KEY CONSIDERATIONS WHEN PLANNING AN EVENT
Updated: Jun 22
What an amazing experience it was to attend and speak at the Local Government NSW Executive and Personal Assistance conference, on Friday 4 June, I loved sharing my experience and industry insights with the audience and also connecting with such like-minded people.
Here is a quick recap of the presentation on key considerations when planning an event.
We talked about how setting your event goals early on is the key driver for the planning process and can set the tone for the entire event and guest experience.
We covered venue sourcing in the new normal and managing expectations with changing needs.
We learnt why as event planners we need to be obsessed with safety, security and risk minimisation.
We discussed how to be tech savvy in events and rising to the challenges of Covid-19.
WHAT ARE EVENT GOALS AND OBJECTIVES?
When determining the event goals, you are simply documenting the purpose of the event. Why is the event taking place? It’s easy to get distracted by thousands of details that come with event planning. But if you establish clear goals from the beginning, the rest of the planning becomes much easier.
Here are some key questions to consider when you are setting and defining event goals and objectives:
Why are you having this event?
Why are you inviting attendees to your event?
What are the key things you want an attendee to walk away with?
How will you specifically measure your success?
Whether you’re planning an in-person, virtual, or hybrid event, the many moving parts of an event strategy are bound together by the event budget. Given that an event's financial foundation is directly related to the event outcome, creating a thorough and realistic event budget is key for event success.
HOW TO PLAN?
Now that the event and budget goals are in place, the event framework needs to be designed. It's important to prioritise planning and have a clear outline of what needs to be achieved.
Who needs to attend your event?
When is the best time to hold your event?
Where is the best place to hold your event?
Who else needs to be involved within your organisation?
What style of event is best to achieve your outcomes?
Here is the basic event framework to consider
Whether you’re planning an event for 10 or 1,000 people, all events have many facets that need to be planned. To help focus on one task at a time, a Gantt Chart will allow you to stay focused, track all tasks relating to the event and break it down into a manageable timeline, such as:
Tasks that need to be completed
When each task will need to start to finish on time
Week by week deadlines
Where tasks overlap with each other, and by how much
Who should be focused on what task at any given time
VENUE SOURCING IN THE NEW NORMAL
Venue sourcing in Sydney, Sydney surrounds, rural or regional NSW each comes with its own set of challenges and concerns for many event planners, many we have never experienced before.
When planning hybrid and in-person events, there is a whole new way to think about the event experience. From finding and managing the physical space of the venue, to how attendees’ check-in, move through your event, consume content, experience food and beverage and network with one another.
Attendees will expect an environment with social distancing and health protocols in place, and it is more important than ever to find venues that can deliver safe event experiences.
When you’re responsible for the success of an event, skim reading is just not an option! We’ve come up with a checklist of things for you to consider with venue contracts.
Read and re-read everything!
Check access hours - Does the time give your suppliers and team and suppliers enough time to set up?
Check minimum numbers – Be sure this is based on a minimum not expected guest numbers.
Ensure the agreement should contain clear expectations as to what services are provided and what those services are.
Make sure you have insurance - Who is responsible for paying for damages, losses, or anything else that goes wrong?
Having flexibility within the contract for the changing needs regarding government restrictions and physical distancing requirements
Review the attrition and cancellation terms, all venues have different terms in place. Check how long you have to cancel, and any charges that may incur.
Confirm deposit and payment schedule.
Make certain there is a Forced Major clause within the venue contract this provides a planner with legal protections if the services are cancelled for reasons beyond their control. Common force majeure events include 'acts of God', 'natural disasters', 'government action or interference', 'labour shortages', 'national emergencies' and 'acts of war'.
PROTIP: Site Inspections are a must. It will allow you to experience everything firsthand rather than relying on photos, emails, and marketing material to make a decision. Your guests will have a better experience, your program will be more successful and you’ll rest easy knowing you’ve done your due diligence. It’s also a great way to get to know your venue and the advantages and limitations and the people you will be working with.
BE OBSESSED WITH SAFETY, SECURITY AND RISK MINIMISATION
As an event planner, you have a duty of care to both your guests, your team and suppliers. The larger the event, the more detail required in your health and safety planning. But even for small events, it is an important consideration.
This means taking reasonable steps to prevent harm from coming to anyone involved in your event and planning in case of any emergency situations that could arise. Conducting a risk assessment might seem like a daunting prospect, but it doesn’t have to be a big, bureaucratic process — it’s ultimately about being conscientious and prepared.
Event planners should ensure that:
The venue and facilities are suitable for the expected gest numbers, including access in emergency situations and proximity to public transport
Appropriate stakeholders are briefed and involved in the event planning process.
The movement of crowd and traffic directly resulting from the event is managed safely.
Most importantly, when it comes to hosting safe events, be sure to follow the local, state and federal covid safe guidelines. The best approach is to discuss your event with us, Key Society and together we can determine the best approach most suitable for your guests and vision for the day.
To find out what restrictions are in place in each state or territory, click here
Need support with a safety, security and risk minimisation plan? Reach out to us, we are here to help.
TECH SAVVY IN EVENTS
In 2021, Technology is playing a bigger role in events more than ever and event professionals need to become more tech savvy, flexible and creative in ways they haven’t been thought of before.
From software for event planning, ticketing systems and webinar tools to innovations such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality, technology opens up exciting opportunities to connect with audiences and provide outstanding event experience.
To prime up your event to be tech savvy, here are the main things to consider:
Determine if technology is the right fit for your event.
Understand how technology can enhance the attendee and sponsor experience.
Increase event technology engagement by turning attendees into advocates.
Consider a competition between attendees. Contests are a creative way of leveraging this desire, offering relevant prizes to get guests to interact and contribute to your event.
Leverage event app data in a way that is aligned with data and consumer privacy regulations.
WE CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT
To be efficient in events, it’s crucial to be up-to-date on the technology that can shave valuable minutes or hours off of your to-do list.
Here are a few to consider:
Canva – Graphic design & content platform
Google Keep – Note and list app
Hubspot – Marketing platform, ticket sales and (Client Relationship Management)
Later – Scheduling social media
Spotify – Clean pop music playlists safe for work or kids
Unsplash – Free stock images
Whos On Location – Visitor management & sign in platform
Hashtags – Event theme & inspiration
Regardless of what kind of inspiration you're looking for on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. Social media is a great resource for event planners to search and discover event trends across the world.
Disclaimer: Key Society is not affiliated with any of these companies, all opinions are based on our personal experience using the programs*
PROVE RETURN ON INVESTMENT
This part of event planning links back to your event goals and is a great way to see if your event met the objectives set out at the start of your planning.
How will you obtain attendee feedback and capture the data you need
Reconcile your event budget, sponsor income and event expenses.
DE-BRIEF internally with your team, suppliers and speakers. How will you handle this super important step of your event.
Recognise those involved in the event. It’s important to build lasting relationships and acknowledge those that helped make it happen.
Your event is over but the opportunity to promote your event is there for the taking.
PROTIP: Celebrate your event success! Don’t forget this all-important step once all of the hard work is over.
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH PEOPLE WHO KNOW MORE THAN YOU DO
You’re not alone, there is a great network out there to provide guidance and support in all areas of event planning, including me…. Click here to connect
WHY? Event planning can be challenging and we all need a little guidance along the way.
Having a team member, a mentor, an industry expert or a fellow EA or PA to call for some words of encouragement, support, a go-to for advice, supplier recommendations, someone to ask tricky questions you’re not comfortable asking your manager or team.
Next time you are planning an event - think of it as an opportunity, an investment in your business and a chance for people to learn, grow, connect and have fun with like-minded people.
ABOUT KEY SOCIETY
Key Society specialises in venue sourcing, event management and corporate concierge, Australia-wide. We are venue brokers, event curators, planners, taskmasters and problem solvers. We draw in the best people to work with a spirit of collaboration and excellence to connect people and brands together to unlock your event's potential giving you, and your attendees, not just a meaningful experience but an unforgettable one.
Natalie Young – Key Society
0410 419 904