessions, healthy lunches, and even break time for in-session meditation for this character.
Even if your event isn’t as elaborate as Experient’s, it might benefit from some personalisation. When you go to the following tier, the “who” riddle always has more than one answer.
4. Choose a venue that is appropriate for your event’s purpose (and budget!).
According to a recent study, a fantastic destination choice can boost attendance by up to 80%! But that’s only one aspect of why it’s so significant. It also has a big impact on how well the content is delivered and how engaged the audience is overall.
Setting the stage for a play is a basic way to think about venue selection. You can’t have a wonderful performance if the stage isn’t set up properly, so what’s the best background for your needs? And, more importantly, will it fit into your budget?
“It’s like putting on a show.” When your guests enter the room, how do you want the stage to feel? It directly affects their experience.”
Fortunately, the internet has simplified the process, particularly with the emergence of venue search engines. Planners may compare venues, filter results based on event details, and even make electronic request for proposals (eRFPs) (electronic request for proposal).
There’s also the possibility of collaborating with a host city’s CVB (conventions and visitors bureau) for larger events. These non-profits are funded by tax dollars and help event planners connect with venues at no cost to them.
Consider the rates, the dates, and the available space.
Are you trying to figure out how to pick an event venue that would truly work? In general, thinking about your event in terms of “pricing, dates, and space” will help you identify a fantastic fit.
Let’s start with the pricing.
Your venue possibilities are constrained by your budget (we don’t have to tell you that! ), so the quest begins here. Conduct some research to determine the types of venues that are appropriate for your budget. While you won’t have an exact quote for your event yet, you should be able to get enough information to determine if it’s feasible.
Begin compiling a list of these places without putting too much thought into it other than ensuring that they have a space large (or small!) enough to meet your requirements. The other topics we’ll go over will assist you in narrowing down your options.
Consider space as a way to narrow things down.
You looked at capacity while making your first list, but it’s also crucial to consider how the facility will fulfill the more particular needs of your event beyond headcount.
Are you going to need breakout rooms to operate concurrent sessions?
Will folks who are coming from out of town be able to get there quickly enough?
Do you want to be able to hire a caterer from outside?
You won’t have all of the details you’ll need to choose between finalists, but these types of inquiries about “space” can help you get there.
It’s time to talk about dates.
You have a short list of locations that you think would work for your event at this point. The last criterion you’ll need to limit down your options is whether or not there is room available for your dates.
You may be limited if you have a specific date in mind. However, if your deadline is flexible, you can use it to negotiate a lower estimate when the time comes. Venues will frequently offer to pencil you in somewhere on the calendar for a lesser charge if you shift from a busier day.
Prepare to negotiate by submitting your RFPs.
When you have your list of finalists, you’ll need to send most of them (especially hotels!) a request for proposal to receive an estimate on how much your event will cost. If the hotel or venue believes your RFP has sufficient potential value, you will receive a proposal explaining their quote as well as the services included in that price range.
In most circumstances, the proposal’s details aren’t fixed in stone. Negotiating a venue contract can result in a final deal that is far more favorable than the initial proposal with some shrewd skills and a dash of confidence. Always request an in-person site inspection before signing on the dotted line, if at all possible.
5. Form a team for the tournament.
Unless your event is quite small, you will require assistance. You’re going to need a few different sets of these. Because, while you may have a vision for the end result, if you’re expected to focus on everything when arranging an event, you’ll be stretched too thin. Plus, something like digital marketing, for example, might not be your strong suit.
Your position as a visionary is that of a director. It is your responsibility to not only assemble your team, but also to ensure that all of the numerous wheels are turning in the right direction.
Here are a few team members who can assist you with all of the moving components, depending on the scale of your event. You’ll also work with venue representatives and a few vendors, but this is your “internal” crew.
We’ll go over everything that goes into a successful marketing plan later in this piece, but trust us when we say that hiring an expert to help you advertise your event is a fantastic idea. Marketing specialists may assist you in developing a cohesive strategy that spans a variety of platforms in order to broaden your reach and attract attendees to your event. (And while you’re at it, make the most of your marketing budget!)
Administrators of programs
Content is crucial to the success of your event, especially if the goal is to educate or promote something. Your program administrator(s) will assist you in developing and implementing a compelling agenda that keeps attendees engaged throughout your event.
Events must follow the rules and keep track of everything. This can be a little more difficult for larger gatherings. A treasurer or accountant can help you maintain track of your finances and stay on track with your budget. (You’ll definitely need one if you’re organizing a fundraising event!)
What is the name of your event’s logo? What are your favorite hues? How will you bring the personality (such as the brand and voice) to life? All of these are questions that graphic designers and copywriters should be able to answer. These individuals collaborate closely with your marketing department and program administrators to ensure that all communications and collateral are consistent with your brand.
6. Develop a solid marketing strategy to promote your event.
Your ability to get registrations will most likely determine the success of your event. (Unless you’re organizing an all-hands meeting or anything similar, in which case you may expect everyone to turn up just by sending an email.) You also need to get the word out in order to collect registrations.
This is where a well-thought-out event marketing strategy comes into play — but there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach. Some events, such as weekly farmer’s markets, may benefit more from a plan based mostly on small partnerships and local SEO, but others, such as industry conferences, may require an ad-heavy strategy that performs the majority of the heavy lifting on social media.
So keep in mind that, while the necessity for promotion is practically ubiquitous, putting together an effective marketing strategy is far from simple. Nonetheless, there are three key channels to which you’ll most likely devote the majority of your marketing resources.