A good corporate event planner can create an event that brings company employees together, supports wider marketing or sales initiatives, incentivizes team achievements, or entertains senior leaders. Corporate events are often staged to communicate company strategy, change internal company behavior, launch a product or service, motivate, train, or reward staff, or influence the external behavior of customers towards the brand. Depending on the type of event and level of detail, planning a corporate event can be a huge undertaking. However, it doesn’t have to be unmanageable.
Planning a corporate event can be made fun with enough advanced lead-up time and a step-by-step plan. In this article, we’ll break down what to consider when planning an event for your company. Like most social events, corporate events need someone to lead the way. S/He will help to make things happen. That’s where a corporate event planner steps in. Remember that planning and executing a successful corporate event is no simple task. Typically it is a months-long process consisting of several stages and a variety of organizational steps. Stay tuned while we help you navigate the business of corporate event planning. Here you will find everything you need to know.
What is a corporate event planner?
Corporate event planning goes beyond meeting planning. Even though conferences and meetings may form the lion’s share of the workload there are other events you may be asked to organize. These might include corporate hospitality, client entertaining, conventions, exhibitions, and employees events.
Employees events include incentive travel reward programs, team building, motivational events, receptions, parties, and charity fundraising days. Usually, a corporate event planner works on an event from start to finish. It nurtures it from a fledgling idea into a memorable experience for guests. Therefore, as mentioned, corporate event planners handle all aspects of the event design, planning, and execution process for different types of corporate events.
Examples of corporate events by size:
- Micro Events: Brainstorming sessions, cohort meetings, one on one corporate meetings, and business dinners.
- Small Events such as meetings, smaller luncheons, open houses, executive retreats, team-building events, training events as well as appreciation events.
- Mid-Size events like conferences, seminars, networking events, and annual meetings.
- Large Events, for example, conventions, trade shows, and galas.
It's very important to define your goals and objectives
You have to know where you're going to be able to create a roadmap! The first thing you have to do when planning a work event of any kind is to define your goals and objectives for the event itself. Think about what are you hoping to accomplish with this event? Do you want to inspire your team members? Or do you want to give employees a chance to relax and blow off steam? Perhaps you are thinking of providing an afternoon of education and professional development. If members of the public or industry colleagues will be in attendance, what do you imagine their experience will be like?
Corporate events try to build or reinforce company culture and reputation, whether that’s internal (rewarding employees for great performance, for example) or external (brand development). Keep that in mind, ask yourself: If your guests were to walk away knowing, feeling, or doing one thing, what would it be?
Set your event date and establish team roles
We believe that setting a date may seem obvious for all of you. What about establishing clear team roles and expectations therein? This step is easy to miss. It’s very important that everyone involved in planning and executing your event knows their responsibilities and deadlines. Make sure that every employee is well aware of the timeline.
Don't forget to begin your corporate event planning checklist! We recommend you start by writing out a timeline for the major milestones in your planning process, like deposit due dates, invitation and RSVP sending dates, etc. Then, begin to fill in other tasks, details, and deadlines as necessary. Try to work hard on compiling a comprehensive list of everything that must happen for your event to go off without a hitch!
The corporate event planner will design the event
Corporate event planners are involved in the planning process right from the start. As soon as someone decides that an event is needed or might be a great way to reach a company goal event planners help the wider team design an event that meets the requirements. First, they will consider your target audience, the reason for the event, and essential requirements such as the budget and general location. Providing the event planners with this information will help them form an event plan that covers all the main details. They will take care of the potential dates, locations, event type, event size, staffing needs, and more. What's more, corporate event planners can also start thinking about any other stakeholders that may be involved, and put plans in place to approach companies for sponsorship or partnerships.
Set the budget
The amount of available budget can impact every aspect of corporate event planning. Your budget is what's going to dictate a lot about your event, including the level of detail, convenience, and comfort you’ll be able to achieve. It affects everything, from the choice of venue and speakers to the levels of catering, entertainment, technology, and staffing.
To get a rough idea of how much each event element will cost take a look at the rates for local venues, caterers, entertainment, etc. Then, try to put together a realistic budget. We recommend you keep in mind unexpected costs and unforeseen changes that may add budgetary strain.
The corporate event planner will manage the event budget
It’s the event planner’s job to oversee the budget and make sure they’re making decisions that keep them within its constraints. A skilled corporate event planner always knows how to make the most of their resources. Once the budget has been set, your event planner should have a clear idea of what they’re working with. Make sure they know how much they can spend on a venue, and how much is in the budget to cover speaker fees or corporate gifting. Do you need suggestions on where the majority of your budget should be spent? Corporate event planners can help you. They can also negotiate to score great deals that help you throw an amazing event without compromising on quality.
Did you know that most corporate event planners are not only skilled at negotiation and communication, but at problem-solving too?
This comes in handy when there’s a risk of coming in over budget. Talented event planners, like Cre8, can use this as an opportunity to get creative and seek further sponsorships or introduce attractive exhibitor packages. This way they will help you to secure extra funds and expand the event’s reach.
Hiring or using existing resources?
If you’re working at a scrappy startup or if you’re planning more casual, less resource-intensive events then using your existing resources can be an option. Do you just need a meeting planner or someone to handle internal events? This could be worked into a wider administrative role. A corporate event planner role is an absolute necessity when it comes to large-scale events or organizations that regularly plan and run events. This does not necessarily mean that you have to hire full-time into your team.
Did you know that you could also work with an amazing freelance corporate event planner? Or you can hire someone on a part-time or contract basis when events come up. If you plan to host major conferences having a larger event team can be extremely useful.
How to hire a corporate event planner?
There are lots of great candidates to choose from. Here’s how to find the perfect hire.
The Right Skills of the ideal corporate event planner
You need someone with the right skills to excel at this type of role. The ideal corporate event planner has to be a skilled communicator and negotiator. As we all know, much of their role involves speaking to stakeholders, your team, and vendors. What's more, they should also be highly organized and efficient.
Being great with numbers is a must so that they can help your budget stay on track. Don’t forget about curiosity and creativity too. It's very important for them to be just as great at coming up with ideas as they are at managing a timeline.
Hiring a specialist is a great move
You need to look for a corporate event planner who's a specialist in what you need. This is very important, especially if you want to create the biggest impact. A specialist can help you plan and execute a niche event in a more strategic way. Usually, they have additional insight into the industry and can source the right speakers. Also, specialists have useful contacts at the perfect, hard-to-reach venues.
You’re not sure which type of events you’ll need? A skilled planner with years of experience across multiple event types and sizes could be an ideal pick. You’ll be able to find insights to help you refine your events strategy and build your team.
Don't forget to ask for recommendations
Ask your network for recommendations on who they think would be perfect for the role if you want to find those hidden gems. We believe this approach works best if you’re hiring a freelancer or an agency to handle your corporate event planning. However, it can also be helpful for direct hires.
We know you’d be surprised by how wide your network is, and just how many talented people your team, friends, or family members know. Of course, we recommend you run these candidates through the same application process to make sure they’re a good fit. Anyways, remember that high praise from someone you trust is usually a good sign.
Ensure event success with a talented corporate event planner
The right corporate event planners are experts at transforming an idea into an immersive, successful event. They are able to handle everything from event design to negotiating with vendors.
Do you want your corporate events to play a key role in your marketing strategy and overall growth? Then you'll have to hire an experienced event planner. For a more streamlined approach to virtual event catering and corporate gifting, try Cre8. Get in touch with our team to talk over your ideas and goals, and explore how the platform works.