Top Tips for Successful Event Management
Planning, running, and managing an event can be a challenging and stressful process. Even when you’ve planned everything carefully, it’s still very difficult to manage all the moving parts, and there’s always something amiss: speakers canceling at the last minute, vendors not showing up on time, too long queue times for attendees, and so on, and so forth.
In short, event management can be a very stressful process that can easily overwhelm you, especially if you are not an experienced event manager.
If you are currently struggling with planning and/or managing an event, you’ve come to the right place. Our top actionable tips for successful event management will help you learn how to effectively manage your event, keep your attendees happy, and run successful events consistently.
Without further ado, let us begin right away.
1. Earlier is always better
The first rule of event planning is that you should plan everything as early as possible.
Venues, for example, the earlier you start researching for venues, the more options you’ll have and the more likely you’ll be able to secure an ideal venue for the right date.
If it’s a fairly large event (say, with more than 100 attendees), then you should ideally start planning the event six months in advance. For smaller events, you should have at least one month to plan the event.
If your event is going to involve third-party vendors (like most events), outside speakers, and/or sponsors, then make sure all contracts are completed at least a couple of weeks before the event.
2. Build a competent team
If you are planning to manage and run the event by yourself, you can skip this.
However, most likely you’ll need a capable team to help you execute the event successfully so it can achieve its objectives. You can begin by assembling a team with your available staff, but if necessary, you should hire skilled and experienced people.
It doesn’t have to be a very big team, and you can let one person handle different roles/responsibilities when necessary. Break down various elements of the event into different sections and assign these sections to each member of the team, for example:
- Venue management
- Promotion and marketing
- Sound systems
And so on.
Develop a system of accountability so you can track how each member performs their responsibilities and set up a reliable collaboration channel. More of this on the next tip.
3. Have an integrated digital infrastructure
Nowadays there are many digital technologies that can help you plan and manage your event.
For instance, there are many cloud-based technologies that can help your team’s collaboration. An event management system can provide you with a centralized hub that keeps every document and all assets related to the event like attendee database, vendor contracts, floor plan, and so on.
From Eventtia you’ll also get various nice features to help with your event management and execution, including:
- Registration and ticketing: you’ll get an intuitive registration platform that you can easily integrate into your website where your attendees can easily book your event and buy tickets.
- Attendee management: managing your guest list, facilitating check-ins, access control, and tracking the activities of your attendees during the event.
- Pre and post-event surveys: easily send and manage surveys to gather feedback about your event’s performance
- Promotion: Send targeted emails, and also the ability to send and manage discount coupons and early bird tickets.
- Payment and invoices: Generate and send personalized invoices for vendors and attendees when needed.
4. Plan your budget carefully
One of the keys to the success of event management is having a well-prepared budget. No matter how good your plan and event concept are, if your budget is not ready, you won’t succeed.
Plan your budget as early as possible and as detailed as possible. Make sure to cover all the high-level expenses on your initial budget draft, and add a 5-20% emergency fund on top of it.
Your budget should cover at the very least:
- Entertainment (speakers, talents, exhibitors, etc.)
- Labor costs
- Marketing and promotional cost (often the biggest element of the budget)
- Technology and digital tools
- Creative (design, content, etc. )
5. Negotiate smartly
Many vendors will tell you that their price is non-negotiable, but in most cases, you’ll always have room to wiggle. Always try to negotiate as low a price as you can, and research several alternative vendors for each element of the budget (especially for prominent ones).
Again, this is where having a complete estimation of your budget is important. Determine your budget for each vendor, and offer to pay 10% or 5% lower than your budget.
6. Minimize changes but prepare your plan Bs
Managing an event, as discussed, often involves managing many different moving parts: your team members, stakeholders, sponsors, third-party vendors, consultants, speakers, and so on.
Minimize changes as much as possible and for each group, set a closing date for any changes. For example, lock vendors with a written contract stating that they can’t pull off after a specific date.
However, embrace the fact that things are going to change, and you should always remain flexible and have your plan Bs and plan Cs for each element. Yet, don’t overthink these plan Bs and so that you neglect other important elements of the event.
7. Do a run-through
Do a run-through of the entire event process. Ideally, you should do the run-through about two weeks before the event, but at least a week before.
Organize a meeting involving your whole team and walk through everything. Think about all the details involved in the event from initial set up, execution, to the closing stages of the event. This can help your team figure out complications and potential bottlenecks, so you’ll have time to fix these issues.
Also, a few days before the event, ideally, you should run a rehearsal at the venue itself. Again, evaluate as many details as possible during this rehearsal, and develop additional backup plans for potential complications.