So it’s time for your annual conference. It’s set to be your biggest event yet. Hundreds of people from different countries, industries, and companies will be under one roof. They’re ready for a day filled with keynote speakers, collaborative exercises and games, thought-provoking discussions, and the chance to network with new people. Or so you thought.
Your top keynote speaker pulled out last minute. Then, you find out the catering company cancelled. People are left lingering for hours because you didn’t fill the day with enough activities. Although you thought your event had sold out, several people don’t turn up. And somehow, people who don't fit within your target audience profile find themselves with a seat at your venue. It’s a complete event-planning disaster.
But it doesn’t have to be. So what can you do? We’ll give you five top tips for making sure everything runs smoothly—and so you can avoid unnecessary event-ruining mistakes.
1. Find Reliable Vendors
Choosing the right vendors is fundamental to the success of any event. Whether it’s a catering company, keynote speaker, merchandise supplier, photographer, music, or IT, just one ill-chosen vendor has the potential to ruin the entire event. If a supplier doesn’t show, that leaves you scrambling around last minute trying to fill a gap. And remember, just because a supplier turns up doesn’t mean they’re fit for your event.
Perhaps they don’t have the equipment needed for the event even if you thought they did. Or maybe they’ve only got a small internal team, so they can’t handle your large audience. That’s why it’s important to vet every vendor first carefully.
Don't just choose the first supplier you find. Take your time to speak with them—find out their service offerings and exactly what they entail, and discuss their resource capacity and charges. Seek several quotes from different companies first so you can compare them and choose the best one for your event. And when you do decide, draw up a contract, so everyone knows what's expected of them on the day.
2. Create Memorable Activities
Delivering an event to remember is what it’s all about. There’s nothing more frustrating than organizing activities you think will be fun and engaging, only for people to be sat yawning at the back of the room. Or worse, they leave early.
Creating engaging activities isn’t just about picking a few exercises and hoping for the best. You really need to think about your audience and what you want them to achieve from each activity. Understand their demographics and what they’ll enjoy, then ideate to plan exciting exercises that encourage involvement and communication between teams.
If you’re delivering training seminars, invest in certification and learning software to make them worthwhile for attendees. Offer certifications after event attendance, online courses and modules, and attendee portals, so you can communicate with guests easily and give them useful content.
When showcasing keynote speakers, get the audience involved by asking questions through a live poll. Look at gamification activities to liven things up and make training more fun and interactive. Make hybrid events more collaborative by involving digital breakout rooms and lobbies. Whatever you do, put your audience first and think about what they'll enjoy. Usually, a three-hour presentation just won't cut it.
3. Market Your Event
Imagine investing your time and money in a first-class training event, only for there to be masses of empty seats. It’s disheartening, to say the least. Not only does this eat away at your bottom-line profits, but it also ruins the engaging, exciting atmosphere you want to create. So how can you avoid this mistake?
Investing in marketing is key for any successful event. Marketing ensures you reach your target audience, encouraging them to register and attend your event. Plus, it helps you generate momentum among participants in the lead-up.
Event marketing could include teaser emails, social media campaigns, posters, flyers, GIFs, and videos. It’s also worth creating a pre-event website. Websites are important for allowing people to register, view the event schedule, and read need-to-know information before the day. But they're also an essential marketing tool where you can deliver exciting, branded content to help reach your target audience and ensure the event sells out. Thankfully, it doesn't need to be difficult. Idloom allows you to design a branded website with your own logos, colors, personal information, and even personalized URLs.
4. Invest in Back-End Support
Having all your event spaces filled is great, but only if your attendees fit within your target audience. It’s no use allowing just about anyone to register, as tempting as it may be. Then, you also need to consider the actual registration process. If it’s too long and complex or full of technical glitches, people might drop off. So invest in the right back-end support to ensure seamless registration from the get-go.
Try ready-to-use software to create registration portals with everything you need for effortless attendee management, including pre-registration forms, multistep registration, waiting lists, and multistep approval. With an automated platform, you can easily manage registrations and track attendees without worrying about errors or the wrong people turning up.
5. Plan Everything
It’s easy to get lost in the shuffle when planning an event. Sometimes, you’re so focused on marketing to the right people, organizing the schedule, and registering attendees that you forget about the smaller, finer details. But things like venue choice, food, equipment, cybersecurity, and budget are hugely important. Choose a venue that won’t fit all your attendees, and you’re set for failure. And overlooking menu choices or guest dietary requirements is just a recipe for disaster.
Be sure to plan everything correctly when organizing your exclusive event. Ensure you’ve accurately calculated a budget and keep on top of it. Check the venue is exactly what you need, organize caterers, and ask attendees if they have any requirements beforehand. And, of course, prepare any equipment in advance. No one wants to listen to a speaker with no microphone.
Setting Up Your Event for Success
Events can go wrong for all kinds of reasons. Even if you plan every last detail, you still need to prepare for something you didn't see coming. When planning your event, you can’t afford for things to fail. That's why it's important to work with people who are agile, flexible, and able to adapt to last-minute changes so you can truly make the event a success.
Take steps to vet your vendors and invest in back-end support for smooth registration. Be sure to market your event effectively and create memorable activities that leave a lasting impression on attendees. Make it an event to remember—for the right reasons!
And last but not least is your well-being. We all know how stressful it is to organize events. So try and make things easier for yourselves. After all, you can have fun doing events too!