Welcome to the Event Planning Section
Planning an event and don’t know where to start? Don’t worry! event planning is great fun but it can also be hard work and stressful!. In this section we’ll be providing guides, advice and handy tips on every aspect of event planning from venues to menu’s and beyond.
Event Planning Top Tips brought you by Dont Panic Projects
1. When considering staging an event be clear on what your objective is – why are you considering an event, is it to raise awareness, communicate a message, create new business opportunities. Be clear, is an event the best way to achieve the objective? Events can be time consuming and expensive – be sure that you can deliver a return on the investment
2. So you’ve decided an event is appropriate – what kind of event will work best? Think about formats eg seminar, conference, reception, breakfast, exhibition, ball, sit down dinner? Each format requires a specific budget and can create a different impact – choose wisely.
3. You can create the best event in the world but without an audience your efforts will be wasted. Marketing and publicity is at least 85% of any event – consider who your audience is and how you will communicate with them and secure their interest, don’t believe that because you create an event an audience will arrive!
4. So should it be a paid event or free to attend? Don’t assume because it is free you’ll get a bigger audience as often a paid event is perceived as a better investment of time. Free events often attract lots of registrations but don’t deliver real audiences on the day – no shows are costly and worth avoiding. Often even a nominal charge is a good idea.
5. When looking for a venue do a thorough venue search – think about free or low cost venues such as unused office space (yours or a clients) or even community spaces. If using a commercial venue get quotes from at least three providers.
6. When costing venues remember to check whether hire charges are plus VAT or inclusive of VAT (they all quote in different ways) – create a cost comparison table to compare apples with apples and be aware of what is included in a day delegate rate (DDR) and costs for additional breakout spaces
7. Create a project plan, work backwards from the date of the event and use an excel spreadsheet, include each milestone (such as booking venue, book speakers etc.) and allow around 4 weeks for marketing / ticket bookings
8. Think about which room layout is best, theatre style, cabaret (6 to a table) banqueting (10 to a table) or classroom – what will work best for your audience – where possible always have different or separate rooms for registration and refreshments
9. Think about parking and transport – make it as easy as possible for your guests and delegates to reach you – create clear, concise delegate instructions with maps, parking, directions from nearest rail, bus etc. and clear public transport instructions, always include local taxi numbers
10. Networking is important – always include delegate lists in delegate packs and ensure you give guests badges with a large font size so names can be easily read
11. Book interesting and relevant speakers or content – include speaker biographies and titles in marketing materials and ensure speakers are well briefed. If possible arrange their travel and accommodation yourself so you know they will arrive on time. Often speakers will not require or expect a fee as they see the benefit of speaking to an audience of potential business prospects
12. Create an event briefing document – this should contain all the information relating to the event and should be shared with all parties (venue, participants, stakeholders etc.). Include an event overview, event schedule, contact numbers etc. The idea is if you couldn’t make it someone else could pick up the event briefing document and run the event without you!
13. Don’t forget to promote your event through social media. Twitter can be a powerful promotion tool – use an event hashtag so you can track and contribute to conversations about the event
14. Think about partners or sponsors, is there like minded organisation who you’d be happy to share the limelight with who could benefit from exposure to your audience and who may have some budget to help offset costs
15. Think about branding, make sure that your organisation really benefits from the event, ensure the audience knows who is behind it by placing your logo / branding in prominent positions