Even for the most experienced event planners and project managers, event planning is always challenging.
By nature, planning an event involves many different moving parts: your team members, speakers/talents, sponsors, third-party vendors, and so on.
So no matter how meticulously you’ve planned everything, there’s always something that won’t go as planned.
So, it’s understandable that planning and managing an event can be very stressful, and if you are currently struggling with planning your own event, you’ve come to the right place.
Here, we will share 8 actionable tips on planning and managing your event successfully and in a stress-free way.
Without further ado, let us begin with number one right away.
1. Earlier Is Always Better for Event Planning
In event planning, it’s crucial to begin early with everything.
Venues, for example.
The earlier you begin your research for venues, the more options you’ll have, and the more likely you’ll be able to secure the most ideal venue for your event.
The same goes for speakers, talents, sponsors, and vendors.
Earlier is always better.
If it’s a fairly large event (with more than 100 projected attendees), then you should ideally start planning it at least four months in advance, ideally six months in advance).
Even for smaller events, you’ll need at least one month of planning to ensure the event runs successfully.
Make sure to complete all written contracts at least a couple of weeks before the event.
2. Effectively Set Internal Expectations
You won’t be able to effectively manage third-party vendors, talents, and speakers if you can’t manage your team internally.
Manage the expectation of your team, which will also help in managing their morale and productivity.
First, make sure to clearly define the purpose of the event and its objectives.
Throughout the event planning and execution, it’s crucial to get your team involved in continually adjusting the goals and expectations accordingly.
Without clearly defining expectations for your event, successful execution is simply impossible.
3. Optimal Budgeting for Event Planning
Again, it’s important to estimate and plan your budget as early as possible.
Whether you have a well-prepared budget or not will affect various other elements of the event, so it’s crucial to clearly estimate your budget to cover all the important expenses.
If possible set aside around 5 to 25% of your fund as an emergency fund.
As we know, it’s common to deal with unexpected variables in any event.
Your budget should consider:
- Venue cost
- Entertainment (speaker, exhibitor, talent)
- Labor costs for staff and volunteer
- Marketing and promotions
- Technology tools (more on this below)
- Visual assets and creative (graphic designer, photographer)
4. Invest in the Right Technology When Event Planning
In today’s digital age, event planning without the help of technology is simply inefficient.
There are various tools you can use to help you plan and manage your event in the various areas, including but not limited to:
- Ticketing/registration: you can allow attendees to easily book their tickets online
- Attendee tracking: tracking whether a guest has visited your event and their activities throughout the event to weigh performance.
- Surveys: distributing digitally-managed pre and post-event surveys to collect audience data and feedback
- Promotion: automatically send emails, send and manage discount campaigns (i.e. early bird tickets), etc.
- Managing payment: generating personalized and professional invoices to help integrate payment
An all-in-one event management software like Eventtia can provide you with some of the most essential event planning and event management features.
So you don’t have to deal with various different tools that are disconnected from each other.
5. Design Your Event to Be Social-Media Friendly
In this social media age, what’s the benchmark of a successful event?
One of the key indicators is whether your attendees are sharing photos and mentioning your event on social media.
It’s crucial to design your event to be social-media friendly (Instagrammable, if that’s a word): have an attractive photo booth, place Instagram logo here and there as CTAs, deliberately include shareable moments throughout the event, and so on.
6. Assign Roles and Responsibilities
If you are going to plan, manage, and run the event alone, you can skip this one.
If you’re not and you have a team (like most of us), then whether you’ve effectively delegated tasks and responsibilities to team members will literally make or break your event’s success.
In general, you should break down different elements of the event into different departments (entertainment, sponsorships, accommodation, registration, etc.), then identify who in your team is most suitable for each department.
Again, clearly define your expectations (KPIs) for each role to avoid confusion and maximize accountability.
7. Always Have a Plan B When Event Planning
A huge aspect of effective event planning is embracing the fact that your event will probably (if not, most likely) not go according to plan.
You should have plan Bs and even plan Cs ideally for all elements of the event, but at least the most crucial ones.
Think about various scenarios that might happen: talents not showing up on time (or not showing up at all), faulty sound system, missed deadlines, and developing contingency plans while considering potential corrective measures to take.
8. Facilitate Communication and Collaboration
It’s crucial to maintain open lines of communication with your team members, sponsors, vendors, talents, and event attendees.
Again, with event management too, you’ll have a centralized hub to store and manage communications and collaborations to and between different parties.
Clear communications will help you identify potential issues as early as possible when they are often easier to fix.
One of the key challenges of event planning is managing different people in your event team in an integrated timeline.
It’s crucial to make sure you have the right team consisting of people with skill sets and experience that complement one another.
And it’s also important to have the right tools and solutions to facilitate collaboration.
While event planning can indeed be challenging, having the right team and the right tool can turn the experience into a stress-free and enjoyable one.