Organising a face-to-face event can be an overwhelming task. With a perceived high cost per delegate versus digital tactics and the current economic climate, the need to make every penny count has never been greater.
From planning the budget to coordinating with suppliers, there are multiple moving parts to consider. Short lead times and lack of executive commitment until the last minute are normal pressures for organisers. With the right approach and preparation, you can create a successful and memorable event even within tightening budgets.
Here are some top tips for creating a memorable event:
Set Clear Goals and Objectives: Before planning, you must clearly understand what you want to achieve from the event. This includes defining the purpose, target audience, and desired outcome. Clear goals and objectives will help guide your decision-making and ensure the event aligns with your vision.
A fantastic way to make your face-to-face event scale to a broader audience is live streaming speaker content; that way, you are scaling your message to a potential worldwide audience beyond the physical delegates and making your activity work harder for you.
Ensure you allow enough time for the overall planning and delivery of the event – remember that people are busy, and you need to give them enough notice to attend! At this point, also think about any colleagues or peer-to-peer speakers you might want to attend; they will also need time to book a slot in their diaries.
Create a Detailed Budget: A detailed budget is crucial for ensuring the success of your event. Ensure to include all expenses such as venue hire, catering, audio-visual, stage/stand design, social activities, other equipment rental and sub-contractors. Be mindful of unexpected costs, build a contingency plan, and have a risk assessment to mitigate potential hazards. If you buy into an exhibition or someone else’s event, ensure you fully understand all the options and packages available and what you need to provide to maximise your investment.
Choose the Right Venue: The venue is one of the most important aspects of any event and will be associated with your brand. Beware, competition for venues is hot, especially in the major cities worldwide. An experienced agency can add real value here. They beat the online tools available with their tacit knowledge, location experience, and the most suitable venues.
The venue should be appropriate for your event, accessible for your target audience, and have the necessary facilities and amenities like Wi-Fi connectivity. Sometimes a site visit in person is a clever idea (or a virtual show around) if you need to become more familiar with the venue. Check the contract details with the venue before the event and understand what items are included and excluded.
Also, leverage the latest technological advancements, with many adopting virtual reality and artificial intelligence to provide immersive experiences for guests to combine physical and digital worlds. Technology can also help reduce the carbon footprint of an event.
Plan the Timing: Timing is critical for the success of any event. Ensure you consider the time of day, date, and duration of the event. Consider other events that may be happening or competitor brands using the same hotel or area and try to schedule your event accordingly. Also, plan enough time for setup, breakdown, and speaker or breakout transitions between various parts of the event.
Hire Professional Suppliers: Hiring professionals for creative design, live streaming, and registration page creation can make a substantial difference in the overall success of your event and the delegate experience. Research potential suppliers and ask for credentials before deciding. Having a backup plan in case, a supplier cannot fulfil their obligations is also brilliant. Alternatively, an agency can be your sole point of contact to manage all the above and reduce the stress of the organisation within a fixed budget.
Sustainability: Climate reporting on meetings and events activities is here to stay. Four in five respondents (80%) say their organisation takes sustainability into account when planning meetings and events. Make sure you do everything possible to minimise the environmental impact and choose venues people can access via public transport. Think long and hard about the materials you produce. Will they end up in landfill? Then use sustainably sourced items. Ask the venue for their ESG credentials and use of renewable energy. Always try to minimise the footprint you leave on the environment with your activity.
Promote Your Event: Data is essential – use your existing data and monitor digital touchpoints to refine your invite list and be creative! Promotion is vital to attracting your target audience. Use social media, email marketing and other media placement to get the word out. If budgets are constrained, prioritise organic social and leverage existing databases within your organisation. Build a registration landing page containing all the event information, and offer incentives to encourage people to attend, such as discounts or offers. Ensure you think hard about the event value proposition – after all, why would someone want to attend?
Have a Contingency Plan: No matter how well you plan, unexpected events can happen. Having a contingency plan in place can help minimise the impact of any potential issues. This may include backup plans for transportation, catering, and other critical event elements.
Post-event follow-up: This is typically one of the most neglected areas. Event organisers tend to take a big sigh of relief when the physical element of the event has reached its conclusion. Think of all that time and investment you have made to attract your target audience and convince them to attend!
It’s imperative to ensure you have a comprehensive lead nurture strategy in place post-event. Start with segmenting the data captured from the event, then create a nurture plan including social, video, and email. Consider a demo or webinar offer your sales team can support through telemarketing at appropriate frequency levels. We want to turn those event delegates into buying customers!
In conclusion, managing an event requires careful planning, diligence, and a solid commitment to success. Following these tips can create an unforgettable experience for your delegates and achieve your goals and objectives.
At TBT Marketing, we have over 20 years of experience in meticulous event planning to support our clients with unforgettable experiences, from roundtables, and sales incentives, to meetups, exhibitions, and conferences. Get in touch to see how we can help!