Planning an event can be incredibly stressful. With so much to think about and organise, it is easy to become overwhelmed. Even the most experienced event planner will tell you that the pressure to create an event that goes off without a hitch is immense.
However, with some careful planning, it is possible to streamline the process and deliver a truly show-stopping end result.
To help you plan an event that gets everyone talking for all the right reasons, we’ve prepared this step-by-step guide.
The Planning Process
Achieving a successful event is all in the planning. Proper planning and execution of each step in your plan helps to ensure nothing is missed, it can help you stay on budget, handle emergencies and more.
Let’s take a look at what proper planning involves.
Know Your Budget
Before you do anything else, you need to know your budget and if there’s any room to move if needed.
The reason this is your first step is that it can help save you a lot of time and disappointment.
Becoming attached to a venue or planning around that location when it is not feasible in your budget can see you stressing right from the start.
Being across your budget supports the better allocation of funds to things such as the venue, catering, marketing, entertainment, staffing and more.
Define Your Objectives
Next up, think about what you want your event to achieve or the purpose behind it. Your approach will likely be different depending on these goals and objectives.
Knowing your objectives helps you to make informed decisions at every step of the process.
For instance, a charity fundraiser is going to look different from a product launch or a corporate celebration. Where one may focus more on providing great entertainment, one may need to focus on marketing as a bigger priority – this will then guide your approach.
Build A Team
Most events have several different team members working on them. There is a lead planner who then delegates different jobs out within their chosen team.
For smaller events, this may not be necessary, but for bigger ones, this is highly recommended. Many hands make light work and it is often simply too much for one person to manage alone without mistakes being made.
Look for individuals who are great with logistics, marketing, registration, site management, research and more. They should all be great communicators and able to keep calm under pressure.
You may also like to use event management software to stay connected as a team and make it easy to see which tasks are complete and which are outstanding.
Establish A Timeline
A rushed timeline is to be avoided as much as possible. The ideal approach is to know your event date and work backwards from this.
You should take the time to outline major milestones and deadlines by which things need to be booked, paid or similar and mark these in your calendar. This ensures nothing is missed, including important payments while giving more structure to the planning.
Whether this is for food and beverage through a caterer, a venue, an entertainer, an equipment hire company or similar, it pays to do your research.
A great event relies heavily on the reliability and professionalism of the vendors involved. As a leading event equipment hire company, we have seen too many events let down by unscrupulous vendors.
Before choosing any vendor, look for reviews on Google or customer testimonials, ask for a portfolio of past work, arrange a viewing of a space or equipment and ask as many questions as you like.
If a vendor has several poor reviews or is unwilling to give you the information you ask for, this is a red flag and we suggest looking elsewhere. The best vendors are proud of their work and will happily provide proof of their professionalism and quality of services.
Always ask vendors for detailed quotes, compare prices and be sure to book well in advance wherever possible.
Once you have found a venue that you think works with your budget and is reputable, you should also consider the following before confirming:
- What is location accessibility like? Can your vendors easily access the premises to deliver goods and set up?
- Is there parking onsite or nearby?
- Does the venue cater for people of all abilities?
- Can the venue support the necessary technical requirements for lighting, entertainment, conferencing or similar?
- Are there limitations on time and how does this impact set-up and pack-down?
- What is the payment schedule?
- What are the terms and conditions?
Always ready the fine print on all venue contracts. Be sure to pay close attention to cancellation conditions, notations regarding damage and whether they are insured.
Negotiate Rates & Contracts
With every vendor you engage, you should always seek to negotiate the rates and contracts – in fact, most vendors expect it.
This can help you stretch your budget further and ensures you are getting optimal value for money. It also can see you avoid hidden penalties or problems in the fine print!
Select Supplies & Equipment
Once you have your vendors selected, you’ll need to spend some time confirming the type and quality of supplies and equipment needed for the event.
Most vendors will guide you through this as they are the experts in their niche and understand what is needed in detail.
At Excel Hire, we work closely with all our clients to map out exactly what equipment they will need and what they don’t. We offer expert insights to support proper planning and will make suggestions for how to make the most of your hire.
With us, you’ll never be stuck paying for things you won’t need or missing out on essentials.
All our event hire equipment is properly maintained, cleaned and replaced as needed to ensure only the best quality is delivered to every event.
Prepare Your Marketing
Not every event will need an extensive marketing plan. However, if you are hosting a product launch or grand opening then event marketing is key to ensuring visibility and attendance.
Consider using social media, email, blog posts, press releases and targeted advertising to promote your event. Be sure to include all essential details such as date, time, location, dress code (if any), whether an RSVP is required and more.
Lay Out The Logistics
The devil is in the details, right? When it comes to the logistics of your event, this is certainly true. It is essential that you work out things such as:
- Whether any licenses or permits are required
- The expected duration of the event
- The program schedule and how this is implemented
- Transportation to and from the event if needed
- Accommodation options for guests if required
- Expected guest numbers (is there enough seating/food/beverages
- Emergency plans
- Guest registration and safety and more
Picking out the little details and planning for them, even if they seem unnecessary, supports a seamless event. Even if the unexpected pops up, you’ll be much better positioned to deal with it.
The Final Checklist
Leading up to the event, you should have a smaller event planning checklist of last-minute items to resolve.
This includes double-checking all bookings such as catering, entertainment, and equipment hire. You should confirm timelines with all vendors and that everything is on track as expected.
You should also be ensuring any signage is ready, seating arrangements are confirmed and any directives regarding set-up have been properly communicated.
Execute The Event
Be prepared to arrive early on the day of the event so that you can oversee all the last-minute details. Continue to delegate to your team as needed and don’t be surprised if some unforeseen issues pop up that need to be dealt with.
With any luck, your proper planning before the event will mean you have a suitable contingency plan in place for any issues.
During the event, continually refer back to your timelines and program and direct those around you as needed. This keeps everything running on schedule and ensures your guests get to enjoy every aspect as planned.
After The Event
Post-event, there’s still a little more work to be done.
The morning following the event, remain in touch with your venue to ensure all vendors are packed up as planned and everything is left as expected.
You should also give feedback to your vendors, venue and team members who helped you execute the event. Be sure to not only highlight any concerns and let them know when things were done well too, your success is also theirs.
Additionally, you should send thank you’s to attendees and speakers and gather feedback if possible. These insights can help you to further fine-tune your approach for even better planning and outcomes in future.
Don’t forget to also post photo highlights of the event on social media and take down any advertising for the event that may still be active online.
Even the most perfectly planned event can experience issues. If a problem arises, before, during or after an event, it is important to stay calm and work quickly to minimise any negative impacts.
Staying calm gives you the best chance of finding a workable solution. You should:
- Assess the situation, identify the key issue and consider how this impacts your event.
- Communicate with anyone who needs to know about these issues and be transparent with attendees about your efforts to resolve them.
- Prioritise dealing with the most pressing issue first, look for quick fixes first and then think about more suitable options later.
- Adapt. Being flexible and open to adjusting things in your plan will make it much easier to overcome issues as they arise.
- Apologise. Don’t be afraid to apologise to attendees for any problems experienced, it is much better to be sincere and most people will understand.
At Excel Event Hire, we aim to avoid any problems arising from your hiring with us. We provide you with a dedicated hire manager who is your point of contact from start to finish.
If for any reason something isn’t as expected, you have a direct number to call and your hire manager will take over the handling of this issue.
We know you are relying on us and do whatever we can to deliver the most streamlined, stress-free hiring experience possible.
Plan Your Next Event With Confidence
At Excel Event Hire, we support you to create and execute exceptional events. Through every step of the hiring and planning process, we go above and beyond.
We work with utmost professionalism alongside vendors and with your chosen venue to eliminate the risk of issues. This is just part of how we ensure a smooth process and optimal event outcomes.
With careful planning and research, you can avoid dealing with unreliable vendors and ensure all details are considered and managed ahead of time.
Whether you need catering equipment, marquees, flooring and staging, cutlery, crockery, linens, gas and electrical equipment, refrigeration and more, we can help.
Paired with our professional and well-practised delivery, set-up and pack-down service, it couldn’t be easier to prepare for your event.
By following this in-depth guide and choosing us as your trusted vendor for event equipment hire, we’re confident your event will exceed expectations.
As trusted industry experts with decades of experience behind us and a reputation for quality, Excel Hire is the team you can count on. Call 07 3217 3217 today.