Successful event planners are highly organized, capable of managing multiple tasks, deadlines, and details efficiently. The first step in event planning is to think about the event objective – what you are hoping to achieve from the event.
Defining Event Objectives:
Event objectives are specific, measurable goals that define the purpose and desired outcomes of an event. They provide clarity and direction for event planning and execution, guiding all decisions and activities throughout the event’s lifecycle.
- Be Specific: Clearly state what you want to achieve through the event. Specific objectives are more actionable and measurable.
- Be Measurable: Set quantifiable metrics to assess the event’s success. Measurable objectives allow you to track progress and evaluate results.
- Align with Overall Goals: Ensure that event objectives align with the broader goals of the organisation or stakeholders involved.
- Consider the Target Audience: Tailor objectives to meet the needs and expectations of the event’s target audience.
- Time-Bound: Set a timeframe for achieving the objectives, providing a sense of urgency and focus.
- Realistic and Achievable: Set objectives that are attainable within the available resources and constraints.
- Relevant: Ensure that event objectives are relevant to the event’s purpose and align with the interests of the attendees and stakeholders.
- Prioritise: If you have multiple objectives, prioritise them based on their importance and impact on the event’s success.
Research and Evaluation:
Researching and evaluating a venue’s suitability involves gathering information and thoroughly assessing whether it meets the needs and requirements of your event.
Budgeting and Negotiation:
- Outline Event Expenses: List all potential event expenses, including venue rental, catering, decor, AV equipment, marketing, staff, and any other relevant costs.
- Determine Funding Sources: Identify all funding sources, such as ticket sales, sponsorships, grants, or contributions from stakeholders.
- Allocate Funds: Allocate funds to different expense categories based on their priority and importance to the event’s success.
- Consider Contingency: Set aside a contingency fund to cover unexpected expenses or last-minute changes.
- Track and Monitor Expenses: Continuously track and monitor expenses throughout the event planning process to ensure you stay within budget.
- Research and Compare: Gather information on multiple venues and their pricing. Compare offerings, facilities, and services to make an informed choice.
- Start Early: Initiate negotiations well in advance to have more leverage and time to explore other options if needed.
- Be Clear on Your Needs: Clearly communicate your event requirements, including dates, estimated attendance, event setup, and any additional services you require.
- Leverage Competition: If you have multiple venue options, let each venue know that you are considering other options. This may encourage them to offer more competitive pricing or additional incentives.
- Be Flexible with Dates: If possible, consider negotiating for alternative event dates that might be less busy for the venue, which could result in better rates.
- Negotiate on Extras: Negotiate additional services like AV equipment, Wi-Fi, or catering costs to find a package that meets your budget.
- Highlight Long-Term Potential: If you plan to host multiple events at the venue, emphasize the possibility of repeat business as a bargaining chip.
- Ask for Discounts or Incentives: Enquire about any special offers, discounts, or promotional packages the venue might have.
- Review the Contract: Carefully review all contract terms before finalising the deal. Ensure that everything discussed during negotiations is included in the written agreement.
Venue Site Visits:
As with everything, it is always a very good idea to visit the venues before committing. It is of utmost importance to visit potential venues in person to assess the ambiance, layout, and suitability for the event.
Considering Attendee Experience:
Always put attendees first and choose a venue that ensures a positive and memorable experience.
Scalability and Flexibility:
Of course, things can change so try to select venues that can accommodate potential changes in event size or format.
Working with a Checklist:
- Location: Is the venue conveniently located for attendees, with easy access to public transportation and parking options?
- Is the venue in a safe and accessible area?
- Capacity and Layout: Does the venue have enough space to comfortably accommodate your expected number of attendees? Is the venue’s layout suitable for your event’s activities and setup requirements?
- Amenities and Facilities: Does the venue offer the necessary amenities, such as audio-visual equipment, Wi-Fi, and restrooms? Are there breakout rooms or additional spaces available if needed?
- Services and Staff: What services does the venue provide, such as catering, event planning support, and on-site staff? Is the venue’s staff responsive, professional, and experienced in handling events similar to yours?
- Cost and Budget: Does the venue fit within your allocated budget, considering all associated costs and fees? Are there any hidden costs or additional charges that you need to be aware of?
- Availability: Is the venue available on your desired event date, or do you need to consider alternative dates?
- How flexible is the venue with event timing?
- Reputation and Reviews: Research the venue’s reputation by reading reviews and testimonials from previous clients. Are there any negative comments or issues that need to be considered?
- Accessibility and Accommodations: Does the venue provide accommodations or have nearby lodging options for out-of-town attendees? Is the venue accessible for individuals with disabilities?
- Food and Beverage Options: Does the venue offer in-house catering or allow external catering options? Are the food and beverage options suitable for your event and dietary preferences?
- Ambiance and Atmosphere: Does the venue’s ambiance align with the theme and style of your event? Will the venue’s aesthetics enhance the overall attendee experience?
- Parking and Transportation:
- Is there sufficient parking available for attendees, or are there nearby parking facilities? How easily can attendees reach the venue via public transportation?
- Contract and Terms: Review the venue’s contract thoroughly, including cancellation policies and any restrictions. Ensure that all agreed-upon details are clearly stated in the contract.
Staying Organized: Keep calm and organised and keep all venue-related documents, contracts, and communication in one place.