Corporate event planning: a 19-step checklist for success
Planning corporate events can be overwhelming—even when you know what it takes to bring events to life. Scratch that—especially when you know what it takes.
Event managers, conference coordinators, office managers, and all other event planners know what it takes to turn event ideas into reality—and it’s no small task. It involves planning way in advance, scoping out venues, organizing catering and entertainment, and so much more.
Corporate events call for precise organization and planning, and the best way to ensure you don’t miss a thing is to create a corporate event checklist. It doesn’t matter if you’re coordinating an employee getaway, entertaining key stakeholders, or schmoozing potential customers—you need to plan.
We’ve put together this free corporate event checklist to take the guesswork out of planning and free up your headspace. Download yours now, and read on to find out how you can use it to make the most of your next corporate event.
• Set event goals and desired outcomes
What do you want participants to get from the event? How do you measure the success of your corporate event? Try and consider what will define your event as a ‘success’—that way you have something to work towards.
• Decide on the event type
Are you organizing a get-together for employee engagement? Is it a formal corporate event to connect with stakeholders? Is it an offsite for C-Suite executives to plan the year ahead? You need to know what your event is before you can move on to any of the next steps.
• Define your target audience
Similar to the last step—this helps you make decisions further down the line. Decide who your attendees will be.
• Set a date
Your date shouldn’t be too soon, but it also shouldn’t be years in the future. Give attendees time to factor it into their schedules comfortably.
• Create a budget
Setting a date enables you to get a better idea of the budget required. Typically, booking well in advance gives you options at accessible rates. The cost difference between an event in three months and an event in six months can vary greatly.
• Source a venue
Once you’ve got an idea of the when, you’re in a better position to plan the where. Consider the type of event you’re hosting—do you need a large space? Would a smaller space suffice? Maybe a room would be enough?
Take a look at what’s on offer in your chosen location and select a venue that fits your budget and needs.
• Consider accommodation options
Skip this step if your attendees don’t require overnight accommodation of any kind.
You don’t want to pull the trigger on an event space before checking if it’s nearby to other essentials—like accommodation options and travel hubs. A beautiful and fit-for-purpose location is useless if attendees can’t stay nearby.
The TravelPerk events management solution can once again help you with this step. You can easily look through accommodation options near your desired location to find high-quality accommodation with the facilities you need—whilst also ensuring you remain in budget.
• Check travel options
Just as attendees need accommodation for a multi-day event, they need to be able to get to the event location. This may only involve organizing car, bus, or rail travel to and from the venue, but it might also involve international air travel. It could even involve both.
Organizing business travel is a huge undertaking—especially when you’re trying to get 20+ people from all over the place to the same location at the same time.
TravelPerk’s event management solution is purpose-built for organizing small and large scale corporate travel. You can browse travel options from the largest inventory on the market, book tickets for attendees, and manage travel with ease. Once travel’s booked you can view and manage all of your attendee’s travel plans from one single platform—and assign customized labels to help you keep track of budget spend.
• Book and pay for your venue, accommodation, and travel
Once you’re certain you’re able to find accommodation and travel to the chosen venue, it’s time to lock it in. We suggest setting aside some time to do this all at once to ensure you’re all sorted. Although unlikely, you could find that from one day to another certain options are no longer available.
Booking this using the TravelPerk events management solution enables you to manage everything from one platform. You don’t need to flick through tabs for your location, accommodation, and travel—it’s all in one place, along with the necessary attendee details.
• Organize catering
It’s highly likely that any event you organize will require catering—even if that’s only for one meal. You can ask the location if they offer any catering packages, or alternatively source a local business to cater the event.
• Create your invites
A brilliant rule of thumb for invites is to approach them with a who, what, where, when, and why approach.
- Who? Your attendee
- What? Your event
- When? Your chosen date and time
- Where? Your freshly-booked location
- Why? Your goals and purpose for the event
This ensures attendees have all the necessary information to come to your event.
• Share invites with attendees
Your attendees are your target audience, remember. They need to know when they’re expected to attend, what they can expect, and how to find out more.
For some attendees, the event is part of their job obligations—read: mandatory. For others—for example, external stakeholders—it’s a choice to attend.
You can invite your attendees to the event using the TravelPerk events management solution. They can then respond to let you know if they’re planning to attend with a yes or no selection—much like they would a regular calendar invite. Plus, the TravelPerk solution enables you to nudge invitees for an answer if needs be.
• Reach out to sponsors to chat about collaboration
Having sponsors at your corporate event can bolster your budget and lead to exciting opportunities. Reach out to your network to find out if anyone is interested in collaborating on the event.
• Source and book entertainment
Entertainment is a broad category. This could be daytime entertainment—such as speakers for the event or event-focused excursions—or it could be evening entertainment—such as a show or meal.
Whatever your event type and needs, you want to consider your entertainment options ahead of time. This ensures you’re not scrambling to find decent entertainment, and also gives you time to book any necessary travel if the entertainment is coming from another location.
• Market the event
Engaging attendees beforehand creates a buzz and excitement around your event, and gets people talking about it. Share extra details on multiple channels to make sure you reach a wide array of attendees.
• Send reminders
Make sure to keep attendees informed and engaged in the run-up to the event. It’s a good idea to schedule reminders for attendees about the event, their travel arrangements, the planned itinerary, and more.
• Build and brief a team (if necessary)
You want to make sure that you’re ready for action when the event comes around. Having a team ready to help ensure the event’s success is a must. This, by no means, needs to be dedicated event specialists or contracted event managers—all you need is a reliable group of individuals you can count on to help out on the day.
• Conduct final checks
This step comes on the day of the event—potentially the day before. You want to make sure everything is in place for the big day, and rectify any issues that pop up ahead of the event.
It’s also a good idea to run tech and audiovisual tests to ensure all of your equipment is functioning as it should. Technical issues can cause major issues at any kind of event, so this is very important.
• Gather post-event data
First of all—congratulations! By this point, you’ve likely hosted and completed the event. We hope it all went to plan and you’re happy with the final result.
You can definitely breathe a sigh of relief—but you’re not quite finished just yet. It’s time to find out what your attendees thought of the event. Make sure to reach out through surveys, follow-up calls, and social media activity to gather feedback for future improvement. Here are some sample questions to consider asking attendees:
- How would you rate the event location from 1-10? Why?
- How would you rate the event catering from 1-10? Why?
- How would you rate the event entertainment from 1-10? Why?
- What would you have changed about the event?
- What surprised you about the event (good or bad)?
- What was your favorite part of the event?
Your exact questions depend on the event and its goals, but you get the gist. This comprehensive checklist will help you plan successful corporate events of all shapes and sizes—whether you’ve got 5 attendees or 50. Here’s our on-the-go checklist for corporate event planning; download yours for a head-start when planning your next event.
Corporate event planning with TravelPerk
Our number one item on any event planning checklist, however, is to ensure you’ve got a powerful corporate event planning tool on your side. This makes every step of the corporate event planning process a whole lot easier.
TravelPerk’s event management solution can help you take your corporate event to the next level. It allows you to get all your attendees and employees from wherever they are right to your event–safely, fast, and seamlessly.
With TravelPerk’s event solution you can manage everything you need from the same platform:
- Manage invites: invite attendees and track their responses and status of their bookings.
- Keep everyone in the loop: share trip details like attendee names, logistics, agendas, and everything needed for the event to run smoothly.
- Every detail matters: keep attendees and participants updated with real-time information and changes to the plan.
- Visibility and tracking: view attendees’ travel plans, including arrival and departure times and accommodation details.
Forget the constant back and forths, and rest easy knowing your team events are under control.
Get in touch with the TravelPerk team today to find out how you can start mastering your corporate event planning process and more.