Event Planning 101: Tips For Smooth Sailing Events

By December 27, 2018Event Planning
Event Planning - UB Marketing
There is no worse feeling than pouring time and money into putting an event together, only to see it flop. When done right, events are fun and memorable experiences. We reflected on our 12 years of experience in event production and came up with our most important tips to keep your event planning on track and to make your event a hit!

 

1) Develop Event Vision, Goals & Objectives

The first and most important part of 
event planning is ensuring that you and your team define what the goals for the event are. Have a conversation about why you want to put together this event and what the desired outcome is.

By establishing the goals for your event, you can be sure that the planning and the decisions you make for your event are aligned with your objective and will help contribute to your end goal. Choosing a goal helps you and your team identify metrics to measure the progress and the success of your event.

 

2) Cost Your Items & Set A Budget

Now that you have established your goals for your event, the next important key step is to cost all of the elements of your event and establish a budget. Start on a spreadsheet or a piece of paper. Create line items for every item or service that will require spending money. Then contact vendors for quotes on these items. The standard is to find at least 3 quotes from each vendor.

A good tip to help save you costs down the road is to consider investing in multi-purpose assets. These would be items you can use for different events or for different purposes. Although they might have a higher upfront cost, by reusing and repurposing them over time, you can save time and money further down the road. Consider whether this option makes sense for you as there are storage costs and the assets you purchase may depreciate over time.

Now that you have obtained costs from vendors, start creating a budget. Have one column for the amount you intend to spend and one column for the actual cost. Be sure to pad your budget with a little bit of breathing room in case some of your costs exceed your expectations. Tracking the actual cost versus the budgeted cost will allow you to analyze your costs at the end of the event and is a great key learning tool for future events.

3) Develop a Master Plan

 

This plan should address the logistics of every aspect of the event. Here are some categories you can use to organize your event. Break these categories down further and consider what you need to do prior to the event, during the event, and after the event:

 

  • Venue Details or Information (Parking, Floorplan, Contacts, Fire exits, Contracts/Permits)
  • Logistics
  • Event Staffing & Management
  • Food & Beverage
  • Sponsor/Partner/Stakeholder Management
  • Audio Visual & Lighting
Develop a timeline for each of these areas and include important deadlines leading up to the event. Create an Event Show Flow – a timeline of the event with all of the timing details.

4) Build a Team & Assign Responsibilities

Event planning is a huge undertaking. Ensure you have a team to help you out. 
Typically for a large-scale event, you could have the following teams or departments:

  • Audio Visual & Lighting
  • Sponsorship
  • Speaker Management
  • Registration & Ticketing
  • Food & Beverage
  • Onsite Support & Security

     

Breaking your team down will depend on the size and scale of your event. Not every event requires a huge team, some events are manageable among one or two people.

To help reduce your logistics, consider vendors who have turn-key solutions. For example, a company that delivers your decor, sets it up, tears it down, and transports it back to storage will take a lot of work off of your plate.

Breaking your event down into teams or delegating responsibilities will ensure all areas of your event are accounted for and minimizes the chances of tasks something falling through the cracks. Event planning tools such as Basecamp, Asana, and Trello are great ways to track the process of your project and see who is accountable for which deliverables.

5) Flush Out Contingency Plans

Even the best thought-out plans are prone to glitches and bumps. That’s why contingency plans are a must! While it may be impossible to prepare for every instance that might arise, start with a list that covers what could go wrong. Can you develop an alternative plan of action if things don’t go as planned?

If you are using multiple vendors it is good practice to consider all of their timelines and turnaround times. Add 2 – 3 days of buffer on their timelines as delivery days.

Don’t underestimate the power of having 
extra support around to put in some extra manpower or to help fill in some gaps on the day of your event. A good event staffing agency would be able to help you with this.

While a lot of thought goes into thinking about the planning of the event, don’t forget to create a post-production plan. Consider how you will analyze whether the event was a success. Think about where you will store your items or how you will transport it all.

Above all, our most important tip is not to be afraid to ask for a helping hand. We love events but we know they can be stressful. If you need assistance with event production, come and have a conversation with our team here. We’d love to share our expertise. 
Contact us with your questions, for a quote, or just to pick our brain!

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