1. Begin Early
Begin planning as soon as you possibly can. If your event is a large event you should realistically begin planning it four to six months in advance. Smaller events need at least one month to plan. To keep the final run up to the event flowing smoothly, try to ensure that all vendor contracts are completed a few weeks before the event.
2. Remain Flexible
Over the course of planning the event, things are going to change. Whether it is event times, locations or even the type of event you’re hosting, you need to ensure that you’re flexible and can meet the changing demands.
Despite what many vendors will tell you, everything is negotiable. Remember that with every event there will be unforeseen costs, so try to negotiate as low a price as you can. Determine your budget before meeting a vendor, and offer to pay 5-10% lower than this figure. Your vendor may put up a fight, but ultimately they want to win your business.
4. Assign Responsibilities
Break up the various elements of the event into sections (e.g. registration, catering, transport), and assign a section to each member of your team. As they are solely responsible for their own section they will be much more clued into small detail changes.
5. Start using a Project Management Tool & Shared Storage
Utilising a Project Management tool and shared storage allows you to collaborate with your team and now, it couldn’t be easier. In order to keep everyone on the same page, utilise a tool like 'Dropbox' to house documents and a PMT like 'Trello or Do' to include details on everything to do with the event, including checklists, vendor contracts, attendee information, and the floor plan. With a shared document everyone can refer back to it if they are unsure, and your entire team can spot if something is out of place.
6. Have a Backup Plan
It is rare that an event is ever pulled off without at least one issue, an item may not turn up or an important person may arrive late. Assess the most important assets your event will have, and create a backup plan for each. If a number of issues arise in the future, triage them and decide whether an alternative can be found, or if it should be cut entirely from the event.
7. Run sheets are important
About two weeks before the event, do a run through and run sheet of the entire event process. Organise a meeting with your team and mentally walk through everything, from initial set up to the follow up process. Often complications are highlighted at these meetings, and you will have time to correct them. A few days before event organise another run through at the venue with the finalised run sheet so everyone is on the same page.
8. Photography and Video
Pictures and video paint a thousand words, and posting positive photos online is an excellent way to demonstrate the success of your event. If you have the budget hire a professional photographer and/or videographer, they will be more clued in to the kinds of photos that are required and will approach you for specifics. Ask for a number of shots to ensure you cover all bases like a snap of the full room, photos of event branding, and lots of photos of attendees enjoying themselves. Utilising a video for your ongoing social media presence and TVC to tell the story of your event and make the lead in to your next event a lot easier to sell.
9. Get Social & List with What's On In
An event is the perfect way to up your social media presence. Create a custom hashtag for your event on Twitter and encourage your followers to tweet about it. Similarly create an event on Facebook, and encourage your followers to tag the event in relevant posts. Upload your photos once the event is over and actively encourage users to tag themselves. Listing your event with What's On In App will expose your event to users actively looking for something to do. The team can even take care of your artwork, photgraphy and video work - Get in touch!
10. Follow-up Immediately
Once the event is over, many organisers fall into a common pitfall – taking a break. While the logistics may be done it is important to be proactive in following up with attendees, be it over email or on social media, to demonstrate the success of the event.