Whether you've planned 200 events or you're just starting, we can both agree on one thing: event planning is hard work.
And the pressure to get better at it every year is real. Your willingness and ability to adapt to the demand for a more strategic planner with more responsibilities is real. With the events landscape changing constantly, event professionals need to learn to take advantage of every tool at their disposal.
DID YOU KNOW?
100% of job descriptions list the management of event logistics as a key responsibility, but the trend is clearly moving towards a more tech-savvy, strategic role for event planners. - Transforming your Career: From Event Planner to Event Strategist. Research. 2019
To help you cope with the increasing demands of your role and guide you through the execution of your event, we’ve compiled a number of checklists covering various stages of the event planning process. Use these to make sure you’ve covered all your bases from sourcing the right technology to planning for every eventuality.
Here's an overview of the 19 checklists we’ve prepared for you:
|BEFORE THE EVENT||DAY OF THE EVENT||POST-EVENT|
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Once you've got the go-ahead to take on your client's event, you need to start quickly. You should start the tasks below at least 4 to 6 months before the event. The faster you begin the better!
The tasks are divided into 8 phases:
Project Management and setting up
Venue Research and Contracting
Registration and ticketing
Sourcing partners and vendors
Health and safety
Project Management and Setup
Event planners are (or should be) natural project managers, but event the best can benefit from a little help.
Here is your high-level event to-do list for executing proper project management and setup:
- keyboard_arrow_right Set your event budget, objectives, schedules, and deadlines
- keyboard_arrow_right Identify key staff responsibilities and roles
- keyboard_arrow_right Set milestones and crucial deadlines that must be met
- keyboard_arrow_right Allocate individual tasks and action items
- keyboard_arrow_right Agree on expected team communication, meeting times, and reporting timeline
- keyboard_arrow_right Always work with an updated budget and use estimates until the correct prices are confirmed
- keyboard_arrow_right Identify overspends and come up with a plan to minimize costs
Here is a ready-made template for you to use:
Venue Research and Contracting
- keyboard_arrow_right Create a shortlist of potential locations and venues
- keyboard_arrow_right Confirm availability and pricing
- keyboard_arrow_right Organize visits to prospective venues
- keyboard_arrow_right Negotiate and sign a contract with the venue chosen
- keyboard_arrow_right Have a critical look at how the event will work on the site
- keyboard_arrow_right Create room allocations and space layouts
- keyboard_arrow_right Get the team familiarized with specifics, loading in/out, unloading, parking, space, etc.
- keyboard_arrow_right Test event venue WiFi bandwidth and find alternatives or upgrade it if necessary
Registration and Ticketing
- 85% of all event planners use event registration software. And 59% of event organizers state that their use of event tech will increase. - 100 Event Statistics (2019 Edition)
As you can see, making sure that your event planning checklist for registration includes provisioning for registration software is in your best interest.
Here's the event registration checklist:
- keyboard_arrow_right Create a shortlist of event registration platforms with mobile responsive capabilities as a requirement
- keyboard_arrow_right Get a sign-off from the senior management and legal team on the software chosen
- keyboard_arrow_right Set up an online registration process for the event, even if the event is free
- keyboard_arrow_right Test the registration flow to ensure that everything is working properly
- keyboard_arrow_right Set a deadline for the ticketing process and confirming attendance
- keyboard_arrow_right Establish registration confirmations that include all the information needed to attend
Sourcing for Partners and Vendors
Once you've handled your event planning checklist for registrations and ticketing, you can start sourcing for partners and vendors.
Here are the things you'll need to cover:
- keyboard_arrow_right Confirm the availability of speakers, special guests, and performers
- keyboard_arrow_right Coordinate accommodation for guests and travel plans if applicable
- keyboard_arrow_right Ensure you communicate expectations with all partners, exhibitors, and stakeholders in advance
- keyboard_arrow_right Speak to vendors to get purchase advice for your budget and confirm prices
- keyboard_arrow_right Make sure all relevant people have the date of the event on lockdown
- keyboard_arrow_right Sign every agreement and contract made with vendors once specifics are confirmed
Sponsorship Overview Checklist
Almost half (49%) of event professionals thought that their biggest challenge was finding sponsors. -Event Sponsorship: 117 Ideas and Trends To Get More Sponsors in 2019
To get you started on the right path, here is an overview of the tasks you need to complete to win sponsorship:
- keyboard_arrow_right Get familiar with current sponsorship trends
- keyboard_arrow_right Target prospects that currently sponsor events
- keyboard_arrow_right Carry out in-depth market research on your sponsor
- keyboard_arrow_right Study your prospects’ overall objectives and brand values
- keyboard_arrow_right Pitch in innovative ideas to your sponsor based on the results of your research
- keyboard_arrow_right Allow minor compromises in your offer
- keyboard_arrow_right Draft quality proposals
- keyboard_arrow_right Deliver the proposals in advance and, if possible, in person
- keyboard_arrow_right Keep consistent communication with the sponsor to solidify contact and trust
Marketing Event Checklists
Your challenge in event marketing is to position your event value to your audience in a way that resonates with them and reaches the most (and most qualified) prospective attendees.
Moreover, with the massive shift in corporate marketing budgets to events, planners’ marketing efforts are being held to an especially high standard – particularly when it comes to tracking and analyzing marketing ROI.
The event planner-turned-marketing strategist is now required to provide a framework of KPIs and other metrics that allow them to measure their event marketing activations and make their performance tangible. - From Event Planner to Event Strategist, 2019
The benefit of using data to get your event marketing plan right is that it substantiates in a clear, actionable way why you should pursue the marketing efforts you pursue. A good promotional strategy will pull in event registrations, build a solid contact base, and secure brand recognition.
With that said let's see what your event planning checklist should cover:
- keyboard_arrow_right Identify why people should attend the event, why the event is important to the target audience, and what value the customer will gain from the event
- keyboard_arrow_right Identify your event marketing objectives
- keyboard_arrow_right Ensure your marketing objectives are precise, actionable and relevant to the overall goal of the event (i.e. establish marketing KPIs)
- keyboard_arrow_right Create audience personas focused on how they consume content, when you interact with them, what social media platforms and technology they use, as well as consumer key influencers
- keyboard_arrow_right Map both customer and stakeholder touch point journeys, including search engine presence, event app and website, social media profiles, etc.
- keyboard_arrow_right Schedule marketing activities based on customer/stakeholder key times, dates
- keyboard_arrow_right Use previous event videos, relevant landing pages and informative ads to educate your target audience about the benefit of the event.
- keyboard_arrow_right Review marketing plan success with web analytics and A/B tests, modifying as needed
- keyboard_arrow_right Assess the success of your marketing efforts from previous years, gleaning any lessons or insights from those campaigns to apply to this and future campaigns
How to plan an Event with Proper Social Media Marketing
Social media is an unavoidable part of event marketing but it’s also a tough one as 51% of event planners reveal that they struggle with how to use it effectively for marketing their events.
So you need to have an event planning to-do list for your social media marketing, and here it is:
- keyboard_arrow_right Identify the main objectives areas
- keyboard_arrow_right Map out your processes
- keyboard_arrow_right Identify what content you will include
- keyboard_arrow_right Choose your major content types
- keyboard_arrow_right Know why you opted for that content type
- keyboard_arrow_right Specify your audience
- keyboard_arrow_right Create rules and guidelines on the tone and style you want the team to embrace when on social media
For your social media content, follow these guidelines:
- keyboard_arrow_right Include a call to action on your social media images
- keyboard_arrow_right Use video content
- keyboard_arrow_right Post different types of content
- keyboard_arrow_right Optimize your pages for common mobile devices
- keyboard_arrow_right Include event live stream to your social media profile
- keyboard_arrow_right Add podcasts to your content types
Event Communications Checklist
Smooth communication with key members of your team is crucial for everything to work out as planned.
There needs to be consistency in the information you communicate both internally and to your attendees, which can be a challenge when you also have to find an efficient way to disseminate it.
To ensure quality internal and external communication, use this event planning checklist:
- keyboard_arrow_right Create a strategy to follow up on RSVP’s and boost ticket sales
- keyboard_arrow_right Make pre-event information available for attendees, both indirectly on the web and through direct communications, alerts, emails, etc.
- keyboard_arrow_right Have a communication plan for your onsite team members
- keyboard_arrow_right Identify the fastest way to communicate with key people on the day of the event
- keyboard_arrow_right Create a strategy to handle issue escalations
Health and Safety Event Planner Checklist
As an event planner, one of your most important duties is to care for both your staff and attendees. Paying attention to the health and safety of all participants is especially crucial at big events.
This means you need to take reasonable preventive steps to make sure no one gets hurt, and you should have a plan in case of any emergencies that may arise.
Here is what your health and safety event to-do list should include:
- keyboard_arrow_right Ensure that you've gotten the relevant permits, licenses, and insurance cover for the event
- keyboard_arrow_right Arrange for security personnel to be onsite to carry out security, bag checks, etc.
- keyboard_arrow_right Go over the risk assessments, insurance documents and method statements from vendors, performers, exhibitors, etc.
- keyboard_arrow_right Identify potential risks and create a risk assessment
- keyboard_arrow_right Have a contingency plan
- keyboard_arrow_right Share copies of your contingency plan and risk assessment to key players of your event
Technology Event Planning Checklist
From registration and event management software to onsite engagement, event planning technology is an absolute necessity if you want to have a hitch-free event.
Apart from improving everything from data integrity to networking and lead generation opportunities, technology allows you to cut down on the more menial aspects of event planning so you can concentrate on the creative and strategic side.
Moreover, attendees are used to a technologically facilitated life, and expect many aspects of the event and their interaction with it to be managed through their smartphones. This is why 91% of event organizers believe that event apps are still relevant to their events and 75% of event professionals who don't use them stated that they would adopt them.
These stats point to one thing: you need to incorporate event technology to your event and have it ticked on your event planning checklists.
To properly harness the power of event tech, use this checklist:
- keyboard_arrow_right Research the options you have for event technology, view demos of the tech in use, and get price quotes from suppliers
- keyboard_arrow_right Create a shortlist and secure approval for the best option
- keyboard_arrow_right Brief relevant stakeholders about the benefit and purpose of the technology you've opted for
- keyboard_arrow_right Onboard your staff on how to effectively use the tech
- keyboard_arrow_right Set up the event tech, making sure the venue has the right infrastructure
- keyboard_arrow_right Implement usage of the tech and let attendees know that the tech is available
- keyboard_arrow_right Offer tech support to encourage consumer usage and maximize ROI
Event Checklist for Audio Visual (AV)
Top-notch event AV is vital to a successful event, and not just because the quality makes the event a memorable one for attendees. People tend to quickly notice if something seems off and one single mistake could ruin the event for them.
Follow this checklist to ensure that you don’t miss anything:
- keyboard_arrow_right Book and confirm that you'll have the right audio-visual tech and tools on the day of the event
- keyboard_arrow_right If you're using with platform or stage, ensure that it can accommodate the AV pieces you've opted for
- keyboard_arrow_right Preview all graphics, presentations, and visuals as you set them up
- keyboard_arrow_right Cross-check the number of microphones available and know when mic changeovers will happen
- keyboard_arrow_right Set a specific date and time when the AV team will be able to set up the necessary pieces of equipment
- keyboard_arrow_right Schedule rehearsals/run-throughs and ensure they take place at the allocated time
- keyboard_arrow_right Set contingency plans in place in case of technical issues
- keyboard_arrow_right Carry out final tests and checks
- keyboard_arrow_right Introduce speakers, performers to your audiovisual team and senior management of the event
- keyboard_arrow_right Check lighting, presentations, videos, technology, and sound during briefing and rehearsals
- keyboard_arrow_right Agree and confirm speaker audiovisual specifics
- keyboard_arrow_right Once a speaker or performer arrives at the event, check the person as available
Event Planning Budget Checklist
It may seem like a daunting task to pull together an event budget, but as long as you craft one that's feasible and include contingencies in case of emergencies, you're off to a good start.
Here's what you should have ticked on your event planning budget checklist:
- keyboard_arrow_right Identify what you're budgeting for by figuring out what periods of your events would most likely incur costs
- keyboard_arrow_right Use a spreadsheet - an excellent choice is Google sheet because it allows your whole planning team to view it simultaneously and keeps a record of all changes
- keyboard_arrow_right Alternatively, look into using budgeting software if you're creating a complex budget
- keyboard_arrow_right Include line details for every item
- keyboard_arrow_right Know your deadlines for expected payments
- keyboard_arrow_right Separate your budget sheet into income and expenditure so you can easily track each and determine if you’re running a deficit
Check out this example:
It's the day of the event, and there's never been a better time to have your conference planning checklist handy to guide you towards success. To make sure you can hit the ground running when the doors open, ensure you've got these 4 steps covered:
Conduct final checks
Check-ins and meet and greet
Health and Safety
Final Checks Event Planning Guide
- keyboard_arrow_right Double-check that you’re ready for the number of people expected, from the number of check-in kiosks to chairs in the keynote address
- keyboard_arrow_right Check that the necessary components are available in the relevant rooms
- keyboard_arrow_right Check all branded items and make sure that they are properly designed and placed
- keyboard_arrow_right Test WiFi connectivity
- keyboard_arrow_right Run through set timings with your team
- keyboard_arrow_right Check that the restrooms are clean and operational; the gents and ladies should have toilet rolls, soap, towels or dryers available
- keyboard_arrow_right Check-in with all event suppliers that they are set and there are no complications
Check-In / Meet and Greet Checklist
- keyboard_arrow_right Talk to all event registration staff and make sure they're fully aware of where VIPs, attendees, and presenters should be directed
- keyboard_arrow_right Place staff in place to welcome important persons and lead them to where they are meant to be or who they are supposed to meet
- keyboard_arrow_right Ensure communication is in place to notify staff when key people arrive so they can properly receive them
- keyboard_arrow_right Test your tools: tablets, badge printers, barcode scanners, and facial recognition software
Catering Event Planning Checklist
- keyboard_arrow_right Run through the details with your catering manager and confirm dietary requirements for specific guests
- keyboard_arrow_right Take a minute to discuss any last-minute changes
- keyboard_arrow_right Check that presenters, speakers, and performers have water available both onstage and backstage
- keyboard_arrow_right Determine what should happen to surplus food
Onsite Health and Safety Checklist
- keyboard_arrow_right Do a final safety check in the venue
- keyboard_arrow_right Make sure that you have signed all safety paperwork from the venue electrician, exhibitors, and the AV team, etc.
- keyboard_arrow_right Confirm that fire alarms are in good shape and working
- keyboard_arrow_right Make sure you are on the same page as the venue regarding any evacuation and emergency procedures, and that you have established an efficient and effective way to communicate those instructions to event-goers
- keyboard_arrow_right In case hazards do occur, be prepared to note down in full the details of the incident and get the contacts of the persons involved
The event may be over, but your job as an event planner isn’t. There are still a number of tasks you need to tick off your event checklist. At this point, you need to tie in all loose ends and get feedback from various key players.
Do this in 3 steps:
Presenters and vendors/suppliers
Post-event Project Management Checklist
- keyboard_arrow_right Get feedback from relevant stakeholders and team members immediately
- keyboard_arrow_right Have a debrief meeting with venue staff
- keyboard_arrow_right Tally all bills and check against your agreements with vendors, suppliers, and the venue
- keyboard_arrow_right Analyze and measure all data gotten
- keyboard_arrow_right Check that all event objectives were met
- keyboard_arrow_right Send out follow-up messages to communicate any surveys, post-event networking opportunities, or other instructions
- keyboard_arrow_right Finalize your budget
After the Event: Presenter and Vendors / Suppliers Checklist
- keyboard_arrow_right Thank all performers, exhibitors, and presenters and share follow up information with them, like images and session feedback
- keyboard_arrow_right Thank suppliers and get feedback from them
- keyboard_arrow_right Report and analyze all feedback for future improvements
- keyboard_arrow_right Cross-check the final invoices from vendors against your contracts
Sales Event Planning Checklist
- keyboard_arrow_right Have guidelines for what makes a qualified lead
- keyboard_arrow_right Segment leads into predetermined criteria for qualification
- keyboard_arrow_right Pass on qualified leads from events to sales or lead nurturing programs
Event planning can be really draining, especially when you don't have the right things in place at the right time. Following this ultimate event checklist, you'll be able to have a smooth transition from starting your event business to executing post-event sales.