Corporate Event Planning 101: How to Plan a Corporate Event

Are you looking to plan the corporate event of the century? If so, check out this guide to learn how to plan a corporate event.

Corporate events are about much more than showing off or having a good time. They can actually do a lot for a business's (and the economy's) bottom line.

In fact, did you know that for every dollar businesses spend on face-to-face events, they put back an additional $1.60 into the U.S. economy?

Clearly, it pays to put some effort into making your corporate events special.

Do you have a big corporate event coming up for your company? Whether you're planning a conference, a convention, a celebration, or anything in between, there's a lot you have to take into account when preparing for such an event.

Read on for some tips that will make the process of planning and executing a corporate event much easier.

Start with a Budget

One of the first things you need to figure out when you start planning a corporate event is how much money you can spend.

Take a look at the financial reports from past events, if possible, to see how much it cost to put them on. Then, look for ways to reduce spending wherever you can.

Don't be afraid to negotiate when you get quotes from hotels or other venues to see if you can make their rates fit within your budget.

Define Your Objective

What do you want your employees to get out of this event?

Do you want your employees to learn something specific? Is it an opportunity for them to network and try to bring in new clients? Is it meant to be purely celebratory?

Whatever your plan is for the event, make it clear right from the beginning. This will help to inform your future decisions and ensure everything you do moves the event in the right direction.

Narrow the Guest List

Once you've determined the purpose of the event, the next step is to narrow down your guest list and figure out who's invited.

Is it a company-wide event? Is it only for your sales staff or another smaller department? Will people be allowed to invite guests of their own?

Once you've answered these questions, it'll be easier for you to make other arrangements, such as planning for food or finding a venue.

Choose the Right Venue

Speaking of the venue, that's the next thing you need to take care of.

Figure out how much space you need to comfortably accommodate everyone who's attending the event. Be sure to think about what kind of venue your budget can accommodate, too.

Do you want to hold the event at your office? At a nearby location hotel or convention center? A local restaurant?

There are tons of options available depending on your budget and the number of people you've invited.

Decorate Appropriately

Depending on the location you've chosen for the event, you may not have to do a lot of decorating. This is especially true if it's being held at a local restaurant or hotel.

If you want the event to have a specific theme, though, you might have to spend some time putting up decorations and turning the venue into a place where people are excited about spending their time.

Whatever decorations you choose to use, make sure they're appropriate for the event and easy to set up and take down. This will save you a lot of time and effort later on.

Plan a Great Menu

Corporate event attendees are much more likely to enjoy the event if good food is served. Whether you do a sit-down dinner, a buffet, or just serve appetizers and drinks, make sure there's plenty of food to go around.

Arrange a tasting a few weeks before the event to make sure you like everything you're planning to serve.

Do your best to ensure the food is allergen-free (or at least contains labels listing potential allergens) as well, so all your guests can enjoy it without having to worry about potential reactions.

Promote the Event

Make sure everyone who's invited to the event knows about it. Give them plenty of notice so they can fit it into their schedules, especially if it's held outside of regular office hours.

Be sure to ask those who are invited to RSVP by a specific date, too. That way, you'll have accurate numbers to give to the catering staff and other members of your event planning team.

Set Deadlines

Set lots of little deadlines for yourself leading up to the big event. This will make it easier for you to stay on track and avoid feeling overwhelmed. You'll also be able to celebrate small wins along the way.

Don't Work Alone

If you ask the most seasoned corporate event planners, they'll tell you that it's a bad idea to try and tackle everything yourself.

Even if the event is only for a small number of people, you still need to delegate. Otherwise, you'll end up feeling overwhelmed and will have a hard time enjoying the fruits of your labors. There's also a greater chance that something (or many things) will fall through the cracks.

Appoint a committee to help you carry out the event and avoid forgetting anything important.

Follow Up with Attendees

The event might have ended, but that doesn't mean your job is over.

Once you've wrapped up the event, it's time to follow up with those who attended. Reach out them via email and ask them to fill out a brief survey reviewing the experience.

Did they enjoy the event? Did they find it entertaining/informational? What would they like to see changed in the future?

Take this feedback into account when you start planning your next big event.

Start Planning Your Corporate Event Today

There's a lot that goes into planning a successful corporate event.

It doesn't matter if it's an event for a few dozen people or a few hundred. Either way, the sooner you start the planning process, the better off you'll be and the more smoothly the event will go.

Keep these tips in mind as you begin planning so you don't forget anything important.

We have lots of other helpful event-planning blogs on our site, too. Be sure to check them out if you need more help making sure the big day goes off without a hitch.