Overwhelmed by the idea of hosting a corporate event? This is your one-stop corporate event planning checklist.
In 6 steps, I’ll teach you an event planning process you can depend on. Let’s get started!
See Related: 5 Ways to Nail Your Keynote Speaker Introduction
The Key to Hosting Corporate Events #1: Event Planners Are the Bread and Butter of Your Corporate Event.
Whether you choose someone in-house or outsource a professional, you need an event planner.
- Help you stay organized
- Meet deadlines on time bound projects
- Delegate tasks to ensure everything gets done
- Serve as the catch-all point person who filters all event-related information
Don’t leave planners alone, though – form an event team
Forming an event team is a great opportunity for employee engagement and business expansion. Inviting employees, current clients, and potential clients into the planning process offers myriad benefits:
- Understanding how current and potential clients hope to benefit from attending the corporate event
- Grasping all of the resources at your disposal (i.e. marketing connections for a product launch, preexisting relationships to bolster the guest list, and more)
- Delegating tasks so that event planning doesn’t cause too much stress for one person
A professional planner will keep to your budget no matter what
Whether you are working on a gigantic or tight budget, your point person will stick to it. Depending on the goal of your corporate event, decide which areas of the budget require more funding.
an idea-sharing conference
Conferences like these may require a higher budget for hiring well-known speakers. The success of the event depends on distinguished names selling tickets, after all.
Invest in speakers who will make your corporate event a hit.
a team bonding retreat
If your entire event is about creating opportunities for staff to bond, your budget may look different.
The budget may require more space for creature comforts, like a great venue and delicious food. Or perhaps you’ll want to spend on gifts for your team. Maybe the priority is paying for a memorable group activity, like zip lining or ice skating.
a product launch
A product launch may require a stronger marketing budget to get people in the door. Perhaps you’ll want to spend on free samples of the product for your guests. You may want to spend on an excellent event emcee who knows how to sell, sell, sell.
The Key to Hosting Corporate Events #2: Proactively Attend to Logistical Needs.
This is another area where your planner can help. Leave plenty of time for handling the nitty-gritty logistics. It will help relieve stress for your team and make for a well-oiled corporate event!
Here are a few items you’ll want to attend to:
Choosing an event venue
Venue sourcing can take time, but it is worth it to find the perfect venue. Depending on your corporate event, you may choose from a variety of venues, including:
- Sports arenas/stadiums
- Conference centers
Your venue choice impacts the number of guests, resources at your disposal, and much more. Choose wisely!
Providing food and beverages
- Will there be light snacks at the event, or a full dinner buffet?
- Water and lemonade, or an open bar?
- Is it a potluck, or are you hiring a catering company?
- What dietary restrictions must you take into consideration?
These are all vital questions to have answered well in advance. Catering can be expensive and the logistics of handling food can get complicated. But with enough preparation, you will be absolutely fine.
Tracking registration and guest list
From the very beginning of your event planning, set up your registration process. This will help you track as RSVPs grow and change.
The worst feeling is losing key information, like how many people are attending. A dependable and flexible registration system will save you many headaches. Here are a few ideas to help:
- Include a single email address on all publicity where people can RSVP. That way, there is a single flow of information to reference.
- Use a dedicated event website for registration so that all information is automatically saved (more on this later).
Selecting a host who will rock the audience
If you are going to hire an emcee (and you should), do it well in advance. Here’s why:
- Hosts will help you build an entertaining and effective event
- You want to allow your host time to familiarize themselves with your company
- You may want to speak with a few potential event hosts before selecting the right one for your event.
The Key to Hosting Corporate Events #3: What’s an Amazing Corporate Event if No One Knows About It?
Don’t let all of your hard work go to waste! Get people in the door who will benefit from your event.
How? A strategic marketing plan.
Understand your target audience
As I’ve discussed in a recent blog post, understanding your intended audience is vital for successful marketing efforts.
- Who are you trying to reach?
- How will you best reach them?
- How can you use your time creating marketing materials most wisely?
Email marketing is great for your existing community
Your corporate event may be aimed only at the people who are already in your network. If so, you may not need to do much more then send out a few e-blasts.
If you want to get more people talking about the event, you’ll need some more tools.
How can social media marketing help you?
These days, 58.4% of the global population use social media channels. On average, we use social media platforms for nearly 2 and a half hours (Smart Insights)!
Needless to say, one of the best tips I can give is to use social media wisely. Research your target audience and which platforms they use most.
- What times of day are best for posting?
- How long should your post be?
- How should you use visuals versus text in your post?
- How many times should you post leading up to the event?
Sponsorships are mutually beneficial partnerships
A great way to use corporate event planning to strengthen community relationships is offering sponsorships.
A sponsorship consists of a business paying you to advertise for them in conjunction with your event. From a public relations standpoint, sponsorships are great ways to create community ties while bringing in money.
Potential sponsors may include:
- Businesses who have a similar clientele to yours
- Companies who are new to the area and want to create a loyal customer base
- Notable guests who like attendees to see their names on marketing materials
The Key to Hosting Corporate Events #4: A Successful Corporate Event Seamlessly Incorporates Technology.
In the same vein as social media, technology is a vital aspect of corporate event planning. Here are a few facets of technology to consider as you prepare for your event:
Establish an event website or web page
As far as corporate event planning goes, a website is fairly basic. Perhaps not a bona fide website of its own, but a page on your company’s pre-existing site.
A website or web page makes it easy for attendees to share information about the event. A simple link is easy to text, post, or share through social media channels.
Utilize event management software
Some of the best events can be fairly complex. If this is your situation, consider using an event management software to stay on track.
Software programs like this help you manage the whole process of planning events. From attendees to venue, host to catering, you’ll keep organized when planning your event.
Create an event app
This is a more sophisticated option. But if an event requires an app, so be it!
If your attendees are a tech-savvy crowd, an app can be an efficient way to disseminate information. They can also increase employee engagement with live polling and simple social media syncing.
Guests will also appreciate the ability to access event details from their phones. Websites are great, but they’re not as easy to pull up in one simple click. They also aren’t always made to suit a mobile interface.
The Key to Hosting Corporate Events #5: Create an Experience So Great, Attendees Can’t Wait for the Next Event!
The guests’ experience should be one of your top priorities when event planning. If attendees don’t get something great out of it, why put it on at all?
Put yourself in the attendees’ shoes and walk through the event you’ve planned. Ask yourself:
- Was this venue location easy to access? Was there signage that made it clear where I was supposed to go?
- Were there food options I was able to enjoy given any dietary requirements?
- Could I hear and see all of the speakers and presentations?
- Did I have ample time to get water and use the restroom between activities?
There are many other factors you will want to consider, but these questions provide a starting point.
Use every perk your venue offers
These days, many companies offer hybrid events. This is excellent for accessibility and flexibility.
If you do choose to rent a venue, however, make it worth your while! Make your location an exciting destination by planning fun activities.
Is there a pool? Tennis courts? A ballroom? Find creative ways to take advantage of these venue offerings.
- Offer open swim hours at end of business
- Hire a tennis instructor to offer morning lessons in small groups before business begins
- Host a dance at night to help everyone shake off any stress!
Guests will be excited for other aspects of the event besides strict business. Adding a splash of fun will make your event memorable and inspire folks to mark their calendars for next year!
The Key to Hosting Corporate Events #6: Keep Learning and Demonstrate Humility by Gathering Feedback.
One of the biggest mistakes a host can make is to not follow up with guests. Post event is the time to collect feedback that will aid in planning your next event.
Conduct surveys on guest experience
What were your most effective marketing strategies? Use them to distribute attendee surveys. Make them simple but useful by asking folks’ opinions on key factors such as:
- Food and Drink
- Overall event success
Take results to heart
When guests choose to provide feedback post event, they are giving you a gift! Your choice to follow up with them gives you free market research.
Think about it: because you follow up post event, your team gets inside your audience’s mind. Then, you can use their advice to make the next event even more successful. It’s a slam dunk!
Plus, your team shows guests that their opinions are valued and trusted.
Ready to Wrap Up?
I hope this has helped you feel ready to tackle your next corporate event! Let’s review the 6 key steps to plan a successful event:
#1: Event Planners Are the Bread and Butter of Your Corporate Event.
#2: Proactively Attend to Logistical Needs.
#3: What’s an Amazing Corporate Event if No One Knows About It?
#4: A Successful Corporate Event Seamlessly Incorporates Technology.
#5: Create an Experience So Great, Attendees Can’t Wait for the Next Event!
#6: Keep Learning and Demonstrate Humility by Gathering Feedback.
Good luck – you can do this!
Adam Christing has been called “The Tom Brady of emcees.” He has hosted more than 1,000 company meetings, special events, gala celebrations, and more. He is the author of several books and founder of CleanComedians.com. For more event tips, follow Adam Christing on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and YouTube.