Hot Tips for Planning a Private Event

Planners have a thousand details to consider when organizing a private event. So how can they keep the vision aligned?

A webinar by Skyline Exhibits aimed to answer that, hosted by Sofia Troutman, senior digital marketing and product innovation manager, and Jon Althoff, senior director of global marketing. The industry experts described how to keep the process focused, as well as some underestimated details that will help ensure your event’s success.

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Their first recommendation was to ask yourself these three questions before you start to plan—and refer to them when you’re making decisions.

1. What are your business goals and objectives for taking action?

Are you introducing a product? Promoting brand awareness? Putting on an event as a reward? Training clients on the usage of products or services? Be clear about your objective, and check back in on it throughout the process—ask yourself if this decision supports your original goal.

2. Is an event the most efficient approach?

Given the answer to question No. 1, is there a more efficient way to reach your objective? You’ll want to be sure meeting your goal is best served by a live event before you decide to put one on.

3. Do I have a laser focus on what participants should and will be included?

Make sure you know who you’re inviting and/or marketing to. Do your business objectives and likely participants match? Will their aspirations in attending be met by the outcomes of your event?

We’re betting you have the logistics down on how to plan your event—but tactics can always use a second look. Here are Skyline Exhibits’ tips on what to double-check, from start to finish.

Security

Think your event isn’t big enough to need security? Don’t be so sure. Security can include preparedness for emergencies, as well as crowd control in the event of a disaster. Do you know the venue inside and out? Are all staff aware of all exits and in fail-safe communication with one other?

It’s also important to make sure security has points of contact on your team and that communication is flowing freely. Additionally, check the venue’s emergency procedures in case of a natural disaster or another catastrophe—and make sure your team is aware of them.

Sponsorship

The biggest piece of advice on this topic is to make your presentations to potential sponsors as early as possible. Give the company multiple months of time before you need a decision. Here are some key steps.

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  1. Know prospective sponsors marketing objectives.
  2. Know what you have to offer (social media hits and access to attendees, for example).
  3. Create the right offer, with measurable goals and marks of success.
  4. Make your proposal specific and relevant to their business.

Budgeting

When budgeting, make sure to include prospective taxes. Specifically, ask your venue which of its costs are taxable. Also make sure you budget for event insurance—and check for indemnification clauses in your contract with the venue.

Buried in some contracts is responsibility for any damage incurred to the property during the event—even if from a natural disaster or one of their own staff. Make sure you’re only responsible for your team and your attendees.

Presenters and Speakers

How do you find a great speaker? Personal referrals are one of the most utilized and best bets to find talent. National Speaker’s Association and speakers bureaus are also great resources.

When you select a speaker, you’ll probably get a rack rate: Don’t forget that presenters’ rates can depend upon their preferences. The amount of travel required, proximity to other engagements, a choice of multiple slots, the day of the week and time of the event, and the opportunity to showcase themselves are all factors you can use to negotiate a lower rate.

Marketing

Create an event page, and excite your guest list with relevant content leading up to the event. Send emails over the weekend, when they’re more likely to get a click-through.

Make sure there is a prominent register button—don’t make attendees work to sign up. A video thumbnail embedded in the email sparks interest and can help you stand out from the fodder. Include a “thanks for registering” page with easy-share links so your attendees can let the whole world know they’re going.

Never underestimate the power of social media. Create a short, unique hashtag for your event and ask attendees to use it—make sure to tag speakers and notable attendees, and ask them to share the line-up on their social media. You can also invite presenters to write a guest post on your LinkedIn or home site to stir up interest from potential attendants.

Post-Event

Thank yous, social media shout-outs, event picture galleries and stand-out quotes tweeted from presentations are all solid tactics to leave everyone reminiscing—and talking you up to everyone they know. If you include a follow-up survey in a thank-you email, you will learn valuable insights from participants, whether good or bad. A post-event staff meeting to document successes and failures will help you determine the true ROI from your event, and be even more prepared for the next one.

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