Event planning is one of the most stressful professions within the marketing field. To decrease the overwhelming amount of stress, event planners need to be excellent multi-taskers, extremely detail-oriented and organized. However, having these qualities alone is not enough. This profession requires experience, so the planning goes smoothly, efficiently, and without any hiccups. But don’t worry. If you are new to the field and need a rough guide to help you identify what needs to be done and cannot be forgotten, we got you covered.
First off, make sure that you let nothing slip through the cracks by incorporating the three principles of event management – planning, implementation, and evaluation. The plan needs to cover the decisions about why, when, who, what, where, how, how much. Most importantly, it needs to remain simple, so it is realistically doable and traceable during the implementation phase. Speaking of, implementation is the biggest part of the whole process, and it starts to set the wheels into motion (booking the entertainment, renting A/V equipment, starting promotions, and others).
Once the actual event is about to start, do not forget to arrive early, start managing everyone’s places by checking your rush sheet, take photos, and gather feedback. Lastly, every event’s success is measured by numbers, so creating metrics like how many invited people attended, or how much leftover food and drink there was are crucial information for future improvements.
1. Plan early and be flexible
The key to success is to begin soon and not rush things at the last minute. Generally, any larger-scale projects will take several months to plan (4-6), as opposed to small projects, which can be prepared as little as a month in advance.
One of the reasons why big events take longer to plan is that all vendors and contractors have their own work, and they have to book an extra space in their schedule to cater to your event. With this in mind, reserve your vendors as early as possible, so you have all the contracts completed a few weeks before the big occasion.
Unfortunately, like many of you already know, not everything goes according to plan every time, especially in event management. It is vital to keep an open mind and remain flexible to meet the changing demands.
2. Communicate and assign responsibilities
It is essential to maintain communication between everyone involved, which includes vendors, staff, team members, and others. Proper information exchange and multiple reassurances can prevent many misunderstandings that could cause problems later on.
At this stage, it is also a good idea to break up the event into various sections and assign these responsibilities to your team members. Since everyone will be more deeply focused on one specific area, they will have a better overview of any small detail changes.
3. Stick to your budget and don’t be afraid to negotiate
Even though creating a spreadsheet budget might be considered the worst part of the job by many, the truth remains that no event can be successfully pulled off without one. Try approaching the budget as the very foundation of your project, which limits what is possible and what isn’t. Moreover, assigning a set amount of funds for an event will allow you to allocate the budget to its different components better.
Now that you have established how much you can spend on various elements, you are ready to meet with the vendors. Conversely to what you might have heard so far, always try to negotiate. So, prepare a price you are willing to pay beforehand, take 5-10% off, and make the offer to the vendors. Although they will surely put up a fight, at the end of the day, they are still trying to win over your business from their competitors.
4. Create a master plan
Having started the planning, assigning responsibilities, and putting together a budget, you have come a long way. To keep track of everything that has happened from the beginning and to closely monitor your team, build a master plan, where all the essential information and changes would be entered, and share it with your teammates.
5. Always have a backup plan
At the very beginning of this article, we have mentioned that it is almost impossible to avoid at least a few minor hiccups during the actual event. So, to ensure that your events always run smoothly, you need to prepare a backup plan for the most important assets of the happening. When the issue arises, you can decide whether to use an alternative or to cut that part of the event entirely.
After you are done with planning, take your team to the place you have booked and do a mockup – two weeks and a few days before the event. Go through every step on the schedule and test your teammates on how they would resolve possible complications. If necessary, correct them.
7. Confirmation checklist
Around a week before the event, contact everyone involved, and make sure that they are ready to go. Many things could go wrong or could be forgotten, so be super thorough when double-checking everyone’s readiness and availability.
8. Photos and follow up
Lastly, it is essential to document and capture your success. Either hire a professional photographer or make sure to take plenty of pictures. In today’s world of the digital age, what better way to share your photographs that through social media? Include relevant hashtags, catchy captions, and tag your company, colleagues, and yourself. Also, don’t forget to thank all the attendees for coming and ask for their feedback, which can be further used for promotional purposes.
To sum everything up, there are three essential parts of event management – planning, implementation, and evaluation. However, the whole process is much more complicated. So, if you want to have every small detail firmly in your hands, follow the general guidelines outlined above.
The last piece of advice is – do not try to do everything alone. Lean on your team members and, if necessary, hire professionals. That way, everything will go more smoothly, and you will be less stressed. For example, companies like GAM Inventory Management have vast experience moving and storing furniture or other supplies for events. They are also skilled in providing different services to hotels, restaurants, and marketing companies. So, no matter the event type, they got your back.