Few things stress people like planning an event. Paying attention to all the small but critical details needed for a successful event can leave one feeling overwhelmed. As a professional event planner, I have often witnessed this first hand and below I share some helpful tips on how to successfully plan a successful event.
Nothing beats early preparations. The bigger the event, the earlier you should start planning. Large events should be planned at least 6 months in advance while 2 months for a smaller event is fine. Early planning will allow you to get your desired service providers for your event.
As you plan your event, it is inevitable that there will be changes. Event themes, event times, locations, decoration setup etc. These changes could be as a result of different factors ranging from sponsor influence to competing priorities. Either way, be ready to make changes at short notice.
Make a budget
This is critical for the success of your event. Know how much you are willing to spend for the event. Always have a reserve price and negotiate with Service providers to get the best deals possible. Always remember to include a miscellaneous fee to cater for unforeseen but necessary expenses.
Form an Event team
You must have a dedicated team working to ensure the success of your event. This team may be in-house or you may hire a professional events management company. Break up the event into various sections and ensure that there is a responsible person for each section e.g. catering, transport etc
Prepare an event checklist
In order to keep track of all that must be done to ensure the success of the event, a checklist is vital. It details everything to do with the event highlighting who must do what and when so that the event is a success. As things are done, it is ticked off one by one till all the items on the list are covered.
Have a backup plan
Always have an alternative for the critical items of your event. The guest of honor may be unavailable. A preferred service provider may be over booked. It is almost impossible for an event to occur exactly as planned with all factors in place. Because of this, always have a plan B if plan A is unavailable.
Do a run through
This is often ignored yet is one of the must-do’s for any event. Two weeks before the event, do a run through of the entire event. Organise a meeting with your team and mentally walk through everything from start to end. It is possible that any complications will be highlighted at this point and you have sufficient time to address them. Remember to do a final run through on the eve of the event.
Capture the moments.
Photography and videography are so important to events because they are the only memories that clients will have of an event actually taking place. Pictures say a thousand words so budget for a professional photographer who will be aware of the photos required and only approach you for specifics. Take as many photos of attendees enjoying themselves and these can be used later in event branding.
Make use of social media.
An event is a very good way to increase your social media presence. Create a custom hashtag for your event on Twitter and encourage your followers to tweet about it. You can also create an event on facebook and encourage your followers to tag the event in relevant posts. Upload the photos once the event is over and encourage users to tag themselves.
Be pro-active and follow up with the attendees. How was their event experience? Did they enjoy themselves? What did they like? What didn’t they like? Immediate follow-up allows you to receive rave reviews from attendees which can be shared on all your online platforms. Referrals are still the best way to get business.