6 tips for large scale event planning
Putting together an event can be a challenging job. It takes enormous planning, coordination, and whatnot. When it comes to planning large-scale events, the complexity increases multiple times. From personal celebrations, product and business launches, sporting events, festivals, concerts, to religious events, political rallies or demonstrations, large events can be of various types. The intended audience depends on the type of the event. But one thing is for sure! Large events bring together people from all over the world and attract world wide media coverage. Planning a large-scale event is tough and presents various challenges. It is important to understand expectations and limitations right from the start and upscale teams and resources accordingly. With so much on your mind, you also need to take care to create an experience that delivers on your promise to your attendees. Then only you can deliver an ultimate large scale event.
Here are some tips to take your large-scale event planning up a notch!
1. Choose and finalize an ideal date
The most common reason why event planning fails is the inability to lock an ideal date. So always choose the best date for your event that will shape the rest of your project plan as desired. While choosing the date of your big event, be sure not to plan it on a national, local, or religious holiday. Most clients have well decided about the date they want to have a big event on, however, doing back calculations on time required to plan the event successfully should also be done. If need be, inform your stakeholders that you might require more time for planning the large-scale event successfully. Also, the event marketplace is a crowded one. In some particular months, it’s very challenging to find large spaces. So fix a date when there will be desired venue availability. Do keep seasonal factors in mind and choose a season when it is easy for your attendees to travel.
2. Establish a detailed budget
Establishing a budget is an essential early step in the process of planning a large scale event. This is because large-scale event planning involves multiple parameters and extra elements to achieve the glitz and extravaganza. Right from venue rental costs, food, drinks, and other refreshments, decor, to entertainment (A/V Systems included), running cost of staff such as salaries, transportation & lodging, and others, the event checklist includes various aspects. To keep your planning and execution on point, the budget needs to be planned well. Even for the best-planned events, some miscellaneous costs always come back to haunt the event planner. Always keep some budget for miscellaneous expenses and take a buffer. Additionally, establishing a budget will help you to avoid overspending on a particular aspect such as decor. Or else you may run out of money for other important aspects of event planning like food and drinks, AV equipment etc. So map out your entire budget in advance, gain an understanding of how your budget will be distributed across your needs and continue to update expenses as you finalize variables. Also, large scale events are a big investment. Do have some spare budget for marketing and promoting the big event.
3. Choose the right venue that caters to your needs
Large-scale events can be of varied types. The venue needs to be decided depending on the goal of the event and the event type. Let’s say if you want to include smaller networking opportunities such as meet and greets and break out learning sessions over the course of the event, your venue needs to have conference rooms and lounges to allow your attendees to interact with each other. People love to have a combination of scenic beauty and leisure time with large-scale events. Based on your budget you can also choose locations that can present the best of both worlds and give your guests an enjoyable time.
Some important things to consider when finalizing a venue for your large event are:
- Accessibility: For planning great attendee experiences, it is important to have an accessible venue where participants feel comfortable and do not encounter any hassles. The venue must have accessible entrances and elevators, all-gender washrooms and extra space for an interpreter.
- Convenient location such as close to the airport: The venue that you will select will play a great role in crafting a pleasant experience for the attendees. Book a venue at least 4-6 months in advance. If many attendees will be traveling from out of town, booking a venue near to the airport or their hotels will be beneficial.
- Don’t forget to consider parking: Check out if the venue has a parking lot or a valet parking so that attendees do not waste much time looking around for space to park their cars and can enter the venue easily.
- Catering services: Check out if the venue already has a deal with a catering company and whether they can take the responsibility for food and beverages. If they do, ask what all they will serve or discuss with them what you want to be served on the day of the event.
- What AV equipment is included in the rental: Large scale events generally involve speakers, microphones and other AV equipment on their event planning checklist. Make sure the venue you choose delivers on your event needs and has the required space available for setting up AV equipment. Also ask your A/V provider about wifi access and how good is the cellphone network.
4. Expect the unexpected
We are all familiar with Murphy’s Law which states that “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong”. The same law applies to events also. From big issues to small ones, there might be a number of incidents that can take place on the day of the event such as a ticket printer breaking down, no power, sudden rain and thunderstorm etc. (In case of outdoor events, rain can play a true spoiler). Brainstorming sessions with your team can help in coming up with possibly unexpected situations and planning for the same. Having a plan B can save you from huge disasters on the D-day. Last-minute technical issues are quite common in live A/V. Have some pre-recorded videos to fall back on. These can be presented to the audience while you fix the live feed and can also act as memoirs to be mailed to attendees post the event. So prepare for what might not go according to plan to avoid disastrous consequences and embarrassment on the day of the event.
5. Understand the strengths of your team
Together we achieve more and hence understanding the key strengths of your team becomes inevitable. It can not just help you secure a successful path through the large event but make the team feel empowered when the right person handles the right thing. For example, some team members might be having keen eye for detail and some might be having sharp organization skills. Some might be good in preparing the strategy and some might be good in marketing the events. Understanding the strengths and core competencies of your team can help you in getting the clarity about skill sets of each member and thereby assigning the right task. While the most creative people in your team can do wonders to your venue decor, the techies can help you create the best sound and music effects. Catch hold of the foodies and you will have the best menu possible.
6. Start planning in advance to make the process smooth
Planning a large event involves many elements and there are a lot of details you’ll need to think about. So planning should start much in advance ideally three months before the event date. Firstly put together and prepare an easy to use checklist so that nothing is missed out during the planning stages. That will be the starting point of your event planning. Establish a tangible goal and have a vision for the event. Based on your goals, start the planning much in advance. Starting the planning a lot earlier will give you ample time to plan things, think through the details and make the right decisions. Also it will help you address key issues timely (if any) and ensure a successful event.
Use the tips above and craft a solid event brand that will wow sponsors, attendees etc. Utilize the right marketing platforms to generate awareness about your event and clearly communicate your brand and you can bring more people through the door. Finally, no event is complete without a goodbye- see you again. Be sure to touch base with your attendees post-event.