Events Made Easy: The Quintessential Checklist for Planning A Successful Event

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Define Goals and Know Your Audience.

  • What are the specific business goals for the meeting/event? i.e. executive/ continuing education, launch of a new product, business building, networking, building corporate culture.
  • What does the audience want to achieve? i.e. training, networking, learning something new.
  • What do the sponsors want to achieve? i.e. get product to attendees, meet VIPs, speak to attendees.
  • How will you use technology to achieve your event goals?
  • What are some constraints on your audience and sponsors, i.e. other industry events, travel costs, vacation plans, or holidays?
  • Do attendees or sponsors have physical needs?
  • Will your attendees need hotel accommodations?
  • What are your catering requirements – don’t forget the mid-morning and mid-afternoon needs to refuel and refresh.

Allocate Time to Find the Best Venue.

  • Consider the needs of your venue to achieve the goals above, i.e. capacity limits, breakout space, larger lecture space, private entertaining space, demo/ exhibit space, catering space.
  • Can the venue accommodate the set-up space that you will need? Can it accommodate the technology that is needed to achieve your goals?
  • Can the venue accommodate your power needs?
  • Can the venue accommodate your internet access needs and the needs of your attendees?
  • Does the space easily accommodate your audio/ visual, electronic and acoustic needs? If you are unsure of your needs or a space’s ability to accommodate, Dyventive offers consultative services to ensure that you achieve your goals.
  • Does the venue provide catering services or have an agreement with vendors for catering services? Are there minimum limits?
  • Can the venue accommodate your set-up needs- tables, chairs, stage, podiums, linens, staffing for set-up and tear-down? If no, do they have approved vendors to provide services?
  • Will the venue provide you with a space layout diagram so that you ensure all planned elements fit within the space and account for flow of traffic?
  • Do you need to secure an insurance rider to use the venue?
  • Is the venue subject to city/ municipal assessments, taxes or fees?
  • Does the venue require the use of their staff or preferred vendors that may have rates that are higher than competitive wage?
  • Does the venue have testimonials or referrals from other event clients?
  • Places to search for venues: Cvent, Major Metro Visitor and Conference Centers, Convention Center Directory, Peerspace.com, UniqueVenues.com, or EventUp.com

Budget Management.

  • Do you have a fixed event budget or is your budget dependent on attendance?
  • Are you securing sponsors to offset the costs? If yes, develop sponsorship levels and track bookings.
  • Will Sponsor donate needed items in-kind for part or all their sponsorship?
  • Define a process to closely track ticket sales.
  • Negotiate with the venue to package expense items at a discounted rate. Packages can include blocking hotel rooms for attendees, using in-house or preferred catering.
  • Include a technology plan into your venue contract. Ensure a technology fit to avoid any costly fixes later in the planning.
  • Does the venue allow cancellation or changes to plans due to attendance without additional fees (attrition)?
  • Is your event date flexible to enable booking the ideal venue during a downtime or off-season for the venue?
  • Insist upon a detailed Final Full Quote that is inclusive of all taxes and fees.
  • Book speakers and presenters early to negotiate additional use as meet-and-greet, workshop leadership or private meeting opportunities as part of fee.
  • As contracts are finalized, update the budget tracking tool/ spreadsheet. Assess how effects ticket sale break-even.  This also provides an assessment of funds available for contingency plans.

Program Planning.

  • Develop a system or work with a vendor to accommodate registration. If materials are being distributed in advance of the event, have a plan for development and distribution.
  • Develop a plan to check-in staff, attendees, Sponsors/VIPs.
  • Develop a detailed schedule of events from invite to follow-up email.
  • Develop an event team or team of vendors that can help execute the schedule. Leverage venue and partner vendor staff.
  • Develop a system to delegate tasks, track progress and report completion.
  • To execute the program plan, do you need to book a Keynote Speaker(s)? Do you need speaker panel moderators? Do you need workshop trainers or breakout session speakers?
  • Finalize your technology plan including AV projection and audio needs for all the event’s spaces. Ensure equipment needs fit without a compromise to attendee capacity or impact on budget.
  • Review the program plan with your team and brainstorm possible catastrophes for each element. From list of catastrophes, brainstorm contingencies.  Estimate costs for contingencies.
  • Engage a professional Audio-Visual Technology group to design solutions that effectively meet the needs of your program. Also have them estimate a cost for your contingencies.
  • Do you need a photographer or videographer to document the event, for the website or social media?
  • Minimize last minute changes to minimize cost over-runs.

Have A Marketing Plan.

  • Do you have, or do you need to develop a website for the event? Ensure all information is up-to-date.
  • Do you need to integrate a registration platform?
  • If working with an Affiliate group, ensure that they have the needed information and assets to inform their audience and integrate back-links to your registration.
  • Get listed on industry and trade journal calendars.
  • Create and promote social media event pages that link back to your registration.
  • Leverage social media influencers and hashtags to increase reach.
  • Offer registered attendees opportunities to promote the event and their attendance.
  • Leverage Sponsors and Speakers to raise awareness of the event with their audiences.
  • Leverage media partners and sponsors to co-op paid media.

Measure. Measure. Measure.

  • Collect data. Measure the effectiveness of plan.  Measure media performance, website traffic, conversion on registration/ tickets sales, engagement on social media across platforms, and mainstream or trade media hits.
  • Create opportunities to collect information from attendees during the event.
  • Poll attendees, speakers and sponsors after the event.
  • Develop a comprehensive review of the event’s success that can be shared.

Finally, DO NOT forget the emergency tool kit:

  • Duct Tape
  • Twine
  • Scissors
  • Sharpie Markers
  • Pens
  • Safety Pins
  • Band-aids
  • Clear Nail Polish
  • Nail Polish Remover
  • Bottled Water
  • Power/ Protein bars
  • Extra extension cords
  • Auxiliary Cell Phone Charger/ Cell Phone Charger cords (Apple & Android)
  • Breath Mints
  • Business Cards!!!!

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