Corporate events are a great opportunity for your company to showcase its accomplishments and create camaraderie among employees and clients. Options range from fancy a corporate gala to a casual party. You need to think of activities, themes, promotions, food, and entertainment. Employees, investors, clients, and even potential customers may attend, so it’s important that your company is presented well. Although this may seem like a daunting task, staying organized and following this corporate party checklist can help ensure that you have a successful event.
Step 1: Planning and Research:
- Set budget (talk to your financial department)
- Begin brainstorming type of event (for employees, clients, investors, etc.)
- Determine the goal of your event (reinforce your corporate culture, build relationships, increase sales or productivity, etc.)
- Choose date, location, and time.
- Decide on a theme (formal, casual, 80s, other corporate event ideas)
- Research vendors and suppliers where your event is going to take place (food, decorations, promotional party favors)
- Research keynote speakers.
- Research professional corporate event entertainment companies
- Some companies book both a band and a DJ if it is a multi-day event.
- If you are booking a band, try to talk to others who have hired them to make sure that they are professional and reliable, making sure that they have experience with corporate events. The difference in good entertainment and great entertainment can make a dance floor go from ten people to overflowing.
- WARNING: Some DMCs (Destination Management Companies) offer low quality bands that give them a larger profit margin. Sometimes they do this while claiming to have the best entertainment in the area. If you are not impressed with their options, search elsewhere. If they don’t have a live video of a band you love, search elsewhere. Remember, YOU will be the hero if that dance floor is packed, and everyone will remember it for a long time.
Step 2: Begin Booking and Promoting:
- Book the venue for your date.
- Decide on theme(s).
- Order decorations.
- Book your entertainment. (keynote speakers and live bands are the most popular for corporate events)
- Book photographer/videographer to document your event.
- Send out the save-the-date (Post in your office, send out a save-the-date email, post card, post on your website, etc.)
- Review bids from suppliers and vendors.
- Find hotels in the area of your event to accommodate your guests. (Negotiate with the hotel, sometimes you can get a great discount on rooms)
- Order your invitations and RSVP cards to be printed.
- If you plan on making a program or newsletter for your event, hire or assign someone to begin putting it together.
- Order or rent necessary equipment. (Camera, speakers, etc.)
Step 3: Invitations and Confirmations:
- Send out your invitations and encourage people to RSVP by a specific date.
- Confirm your hotel, venue, entertainment, and food.
- If your venue is outdoors, make sure you have a weather back-up plan.
- If applicable, let guests know if they will need transportation from the hotel to the venue or if you will provide it.
- Confirm staff/volunteer responsibilities.
- If possible, visit the venue to make sure you know exactly how you want to set up (tables, food, stage, etc.)
- Determine security needs.
Step 4: Day of Your Event:
- Have all staff meet early to make sure everyone is on the same page.
- Do a walk through of your event.
- Listen to what people like and dislike. This way you can make your next event even better.
- Encourage your guests to be active on social media, which will help to promote your company.
Step 5: After Your Event
- Put together a video or article to put on your website highlighting the success of the event.
- Put pictures of your event in your company newsletter.
- Send thank you notes.
- Write up a report of what went right and wrong so that you do not make the same mistakes next time.
- Save all budget and vendor information, so that you can use it as reference.
- Save any items that can be used again.
Although your timeline may vary depending on the scale of your event, it is important to follow the basic steps above. Planning a corporate event doesn’t have to be stressful. Start planning early and do your research. Soon you will have a good network of professional vendors and entertainment, making your future planning much easier. Planning a successful corporate event will not only make you look good, but it will also benefit your employees, clients, and business. Remember, average events are quickly forgotten, but great events are remembered, along with you, for a very long time.