Hosting an event can be a daunting task. There’s an endless list of things to research, plan, schedule, manage and potentially chase. With so many moving parts, planning an event can sometimes feel like balancing several spinning plates at once. It’s no surprise Event Coordinator was named the fifth most stressful job by Forbes.
If you’ve been handed the not-so-enviable responsibility of planning an event, such as a business meeting, conference or networking event, it’s crucial that you don’t let anything slip through the cracks. A poorly put-together event will not only be an unenjoyable experience for your guests, but will make you, your business and even the venue look bad. Multiple reputations are on the line.
Whether you’re going it alone or working as part of a team, there are many boxes you need to tick to successfully plan an event. Here’s our ultimate event checklist to help you on your way.
Find the Right Venue
Beyond selecting a time and date, finding the right venue is one of the most important parts of planning an event. It’s essential that your chosen location satisfies the many different needs of your event.
For starters, you need to find a venue that can comfortably accommodate the number of guests you’re expecting, taking into consideration what the seating arrangement or floor plan might look like and whether you need multiple rooms or a meeting point. Size does matter.
Your venue space should also provide relevant facilities, whether that’s high-end technological equipment or simply enough bathrooms, be accessible for disabled guests if necessary, and possess the right atmosphere to suit your event; hosting a formal board meeting in a quirky arcade bar will certainly not impress.
Make a Budget
When it comes to planning an event, everything costs money. In addition to hiring the venue, you may have to pay for the decor, the staff, food and drink, audio and visual equipment, a guest speaker or host, and travel and accommodation (depending on how much funds are available and how generous an event host you are). Without adequate money management, it’s easy for event costs to add up and your spending to spiral out of control.
So before you get the ball rolling with your event, draw up a budget. Figure out everything you need to book to make your event a success, research prices for those items or services and calculate the total cost. It’s always wise to give yourself an emergency fund (an additional 5% to 25%, depending on the nature of the event) to cover any unforeseen costs that may crop up. Now good luck staying within your budget!
Nothing helps an event go down well like good food and free-flowing drinks. Depending on the nature, time and duration of your event, you may have to arrange catering. Decide which service best suits your event — is it a late morning business meeting that calls for light refreshments? Or a Christmas party that requires a festive three-course menu? — and research the best options available, taking into account price, reviews and locality. Like any food service these days, you may want to cater for various dietary requirements, including vegetarians, vegans and those with allergies and intolerances.
Make Sure There are Good Public Transport Links
If it’s a chore for people to simply get to your venue, that could sour the mood of the event before it even begins. Make sure your chosen location has adequate pedestrian access and public transport links, like a nearby train station, tram network or bus stop.
Don’t forget about car parking, either, as some of your guests may be driving to the event. It’s always good to let them know ahead of time the best parking options available and any possible charges they may face. The closer (and cheaper), the better.
If you’re planning an upscale event with high-profile guests, you may need to arrange transport and/or accommodation for your guests. After considering your budget and your clientele’s needs, make a shortlist of options that are local yet luxurious.
Spread the Word
If you’re planning an open-attendance event like a product launch or a road show, you’ll want to get as many people as possible through the door. Therefore, a promotional campaign is key. When it comes to digital marketing channels, you should take advantage of social media, email marketing, video content (like a trailer) and blog posts, perhaps even building a dedicated website.
Don’t forget about offline marketing, though, as traditional press — both press and radio — and posters or flyers can be effective, depending on your target demographic. Inviting relevant journalists, influencers or tastemakers to your event can also help increase awareness and foster relationships that could prove fruitful in the future.
If all of this sounds like way too much work for one person or team, you could always hire a PR or marketing firm, if you have the budget for it.
Fortunately for you, finding the right venue for your event is Absolute Venues’ bread and butter. With a team of expert and experienced event planners, an extensive directory of over 160,000 venues and hotel groups worldwide, and strong relationships to help secure you the best possible price, our free venue-finding service can handle all the legwork for you when it comes to one of the most crucial parts of event planning.
Get in touch today to find the right venue for your next event.