Events are a lot of fun, but they’re also a lot of work! Whether you’re arranging a small meeting or organizing a massive 1,000+ attendee event that requires months of preparation, it’s easy to get overwhelmed once you start diving into the details. It’s a given that you’ll need to be an excellent multi-tasker with the temperament and tact to deal with a lot of different personalities and adapt to unanticipated circumstances. And the reality is, we never have enough time to plan an event.
One of the keys to success is getting out in front of your event and sometimes that means navigating the internal chain of command and event committees within your organization to bring all the pieces together. Failure to stay ahead of the implementation curve compresses deadlines and forces an accelerated pace to complete projects, thereby increasing the odds of human error. In addition, rush charges from third-party suppliers are often a byproduct of working from behind.
Here are five other things that will help make your event a smashing success!
1. Initial planning and budget
List the event objectives, identify the theme and determine the budget based on the scope of the event and your wish list of inclusions. Do all of this as early as possible. And don’t forget visual aesthetics and extras like swag bags and activities that will create a memorable experience, not just an event.
2. Organization and timing
Here’s the critical path to success: Using the latest event tracking software is the key to keeping everything organized and on schedule. Include everything you need to keep track of, and if you’re not sure, add it to be on the safe side. Also, don’t forget to include estimated costs and actual costs so you can keep your budget under control as you go.
First, consider the logistics of what it will cost for people to get to the site you have in mind. Then determine if the venue can accommodate the number of guests and the types of activities you have planned (if you’re going to have meetings, make sure there are enough meeting rooms). If something different like a winery or theme park meets your criteria, go for it! Just be sure to always have in hand copies of all signed original contracts and key correspondence in the event of a discrepancy.
Encourage your attendees to use their preferred method of booking flights, such as online travel agencies or corporate travel companies that might offer them special rates and savings. Also, make car services available for guests and VIPs who need transportation from the airport to the hotel or venue.
5. Measure the effort
After your event is over, you should have a survey ready to send to attendees, because you should always be striving for continuous improvement. You will never receive 100% positive feedback, but the responses you receive will give you valuable insight into what worked and what didn’t. Often the ideas and suggestions will be so good that you’ll want to incorporate them into future events. Every year, your aim should be to make the next event even better than the last!
Bonus Tip: Navigating the “new normal”
What are meetings and events supposed to look like in a post-COVID world? That’s a question that many companies are going to struggle with throughout 2021 and beyond. Just because states are beginning to reopen, does not mean that the need for social distancing, wearing masks or gloves, or virus-related cleaning is totally eliminated. When planning your event, make sure to keep these factors in mind and take all the proper precautions so attendees feel safe while enjoying your event.