Event Management Training Course

Event planning is one of the hottest new fields available to people from all walks of life today.  Although some event planners may possess a college degree in business or a related field of study, a college degree is not required to be an event planner, nor is a certificate or any other formal training--although any training and/or education you can receive would certainly be very beneficial and give you an edge over others just starting out.

Those who are brand new to the field of event planning can earn excellent money in this career path, and the benefits and salary only increase with the event planner's contacts, networking and skill level.  Those at the top of their game can earn in excess of millions per year.

Event planning is an exciting, lucrative and interesting career choice; however, it is not for everyone. Those who have a lot of energy, are comfortable with self-promotion, enjoy talking to and socializing with strangers, who are well organized, can handle multi-tasking and have an eye for detail will enjoy this career.  If you are laid back, shy and prefer to be "behind the scenes," you may want to choose another profession. This course will give you a great basic understanding of event planning. It will also explain some of the details of how the business works and what an event planner does exactly. Lastly, it will give you the basics to help get you started in this exciting, rewarding and often fun filled career.

There are comprehensive lessons in each module written in an easy to follow, informative manner. The end of each lesson will provide you with multiple summary review questions so that you may effectively test your new found knowledge. We encourage you to use these self-test questions to determine whether you are ready to move on to the next lesson or if you should review portions of the preceding lesson before taking the next step. Don't rush yourself. Take the time to read all portions of the lessons and complete the exercises and self-tests. Making full use of this course, in its entirety, is the first step in getting more of what you want in life and business.

INTRODUCTION TO EVENT MANAGEMENT

WHAT IS EVENT MANAGEMENT

Event Management is the process of analysing, planning, marketing, producing and evaluating an event. It is a different way of promoting a service, product or idea. If an event is managed efficiently and effectively, it can be used as a very powerful tool to launch a product or idea into the market.

The process of planning and coordinating an event is usually referred to as Event Planning. It includes budgeting, scheduling, site selection, coordinating transportation, arranging for speakers, decorations, event security, catering, vendors and emergency plans.

PERSPECTIVES ABOUT EVENT MANAGEMENT

There are four unique perspectives about Event Management from various Event planning experts:

The Industry Definition

Event Planning is the process of managing a project such as a meeting, convention, trade-show, ceremony, party or a convention. Event planning includes budgeting, establishing timelines, selecting and reserving the event sites, acquiring permits, planning food, coordinating transportation, developing a theme, arranging for activities, selecting speakers and keynotes, arranging for equipment and facilities, managing risk, and developing contingency plans.

The official Definition

Event planning consists of coordinating every detail of meetings and  conventions, from the speakers and meeting location to arranging for printed materials and audio-visual equipment. Event planning begins with determining the objective that the sponsoring organisation(your client) wants to achieve. Planners choose speakers, entertainment and content and arrange the program to present the organisation’s information in the most effective way. Other functions include selecting meeting sites, prospective attendees and how to get them to the meeting.

An Optimist’s View

Event Planning is the energizing art of choreographing people and activities in order to create a show that creates memories of a lifetime. Designing and producing an event, whether it’s a meeting, corporate event, fundraiser, or any other event, is in many ways comparable to directing a live stage performance.

For those who love to travel, it’s an added bonus, as it provides an amazing opportunity to travel to luxurious hotels, interesting new places and meet speakers and attendees from around the world.

A Pessimist’s View

Event planning is the stressful work of planning events and can be a very demanding career choice. Planners must be able to multitask on several things at once, face numerous deadlines, and orchestrate the activities of many diverse groups of people. Event planners may need to travel extensively to attend events and visit prospective event sites.

Work hours can be long and irregular. Working more than 40 hours per week is fairly common, especially during the time leading up to the event and wrapping up after the event. Finally be prepared for some physical activity-long hours of standing and walking, carrying boxes of materials are just the beginning.

WHAT DO EVENT PLANNERS DO

Event Planners go by different job titles but their main job function falls within the realm of Event Management. Event Management involves planning, executing and evaluating corporate, association, government and non-profit events. Event Management requires strong organisational, budgeting and creative skills. They must have good interactive skills; they need to be comfortable interacting with all levels of individuals both inside and outside the organisation.

An Event Planner starts an event by having a meeting with the prospective client and gathering the necessary information about the client’s vision for the event. He develops an event budget together with the client. Once this is done, the Event Planner will finalise the concept of the event, get a location and vendors, as well as the necessary permits and permissions.

The day of the event, the event management team will be on site to run the event and handle any problems that may arise. After the event, the team wraps up and get feedback from clients.

SKILLS NEEDED

Skills needed to start-up an event management company

People management: it’s very hard managing different characters of people. An event manager should master this skill above all, so that you can arrive at your desired goal.

Time management

Task prioritization

You need to be very creative, find new and innovative ways to solve problems

Leadership qualities

Good marketing skills

Learn how to talk to clients, sell ideas and close deals

Motivation skills; for both yourself and others

Have a strong analytical skills and a good eye for detail

Understand team formation

Know how to manage your cash flows and keep track of your financial transaction

Know how to keep your cool: Murphy’s Law

QUALITIES OF A GOOD EVENT PLANNER

The skills of a good event planner are needed in many different scenarios in life. The services of an event planner might be utilized for a number of events-corporate events, weddings, birthday parties and any other gathering.

So whether you are looking to hire an event planner, or you want to become one yourself, it is important to recognise the qualities of a good one.

The most successful event planners have a toolbox filled with an impressive skill set. These are the top 7 event planning skills you will reach for on a regular basis and the ones that can make or break your success.

ORGANIZATION

This is the most important quality an event planner can possess and it is certainly evident in the best event planners. Just think of every little detail of a large corporate event or a wedding, and realise that the event planner must be in on every one of them.

An event planner must organize staff, venues, deadlines, food, menus and every other element of the event. Without an exceptional organizational skill, confusion will surely set in and everything will fall apart.

Attention to detail is another element of organization that’s crucial of a good event planner.

An event planner can also make use of organizational tools from software that track registration to templates for forms and spreadsheets. An event planning checklist that is customized for each event is one of the most valuable event planning tools regardless of your natural organizational ability.

So figure out the organisational system that works for you!

FLEXIBILITY

Murphy's Law states that ‘anything that can go wrong will go wrong’. One of the only certain things in event planning is that nothing ever goes exactly as planned.

A good event planner must be flexible and be able to adapt to new situations as they arise. Last minute changes and cancellations are a norm, and if the event planner is overwhelmed the whole event might be in jeopardy.

CREATIVITY

It is very important for an event planner to show a great deal of creativity, this will really strike a chord with your guest and put on an event they haven’t seen before. Many clients have some definite ideas on how they want their event to look or feel. There are some however who have no clue of what they want. In such a case, it’s up to the event planner to provide the ideas.

Successful event planners have ideas. Lots of them! And with that creativity they have the ability to transform their ideas into something tangible. They can take a vision and bring it to life. From developing a unique theme for a party to coming up with an affordable decorating solution that meets a small budget, creativity is essential when planning an event.

Creativity also comes into play when facing the inevitable problems that arise during even the most diligently, professionally planned event. In this scenario, creativity takes shape in the form of problem-solving. Being able to think creatively to develop solutions to problems can positively impact the success of your event.

MULTI-TASKER

As an event planner you need to be a juggler! Multiple projects may come up during an event and you can’t just focus on one aspect at a time or the event will never be completely planned.

There are usually many different aspects of an event and many different characters of people involved, and this guarantees that more than one element would be coming at you at the same time. And such is the world of an event planner.

At various stages of the event planning process, there are numerous tasks being managed. You may be negotiating a hotel contract, meeting with the client to discuss potential guest speakers, booking a caterer, interviewing rental vendors and exploring entertainment options. And that is just for one event. Add multiple events in the planning stages all at once, and the result is a juggling act. Successful event planners need to know how to effectively multitask and keep many aspects of the event moving along simultaneously without any of those tasks falling by the wayside.

Success lies in the ability to PRIORITISE and FOCUS on each task in that priority order without becoming distracted by other things that need tending to or becoming overwhelmed by the numerous things that need your attention. Staying calm, focused and flexible are attributes of the successful multi-tasker.

BUDGETING SKILLS

Every event has a budget, and some would be smaller than what the client is asking for. A good event planner should be able to work with any kind of budget and make it work for the client.

A good math and accounting skill would be a great asset in setting and maintaining a budget. Also having a wide range of resources in different areas helps. Have several vendors for different clients’ price ranges!

CUSTOMER RELATIONAL SKILLS

A good or basic customer relational skill is a must have, and you can’t go far in business without it, even if you have other skills. A client’s basic need is to be able to communicate with the event planner on a regular basis, as well as discussing problems that may arise during the event.

It’s important for the event planner to ease the clients mind and ensure them that everything is under control. Being able to make good use of this skill plays to your favour, because a happy client would love to spread the word about your services, which means more jobs and clients!

TIME MANAGEMENT SKILLS

Time! Time! Time! Be it a wedding or a birthday party, time is essential in any event. It all has to come together at a particular time, date and venue. And it’s the event planners job to make that happen.

Time management and multi-tasking go hand in hand, and if an event planner can do both and beat deadlines, half the job is already done!

PERSONABLE

What do all events have in common? People! Who do you interact with and work with in the process of planning events? People! Successful event planners are personable, engaging, good conversationalists and excellent listeners. Event planning is a very social profession in that the end result – the event itself – is or a group of people, large or small. Understanding people and enjoying talking to them are part of the job. This does not mean that, as an event planner, you will spend most of your day out at client lunches and having cocktails at social events. Not at all! Event planning is hard work and much of it is spent at a desk with a phone or computer. But being personable is a must when tackling one of these common event planning tasks:

  • Negotiating with hotels
  • Discussing menus with catering managers
  • Meeting with vendors
  • Pitching your event ideas to a prospective client
  • Networking anytime and anywhere
  • Supervising event staff
  • Working your event and interacting with guests and workers

After all, in day-to-day life, most of us remember the pleasant, helpful people we interact with and that interaction can make an experience much more enjoyable for both parties. Knowing how to relate to different personalities, how to connect with someone whom you want to do business with and being someone that makes a positive impression are keys to success so consider this one of those essential event planning skills. No one wants to work with or assist someone who is difficult to talk to, hard to understand or rude and unprofessional in any way.

EXCELLENT COMMUNICATOR (WHICH INCLUDES LISTENING!)

Excellent communication skills are essential in many professions. In event planning, miscommunication can result in numerous problems for both the event planner and the client, and a simple misunderstanding can have catastrophic results. Being able to effectively communicate thoughts and ideas is a very practical skill that is used on a day-to-day basis by event planners of all experience levels. Here are a few examples of how these event planning skills are used when planning events:

Written communication:

  • Writing event proposals for a prospective client
  • Creating materials to market your firm
  • Writing contracts with clients and vendors
  • Drafting thank you notes to guest speakers and VIPs

Verbal communication:

  • Ability to explain the scope and purpose of an event
  • Effectively communicating your ideas to a supervisor, client or vendor
  • Understanding and processing information that is provided, such as the concerns of a client or questions from a caterer
  • Skilfully negotiating hotel rates, contract details, or extras from a vendor

TYPES OF EVENTS

  • Social/ Life Cycle Events: Events like birthdays, graduations, bachelor & hen parties, weddings, anniversaries, engagements, e.t.c
  • Education and Career Events: Events like education fair, job fair, workshops, seminars, debate, contest, e.t.c
  • Sports Events: Events like Olympics, world cup, wrestling matches, e.t.c
  • Entertainment Events: Events like music concerts, fairs, festivals, fashion shows, beauty pageants, stage shows, e.t.c
  • Political Events: Events like political procession, demonstrations, rallies, functions, e.t.c
  • Corporate Events: Events like meetings, incentives, conferences, exhibitions, product launches, road shows, e.t.c
  • Religious Events: Events like festivals/fairs, programs,e.t.c
  • Fund Raising: Events like galas, auctions, e.t.c

PRE EVENT PHASE I

EVENT TEAM

What is an Event Team?

An event team is a group of hardworking and dedicated event professionals who are responsible for researching, planning, marketing, executing and evaluating an event. The size and responsibilities of an event team depends on the work involved in planning, organising and conducting a major event. Members of the team may be involved on a full-time, part-time, contractor, casual and voluntary basis. The Event Director is at the head of the team, whose job is to keep everyone working together for a considerable period of time.

In selecting the right team for a particular event, you need to look for the regular skills that would lead to a successful event. Prior to this you should have identified what has to be delivered by each team member. Depending on the type and size of the event the key areas of responsibilities may include:

  • Event Director
  • Event Manager/ Producer
  • Event Assistant
  • Event Administrator
  • Production Manager
  • Finance Assistant
  • Marketing Manager
  • Media Manager
  • Site/ Venue Manager
  • Fundraising/ Sponsorship Manager
  • Programme Manager
  • Production Designer
  • Artist Liaison
  • Stage Management
  • Production Crew
  • Information Assistant
  • Runners

The above list simply provides an example of the kinds of roles that may be appropriate to an event. It could be that your event requires a range of roles, a much expanded team, or maybe just two or three people supported by volunteers to deliver all aspects of event management. Whatever the case, ensure that you are sufficiently equipped to meet the challenge.

The process of putting a team together starts by stating the job descriptions for the roles you wish to create. These would clearly state what is expected of each person. This would help clarify job roles and skills required.

Next, you need to determine the duration of the agreement: freelancer, short term contract or a permanent staff. Payment methods need to be established: weekly or monthly. The main aim is to provide the right conditions to attract the right staffs at the available budget.

Once you’ve decided on the roles that you require, it’s good to draw up an organisational chart or staffing plan setting out the structure of your event team. This will help you demonstrate the chain of command. 



Click link for an example of an event team for an event "Arts Festival"

https://www.dropbox.com/s/5rkq93lpcvf0npk/event%20team.docx?dl=0

KEY POINTS ABOUT AN EVENT TEAM

Recruitment: If possible, plan your recruitment process well in advance. Ensure you leave plenty time for adverts to be placed, interviews to be held, etc. Remember, you can also seek recommendations from other event managers. Ensure to always take up references for any new member of your event team. Getting the right balance in the team is a key consideration.  Your event staff would often have to work very closely together for long hours in pressurised environments. So make sure your team members complement each other. Always provide a job description and formalise your recruitment agreements in writing, ensuring that rates of pay are clearly understood and accepted.

Clarify roles: ensure that each team member has a clear understanding of what their role and their various teammates’ roles entail, what is expected of them and who they are responsible to.

Internal Communications: It is very essential to operate good internal communications. Hold regular team meetings to update the Event Action Plan and to ensure that all key members are familiar with and understand the issues and challenges. These meetings are also an opportunity for team members to raise their own points and to share knowledge and experience.

Work Experience Staff: If you offer students the opportunity to gain work experience on the event, ensure that you are equipped and able to instruct/mentor/supervise them and provide feedback. Put your agreement in writing, ensuring that you clarify the scope of the work and state if it will be paid or on a voluntary basis, etc.

Volunteers: If you are considering using volunteers to assist with the event, ensure that you are able to clearly specify what is requires of them; the types of roles you wish them to perform; hours; training; incentives; who they report to; how to deal with incidents, etc. Volunteers need to be managed carefully and your relationship with them would be different to your relationship with your paid staff. Remember, volunteers are giving up their time to work on your event and they are likely to have specific reasons for volunteering. To get the best out of your volunteers, it’s a good approach to find out what they are looking to get out if the experience and to try to match their skills and personality with the appropriate role.

EVENT TEAM ORGANOGRAM

The number of people involved in organizing an event depends on the scale of the event. An event management company can have the following event professionals:

Event Manager/ Event Planner

  • Is responsible for planning and producing the whole event.
  • Is responsible for procurement management and resource management.
  • Formulates, prepares and implements risk management plan related to event planning and production.

Event Coordinator

Is responsible for coordinating with all event professionals and ensures that business operations are efficient and effective.

Information Manager

  • Manages the information acquired through different sources.
  • Is responsible for the documentation of all business operations carried out pre-event, during the event and post event.
  • Maintains database of service providers, delegates, guests, organizers, sponsors, etc.
  • Formulates, prepares and implements the risk management plan.

Security Manager

  • Responsible for formulating and implementing the security plan and strategies.
  • Responsible for procurement and resource management.
  • Formulates, prepares and implements the risk management plan.

 Infrastructure Manager

  • Responsible for procurement and resource management.
  • Responsible for setting up and dismantling the infrastructure for the whole event:
  • Construction of boundary walls, entrance and exit gates, driveways, etc
  • Construction of AC/Non AC hangers, halls, seating arrangement, stage setup/design, etc
  • Responsible for conservancy
  • Formulates, prepares and implements the risk management plan.

People are the key to a successful event, so spend time and effort building up a bank of people that you know you can work with and trust in events. You need to be able to rely on them even when things are going wrong.

CREATING AN EVENT MANAGEMENT DIRECTORY/EVENT VENUE SELECTION/SITE PLAN

EVENT MANAGEMENT DIRECTORY

To create an event management directory, you first need to come up with the different people you need for your type of event to be successful. After which you create a template where you put in their various details.

To get the right people, you need to use all tools available to you, like, word of mouth, phone calls, emails and visiting service providers on location. You can learn more and interact with them, ask questions, know their rates, talk about their past events and build trust. Once you are comfortable with your selection, you can add them to the list.

EVENT VENUE SELECTION

You need to keep the following in mind when selecting a venue for your event:

Target Audience/Guest Size

The venue should easily accommodate your expected target audience. It should not be too small that guests feel uncomfortable or too large that you pay more for the venue. You can send out invitations with R.S.V.P clearly printed on them to get a firm indication of guests that plan to attend your event.

R.S.V.P is a French acronym for Please Respond. Guests are expected to tell the host if he/she will be attending the event. Since most people don’t bother to reply back, it is advisable to individually call and ask the guests if they plan to attend.

The most important thing, however, is managing your guest list. The success of any event relies on the guest. It is therefore imperative to plan this aspect carefully to make sure the right people attend.

Target Audience Status

If your target audience are rich folks then your venue must be a five star hotel or resort and all the services provided during the event must be of high quality.

Target Audience Convenience

Select a venue according to your target audience convenience. Your venue should not be far from the place where majority of your guests live. Your venue should have proper lighting and ventilation. It should not be a noisy or polluted area.

Climatic Conditions

Keep climatic conditions in the area while selecting a venue. If you’re organising an event in the rainy season, you don’t select a venue in an open space. Always try to organise indoor events if possible as their production cost is lesser than outdoor events.

Venue History

Before selecting a venue, you need to check out the venue history. Find out how many events have been organised in the venue so far. This way you can find out whether the venue and staff are event friendly.

Venue Services

Before selecting a venue, check out the number of services provided by the venue. Does the venue have parking facilities? Does the venue provide security; security for guests and their belongings? Does the venue have adequate number of staffs to serve your guest? If they don’t provide staffs, you need to hire staff/servers. Also find out any restrictions thee venue may have, like no smoking, no photography, etc. Does the venue provide additional services like catering, decoration, visuals, etc.

Venue Inspection

The best way to inspect a venue is to go there anonymously, because if you go to the venue as an event planner, you will be shown the event as an ideal venue for organising your event. Find out how helpful, courteous and professional the venue staffs are. Basically check any and everything in the venue, but anonymously.

Amount of Work Required

While inspecting a venue, you need to determine how much work would be needed to make the venue suitable for your event. Your venue selection should be based on the venue that requires lesser work. The lesser the work, the lesser the production cost of the event.

Potential Hazards

When selecting a venue site, especially for outdoor events, you need to do a risk assessment for any potential hazards in the area. Hazards include slips, bush fires, extreme temperatures, chemical sites, etc.

SITE PLANNING

A site plan is a map of the event and is essential for event planning and management. It can be used as part of the planning process to have an idea of the final layout. It must be easy to interpret and be posted strategically around the site for use by patrons. The site plan should include the following:

  • Surrounding streets and landmarks,
  • Entrances and Exits,
  • Event coordination centre,
  • Emergency centre,
  • Vendor locations,
  • First aid,
  • Toilets, phones, security, etc.

VENDOR/STAKEHOLDER MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES

Vendors are persons or organisations that you liaise with to provide one service or the other during the life cycle of your event.(pre, during or post). They are also known as Contractors or Suppliers.

Stakeholders are persons or organisation that would either be positively or negatively affected by the outcome of the event.

As an event manager, it is your job to find the vendors/stakeholders who would be influential to your event, and keep them updated on the progress of the event. Making sure that their expectations are managed can be the difference between your event succeeding or not.

Managing your vendors/stakeholders well is a continuous activity till the event is completed successfully. The most common vendors/stakeholders for events include:

  • Master of Ceremony (MC)
  • Caterers
  • Decorators
  • Cake designer
  • Musician/Band
  • Photography Expert
  • Video Coverage
  • Security Providers
  • Ushers
  • Special Lighting
  • Event Rental Service Providers
  • Press and Media Representative
  • Facility or Venue Managers

You need to come up with a register that contains details of your chosen vendors/stakeholders. Details like name, phone number, address, area of expertise, level of influence, etc.

When managing your vendors/stakeholders, for instance, caterers, you need to find out the dishes they cook and the quality level. Taste samples of their meals and negotiate prices offered. Ask people they have catered for and ask for their experiences before making a final decision.

Basically, carry out a market research, window shop and compare two or three other options so you can have backup vendors. Make sure to communicate your needs to your vendors/stakeholders.

Formally document all agreements so that it is legally binding on the vendors to render stated services.

For payments, instalment payments is key, so as to reduce risks. However, for the best of the best, they may insist on full payment but when you do pay in full, transfer the risk of their part of the work back to them in case there are hitches.

Following up the vendor is mandatory for the event manager, so as to be on the same page with them. Ask for status report daily or weekly depending on the time span before the event. Once you notice any deviation, its best to switch to alternatives early enough.

EVENT SCHEDULE

The event schedule will form the back bone of what your meetings with your team, vendors and client will be focused on going forward. Your team has to give a status report regularly prior to the event.

The event schedule would be written in form of a calendar. It will show the list of activities that need to be executed in order to produce and market the event. These activities would be of three types:

  1. Pre-Event
  2. At Event
  3. Post Event Activities

You can get a glimpse of activities from your Event Work Breakdown Structure.

STEPS:

  1. Create a list of pre event, at event and post event activities.
  2. Set deadlines for each event activity.
  3. Assign event activities to individual team members.

Clink link for an example of an event schedule template

 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/609ts74d6ps5g2v/event%20schedule%20template.xlsx?dl=0

MARKET RESEARCH IN EVENT PLANNING (COMPETITORS’ ANALYSIS, TARGET AUDIENCE RESEARCH, MARKETING RESEARCH)

Market Research Analysis

This is the process of gathering, analysing and interpreting information about a market, product or service to be offered for sale. It focuses on the past, present and potential customers for a product or service. It involves a research of the characteristics, spending habits, location and needs of the potential target market, the industry as a whole and the competitors.

Before organising an event, you need to know if there is a market for the intended event or not. If there is a market for the intended event, you carry out a market analysis. This involves gathering information about your target audience, your competitors and carrying out a SWOT analysis.

Target Audience

Find out who your target audience are; their age group, sex, traditions, religion, culture, personalities, knowledge level, profession etc. Knowing these is very important so as not to anger a potential target audience by organising an event that may be hurtful or of no importance to them. Also find out the desires and expectations of your target audience so you can deliver through your intended event.

Take a survey, and the information you gather will help in developing a better event plan.

Competitors’ Analysis

This is an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of current or potential competitors. This analysis provides both an offensive and defensive strategic context to identify opportunities and threats.

Basically, its gathering all the information you can about your competitors. To achieve this, simply create a detailed event report of every event organised by your competitor, by this you can determine the intensity of the competition. The detailed event report could contain things like:

  • Blueprints of the venue
  • Program and food menu
  • Contact details of clients, partners or sponsors
  • Promotional materials used
  • Service providers or vendors e.g Caterers, MC, DJs, etc

From your research, you’ll need to be able to answer these few questions:

  • Who are your competitors?
  • How frequently do they organise events?
  • What do they do in these events?
  • Who attends these events?
  • Why do people attend these events?
  • What’s their client base?
  • What’s their market value and market share?
  • How do they get their clients and sponsors, if any?
  • What’s their employee base? Etc

SWOT ANALYSIS

SWOT analysis is a method of analysing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, and is also a strategic planning tool used in business to identify and develop competitive advantage. It is commonly used to assess a business or proposition but has other practical applications.

This analysis helps identify vital areas to either emphasize or improve. It depicts the internal strengths and weaknesses of a company, plan or event, and indicates how these can be used to grasp external opportunities and resolve external threats.

The SWOT analysis can be used to evaluate events in pre planning and planning stages to identify the numerous things that could delay, disrupt or prevent the event from taking place, as well as opportunities to make the event better. Take a look at all the internal and external factors surrounding your company and the event to address them.

Strengths: these are the attributes of your company, plan or event that are helpful in achieving your objectives. Determine your resources and capabilities and how they can be used against your competition and in favour of your target audience. What advantages do you have? What can you do better than others? Some examples of strengths are, experienced event team, high motivational level, excellent PR, strong brand name, many social media followers, etc.

Weaknesses: these are the attributes of your company, plan or event that are harmful in achieving your objectives. Not all weaknesses are reasons for bailing on an event. Some might be weaknesses that seem like opportunities but they don’t help meet your goals and objectives. Determine the resources you lack, the advantages your competitors have over you, and how you can improve or avoid these weaknesses. Some examples of weaknesses are lack of funds, inexperienced event team, lack of media and corporate contacts, small follower base, small budget, etc.

Opportunities: these are those external factors which are helpful in achieving your objectives. Take a look at your strengths and determine the opportunities open to you. Determine how you can open up even more opportunities by eliminating some of your weaknesses. Some examples of opportunities are little competition, favourable economic conditions, etc.

Threats: these are those external factors which are harmful in achieving your objectives. Determine all present and potential threats to your company, plan or event. Your threat finding technique should focus on actual events, trends and economic forces that can be clearly identified. Some examples of threats are bad weather, high competition, poor infrastructure, unavailability of raw materials, etc.

It is very important to conduct a SWOT analysis before developing and event plan to develop a strategy which maximises the potential strengths and opportunities and at the same time minimises the impact of the weaknesses and threats.

ANALYSIS REPORT

After conducting market research, competitors analysis, target audience and SWOT analysis, create a report which contain details of all the research work you’ve done. Documentation of your research work is important because it can be used later for event evaluation. Your report analysis will also help in getting event sponsorship.

PRE EVENT PHASE II

EVENT BRIEF

An Event Brief (sometimes called a Request for Proposal – RFP) in plain terms is a complete overview of the event you are planning to run. It is written before any plans are made and long before the date of the event. It includes any information relevant to the event and how the event would be expected to run. It is a document that needs to be referred to throughout the planning and execution of the event so as to keep track of the progress and stay focused in the eventuality of any unforeseen events.

Writing an event brief is the first step in securing your vendors and also their first introduction into the event. Aside from the basics like the date, venue and type of event; there are other key areas that you may not think to include or understand their importance as they can help your potential vendors provide a more thorough and accurate proposal. Better proposals make sure you get everything needed and keep you in line and within budget.

EVENT BRIEF TIPS

The 5 Ws

WHO, WHAT, WHY, WHERE, WHEN.

WHO: Who will attend?

WHERE: Where will the event be held?

WHEN: When will it take place?

WHAT: What type of event is it (formal dinner, conference, Christmas party)?

WHY: What is the purpose of the event? E.g. To entertain business clients, is it an educational event, or a fundraising event?

Company Profile

No matter the size of the company, this should be included as this gives your vendors and those concerned with the event a better idea of who they would be working with and helps them evaluate if they would be a good fit for the company. This also gives each vendor an insight into your company and event which can help them provide and anticipate specific solutions to fit the company’s needs.

Detailed Event Information

All essential and important information should be included; hiding or leaving out any will only cause surprises or even chaos for you in the end. Try reading the event brief as a vendor or client and see if there are gaps that don’t seem to reflect what you’re trying to achieve in the event. If you can’t see it yourself, there’s no way your vendors would either! Be sure to include any information that could be beneficial to your vendors. You can never have enough information.

Clear Budget

Having a clear idea of how much you have to spend will mean you are able to plan an event that works for you from the beginning. It helps to avoid cutting corners! So talk about your budget and be upfront about your expectations surrounding it. Without a budget specification, you are not allowing your vendor find unique solutions to get you the biggest worth for your money.

Timeline

A timeline needs to be created for event brief questions, responses, due dates and when decisions would be reached when deciding who to award the business to. You need to give your vendors enough time to read and respond to the event brief for the best and accurate information.

STEPS IN WRITING AN EVENT BRIEF

  1. Have a clear overview of the event. This may include: the purpose and aim of the event, details of the event structure and a clear description of what you want to happen during the event.
  2. The date of the event needs to be specified, including dates of meetings with the client or vendor prior, during and post event.
  3. The venue/location must be specified. Remember to ask the venue what has been done in the past to get a feel of what works well in the space.
  4. Your target audience should be decided before planning to put in the brief.
  5. The number of guests needs to be specified. This number automatically creates a framework for you to work from when taking the steps to find a location.
  6. State a clear budget at the start of the event so as to plan around it.
  7. Any necessary contact details should be put in the brief in case there are questions that need to be answered.

NB: An event brief can be used as part of a recruitment process for leadership roles on the event you are planning. Application forms can also be attached. In the professional world, an event brief usually accompanies job adverts for freelancers.

EVENT BRIEF SAMPLE

EVENT BRIEF: POWER BANK AGM

Event:

Power Bank AGM

Date

1st June 2015

Time:

6.00pm

Location:

M&M Events Centre

Event Coordinator/ Contact Person:

Ms. Eliza Menic

09-1234567

 

Target Audience- Who:

Clients, Shareholders, Vendors, Staffs of RB Events

Message-What:

About RB Events, Setbacks & Successes

Objectives-Why:

Get more clients/publicity

Budget:

700,000

No. of Guests:

300 Persons

Vendors:

Mr. A

Mrs. B

Ms. C

e.t.c

WRITING A BUSINESS PLAN FOR YOUR EVENT COMPANY

Regardless of the business you are starting up, it is a known fact that having a business plan can be an added advantage to you. After carrying out your market research, competitors’ analysis and SWOT analysis, it is advisable to write an event planning business plan. This will help you stay focused on your market and further help adapt to fast changes.

An event business plan serves to communicate the strategic plan for taking an event forward, usually over a period of time. Every event should have a business plan.

Key Points in writing your plan:

  • Be realistic and avoid optimism while estimating capital requirements, sales and profits.
  • Don’t ignore developing strategies which may come in handy in case of adversities in your business.

The business plan is an essential tool that will:

  • Help with raising funds
  • Show how much funds are needed and what it’s needed for
  • Enable you to focus on the events potential to develop and grow
  • Communicate the vision, purpose and benefits of the event to others
  • Help plan your available resources, delivery and operating structure
  • Illustrate and help secure the events viability and sustainability in the long run

The following key areas should be addressed in an event business plan:

  • The event’s vision and mission – i.e. what it ultimately aims to achieve
  • Who are the key stakeholders, what benefits will they accrue and how the event fits with their strategies
  • The relevant experience and track record of the organizers
  • The event’s background and an overview of plans for the current year
  • The SWOT analysis (identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats)
  • The audience/spectator/participant profile (existing and targets)
  • Key objectives and achievement strategy for the current year
  • A development plan – key aims and objectives going forward (beyond the current year)
  • Marketing and communications planning
  • Event requirements – staffing structure, facilities, services, venues, etc
  • How much the event will cost – budget projections over 3–5 year period
  • How will it will be paid for – identifying income streams
  • Management and business controls
  • Risk management and contingency plans
  • Future considerations


NB: there is no wrong format to a business plan. You include what you feel is appropriate to a particular event and situation. The complexity and scale of the event will determine the size of the plan. As long as the key issues to the success of the event are addressed and written plainly, it will be a very useful document that gives you and others the confidence to take the event forward.

The following steps can be adopted in developing a business plan your business:

Executive Summary

The executive summary should contain a comprehensive overview of your business. It should highlight your business objectives, missions and any key successes. This acts as an introduction for you as an event planner and for your business.

What are your business mission and objectives, and how would they benefit your clients, stakeholder and community at large.

Company Summary

Provide a brief background information about your business, you the event planner, your team and any relevant experience. Give a brief insight into the business ownership structure, a start-up summary, and business location(s), if any.

Products and Services

What products and services do you have to offer your clients? Consultation, Event Scheduling, Budget Planning, Event Supervision, Training Schools, Party Pack(decorations, lighting effects, catering services), Rentals, Step-by-Step Guides, e.t.c; These are a few services offered by an event planner.

Market Analysis Summary

Determine your market segmentation. What is the breakdown of the market for your business? Are you focusing on private or public organisations? What is your target market age group, middle or upper class group, e.t.c.

Staffing Needs and Skills Needed

Develop the organisational structure of your event business. Outline your skills, knowledge and experience and how they can be used to achieve business success. Prepare a resume of yourself and those that would be involved in your business. Theses resumes would come in handy when looking to hire staffs or when looking for partners or investors.

Capital Requirements

How will you manage your cash flow? i.e your incomes and expenditures. It is vital to demonstrate that your business is financially viable. Identify your possible income streams. You should also have a contingency plan to adopt in case of capital loss, economic crisis or market downturn.

Writing a comprehensive event business plan will take a lot of hours, but it is time well spent. It is the best way to validate your ideas, giving you, your team and potential stakeholder’s confidence in the success of your business.

Click link for a business plan guide

https://www.dropbox.com/s/t673x38p9qclm8z/business%20plan%20guide.docx?dl=0

WRITING AN EVENT PROPOSAL

Planning an event requires a lot of attention to detail, scheduling, organization and follow up. By presenting a well formatted event proposal, it shows your potential client that you have the skills they are looking for.

When writing an event proposal the amount of details required will depend on the scale and importance of the event. The information of the proposal should convey:

  • A description of the event
  • Your experience as an event planner
  • Services offered and provided
  • Proposed budget
  • Event Policies

Description of the Event

It is important to provide the client with an overview of what the event is about. You can summarize the client’s needs in the title of the event description. This serves as a summary of all the clients’ needs and goals for the event. When a client sees this information, it brings a sense of reassurance that their desires have been understood.

The description is generally where you repeat what the client has told you about the event but in a professional and organized way. Any and every information gathered from the first meeting comes in handy; entertainment options, venue options and many more.

You should however, strive to give more helpful suggestions than what the client asked for. You don’t want to overwhelm them but you can look for other options that the client may like and is within their budget.

Your Experience as an Event Planner

A brief summary of yourself or company is important when writing and event planning proposal. It gives the client an idea of who you are as well as how long you have been in business. It is crucial that your client firmly believes you will be able to deliver a great event.

Include your capabilities, brief information about your experience as an event planner, and past clients. In case you don’t have past clients, you can mention any internships, volunteer work, or project management in any other field. Ensure you also mention any other relevant experience or training you have had if you do not have many hands-on events you have carried out.

Services Offered and Provided

The client will want to know the services you can offer during the event. If the event is large and would have multiple functions, you need to have headings for each function to indicate what you can offer in each function. For example, a cocktail party; then describe the duties you will perform in that function to make it amazing, such as hiring staff, ordering and serving food, setting up the tables.

If it is a smaller event like a baby shower, you might consider creating a bullet point list of your duties, vendors and locations you can use. You can also attach photos of a similar event you have done in the past to give your client a clear picture of what you can offer.

The client needs to also know the kinds of services you provide. You should have sub headings for your consulting and planning service; or other services like catering, decorations, set up, event theme, and entertainment, e.t.c.  In each of these you need to drop a couple sentences about what can take place and approximate cost for each item. If you mark-up the vendors, be sure to take into account your mark-up; or if you pass the cost through as is then you can include that amount.

Proposed Budget

After describing the event in a way that a client can envision how amazing the event would be, create a section to summarise in detail all the costs for each item as well as their purposes in the event. The event budget should not show a loss when all the projected income and expenditure have been taken into account.

Event Policies

You can end your proposal by having a page about your policies. This helps to manage your client’s expectations properly. The sections of your policy that you can include are a Minimum Guaranteed Headcount; Limited Time Offer on this particular proposal (typically 60 days); Cancellation Policy (no cancellation within 15 days of event or client only receives 50% refund; Rental or Damage Policy; Payment Due Dates, etc.

For your next event proposal, take the time to do the following:

  • Tell a complete story with a beginning, middle and end
  • Take a stand with clear positioning as the foremost expert
  • Nail the details by proving you’re a logistics wizard
  • Make it sizzle with good design and visuals
  • Give some thought to how you approach the money conversation

If you address those five things, you’ll be on your way to one killer event proposal template that works for your company and your clients.

Click link for event proposal guide

https://www.dropbox.com/s/6919gbdylck6xqr/EVENT%20PROPOSAL%20GUIDE.docx?dl=0

COMMON MISTAKES IN EVENT MANAGEMENT

Events can be dogged by costs overrun, poor scheduling and customer dissatisfaction due to a range of factors related to planning, communication and resource allocation. Here are 5 most common event planning mistakes and ways smart event planners avoid them.

Mistake No. 1:  Failure to allocate the right resources with the right skills. Not having the right people managing an event can be a recipe for disaster. The key to a successful event is getting the right people with the right skills. All the planning in the world won’t overcome an insufficiency of talent.

Solution: Event Managers need full visibility into the skills and workloads of all their resources including vendors, contractors and outsourcers, who often get left out of skill assessment even when they are handling a huge proportion of the work. A thorough assessment of all resources at the beginning of the planning process can provide such visibility into everyone’s skill and workload. It becomes easier to figure out how to allocate resources across the numerous elements and day to day work.

Mistake No. 2: Failure to keep track of changes to the scope of the event. As with most scenarios, most events will have changes in plans and scope before the big day. Failure to keep track of the smallest change can mean an out of control budget or an impossible timeline.

Solution: Following a formal change tracking process is a simple and extremely effective way to keep changes documented, communicated and under control. In the event of a change, the event planner needs to determine how such change will impact the budget and timeline, and communicate it to all parties involved.

Mistake No. 3: Ignoring Murphy’s Law. If anything can go wrong, it probably will. Stuff happen at the last minute, leaving everybody surprised by it, after which the event goes into a tailspin while the event planner tries to clean up an unanticipated mess.

Solution: Perform an event risk assessment in the early part of the event planning process. Set time aside with your event team to brainstorm what could possibly happen to derail your event, or cause a budget overrun, or prevent you from delivering the expected results, then figure out ways to mitigate those risks. It is essential to understand the weak links before planning gets underway.

Mistake No. 4: Lack of experienced event managers. Event planning can quickly grow out of control without an experienced event manager at the helm who knows what they are doing.

Solution: The first step is to hire event managers with certificates and the finesse required to understand and manage the customer’s needs. Good event managers have the right combination of right skills and can demonstrate how to facilitate planning meetings, manage risks and handle a variety of clients. Basically it boils down to excellent people skills.

Mistake No. 5: Not following standard, repeatable event management processes. Lack of an agreed upon plan increases the risk that tasks will fall through the cracks; the event will have last minute issues, fall short on budget and ultimately miss a major objective.

Solution: A well defined and agreed upon event plan helps a planner tackle every task efficiently and raise the appropriate level of awareness of all the activities needed to execute an event. Having a baseline for repeatable processes like scoping, scheduling, allocating resources and communication with clients, removes a lot of guesswork associated with events.

EVENT PLANNING SOFTWARE

Not all event planning software fits all events and its often about your event needs and what works best for your team. Gone are the days of having to plan your event on paper or with a word or excel spreadsheet. Today, event planners take advantage of sophisticated features that create customised websites, registration and ticketing pages and create a community amongst your event attendees.

If you are in the beginning stages of your event planning career and you dont have the budget to purchase event planning software, there are free options like Trello, Basecamp or Smartsheet.

So, before you dive into choosing the best event planning software to use, here are a few guidelines:

  • Be clear about what you need: a tool for project management or also for attendee engagement?
  • Understand different strengths of all-in-one software for event management and specialized tools for particular tasks.
  • Check if they are mobile friendly
  • Check reviews in app stores or user communities
  • Ask for a demo and check how easily you can adopt

Asana

Asana is quickly gaining traction as a strong project management tool. According to users, Asana seamlessly integrates project management and task management, among any sized team. In addition to a powerful web application, it also has a useful smartphone app. Asana is very helpful for both the big picture task management view, as well as narrowing in on the details.

Whova

All-in-One Event Management Software makes your life much easier by helping you save time and money. You can manage your event in one place, from event registration, name badge generation, onsite attendee check-in, live polling, event marketing to mobile event app.

Trello

Trello is more of a ‘to do’, ‘doing’ and ‘done’ application. This is a great way for your team to see where each task is at a given time. It has a strong visual interface, easy to use and collaboration features. Although communication within Trello is strong, its not very powerful when it comes to allowing users the ability to take a step back and get a big picture of all the tasks for event management.

Smartsheet

This is for lovers of Excel! It is also referred to as ‘spreadsheets on steroids’. There is so much more to Smartsheet than the powerful spreadsheets such as live collaboration abilities and communication tools. It is also useful for managing event budget. The downside is that it can be a bit overwhelming at first and comes with a steep learning curve. 

AllSeated

This is used by most wedding planners. It helps design floor plans, manage guest lists, and create visual seating charts by applying the guest list to the floor plans. You can also collaborate with your team through an online dashboard.

Other Event Planning Software

  1. Eventbrite: It helps you post events online, sell tickets and track sales and registrations. It will help you find more customers and make your event a success.
  2. Planning Pod: It helps with event registration, tracking of orders and payment, managing event list, create seating arrangements, etc.
  3. Regonline: It is also an online event registration software where you can create online registration forms, develop event websites to promote your event, accept online payments, send confirmations, etc.
  4. Event Soft:  It facilitates event planning and scheduling
  5. Event Pro:  It provides tools to manage your events like booking facilities, reminders, database support, security rights, etc.

PROJECT MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE

A lot of event managers use project management software to help manage their events. This software allows them to see how long tasks will take to complete; and see which needs to be achieved before others. The most popular software is Microsoft Projects.

THE ‘TO-DO’ LIST

One of the simplest ways to manage events is to keep a to-do list. This list may be used to manage every last element of the event, or may be used to manage just a small part of the event. The to-do list can also be used to run elements outside the event- both office based business tasks and personal tasks. Your to-do list can be a simple piece of paper, with items added as they arise and items are crossed off as they are completed. Some people use white boards or computer software to manage tasks.

EVENT OVERVIEW/ WORK BREAKDOWN STRUCTURE

Event Overview

The difference between good event managers and great event managers is having an overview of the event. This means that the event planner does not focus solely on their management responsibilities, but also has a knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the factors that will impact the event as a whole.

The event overview should provide a clear and concise description of the event to ensure that everyone involved with the staging and management of your event understands the event and their responsibilities. An event overview includes: name of the event, organisers of the event, date and time of the event, expected number of participants, etc.

WORK BREAKDOWN STRUCTURE

A Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is a key project deliverable that organises the team’s work into manageable sections. The WBS is a tool which shows a subdivision of effort required to achieve an objective. It is developed by starting with an end objective and successively subdividing it into manageable components in terms of size, duration and responsibility. The hierarchy of steps breaks the event processes into level, with the lowest level being the ‘work package’, which is the activity or task required to produce a deliverable milestone. Have this structure can help stimulate the decomposition of the process and ensure that all necessary details are included.

The number of levels required for a WBS depends on the type of event, but the levels must be sufficient to meet the need for accurate estimation and monitoring. To help in this, we follow the 8/80 rule, which means that the lowest level of work should require between 8 and 80 hours. Based on this, if a task takes more than 80 hours, it needs to be decomposed further.

The WBS helps to easily communicate the work and processes involved to execute an event. The event planner uses this tool to develop the event schedule, resource requirements and costs. The WBS can be presented in different layouts depending on preference. For the purpose of this course, we will be looking at the tree-like structure. (The outline structure-basically a numbered list, hierarchical structure-similar to outline, tabular structure).

Regardless of format, a WBS will typically include outline numbering to represent the sequential order of each activity level. To complement the WBS, a related dictionary may be created, which contains detailed information about each element of the event, including definitions of each work package, effort level and duration of tasks, resources and more. A WBS dictionary is generally presented in a table or spreadsheet format and serves as a detailed reference and planning tool.

Some WBS Examples

Having the ability to see the event from different sides is a very important skill. It will help aid decision making, show event managers where to focus their efforts and ensure that the overall event effect is not lost because one area received too much (or too little) attention.

EVENT COST ESTIMATION AND BUDGET MANAGEMENT

Events are run with money no question about that and in planning an event, there is one essential step in making that event happen: creating the event budget.

The event sponsor is the individual or organisation that is paying for the event. He wants the event in the first place so he finances it. Once a sponsor hires you and gives you an event brief, he expects you go back to the drawing board and estimate the total cost for the event and then manage the budget he will give.

Keeping an event budget will help you stay organised and prepared for any inquiries from your client and help you avoid going over budget.

Creating an event budget is a repeated action so you can easily create a basic framework for your budget, edit it along the way and use tools that you probably already have to make it come together. It might seem daunting and finite to create an event budget, but as long as you make one that is realistic and builds in padding in case of emergency, you’ll be all set.

Here are some basic things to think about while getting started:

  • Using Excel/Google Spreadsheets
  • Potentially looking into event budgeting software
  • Adding line items for every single detail
  • Knowing when payments are due (being late could incur extra cost)
  • Adding expected payments amounts and actual costs so you can see if you are over budget

What Are You Budgeting For?

The first step to creating your budget is to figure out every single moving part of your event that could potentially incur a cost. By keeping the smaller details that make up your event in mind, you’re able to get a more accurate budget versus one that simply includes the bigger pieces of an event like catering, and venue. This is a preliminary step that you can continue to refine along the way as you speak with vendors and get a more accurate telling of your budget.

Budgeting tools don’t have to be fancy-you can start this step as quickly as opening up an empty Google Sheet and entering budget items. Start by creating a few columns like:

  • Item: What is the individual aspect of your event that you’re budgeting for? During this step, it is important to be as specific as possible and to break down every single item. It is not a good idea to lump things together. For example, grouping alcohol and food together might make intuitive sense, but putting them under the same category in your budget may cause some problems. If you need to make changes or cut out a line item, you don’t want to unintentionally alter the budget from something else in the process. Say you wanted to add an extra $100 to the food and alcohol line item. Would that money go towards extra sides or more bottles? The key is to be as detailed as possible.
  • Description: Add a detailed description to the item you’ll need for your event. Descriptions are absolutely necessary for your event budget. This is an important column to include in the case where your budget needs to be approved by someone in your organisation who may not know what each line item is and how essential or non-essential it is ti making your event happen.
  • Amount Needed: Quantities play a big role in budgeting. Increasing quantities can quickly deplete your budget. On the other hand, eliminating unnecessary quantities of something can rapidly replenish your budget. Tracking what you think you’ll need before the event as well as noting the actual quantities you used will help you mould what your future budget looks like.
  • Estimated Cost: While one venue may charge a different rate than the one next door, simply knowing a ballpark figure can help you understand what kind of budget you need to ask for before an event. In the next step, we’ll tackle how to get the estimated cost as close to the actual cost to make for an accurate budget.
  • Actual Cost: This column is where you’ll track the actual cost of the item. This step is crucial for future budgeting sessions to understand how costs are increasing (or decreasing) and whether or not you’ll need to think about creating a larger budget for that event for years to come.

Cost Estimations

After getting a general idea of what you’ll be tracking when it comes to cost, you need to figure of the line items. You need to go through the life cycle of your event; what are some of the things that could cost you money along the way? Small costs can end up devouring your budget if they aren’t accounted for from the beginning.

Some items to consider:

  • Costs to travel to your event
  • Food and beverage: what’s the minimum you’ll pay to hire a particular caterer? What are the service fees and gratuities? Is the event best suited for a cash bar or a hosted bar with a bartender?
  • Venue rental: What venue/ space rental considerations/hidden costs are there? Could you be charged after the fact for damage to the space? Could different spaces have different costs (i.e. luxury hotels, ballrooms, meeting spaces)?
  • Marketing: is there a budget for social media ads, traditional marketing, giveaways, etc
  • Video production and photography: what will your videographer or photographer charge for capturing your event? What’s included in that cost? Do you have access to the raw files or strictly the final product?
  • Cost of Internet: what will it cost to get additional Wi-Fi coverage at your venue vs. in public spaces?
  • Not all these items will find their way into your budget, but it’s worth keeping in mind if you want to plan a variety of events.

Backup Budget

Pad your budget for any unexpected costs. Depending on the size of the event, include about 10-15% into your budget for unexpected costs.

Cancellation fees: what could a cancellation potentially cost you in the end.

Worst case scenarios! Think about the absolute worst things that could happen and plan accordingly.

Top 10 Tips for Making a Budget

  • Do not procrastinate creating your budget. It may seem like a daunting task, but it is a vital first step in your event planning journey.
  • Define the focus of your event. Do you want people leaving remembering the electric ambience, or do you want them leaving remembering the delicious food? Allocate your funds according to your priorities.
  • The more details you add, the more accurate your budget will be. Ignoring one small item can be the difference between being under or over budget.
  • Keep in mind that sometimes the cost of one element is dependent on the cost of another. For example, cost of lighting or catering may change depending on the venue you choose.
  • Explore all venue options.
  • Don’t underprice an item to make your budget look pretty. Underpricing may look good on paper, but it will ultimately lead to losing money when the event comes to life.
  • Use your backup funds for emergencies only.  It may be tempting to use your safety net to add some extravagance to your menu or decor. However, dipping into your backup funds for frivolities may leave you in a scramble when a real problem arises.
  • Do your research. If you put in the time when researching venues, catering companies, etc, you could end up saving a lot of money. It may be tedious, but you find the best deals when you compare all your options.
  • Make sure everyone is on the same page. After you create your budget, make sure you share it with everyone involved in the event. You may know how much you want to spend, but the rest of your team might have a different idea. You don’t want the person in charge of food planning for a five-course meal when you only budgeted for some light refreshment.
  • Don’t be afraid to spend. You don’t have to go to the cheapest option if you have the money for it. You may be rewarded for a receipt that’s incredibly under budget, but the quality of the item is also important. Adding a little extra money here and there can be the difference between a mediocre event and an incredible experience.

Spending money can be a stressful part of event planning. No one really enjoys seeing their hard-earned money flying out of the bank account! However, this stress can be alleviated with the creation of a simple budget spreadsheet. Sitting down and plugging numbers not only allows you to visually see where your money is going and coming from, but it also forces you to think about the focus of your event.

Event Planner Fee Structure

Several factors go into determining event planner’s rates, including event planning operating expenses, salaries, and profits. The reality is that rates vary based on where you operate your business, types of projects you take on, and what the market is willing to pay.

It also depends on your target market. That is, your client or prospect will have a target budget in mind and your services must be competitive within those parameters.

Nevertheless, whether you plan to run a part time or full time business, there are roughly five ways to structure your event fee and quote your fees to your clients:

  • Flat project fee
  • Percentage of expenses
  • Hourly rate
  • Percentage of expenses plus hourly rate
  • Commissionable rates

For the following explanations and examples, let’s assume you want to earn on average $75 per hour for your services.

Fees Based on a Flat Project Rate

Most clients prefer to know how much a project will cost, inclusive of all fees. To offer this as an event planner, you must determine a flat fee and determine what services will be covered for that amount.

This puts the responsibility of managing your budget directly on you, the planner, and requires anticipating a variety of scenarios in which circumstances may change. In this scenario, the client may contract directly with the event planner to coordinate all logistics, catering, venue, etc.

Flat project fees are typically used for packaged events, such as sporting events, and may be calculated on a per person basis with many stipulations and caveats.

For example, assume you are hired to organise a one-day historic city tour for 15 guests. Your client would need a flat fee for transportation, a private guide, lunch and any/all admission fees to venues and also a high-level breakdown of each expense item.

In such a scenario, you must negotiate/calculate the cost of all services, including your time and quote a combined total for expenses. It will be the event planner’s responsibility/ risk to identify required deposits, pay for all services, and all service agreements.

Fees Based on a Percentage of Expenses

On average, most qualified event planners should feel comfortable with charging between 15-20% of the total cost of an event as part of their fee. Depending on the complexity of the event and amount of time it takes to plan and execute an event, sometimes this is enough to cover a planner’s entire cost and source of profit.

For example, you are hired to organise a private dinner at an exclusive restaurant for 40 guests with an average of $175 per person.

Let’s estimate it takes a total of 15 hours to meet up with the client, plan, attend and complete all follow up on this event. If you charge a rate of 18% of the total expenses, you will earn just a little more than your targeted hourly rate of $75/hour.

$175 x 40 guests = $7,000 x 18% = $1,260 

15 hours x $75/hr = $1,125

If the client is contracting with you for all services directly, the subtotal event expense charge to the client would be a total of $8,260.

Fees Based on Hourly Rate

Some clients prefer the event planner to quote an hourly rate for services and to estimate the total number of hours it will take to manage and execute a given event. This may seem similar to the flat project rate, but it allows for more flexibility on the part of both parties to adjust to changes that may be needed along the way.

Many business event planners will bill hourly for services. This allows a client to know just how much it will cost to hire your services and allows him come up with a reasonable budget.

Always remember to define careful parameters around expectation so that both parties are in agreement as to what services will be provided. As an event planner, you should include a reference to billing for all reasonable business expenses that may be incurred.

When it comes to hourly event planning rates, it is important to determine how frequently you may bill for your time.

Fees Based on Percentage of Expenses plus Flat Fee/Hourly Rate

Sometimes you're being hired to organise an event and for whatever reason, the client prefers a rate based on a percentage of expenses. However, it won’t be enough to cover the cost of your total time and services. In these situations, it is reasonable to present your fees at a combined cost in two different categories.

For example, a client hires you to organise events associated with a conference. Your assignment is to organise two private dinners and a golf outing, each with 50 guests. The total cost for these combined events is approximately $20,000, but it requires about 60 hours of the time and the complexity of this project may justify a higher profit margin. Keeping that in mind, you may come to your final flat fee + hourly rate with the following calculations:

Percentage of Expenses Estimate: 

$20,000 x 18% = $3,600

Hourly Rate Estimate: 

60 hours x $75/hr = $4,500

Hourly Deficit: $900

If you come to a deficit, as we did in the example above, you may choose to quote 15 hours to manage logistics of multiple outside vendors. Your quote then may reflect the following:

Subtotal Event Expenses: $23,600 

Flat Fee: $1,125 (based on 15 hours at $75/hr)

In this scenario, you will need to carefully determine that you have estimated your hours appropriately (and account to cover non-standard operating expenses such as travel). As expected, few clients are pleased to see increases in expenses later on unless justifiable reasons are provided.

Fees Based on Commissionable Rates

Another way event planners collect fees for services is by securing event spaces through venues that offer commissionable rate. These are fees typically provided to travel agents for booking tickets, hotel rooms and other forms of transportation.

For example, many hotels may extend a commissionable rate up to as much as10% for guestrooms and other expenses.

Although some event planners will embrace commissionable rates as a source of income for themselves, savvier clients may question the event planner’s sense of loyalties when commissionable rates are involved. For that reason, many seasoned planners will limit any planning selections that include a commissionable rate or negotiate non-commissionable pricing for their programs and pass that source of savings directly to their clients’ bottom line.

If accepting commissionable rates, it is best to charge your clients’ fees for your services using alternate billing methods.

EVENT PHASE

PROCUREMENT MANAGEMENT FOR EVENTS

Procurement management is all about dealing with people or organisations you have outsourced part of the event task to.

It is the entire process of buying goods and services to support business operations.

It includes determining needs and then locating, selecting, negotiating, contracting, training, managing and paying the suppliers.

Essential Tips for Managing Procurement

  • If you’re booking a space for a business meeting, have your corporate travel manager, company internal purchasing or legal department, or outside legal counsel review all contracts for your meeting or event. Even if you don’t sign a contract, you raise your level of liability simply by being involved.
  • Ask to see a standard facility contract, noting deposits, payments and attrition, termination and cancellation policies. Negotiate a final agreement that incorporates their standard language, your company’s and the negotiated agreement.
  • Make sure you have a binding contract. To be enforceable, a contract must specify definite terms, be accepted by both sides and be signed by people with authority to enter into agreement.
  • Check into any additional costs that may occur due to attrition or short fall in revenue.
  • Look for termination clauses, often referred to as ‘acts of god’ clauses, that apply when a meeting is stopped because of forces beyond the control of the group or the facility. Generally, there are no penalties assessed to either party in these circumstances.

Team Building Strategies

You need a team to organise an event. You can’t so everything by yourself. A team is therefore very important to your even. Event mismanagement is mostly as a result of team mismanagement. So know your team!

Just knowing the names, faces and job profile of your team members is not enough. You need to have a good knowledge of their personalities, life style, liking, family background, educational qualifications, etc.

Every team member must have a clear and complete understanding and accept the goals of the team.

Every team member must have a clear understanding of who is responsible for what functions. In case there is an overlapping of responsibilities and authority, depending on those individuals’ strength and personal inclinations, divide the responsibilities into two parts, leaving each of them in complete control of each part.

Have a one-on-one honest and open meeting with your team members to build trust. To build a good team, you need to be loyal to them if you expect the same from them.

In a similar manner, allow your team members to build trust among themselves by giving them time to socialize. This brings in openness and improves interpersonal communication.

Let the whole team take part in the decision making process, especially in matters that affect team consensus and commitment. What you’re trying to achieve here is for each team member to feel he or she has contributed towards the final decision, solution or idea. The more a team member feels their contribution has led to the final solution, the more committed they will be to the line of action.

Your ideas for team building should ensure that all team members are kept fully informed and that there are no blocked lines of communication.

Don’t allow interpersonal issues between your team members to blow out of control. Deal with them as soon as they come up.

Don’t always give a negative feedback. Whenever the opportunity arises, give a positive feedback and appreciate individual team member’s special efforts. This will empower him/her to do better.

In Summary,

  • Help each member feel like a valuable part of the team with a unique purpose to fulfil that contributes to a common goal.
  • Encourage open and non-threatening communication
  • Ensure you overcome any barriers to group cohesiveness
  • Provide safe means for managing conflict
  • Facilitate group interactions

EVENT SAFETY/TRAFFIC AND RISK MANAGEMENT

An event is full of uncertainties like power failure, medical emergency, brawls, stampede, fire, etc. How will these contingencies be dealt with without a well thought out risk management plan!

Risk management is carried out at each and every stage of the event process. For example when risk management is carried out in the security management field, it has plans in place to tackle brawls, stampedes, fire incidents, etc.

Managing possible risks associated with evens is therefore vital for the success of an event. Having a comprehensive risk management plan in place will assist the team to manage the reputation of both the event and the organisation more effectively if a crisis should occur.

Developing a Risk Management Plan

Since risk management is a very important part of event management, it should therefore be carried out in a planned and professional manner.

Let’s look at the steps involved.

  • Identify those elements or activities which could carry a risk. e.g. Information management, security, procurement, etc.
  • Identify the risks associated with each element or activity. For example, data loss is associated with information management.
  • Determine the possibility of occurrence of the risk and the severity of the consequences, if the risk does happen.

Elements

Risk

Possibility

Severity

Information Management

Loss of Data

Low

Very High

 

Data Theft

High

High

Data Corruption

Very High

Very High

Security Management

Bomb Blast

Medium

Medium

 

  1. Risk prioritization. Risks with high severity of the consequences should be handled first.
  2. Formulate, prepare and implement strategies to manage risks. Some common strategies used for risk management are:
  • ·Risk Avoidance: avoid those elements and activities which could carry a risk.
  • ·Risk Retention: accept some or all consequences associated with a particular risk.
  • ·Risk Transfer: transfer the risk to a third party. For example, transferring the event security responsibilities to a security agency.
  • ·Risk Reduction: reduce the risk associated with a particular element or activity by developing an effective contingency action plan.

3.  Monitor the risks periodically; this will help to manage your        risk strategies by updating or reviewing them.

 

Traffic Management Plan

Patron access must be planned to ensure there is no disruption to neighbouring business or home and to ensure clear access by emergency services and event staff. Event organisers must make arrangements for the following:

  • Adequate car parking space, including overflow parking
  • Access for people with disabilities
  • Preferred access routes to the venue
  • Adequate lighting
  • Shuttle buses where venue/activity covers a large area

EVENT MARKETING THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA TOOLS

 

Once upon a time, event marketing consisted of simple, tried and true methods of paid advertisements and PR outreach attendance at your events. To earn coverage, all you needed to do was designate a contact for media requests and craft engaging press releases, and the local newspaper would alert everyone in town. Couple that with a few paid ads in industry publications and mail your invitations and the registrations would start rolling in! SIMPLE RIGHT! 

But social media has fundamentally shifted the way people gather and digest information. As a result, event planners need to understand and leverage social media to reach potential attendees in the places they go for information, online as well as real life.

A lot of work goes into getting every little detail just right, as you want to make it perfect for the guests attending the event. When planning an event, good marketing through social media is the key to getting your event off the ground.

It’s the best way to reach your target market, generate a buzz online and create a real interest in what you are promoting. Social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube can help you publicise your event by spreading the word throughout the online communities.

TWITTER

Did you know that:

  • Twitter is currently used by roughly 270 million people around the world?
  • More than 300 billion tweets have been shared since twitter was launched?
  • Roughly 37%of Twitter users will buy brands that they follow?

Clearly; Twitter is a powerful force to harness for any marketing or promotional campaign.

Before your big event, you need to start generating buzz for your event well before it is scheduled to take place. And as you’d expect, it all starts with a #hashtag...

Creating a #Hashtag for your Event

Hashtags are everywhere! From Facebook feeds to Instagram photos, hashtags can be seen on almost every post.

What are then are Hashtags? Simply put, they turn any word into  a searchable link that anyone can find. For example, let’s say you like the word ‘planner’. Put the ‘#” (pound) sign before he word-giving you #planner- and all of a sudden you have a keyword that you can search on Twitter. Anytime someone uses #planner, you’ll be able to see who said it, when, and in what context.

For your event, a hashtag can be a truly brilliant creation! Your own unique hashtag (#yourwedding) will help keep track of any activity around that keyword. It will make it much easier for you to spread word about your program or campaign.

What kind of hashtag should you create?

  • Short: the shorter the hashtag, the easier it will be for your audience to re-tweet it. With only 140 characters per tweet, shorter is always best!
  • Unique: the more unique your hashtag, the better. It should be 100% unique (if possible), so that when it is used its referring to you or your event.
  • Relevant: make sure your hashtag is as relevant to your big event as possible. You can’t post about your event using #dayoff; you need something along the lines of #awesomeevent!
  • Tweet-worthy: your goal is to create a hashtag that people are going to want to re-Tweet. It needs to be short, unique and relevant, but the more memorable it is, the more Tweet-worthy it will be.
  • Bonus: If you can make your hashtag something you can use in the text of your tweet (rather than one you use after the Tweet), that would be great! For example, “Come on down to #thepoolparty at Hilton!’

Key Points

  • After creating the perfect hashtag, start tweeting! Tweet fun and funny things relevant to the event, and make sure the hashtag is in every single Tweet.
  • Try to integrate Twitter into the site created for the event.
  • Track the use of the hashtags to see if people are using it or not. Thank the people who do, as this will generate a lot of goodwill for you and your event.
  • In a bid to quickly spread the word of your hashtag and event, organise contests and offers leading up to the event.
  • Market your event hashtag. Spread the word as much as possible! Add it to press releases, put it in emails, place it in marketing materials, include it on the registration page, etc.
  • Encourage audience participation on Twitter during the event.
  • Re-tweet and replay back! Very essential!
  • After the event, publish event highlights.

FACEBOOK

 

 

Key Points

Create an event registration page.

Update your event wall and send updates regularly.

Promote live check-ins to events on Facebook.

Use images and videos to engage people’s interest.

Always use hashtags with the images and videos.

Don’t forget the call to action: sign up, like, etc.

YOUTUBE

Key Points

Create a YouTube channel and start posting videos to the channel.

Make sure your videos tell a story that engages people.

Make sure it provides links to your event page and social media sites.

Capture your events on video.

Create videos around event speakers and sessions.

Some Key rules to note in event marketing:

  • Engage in a two-way conversation
  • Make your event attention worthy
  • Welcome honest feedback

EVENT PLANNER MARKETING STRATEGIES

Sales leads and referrals are the lifeblood of every event-related business. While this may be true for almost every industry, the reality is that marketing any event service is not easy. The problem is, as a service provider, you rarely have access to new project launches that take place almost every day. This means you are always reacting to inquires instead of being part of the discussion.

In a perfect world, your event planning service should be mentioned in the first stages of a client’s event dialogue. For this to happen, you need to be an effective marketer. The following steps will help position your services in the minds of potential clients at the very moment they discuss hosting an event.

  • Build your online assets: the internet provides the largest network for generating sales leads, so you’ll need an attractive website and profile on all social media platforms. Each one of these has the capability to drive unique prospects, but none of them are passive outlets. To reap the benefits of each one you need to participate in discussions, share your expertise, and join groups where you can leverage the assets of others. Engagement is the key! This is where those who try to do it alone often fail.
  • Go public: the most qualified planner will struggle to land new clients without live exposure. This includes public participation at industry events and media appearances. You might think it is difficult to land a spot on a TV or radio station, but most times it’s as easy as submitting a great story idea to the producers. Basically aim to become a resident expert on event planning and might even land a regular spot on the airwaves.
  • Help those in need: donating your time to a worthy cause can open several new opportunities to gain new clients. A lot of non-profit events would appreciate having an expert event planner available. If you can’t commit to running the entire event, you can be in charge of minor areas of the events (floral arrangements, marketing materials). Minor tasks like this can still bring exposure and allow you to network with others.
  • Refresh existing customers: often times we go so focused on landing new customers that we forget about the existing assets sitting dormant in our contacts lists. Go through your mail, Facebook, etc and ask yourself ‘does this person know what I do for a living?’ obviously, you want to reach out to those unaware and update them on your career, but you should also reach out to everyone you haven’t talked to in over a year. Let them know what projects you have been working on and give them the necessary information to refer business your way.
  • Trade prospects: this is a technique that is very powerful and woefully underutilised by most. The concept is to network with related businesses in an effort to identify ways you can share customers and prospects. Can you guest post on their blog, or share a discount on their Facebook page? As long you are not competing with your partners then the relationship should benefit everyone.

Marketing your event planning service requires commitment and creativity. No single idea will likely be enough to produce year-round leads.

You need to compile a marketing plan that includes a variety of exposure outlets; from online properties of good old fashioned networking.

Recap (craft an event social media strategy)

  • Identify your objectives
  • Define your target market
  • Listen and monitor for existing conversations
  • Determine which social tools and tactics to use throughout the event process
  • Integrate the chosen tool into the event process
  • Set goals

POST EVENT PHASE

Post Event Phase

It’s not over yet. The final step in the event management process is one of good business practice and good housekeeping and its best to start as soon as possible after the event.

The evaluation and reporting process, which involves de-brief meetings, information gathering and report writing, is an important and useful exercise which:

  • Allows everybody who was involved in the event to give a feedback of their experiences, give advice and recommendations
  • Helps to realistically assess the events success based on factual and anecdotal information
  • Provides the opportunity to “sign off’ on the event. Both physically and mentally
  • Helps to plan the next event

Meetings

You can never have too much meetings. It’s important to have your say and let everyone else do the same. The nature, size and structure of the event will determine how many meetings you hold, but it is likely you will need to meet with:

  • Your organisations management team and temporary/part-time staff
  • Key external contractors
  • Your clients (if you have one)
  • Funders and sponsors of the event

Take note of the key points, observations, advice and recommendations that people offer- both positive and negative- to be included in your final de-brief report. It is very important to be objective and be able to take constructive criticism along with the praise. Encourage people to speak freely and honestly and do the same yourself.

De-Brief Reporting

Your management team members would need to prepare a constructive de-brief report detailing their role in the event, their experiences (and that of the people in their team) and recommendations for future events. This would help when writing the final report.

A de-brief report, like a Business Plan, is a very useful document. It will serve as a single clear record of the event and its outcomes. You can refer to it time and again when planning future events; so its best you include relevant information like:

  • General reminder of the type of event, program, dates, location(s), number of attendees, etc
  • General statement about the success of the event
  • Review of the Business Plan, its objective and actions-were they achieved or not?
  • Who was involved in the planning and operations of the event
  • What were their roles
  • Overview of the program/event
  • Reminder of production and health and safety aspects
  • Detailed analysis of the effectiveness of marketing and communication including a reminder of the marketing tools used, market research, SWOT analysis, etc
  • Final budget showing all income and expenditure
  • Recommendations, if any
  • Summary and conclusion

The circulation of the report may or may not be as extensive as other documentation you have prepared for the event. In general, those involved in the planning process of the event and those with an interest in the future of the event such as your client, funders and key management personnel would receive a copy of the report

Other than this, before planning for the next event, you will have many other tasks to perform such as writing thank you letters, making final payments to staff, subcontractors, etc.

The post event period can be a busy time but it will be time well spent in the long run.

Event Evaluation

In all businesses, it is important to evaluate your activities. This is in line with your event aims and targets, and helps you to measure your Return on Investment (ROI) and Return on Objectives (ROO).

What were your targets? Look back at your pre event aims and targets and compare your event with them.

Conduct an ongoing evaluation. The evaluation process should be ongoing, and should occur throughout the event management process.

Measure your ROI and ROO. Learn how to compare your Return on Investment and Return on Objectives.

If you achieved your aims and targets for the event, the GREAT! However, were they too easy in the first place? If you failed to meet them, don’t panic. Learn from what went wrong and move forward. No need crying over spilled milk!

When evaluating, learn to look at both sides of the coin. Most people look at just the negative elements (what went wrong) and ignore the parts that went well. When evaluating you need to look at all sides, the good, the bad and the ugly.

So learn from the event experience and move forward. No matter how the event went, there are bound to be a number of things you can learn and use in future events.

Plan for the Next Event

At this point, plans may be underway for your next event. The de-brief process helps you organise your thoughts in what has happened and what to do next.

Take time to reflect on everything that has taken place; try to think about the event planning process and the event itself from an objective viewpoint. Go back and look at your original Business Plan. Review and update the plan based on the knowledge you have gained and the actual outcomes.