Organising an event can prove to be a stressful process. If you’ve run one before, you’ll be all too familiar with the challenges and hurdles ahead. If this is your first time, don’t panic, you’re in the right place. Winston Churchill was quoted as saying, “I am easily satisfied with the very best” so within this blog we have identified the top 5 hints and tips, to help you along your way with organising the very best event possible.
(1) Start early
A wise old man once said, “it’s not about having time, it’s about making time”. We’re not sure exactly who that wise man is, nor his age, but he does raise a good point. Starting early gives you ample time to organise your event successfully. No one likes to rush their decisions, nor be rushed by looming deadlines that inevitably result in just “getting the job done” rather than “getting the job done well”.
Occasionally we are led by our deadlines, rather than leading them ourselves, however when possible try to do as much preparation work as you can ahead of getting the all-important “go ahead”. You’ll see how much of a positive impact it has – you’ll then raise your hat to that wise old man. Starting your planning early means:
- You can begin your delegate sign up further in advance, meaning a higher chance of their availability and more chance to advertise the event
- You have the time to find the right venue that has availability
- It takes the pressure off, so less stress for you
- It gives you time to consider all aspects of the event, and not just the obvious. This has a knock-on effect on attention to detail you can install in the event.
(2) Find the right venue
The first in our Top 10 blog series provides a detailed analysis of what to look for when selecting a venue. Check the blog out for further details – it’s a great read, and that’s not us just being bias. Well, slightly. Fundamentally though, your venue needs to reflect your event and business. Further to that, consider your delegates when looking at location, style, catering etc. Ensure you conduct site visits to view the venue and get a feel for the atmosphere as well as the event spaces proposed. Try to remember:
- Your chosen venue should reflect your business and content
- Look at the demographic of your audience and consider their thoughts
- It must be in the right location. If most of your attendees are London based, you woouldn’t choose a venue in Manchester.
- Has the venue got the right space for what you need? Is it flexible?
- Does it contain the right atmosphere for your event?
- Non-residential / residential – is accommodation needed? If so, is it important that it is on-site?
(3) Food and Beverage (“F&B”)
The key to a mans heart is through his stomach. Yes, this might be talking about someone’s questionable love life, but it can also relate to your events too. We’ve all walked away from an event and talked about the food in some capacity. It may be a singular item up for discussion or it may be the food as a whole, but the key point is that people discuss it – it’s the singular most common feedback topic. Don’t underestimate the importance and impact of F&B on your delegates perception of your event – fill their stomachs. Consider the following:
- Timings of the catering service
- What your attendees would like at specific times. i.e. pastries are more relevant to morning breaks than they are mid-afternoon.
- The variety of choices available
- The variety of textures, colours and types of dishes on offer
- Don’t forget the dietary requirements!
(4) Control your budget
Event organisers live and breathe their budgets. In fact, they live, breathe, sleep and eat them, metaphorically of course, although they would eat their budget for breakfast if that helped to reduce the cost of an event. Identifying and controlling costs and probably expenditures is no easy task, hence investing time in your budget cannot go a miss. Remember to allocate some time to your budget, analysing costs, looking at trends and checking your spreadsheet formulas. When working on your budget remember…
- Set a realistic budget from the beginning. Look at all aspects of the event, not just the obvious.
- Update your budget regularly – look at it daily. Update it live, don’t leave it until the end of the week.
- Look at the list of your tasks and reflect them in your budget. This helps with identifying potential future costs.
- Consider all elements, including those forgotten ones – transportation, printed materials, gifts, accommodation, on site expenses for your event team etc.
- Build in a contingency
(5) Create an Operations Document
The bible to any events planner is their sacred Operations Document. With hours of work and meticulous planning involved, this document contains everything everyone on the events team needs to know, so it’s no wonder most event planners go to sleep holding it tight in their arms. Just don’t crease the pages. This document should reflect a one-stop-shop for all. It doesn’t matter if your event is a Conference, Product Launch, Birthday Party or Bar Mitzvah it’s always beneficial to make one. It takes some time to put together, but the use of this document on the event days itself are invaluable. When creating your Operations Document, don’t forget to include:
- Your overall agenda
- Key contact details for all suppliers, stakeholders and crew
- Catering details, including a breakdown of quantities of what has been ordered
- A minute-by-minute play of how the event will map out
- Roles and Responsibilities for the Event Crew
- Floor Plans
This document also provides the basis from which you can run your event briefing with all the relevant personnel.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01372 460 100 – we’re here to help. Hippo.