Event details and intentional planning processes are key to pulling off a successful event. For corporate events, this is especially true if you want to stand out among your competitors and in the minds of your clients and prospects. For professionals tasked to plan the next company event and those looking for a place to start, I have listed five areas to focus on as you begin the planning process.
1) EVENT TIMELINE
Building a timeline and planning early is essential for executing a results-driven corporate event. Planning ahead allows you to build a more strategic client/target invite list and plan for marketing. It also provides you with more options on date availability, venue selections, speakers, promotional products and more. A timeline holds you accountable to keeping the event planning a priority rather than falling to the bottom of the list when earlier work project deadlines loom. Make your corporate event a success. Make a timeline.
The atmosphere of a venue sets the tone for every event. Whether you are seeking a professional, modern, historic, dynamic or functional environment… it is important to carefully consider the best look and feel that suites the goals you have for your event. When visiting venues, be mindful of all your senses. How does the venue feel? Is it sophisticated? More casual? How is the temperature? Are the seats comfortable? Is the event staff courteous and kind? How about noise? Is the AC unit buzzing? How are the sound barriers to nearby rooms? Is the sound and audio visual unit quality and up to date? These are examples of the key items to keep in mind before booking your venue.
Budgets are key to an effective event. The bottom line matters, so build a budget, get it approved and spend it! Yes, that’s right, don’t be afraid to spend the money you budgeted on things that will drive a greater impact. Do your research. Call potential venues and ask about the room costs, additional fees, gratuity, average food and beverage costs and AV essentials. These costs can vary widely when considering to host your event at a hotel or locally owned venue. Other costs that can vary widely are speaker costs, entertainment and materials. Decipher what your company will be providing and what will outsourced. Have a plan, make a budget and make an impact!
4) FOOD & BEVERAGES
Are you hosting your event during or near a meal time? Consider your audience, the impression you want to make, your budget and the best use of your time during the event. A warm meal may be essential, but is often more expensive. If you choose a cold option, just be sure that it’s tasty and filling. If your event is during dinner, a warm meal is highly suggested. Take in to consideration if a buffet, plated or boxed meal is best. Be mindful of high carb options as these tend to make participants feel fatigued for following presentations. And always be considerate of guest’s dietary needs. You can request to be notified in advance through RSVPs or simply have a vegan and gluten-free option available.
Now what about drinks? For morning and day events it is fairly standard to serve water, coffee and tea througout the day. Sodas can also be served all day, but if you are looking to save on costs an option can be to serve sodas only during meal times. When it comes to alcohol for after business hour events, check your corporate policy first. You want to be sure to follow it accurately and appropriately. Some policy’s simply don’t allow alcohol at company hosted events. While others may allow it, but not on their tab and therefore cash bars are optional. Event professionals can be helpful in guiding you through the process of building the best plan for food and beverages at corporate events.
5) FOLLOW UP
Planning the details leading up to your corporate event is important, but nearly pointless if there is not an executed follow up plan. Write a handwritten card to thank the attendees for coming. Follow up with an e-invitation to a future event. Invite them to follow your organization on social media or sign up to receive your monthly newsletters. Have your follow up plan in place before the event occurs. Follow up can be the differentiating factor between you and your competitors. The difference of successfully acquiring that new account, fostering that business relationship or making a lasting impression. So be remembered, go the extra mile and follow up!