A Beginner’s Guide to Corporate Event Planning

Corporate event planning, while sharing some characteristics with other event planning, requires different planning strategies. For one thing, the main reason people attend corporate events is to network.

82% of people surveyed stated networking as their main reason for attending. This means activities and entertainment are geared toward networking and bonding opportunities.

A corporate event planner needs to focus their marketing and budget plans toward a focused theme for a specific audience. How does a beginner event planner go about this?

What is a Corporate Event?

A corporate event is an event that focuses on one of three things:

  • Customer perception
  • Team building
  • Product Launch

Depending on which of these areas the event is focused on, there are a number of event types that come into play. Some of the most common event types include seminars and conferences, trade-shows, retreats, team-building, appreciation events, and a product launch.

Seminars and trade-shows focus on customer perception. This is the chance to show your company’s personality and value. This is also a good time to bring in new leads.

Conferences and trade-shows also work well to introduce new products or branding. This gives you a chance to build excitement around these new products. You can also schedule an event specifically for a product launch.

Retreats, appreciation events, and general team-building events are great ways to let employees bond and build their connections. Retreats are usually for executives and upper management. Appreciation and team-building events are primarily for the rest of the corporate employees.

Each of the different types of events will need a specific theme that conveys the point. This theme is one aspect of your event plan as a corporate event planner.

A Checklist for Corporate Event Planning

For a successful corporate event, you’ll need to start with the marketing plan. Marketing for corporate events usually begins a year in advance to make sure you have everything together for a seamless event. It’s a good idea to begin an event checklist once the marketing plan starts as well.

Set a Budget

The first step in corporate conference planning is to set a budget. You’ll need to meet with other members of the event team as well as executives involved in the event to plan for the budget.

To get a good grasp of the budget needs, you must understand what the people involved expect for the event.

  • What are their expectations for themes?
  • What type of activities and entertainment do they want?
  • How many people do they plan to invite?
  • What food options do they want available?

Make sure you understand the expectations thoroughly before booking for the event. Once you have a grasp of the expectation, you can negotiate for your desired budget.

Finding an Event Venue

Once you have your budget set, one of the first things you need to plan is where to host the event. Event venues can get booked up quickly, so you want to book your desired venue at least four months in advance. When choosing a corporate event venue, you want to ensure they have space and amenities necessary for a successful event.

Consider how many guests you expect to attend so you can choose an appropriate space. It’s a good idea to check the floor plans for whatever venue you’re considering so you can make sure they’ll accommodate your guests.

You should also check their catering guidelines before making a final decision. If you’re providing food, you want to make sure the venue you choose either offers catering or allows for outside catering.

You also need to check on what equipment they provide. For instance, do they offer AV services? If not, find out what’s required to make these things available for your corporate event.

Other things to consider with the venue include:

  • Parking
  • Handicap accessibility
  • Nearby hotel accommodations
  • Whether or not alcohol is offered or allowed

You also want to make sure your chosen venue is easy to get to and provides a pleasant atmosphere. With corporate event planning, you want to make your guests as comfortable as possible.

Determine Event Activities

The type of event you’re planning will somewhat determine the activities involved. You still need to make these activities relevant to the theme for the corporate event.

Will you have workshops? Will you have an exhibit hall? Will the event include team-building or ice-breaker activities?

Make sure any activities incorporate the overall theme and provide enough to keep people’s attention. This also goes for any entertainment provided. The activities and entertainment should be established as soon as possible.

Planning in advance is especially important for guest speakers. You want to contact speakers early on to make sure they’re available for the event. You should also plan some backup speakers in case someone has to cancel at the last minute.

When scheduling speakers give them plenty of time and information to plan their talking points. Make sure you’re clear about the topic they’re discussing and give them any support they need to plan their appearance.

The Guest List

As you’re planning the event, you should start generating excitement among your intended guests. Determine the guest list early so you can start sending emails, flyers, invitations, or social media prompts as soon as possible.

As the event draws closer you should continue to send information to your invited guests. Tease them with speaker lists, activity schedules, exciting entertainment options, or other fun plans for the event.

Send reminders to people that haven’t responded to events. Keep the event in their minds up to the day.

Plan the Menu

Once you know what your catering options are, you should start planning the menu. Find a caterer that will have options available for a diverse group. You should also keep allergies and special diets in mind when planning the menu.

You also need to determine whether you’ll have alcohol available at the event. Plan the food and beverage options around the expected guests to make sure you have plenty.

Help with Corporate Event Planning

While we can’t help you with every step of the corporate event planning, we can help you with the venue. The Midlothian Conference Center offers several spaces for a successful event. For more information, contact us to schedule a tour.

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