Event planning is much harder than it appears from the outside.
But events can also help your business achieve its goals. In fact, about 89 percent of marketers say that events are critical to reaching business objectives.
Event planning centers on the act of organizing and managing an event or activity, such as social gatherings, seminars, charity fundraisers and more. It can involve (but is not limited to):
- Preparing budgets
- Organizing and communicating with staff
- Creating schedules
- Selecting and reserving venues
- Hiring vendors (including a photographer or videographer)
- Renting equipment
Simply put, no matter what event you might be planning, it can be stressful. The following are 10 tips to plan the most stress-free event possible.
The sooner you can start planning your event, the better. Keep in mind that the vendors and/or venue you might want to work with could need to be booked well in advance. Early event planning also can help you identify possible hurdles, as well as the solutions for those issues.
Start by determining the goal of your event because having a clear purpose will help you stay focused on the key details, such as venue selection and overall budget.
Use a time-bound checklist during your event planning
Setting deadlines can make your event planning process more effective than open to-do lists. This means that you’re aiming to make certain decisions at specific times and complete particular tasks at times that will keep you on track.
It’s all about arranging your information in a way that you can understand. Deadlines also can help you identify any additional support you might need.
As you get closer to the day of the event, you might want to update your timeline and/or checklist with day-of details, such as when vendors are arriving, who the point of contact is and so on.
Get everything in writing
When you’re negotiating with your vendors, venue, entertainment and so on, you must get everything in writing. Make sure to account for what happens if significant changes happen one to three months out, then one to four weeks out and then the day of the event.
If there are late-fee policies in play, include them. Also, explain the scope of the work agreed upon in as much detail as possible. Then, have everyone sign the contract to protect everyone’s interest.
Regardless of any contract you might have, always have a vendor backup plan in case something does go awry. Even if there is a cost or fee tied to a vendor backing out of your event, that doesn’t prevent your event from getting ruined.
Thoughtfully select your venue
Your chosen venue can make or break your event. You’ll obviously want to find a place with an atmosphere that will make all attendees feel comfortable.
But beyond that, get an understanding of all the amenities of possible venue locations. Can attendees easily find the location? Is there enough parking? Are restrooms accessible and clean? Is seating needed and available? What other amenities would be helpful for your event?
Set and commit to your budget
With early planning, you can exude a bit more control over your set budget. Keep in mind that budgets can very quickly get out of control during event planning.
A vendor could cancel, forcing you to have to go with a more-expensive vendor at the last minute. Your entertainment could have to change or cost more, depending on changing circumstances. There could be miscellaneous costs that you didn’t anticipate.
Regardless of the causes, event budgets require structure and discipline to avoid spinning out of control. Consider all potential costs upfront from the beginning (with a bit of wiggle room) to prevent any unpleasant surprises along the way.
Lay out your program schedule
Depending on your event, the sky is potentially the limit as far as what you can plan, such as keynote speakers, workshops, networking opportunities and so on.
Nail down these details as soon as possible since part of the marketing of your event should include highlighting what attendees can expect. Have the basics set. You can always fine-tune the details throughout your event planning.
Creating a detailed event plan is ideal because you can then share it with staff, vendors and anyone else who is part of the event planning process.
Strategize your event marketing
In addition to your program schedule, you’ll want to overlap your event marketing plan on top of your event timeline.
Having a photographer or videographer at your event can create content that can be used across digital marketing channels. But are there any opportunities to do a live video during the event? What do your promotional campaigns leading up to the event look like? How are you planning on recapping the event after it’s over?
Check out our eight tips to make your event marketing better.
Have a post-event, cleanup plan
An easily overlooked aspect of event planning is the cleanup afterward. Your event does not end when attendees leave.
When planning setup, consider what cleanup looks like as well. This could include trash removal, among other tasks. Sometimes, cleanup could be included within the overall venue fee, but you’ll want to confirm this. Think through all the small details.
Request event feedback
No matter how many events you’ve planned, there’s always a need to collect event feedback afterward. Don’t limit your data collection to attendees only, though. You’ll want to request feedback from everyone involved in your event, including vendors and anyone else.
The feedback you gather will always help you improve future events.
Expect the unexpected
Event planning is notorious for last-minute challenges popping up that you have to solve quickly and at as low of a cost as possible.
As you’re beginning the planning process, make a list of possible issues that could arise, such as weather, low attendance, last-minute cancellations and so on. As you’re listing problematic scenarios, also think through potential solutions for each scenario and jot those solutions down.
While event planning can feel overwhelming, planning early and thinking through the details can help you be successful. If you’ve never planned an event before, start small. The lessons you learn from that experience will benefit you with larger events in the future.
DailyStory can help with event marketing automations (as well as in other types of digital marketing). And our platform offers even more than automation capabilities. Schedule your free demo with us today.