2019 Guide To Planning A Corporate Event

American composer and author Leonard Bernstein once said “To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time.”  Planning a corporate event can be difficult but very rewarding. Often times it falls to people who have no event planning experience and may not even know where to start. This guide is dedicated to those people – it is a quick guide to give someone who has been tasked with planning a corporate event the first steps to take.

What is a corporate event?

A corporate event can be any type of event a company is putting on to further the business. This could be an incentive trip, internal sales meeting, product launch, or anything in between. Every type of corporate event has different goals to achieve. Some events want to educate attendees while others may be set up as a reward or incentive trip. But why should you plan a corporate event?

  • Raise Brand Awareness
  • Improve your company culture, bond employees, and entertain staff.
  • Recognize achievements
  • Educate and Train clients or staff on products and new sales techniques.

What should I expect when trying to plan an event?

1. Inspect event facilities to ensure that they conform to customer requirements.
2. Coordinate services for events, such as accommodation and transportation for participants, facilities, catering, signage, displays, special needs requirements, printing and event security.
3. Consult with customers to determine objectives and requirements for events such as meetings, conferences, and conventions.
4. Meet with sponsors and organizing committees to plan scope and format of events, to establish and monitor budgets, or to review administrative procedures and event progress.
5. Review event bills for accuracy, and approve payment.

Basic Steps To Event Planning

1.) Establish your goals for the event. What is the end objective?

2.) What is a reasonable budget for your company? How much money do you have to spend to plan and execute your event.

3.) Find a date for your event. You should take into consideration holidays, company milestones, or anything that might keep your audience from attending your event.

4.) How do you want your event to look? Depending on the type of event you might have a theme for your event and the theme sets the tone for the hole event.

5.) Find a venue. Where should you hold your event? Is it an incentive trip for a group? Find a venue that works and will help attract people to your event.

6.) Plan what type of entertainment, speakers, or activities you want to have at your event.

7.) Are you paying for your event by yourself? Figure out if you need to secure sponsors for your event and if so work to secure sponsors.

8.) Check, Check, and recheck. Its best to keep a task list of things you should do either in a binder or a program like asana. Keeping a detailed list and checking it off it a great way to make sure little details don’t get missed when planning your corporate event.

Detailed Event Planning Timeline Checklist

6-12 Months Before an event

  • Establish what you want to accomplish with the event
  • Select a date or a date range of when you would like to host your event
  • Contact venues in a target area to see if they have your date available.
    • Narrow down the venues that can service you and start asking for basic booking details.
    • Get cost estimates for room rentals, food and beverage, equipment rentals..etc from your venue
  • Select an event committee, event manager, or find an event planner to help with the next steps.
  • Book speakers/presenters/entertainers.

3-4 Months Ahead of Event

  • Speaker/presenter/entertainer liaison: e.g.:
    • finalize presentation/speech topics
    • get bio information, photo
    • travel & accommodation arrangements
    • have contracts signed if appropriate, etc.
  • Financial/Administration: for example, determine:
    • Registration fees
    • Set up/enable online registration
    • Sponsor levels/amounts
    • Identify items to be underwritten and accounting tracking details
  • Venue/logistics planning, e.g.:
    • Investigate need for any special permits, licenses, insurance, etc.
    • Determine and arrange all details re menu, A/V equipment, registration set-up, parking, signage, etc.
    • Review security needs/plan for the event with venue manager
  • Publicity:  Follow publicity plan, e.g.,
    • Develop draft program
    • Create draft event script (e.g., MC, speaker introductions, thanks, closing, etc.)
    • Develop publicity pieces — e.g., newsletter articles and/or ads, radio spots, print blog posts articles for submission to other publications and/or ads, etc.
    • Request logos from corporate sponsors for online and printed materials
    • Develop and produce invitations, programs, posters, tickets, etc.
    • Develop media list & prepare News Release, Media Advisory, Backgrounder and all media kit materials (e.g., speaker info, photos, etc.)
    • Create event page on your website
    • Enable/create email event notifications
    • Create a Facebook event page
    • Develop a promo video and post on YouTube and your Facebook page
    • Register your event on a variety of online event calendars
    • Create some buzz on your blog or member forums
    • Determine VIPs and create invitation & tracking document (e.g., spreadsheet)

2 months prior to event

  • Follow up with vendors, finalize contracts, check payment terms.
  • Check registration levels and determine if you need to renegotiate any terms.
  • Follow up with your sponsors make sure you have collected payments.
  • Marketing Your Event
    • Press Release Announcement if applicable
    • Run Facebook Ads to increase bookings
    • Determine if you need to add any incentives to increase your booking rates

1 Month Before Your Event

  • Have a staff meeting with anyone involved to make sure everyone knows what they are responsible for.
  • Provide final registration numbers to the hotel
  • Reach out to speakers to get copies of speeches, videos, or presentations.

1 week ahead

  • Have all committee chairs meet and confirm all details against Master Plan – and ensure back-up plans are developed for any situation (e.g., back-up volunteers as VIP greeters, additional volunteers for registration or set-up, etc.)
  • Brief any/all hosts, greeters, volunteers about their event duties and timelines
  • Final seating plan, place cards, etc.
  • Final registration check, name badges & registration list
  • Determine photo op and interview opportunities with any presenters, VIPs etc. and confirm details with interviewee and media

Event day

We can’t really give you an event day checklist because it will be so different depending on the event that you are having. The best thing for you to do is have a binder of all your layouts, plans, contracts for when problems or questions arise.

Immediately following event

Your after event will also be different depending on the type of event you are running. At this point though you want to follow up with vendors, check the master bill for any changes or additional charges, and make sure your sponsors get any information you promised them in exchange for their sponsorship.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of things to look at. If you are responsible for a corporate event or planning any type of event we reccomend you bring in an event planning professional. Like any industry there is tons of terminology, things to watch out for, and things to consider when planning an event. An event planner can help keep you from being taken advantage of while offering experience in various areas.

Feel free to contact us if you need to consult an event planner for your next corporate event.