How To Plan A Large-Scale Event

So, you want to host an event? Before you do, I’d advise you have a good read through my top tips.

Firstly, I’d like to note that planning and hosting an event is no breeze. You will require a few key traits to begin with. Being super organised is an obvious one, you’ll also need to have a keen eye for detail, be patient and don’t overload yourself with work, utilise the people around you and manage them as a team. Nevertheless, once you start and get the hang of it, you’ll throw a smashing event and it is the most rewarding sensation ever!

After planning and managing around 7 events within the year, I have cultivated a few skills and learnt a lot about myself too. I guarantee there will be stressful days and there will be downright bad days, but they are all learning curves, every negative occurrence will only strengthen and teach you.

Let’s begin:

1. Organisation…obviously

Without being meticulously organised, you’re not really going to get anywhere. I work with a physical and online diary/calendar, everyone is different, so you just need to figure out what works best for you.

At the end of every day, I will list all my tasks for the next day, review it in the morning, adjust or add to it. Keeping track of everything you do is vital. You have a million things to do in one day and the most effective way of keeping on top of them would be to make that list. You can number your tasks, from most important being number 1 to the least important, you can colour code it, or use stickers! Whatever works for you.

Trello or Asana online are great for projects, extremely versatile and you can access via a phone app too.

Once you start this mammoth of a project, you’ll be accumulating a pile of information. The best way around this for me was utilising Excel and creating numerous sheets within one document, I included everything from venue searching to dietary requirements.


2. Branding

It’s time to think about the event now. What message are you sending across to the people? What is your event about? How do you want to be remembered? All these are very vital questions, you will always need to revert to and remind yourself what the purpose of the event is.

All these elements need to come across through every asset that is shared with the public, on every merchandise, on ever banner and on the day of the event.

How do you go about building a brand? First, have a team meeting, including the Creative Exec and brainstorm all the below points. Create a branding brief so the Creative Exec can go away and design the branding guidelines. The branding guidelines are crucial for the whole project, they will need to be strictly followed by every team member, from designing the event website right down to the freebie pens you’ll be giving out on the day.

Key elements to consider:

– The name of the event

– Target audience

– Logo

– Font

– Colour scheme

See below a few pages pulled out from a branding guidelines document.


3. Choosing the right venue

This is the fun part! Venue searching. You must consider all aspects of your needs. Will it be central and practical to reach via public transport or will it be out of town? Always consider the location, if you are planning a public business conference, then logically you will require easy access for hundreds of people to reach. If it’s a Summer music festival then a big, open field out of town with easy transport will fit just fine.

The space? Discuss with your team what sort of venue will best fit your event, will it be a gigantic industrial warehouse? Or will it be a swanky, 5-star, luxury soiree? Ensure the venue fits your branding and event ethos, this can be a little difficult at times but there are always ways around it.

Top questions to ask venues:

– What is the capacity the venue can hold?

– Do you provide catering, or can I use my own caterer?

– How many staff employees will be available on the day?

– What is your cancellation policy?

– What happens if fewer people attend than anticipated?

– What are your Wi-Fi capabilities?

– Do you allow event signage and displays?

– Do you have preferred vendors for AV and music?

– Are there ample parking spaces for the number of our delegates?

– What kind of heating/cooling system does the space have and can you reliably create a comfortable environment?


4. Plan, plan, plan!

Once you have nailed the venue and event date, it’s time to start planning.

Priority number one would be to appoint tasks to the team members, for example, there should be a salesman, operations manager, creative executive, website builder, so on and so on.

You’ll need to decide the best way to sell tickets, will it be via a third-party provider or will someone from your team handle all the sales? Consider what’s best for you.

Start marketing the event and selling tickets at least six months before the big day. Discuss with the team what are the best ways to market the event and what best fits the concept.

Next up, the agenda of the day. Consider the start time but also bear in mind turnaround times for arrivals, registration, seating, depending on your event. If you are planning a business conference and it runs throughout the whole day, consider how many breaks there will be and lunch.

What seating layout do you want? Is it a cabaret, theatre or classroom? What fits your event?

Whilst all these are very crucial tasks and I assure you; they take longer than you think, it doesn’t end there. There is more to think about, such as an AV company, speakers, sponsors, a running sheet, tickets, registration process, volunteers, travel, accommodation, and lots, lots more.

I hope my advice can aid you in your next project and remember to enjoy the process and feel the pride for yourself when you smash it!

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