Planning a corporate event is a multi-step process. Your goal is to host a successful corporate event that meets your objectives without complications. Achieving that goal involves forethought and careful preparation. A thorough event planner checklist can help you clarify your objectives and think through all the essential steps you must take to plan an impressive corporate event.
What is a corporate event?
A corporate event is a business event. Businesses host corporate events for employees, shareholders, or clients as a way of networking, entertaining, fundraising, or thanking the people who make their business possible.
Types of corporate events
Before listing your corporate event planning ideas, you must determine which type of event you’re hosting. Types of corporate events include the following:
- Conferences: Conferences include conventions. These events involve large groups meeting with a specific focus.
- Customer advisory boards: Some businesses use customer advisory boards to generate or refine business ideas. Customers regularly meet with business officials to offer product or service feedback.
- Fundraising events: Fundraising events are designed to generate revenue for a stated goal, such as raising funds for charities, or other benefits such as expanding your donor base
- Internal meetings: Internal meetings include team and board meetings. They may focus on a specific group within the company or involve all employees or financial supporters.
- Product launches: Corporate events include events for launching new products or services
- Team building: Team building events include activities that promote positive communication and interactions between employees. They may include fun activities, such as games.
- Trade shows: Trade shows offer businesses opportunities to launch products, demonstrate how to use products, and learn about industry trends
- Training workshops: Training workshops may focus on informative lectures and hands-on exercises designed to inform employees and give them practical experience they can apply at work
What are your event goals, and who is your audience?
Determining which type of corporate event to host involves clarifying your event objectives and identifying your audience.
The type of event you host will achieve different objectives. Ensuring you meet your intended goals begins with identifying those goals. Suppose you want to host an event that will help your business retain customers. Planning internal meetings may not be as effective as hosting a trade show or launching a customer advisory board.
Your goals could include one or more of the following:
- Boosting employee morale: Team building meetings are an excellent option for boosting employee morale
- Building brand awareness: You can promote brand awareness with customer advisory boards, trade shows, or product launches
- Customer retention: Customer advisory boards and trade shows can help you retain customers
- Employee education: Training workshops, conferences, and internal meetings are all options for educating employees
- Employee retention: Internal meetings, conferences, team building meetings, and training workshops can increase employee retention
Corporate events should focus on the intended audience to ensure they meet the event goals. The intended audience may include one or more of the following:
- Board members
Workshops may be suitable for employees or managers, while a fundraising event may be more effective for donors. Your planning process should involve clarifying the intended audience so you can consider the audience’s wants and needs when determining the event type.
How much time do you need to prepare?
The amount of time you need to plan an event depends on the following factors:
- Event type: The event type affects the size of the venue you’ll need. Trade shows and conventions need large spaces with multiple rooms for demonstrations and panels. An internal meeting may only require a single meeting space.
- Event location: Suppose your corporate headquarters are in Las Vegas, and everyone attending your event works at the Las Vegas office. You can choose from suitable corporate event venues in Las Vegas, knowing that attendees can drive or take public transit to the event. However, suppose your corporate headquarters are in Denver, but you wish to host your corporate event in Las Vegas. In that case, you must consider travel arrangements and accommodations during the planning stages, which increases the number of steps required to complete the event planning and means you need more time to prepare.
- Number of attendees: You can plan a small event in a few months. However, you’ll need more time to prepare for an event involving hundreds of attendees. Fewer venues can accommodate large numbers, and you’ll need more time to promote, process registrations, and handle other logistics during the planning stages.
Ensuring you have enough time to plan effectively is crucial. Planning teams make mistakes when they’re rushed.
Set an event budget
You may have been given an event budget, or you may have been asked to submit a budget proposal. In either scenario, you need to understand the costs involved to make financially responsible decisions during the planning stages.
If you were given a budget, you should review budgets from prior events and research costs to determine what you can cover with your budget. You can also start with these steps to begin developing a budget proposal if you need to create a budget.
Choose a theme
An event theme can clarify your goals and generate event interest. It also helps you coordinate panels, demonstrations, entertainment, and other activities during the event and determine what type of content to prioritize during the event planning stages.
Choose a venue
Choosing an event venue is a crucial step in the planning stages. Your event venue must have room for the anticipated number of attendees, and it should have all the features needed for the activities you have planned.
Venues for smaller groups
Perhaps you’re planning a half-day lunch meeting for a team in your company. Choosing a venue with enough seating for attendees is only one consideration. Your corporate event menu should be tailored to the attendees and your event theme. You may also want to consider whether to have people seated during the meal or whether you should host a cocktail reception, allowing attendees to mingle while eating.
It would be best to offer a diverse menu to ensure people with food allergies or preferences have options. Ideally, you’ll visit your chosen location before the event, sample their cuisine, and view the event space to ensure you have the perfect venue.
Venues for larger groups
You should focus on an event space near restaurants or have someone cater meals during your event. It’s crucial to consider your options before booking an event venue because your venue’s license and location could affect your options when planning meals.
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Compiling information about airport locations, airport shuttle services, and public transit options is a crucial part of planning travel arrangements. You may also work with local transit service providers to secure discounted rates for transit passes you distribute to attendees. If necessary, you may also need to make arrangements to shuttle attendees from the airport to hotels.
Promote the event
Your budget should include promotional funds. Your promotional efforts ensure your intended attendees know about the event. Effective marketing helps generate interest in the event, which is crucial to your event’s success because this ensures your target audience anticipates the event and is receptive to the information and activities featured.
Event planning logistics involve:
- Creating a schedule
- Securing everything you need for the planned activities
- Setting up the venue
You may need to book keynote speakers and entertainers and hire people to set up and run AV equipment, register attendees, and perform other crucial tasks.
Host the event
Make sure you have your hands free during the event. You should be able to respond to any unexpected developments and move from location to location to monitor activities. Meet with the staff working at the event before it begins to ensure everyone understands their duties and has what they need, and ensure you have a few people on standby who can secure emergency supplies or assist your event team as needed.
The steps you take after your event are as significant as the steps you take before the event. If you had technical issues or complications during your event, you should already know about them; however, seeking feedback from attendees can draw your attention to details you may have missed. Feedback allows you to confirm what was effective and what fell short of attendee expectations so you can make adjustments with your next event.
It’s also crucial you follow through with any promises made during the event. Suppose a keynote speaker promises to send coupons to everyone who attended their speech. That promise becomes an extension of the event experience, giving attendees something to anticipate after they leave. You must ensure you have someone noting any promises made to the audience and ensuring your team keeps those promises.
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