Planning an event and not sure how to go about it?
Transforming a vision into a full-blown, successful event can seem daunting. But, as long as you have a detailed event plan and the right resources, you’ll be able to plan an event with dozens of speakers and thousands of attendees.
Every event is different, and it's your job as an event planner to create a tailored blueprint that helps you understand how all the pieces fit together to create an event. With that said, there are many tips and best practices you can follow to ensure that nothing slips through the cracks.
In this guide, we’ll walk through all the steps involved in event planning. This includes setting your goals and objectives, choosing the right venue, and making sure everything runs smoothly.
Finally, we’ll share a free downloadable event planning checklist template you can use to keep yourself organized.
Before going over the steps on how to plan an event, let’s take a moment to define this practice.
Event planning is a high-level process that involves all aspects of an event, including the development of an event budget, event marketing, securing sponsorship opportunities, venue selection, and managing logistics such as food and beverage and much more.
In other words, event planning is the process of organizing and preparing all of the resources you need to deliver a superb event.
An event plan needs to contain specific, measurable, and relevant tasks that serve a specific role within the context of the conference or summit. Also, a successful event plan sets the timeline for all milestones to be completed and for the event to occur.
The main goal of your event plan is to keep you on track and make sure that all necessary tasks are completed while also helping you gauge your progress.
For this to occur, it needs to include certain key elements, regardless of the type of event being organized.
So, you’re ready to plan for an event you’ve had in mind for some time. But what components should your blueprint include?
Here are the fundamental elements you have in your event plan:
It’s tempting to think everything will magically fall into place when planning an event. But, unless you write down your plan and review it regularly, chances are that you will forget some crucial steps or overlook important deadlines.
Having an event plan can save you time and prevent foreseeable issues, both of which translate into saving money. An event blueprint also helps your team stay organized, adhere to your budget, and meet deadlines comfortably.
With this in mind, here are ten actionable steps on how to plan a successful event. Remember, you need to tailor each point based on the type of summit or conference you’re organizing.
The very first thing you need to do is create a vision for the specific event you’re organizing. This will help you when choosing an event planning structure and making all other decisions.
At this point, you should decide on the basic elements of your gathering. This includes, but it’s not limited to:
Next, you should choose a date for your event.
This is an important decision that will affect many other aspects of your planning process. For example, the date you choose can determine whether or not it’s held indoors or outdoors, how much time and energy you need to put into promotion and advertising (if any), and more.
Additionally, if you book your venue early enough, you may be able to get a discounted rate. So it’s best to start thinking about when your event will take place as soon as possible.
There are also many factors you need to consider before choosing the best dates. These include:
Once you have an event date in mind, it’s time to set the budget for your conference or summit.
This is one of the most important steps because it gives you an idea of how much your event will cost so you can plan accordingly.
To set your event budget, start by creating a worksheet outlining all the expenses associated with planning your event. This will help you stay on track and give you a clear idea of the costs related to your event.
The most common expenses that you’ll need to account for are:
You can’t organize and run a big event by yourself. Instead, you’ll need to leverage community leaders and delegate different tasks to them.
Each team member's role will vary depending on your type of event. Some of the most common roles that need to be fulfilled in large conferences include:
The location of your event will have a huge impact on how many people will attend and how much it costs.
The best way to ensure that you find the right venue at the right price is to start looking early. Start with a list of all the places you might like to have your event, then narrow down that list based on price, capacity, and other factors. Once you’ve made your final selection, book it as soon as possible.
As you’re looking for venues, be sure to keep in mind the following:
We’re fast approaching the creative leg of your event planning process.
But before getting into the branding, agenda, and promotion, you need to learn as much as you can about your target audience. This will help you tailor the entire conference to their preferences and create a more memorable experience.
Start by creating attendee personas. In simple terms, an attendee persona is a fictional character that represents a demographic group you want to target. You can have as many personas as necessary. Just make sure that each one represents a completely different cohort.
You can create attendee personas by analyzing the attendance at your past events. During this process, try to spot similar groups and the steps that these individuals took before purchasing a ticket. Then, analyze the data to find patterns that occur due to age, gender, and other variables.
If you’re organizing a new event, you can always leverage social media polls and email surveys to research your potential audiences. It may represent a bit more work, but you should be able to create a questionnaire that encourages potential attendees to share the information you need to build great personas, like age, occupation, and annual salary.
It’s important that the branding of the event aligns with that of your organization. Your company and event branding doesn’t have to feature the same design, but these should look good when displayed together.
If you’re planning an event with another partner, include branding elements of both organizations, unless you reach another agreement.
Here are some of the company brand elements you can incorporate into your event identity.
After you finish off your branding elements, you should start mapping out your event agenda and confirming speakers.
This step is closely related to scheduling because you won’t be able to decide on the exact presentation times until the contributors have confirmed. Make sure to notify contributors about the exact date and time they are expected to be available. And, if you have an existing community, sourcing one or more speakers from there should help you resonate with attendees.
It’s always a good idea to book any training sessions and internal workshops on different days well before the event. This will give staff members as well as contributors an opportunity to meet and build some chemistry before the conference kicks off.
Having an agenda will give attendees a clear idea of what to expect during the event, so it can actually become a great selling point. Besides ensuring that they will receive valuable content, attendees can also plan their days and decide what contributors to see on stage.
The success of your event depends on getting the word out to as many people as possible.
To create a successful marketing plan for your event, consider your attendees' preferences. You will then need to determine how much money you want to spend on each type of promotion so you can avoid going over budget.
Some of the most common promotion and marketing strategies you can leverage for your event include:
Event sponsors can help you cover costs, recruit top-notch contributors, and give your conference a better reputation.
If you’re organizing a big event, it should be relatively simple to identify potential sponsors. That said, you need to write a comprehensive event sponsorship proposal that includes specific details about the planning and execution in order to entice companies to back your project.
As part of your proposal, include a sponsorship budget as well as the different resources you’ll spend these funds on. You should also include a professional cover letter explaining the goals and vision you have for your conference.
Event planning checklists are the best way to stay organized and keep your event on track. With this checklist template, you can easily manage all the details of your event and ensure that everything goes exactly as planned.
Once you have downloaded the template, you can add your information and customize it to fit your event. This checklist is perfect for any kind of event planning, including business conferences, trade shows, or conventions. It will help you make sure that everything is taken care of before, during, and after your event, so you don't miss anything important.
Having the right event planning software can help your community stay on track, complete tasks faster, and work in unison.
Bevy is an events platform that’s ideal for traditional, hybrid, or digital events. With Bevy, you can plan events for 100 or 100,000 attendees. Plus, you also have access to a full suite of features that help you organize workshops, webinars, hackathons, and even social events. Some of these include:
Having a plan for your next event will help you ensure that all necessary tasks are taken care of by capable team members.
As long as you take an organized approach, adapt the steps above to your conference, and use our planning an event checklist, you should be able to set up a successful gathering.
Schedule a demo to learn more about how you can use Bevy for your next event.