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How To Plan A Successful Corporate Event

We understand that corporate event planning can be complex and time-consuming. With so many steps to ensure the event goes well, a lot of time has to be dedicated to logistics before the big day itself. Here at Holiday Inn Brentford Lock, we’re very familiar with large events. We’re here to help you with our 10-step guide on how to plan a successful corporate event that can be both rewarding for the organisers and a great time for the guests.


What is the purpose of your event?

Your first step in the planning process is to understand what the purpose of your event is. When you’re running an event of this nature, you need measurable results at the end so you can tell whether it’s been a success or not. You need this purpose to be generated ahead of time so that the rest of the planning process can cater to this. Two ideas for goals could be:

Brand Awareness: To have your brand reach a wider audience.
Which can be measured by: The number of shares, mentions, and referrals on social media. Track the increase in website traffic.

Guest Engagement: Ensure guests are actively engaging and participating in the event.
Which can be measured by: How long each attendee spent in the event. How many interactions were made by each guest such as questions asked and comments made?

Once you have decided on your top-of-funnel event goal(s) and how these are measurable, you can start on the next step!


So who will your audience be?

You have to have a set target audience for your event so that you can plan to meet their needs in a way that suits them. For example, it would be difficult to run an event for both your most important clients and your colleagues. While you might want to impress your clients with statistics and output, showing appreciation for your colleagues will mean crafting a social time that allows them to unwind. Not only do you need to understand your target audience before adhering to further steps, but you also need to work out your headcount.

A pro tip from Brentford Lock – always overestimate your headcount. It’s widely agreed that it is better to invite too many people than too few. Oftentimes with large events, there will be people who turn down the invitation and there will be people who drop out before the event.

Once you have your target audience pinpointed, you can start planning the event to make sure that they have a great time and you achieve your goals.


What will your budget be?

Before jumping into the logistics of the event, you have to have a realistic budget in mind. With event planning, you should expect unforeseen changes and expenses, so it’s worth giving yourself an extra 10% leeway on your budget.

When thinking of your budget, be practical with what you will need for the day. Think of technology, resources, headcount, and importantly catering. Never settle for less with food and drink since your audience is much more likely to be engaged if they’re not hungry or thirsty.


What is your theme and format?

Once you have decided on your goals, audience, and budget, you can now choose a format and theme. When choosing your theme or topic, keep in mind your target audience and what would be most suitable for the attendees.

For example, if one of your goals is to increase brand awareness, a good idea would be to host a large event with key speakers from the company. Here you could invite potential clients and key people from the industry. It could even generate leads for you! On the other hand, if your goal aligns with changing brand perception, it could be worth investing in a more intimate theme and format. You could decide on peer-to-peer learning opportunities with client roundtables and breakout sessions.

Make sure whichever format and theme you choose, you involve ideas for engagement and fun for your guests so that they will have an enjoyable time. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box.


What will your project timeline look like?

It is easy to get excited and jump head-first into planning your event, but you can’t forget that there are a lot of calculated elements to hosting a corporate event.

Creating a project timeline is important. Start with creating a checklist so that you can keep track and monitor even the smallest details to keep you and your team organised. It’s a good idea to have check-ins like a 3-month review to maintain communication with your team. Outline the milestones that you are aiming to achieve and also any issues that could come up.

Take a look at project management software available to help you with this process such as Todoist or even Google Sheets. Keep track of the deadline and the person responsible for overseeing the task. It is worth investing your time at the start of the project to complete your timeline. That way, you have plenty of time to look around for the best deals and don’t face any pressure to book the only option.


Where will you be hosting your corporate event?

Depending on your desired geographic location, target audience, and headcount, the perfect location will differ. It needs to be a nice location with suitable parking or transport links. It could be a major factor in how many people attend.

Here at Brentford Lock, we offer incredible corporate event spaces at our very own ‘The Waterfront’. We have one of the most flexible spaces near London with fantastic views of the Grand Union Canal. We can offer event spaces for 10 to 500 people, have on-site parking, and complimentary wifi, and offer special offers and packages throughout the year.

We also have competitively priced conference packages that include catering, room hire, use of technology and car parking along with a variety of other inclusions. The Waterfront makes for a perfect venue for any size corporate event. You can find out more information here.

What will be the logistics for the day?

A key to organising a great corporate event is being aware of all of your logistics for the big day. From caterers to bar staff to audiovisual technicians, there is a whole host of things that you need to be prepared for. For everything to go smoothly, you’ll need an agenda for the day and get all your team members on board.

Curate a delicate balance of freedom and scheduling for your guests so that they have room for engagements but don’t feel restricted to constantly participate. In your agenda, it would be nice to make room towards the end of the day to give your attendees a digital takeaway or premium content access such as personalised information or even a link to photos from the event.

Another pro tip from Brentford Lock is that photo and video content will increase your voice on social media!


What technology will you be utilising?

As an event organiser, using clipboards and notebooks to keep your day on track is outdated. It’s time to get with the times. There are plenty of event management software tools and apps that can help you to keep organised all in one place. Using these tools can help with a variety of things from games to on-site check-in for your attendees.

These apps and software can help take a lot of pressure off of you as the event organiser and also help guests keep track of information. Take a look at the options and choose a few that will be useful for both you and your attendees.


How are you going to market the event?

Like many aspects of your corporate event, your promotion will depend on your target audience. If you are interested in having employees of your company as attendees then internal communications would be the way to go. However, if you are interested in lead generation and gaining larger brand awareness, then industry-relevant publications and email databases would be more relevant.

Don’t neglect social media. Use hashtags across platforms to create a buzz and remember to use consistent messaging across platforms.

You need to ensure that you are promoting the event ahead of time. There is no use in marketing the event a week before. Why not leave enough time for another round of marketing in case you’ve not had enough interest? For larger events, getting in touch with sponsors can be useful as they will help with the costs – but remember, if you are to get in touch with potential sponsors, make them industry and theme-relevant.

What about after?

As we’ve covered, ways in which to measure your success are vital and these come in handy after the event. You can use analysis to gain data-driven results and measure these against your intended outcomes.

Don’t get lost in the data. Guest experience matters. You could use the event-planning software tools to help get feedback at this stage with questionnaires. These results can help you learn what went well and what could be improved to excel at your next corporate event.

We hope that our guide on how to plan a corporate event has helped you get to grips with the basics of corporate event management. Don’t forget to check out our website here as we can provide an amazing space for your corporate events! Get in touch for more information.


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