Factors to Consider Before Planning Your Next Corporate Event
Planning an event for your company is a daunting task. You have to think about décor, location, music, lighting and the list goes on and on. Your head is probably spinning right now. Have no fear, we've put together a list of all of the factors that we think you'll need to consider before you begin the event planning process.
Before you begin the event planning process, you should work with your event planner to map out your budget based on the company’s priorities and goals. Do you want to spend more on a nice venue that’s easily accessible for your attendees or would you prefer to spend a little more on the food and decor? We suggest creating a list of priorities and goals and itemizing a budget for each item, as well as considering DIY opportunities.
The location of your event can have an impact on attendance. You want a location that’s easily accessible but this can drive up the cost, especially if your event is in the city. If you’re on a budget, you may want to consider choosing a venue that’s further out but still accessible to major highways and has parking.
Another option is to consider venues that don’t charge room rental fees and only charge for food and beverage. All-inclusive venues could be another option as they take away the burden of staffing your event, which can be costly. If your company is on the edgier side, choosing an alternative venue like a warehouse, brewery, old factory or refurbished barn, could be a nice alternative, not just for cost-cutting purposes but for standing out as a company that thinks outside of the box.
Food is important. No one wants to attend an event without food. Deciding on what food to serve and how it’s served depends on the type of event and atmosphere you want to create. If the purpose of the event is for networking, fill the space with high top tables and offer finger food, giving your guests enough space to mingle easily and enjoy small bites. If your event is longer than two hours or formal, you should consider a sit down dinner. You may want to assign tables by department, interest or mix it up depending on your objectives.
While not all events are suitable for music, it can help create the ambiance for your event. If it’s a celebratory event like a gala, charity ball or company anniversary, you will probably want to hire a DJ or band. If it’s a networking event, you might want to use a free or inexpensive service, such as Pandora, Spotify or Tidal.
You will need to include branding materials in your budget. Each item or piece of information should provide use to your attendees. Handing out gift bags is a great option if you want to keep your marketing materials in one place, guaranteeing that your attendees will look at what’s inside. Gift bags also allow you to showcase your sponsors if others are underwriting your event.
Decorations are important for setting the mood and tone of your event, especially if you have a themed event. From flower arrangements and linens to tablescapes, you should pick decorations that are consistent with the theme and your brand. Lighting is also an important factor to consider as it frames the mood and importance of the event.
Invites and Registration:
Sending out invitations is an important part of the event planning process. Questions to ask yourself: How far in advance do you need to send out your invitations? Will you use social media to help spread the word about the event? We recommend four to six weeks for receptions and six to eight weeks for formal events. You should reach out to enough people so that you have a packed house for your event. If you want 300 guests, invite well over 600 people. The rule of thumb is to always double the amount of people you expect to RSVP.
Registering your guests is crucial for your final head count which you will need to share with your caterer and/or venue days in advance. The number of guests who RSVP will help you figure out staffing for registration. It is also necessary for following up with your attendees after the event is over.
In this day and age, security is an important aspect of planning your event. Will you have VIPs in attendance or is your event supporting a controversial cause? If so, you should consider hiring a private security firm. Check IDs at the door, create an evacuation plan and brief your staff and volunteers so that they are aware and ready in the event of a disturbance or disruption.
In many industries, trade shows are commonplace and important for presenting your brand. In advance of arriving, you need to consider the layout of the exhibit hall, find out what other industry professionals will be there, and figure out how you will stand out. You also want to make sure you know the audience and pack promotional materials that will appeal to them. Once you're all set up, make note of what works and what doesn't work in terms of set-up and design. Also note what materials attendees are interested in and which ones they are not. Exhibits are an investment but with the right planning, lay-out and pitch, they are worthwhile.
This is only a glimpse of what factors to consider when planning your next event. What other factors do you immediately think of?