Event Planning 101: Corporate Event Details
Before you begin choosing a venue or hiring a speaker for your next corporate event, you need to know the basic parameters of your event. It is almost impossible to talk details and costs with a third-party until you have more of the specifics ironed out. Regardless if you are planning a business meeting, regional conference, or an all-out corporate extravaganza – details still matter.
Here are the key details you should define before contacting venues and vendors…
Everything revolves around the date of your special event. Ideally you want to have three potential dates in mind so that you can compare availability and prices across the board. Try to include different days of the week for maximum flexibility.
This is one detail that is often too broadly estimated for productive negotiations. Get realistic with your attendance projects. Think about and/or discuss in advance with your planning committee who you will invite and put your projections together on a spreadsheet. Attendance and budget are directly correlated, so don’t haphazardly guess the number of people you think will attend.
You may only need one space if you are hosting a dinner, but a full scale conference will likely require additional breakout rooms or even an exhibition area. Once again, you won’t be able to measure costs until you define how much space you need. For conferences, the best approach is to plan a mock itinerary in your very first event planning committee meetings. Sharing ideas and piecing them together on paper will help steer you through the next planning decisions.
Budget vs. Costs
It might sound impractical to work on a budget before knowing venue and catering costs, but working this way provides a benchmark for you to measure all of your vendor proposals. If you know how much per person you are able to spend, inclusive of taxes, service fees and rentals – you’ll be able to narrow down possible players as you research and plan. Keep in mind that many times venues and caters provide their pricing per person, less the cost of taxes, fees, rentals or service charges. Actual cost can impact your budget, so it will only make sense to project your budget first.
Transportation and Lodging
Running a conference in a local area typically eliminates any concerns about transportation. However, lodging still needs to be addressed for out-of-town participants and invited speakers or special guests. Depending on where your event is being held may dictate your lodging or transportation needs. Selecting a venue that is far from where attendees will be staying may be impractical if you cannot work out transportation. On the other hand, selecting a venue with ample hotel offerings will make things easier on your attendees. While it may seem like a lot of information to gather right at the start of planning, it is important nonetheless. (Especially because Indianapolis is the number 1 convention city in the United States as listed by USA Today!)