Despite the focus on online events, 85% of business owners interviewed in a 2020 study believe in-person events are critical to their company’s success.
Events can impact sales, help create brand visibility and boost employee satisfaction depending on their format as well as the skills of the event planning team. Yet, many businesses shy away from hiring professional event planners in favor of in-house personnel.
If you find yourself in charge of arranging an event for your company, where do you get started? Keep reading to learn our top tips for corporate event planning to ensure your event achieves your company’s aims.
1. Define Your Objectives
Every corporate event should have an aim, even if it’s a simple employee get-together. Before you start planning, you must discover your overall goal for the event.
This could be:
- Sharing company news
- Staff motivation
- Employee bonding
- Increasing motivation
- Enhancing brand visibility
- Networking with investors or customers
Make a list of these aims and come up with ideas on how you might achieve them before you take the next steps.
2. Research Your Options
Discovering your attendees’ needs and wants against a background of current trends is one of the best ways to further your event aims. There are three ways to do this:
- Call people and ask them about their expectations
- Create an FAQ form and share it with potential attendees
- Perform market surveys
Using this information as a guide, you can form ideas for creating an engaging, successful event that aligns with your objectives.
3. Set up a Corporate Event Planning Budget
Every event starts with a budget, and it’s up to the event planner to get the most out of these funds. Important considerations for establishing a budget include the actual costs of hosting the event plus the costs associated with organizing it.
It’s easy to remember all the large items like catering, venue hire, and entertainment, but you must consider incidentals like travel, printing, and your time, too.
Make sure you account for these and ask for some money to cover unexpected costs, too. You’re bound to come across extra expenses as you go along.
When you set out your budget item by item, it’s much easier to make decisions for planning a successful corporate event.
4. Prepare Your Guest List
Whether you’re hosting an event for five or five hundred people, the number of attendees affects every aspect of your event.
Start by compiling a list of VIP guests. It should consist of the key players in your company and audience members who are critical to achieving your aims.
The guest list hinges on the type of event you’re planning. If you’re hosting an open event, you’ll need to target your advertisements and ticket sales (if any) toward the correct market.
It’s easier to compile a guest list for closed events. Make sure you send your invitations as early as possible to ensure you get priority on the calendars of key participants.
5. Find a Suitable Venue
Once the guest list is complete, you can start the process of finding an event venue. This becomes proportionally more difficult depending on how many people you’ve invited or how many ticket sales you anticipate.
Some key criteria for choosing a venue include:
- Your budget
- Seating capacity for your desired layout
- Parking capacity
- Facilities offered
- Hospitality standards
Some venues offer all-inclusive packages including event setup, catering, and audiovisual equipment. In other cases, you’ll need to arrange all or some of these aspects yourself.
Deciding which option works best depends entirely on your budget, available time, and skills.
Now that conferencing and events are back in full swing, you’ll need to act fast to secure your first choice of venue.
6. Event Details
If you’re hosting an in-person event, refreshments are key to guest satisfaction. For larger ones, like lunch or dinner events, food can make or break the occasion.
Choose foods that most people like, and make sure you provide for those with special dietary needs. Don’t forget the dessert. An ice cream catering station or desert trolley is essential for a memorable meal.
The best entertainment for your event depends on your audience, your event aims, and your budget. In many cases, background music will do, but if you’re hosting a banquet, you should consider a band, comedian, or a DJ to enhance the mood.
Hiring a photographer is a nice touch and also gives your content to use for marketing purposes or to advertise your next event.
7. Managing the Event on the Day
One person can’t arrange and run a large event on their own. You’ll need a team of helpers to ensure everything runs according to plan on the day.
As far as possible, get professionals to do most of the work. Whoever is doing the catering should also take care of the serving staff, cleaning, and food presentation.
Most entertainers have a manager who should assist with setting up the necessary audiovisual equipment and lighting for the performance, and your venue hire should include setting up the tables as required.
You’ll also need people to assist with parking cars, greeting the attendees, managing any questions on the day, and ensuring the program runs according to plan.
A Shortcut to Success
These corporate event planning tips can’t account for every eventuality along the way, but they’re a good starting point for the uninitiated.
If you’re overwhelmed by the prospect of putting it all together, a corporate event planning expert is your best option to ensure everything goes off without a hitch.
Would you like more commonsense tips for managing your work life? Keep browsing our blog.