Organizing an event: the ultimate roadmap

Organizing an event: the ultimate roadmap

Organizing an event. Sooner or later, everyone comes into contact with it, and it always involves a lot more than you expected. Of course, you want your event to run smoothly, it is often the most important opportunity for a company. It also means that organizing an event involves a lot of responsibility and stress.

However, at an event agency, organizing events is in our blood. That’s why we are happy to give you a little peek behind the scenes and list the different steps (and corresponding questions) in this handy checklist. That way, you won’t lose sight of any crucial aspects and/or ask the right questions when you decide to hire an event agency for your event

Step 1: Figure out the concept

In the concept phase, you will look at the common thread running through each aspect of your event. Your concept helps shape the story you want to tell and is therefore a crucial first step. Make no mistake: it’s not just a trendy decoration or a well-known speaker. It’s a well-thought-out vision. To determine your concept, it is important to think about the following questions

What is the reason for the event?
Why are you organizing this?
What is the added value of your event?
What do you want to achieve with your event? Do you want to celebrate certain milestones of your company with your employees? Bind customers to your company? Or perhaps you would like to promote a new product to your target audience?
What have you done in the past? What worked well? What didn't work as well?
What message would you like to convey to your guests?

Step 2: It’s all about the money

It is important that you know very clearly in advance what your investment will be and what amount you want or can spend on your event. The best way to approach this is to request quotes from suppliers and compare them. Do not request more than three quotes per supplier. After all, they spend time on this to prepare an appropriate quote. Also build in a buffer in advance and make sure not to forget elements such as insurance, first aid, permits, security, … Items that are easily overlooked, but necessary for the correct execution of your event.

An event agency knows this – thanks to years of experience – and is therefore well aware of unexpected costs and can best anticipate them.

Do you still want extra income? In that case, you could work with entrance fees or sponsorship from relevant parties.

Step 3: Determine your target audience

Now you are going to determine the target audience for your event. But who belongs to that target audience (customers, colleagues, sponsors, a combination of them)? And what is important to your target audience? What do they need and what do they care about? Think carefully about these questions, you will need this info later when choosing a venue, creating a communication plan, etc.

Also not unimportant:

How many people do I want/can I invite?
Are plus ones allowed?
What's in it for them? Why would (should) this target audience come to my event?

Step 4: Find a suitable location

When choosing a suitable location, it is important to take your concept into account. Ideally, your chosen venue should have the same look and feel as your concept. For a high-end event, you can look for an unusual location. Does your event revolve around sustainability? Then look for a location in the countryside that is perfectly accessible by public transport or other more sustainable transport options. It is also possible to transform an entire black box venue into the appropriate location for the concept. But keep in mind that you will need a lot of decorations ánd the right furniture

On top of that, you obviously need to consider a number of other practical matters:

Available facilities (What is a must? What is a nice to have?)
Availability dates
Do I choose indoors or outdoors? If you choose a vacant lot, you still need to provide a lot of extras, such as electricity or ramps for cars to drive on and off.
Accessibility, both by public transportation and by car
Does this fit my budget?

Step 5: Who or what do I need for support?

To know whether you need to call on external parties, it is necessary that you first map out the flow of your event. What does the perfect day/evening look like? What can I do myself? What am I better off outsourcing? Which elements or services are already present at my location? This could include:

Photographers and videographers
Audiovisual material
Logistics partners
Restroom ladies or gentlemen
Parking stewards

Step 6: What will your guests eat?

Whether you are hosting a real dinner party or just a fun gathering, make sure you have thought about what your guests will eat and drink. The following questions can help you get started:

For how many people do you need to provide food?
How many meals should I provide (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks…)?
Do I choose small snacks or a full meal?
Do you eat at the table or do I choose a walking dinner?
Do I choose a gala dinner or food trucks?
Are the necessary facilities available at my chosen location?

Tip: go as vegan, vegetarian and ecologically as possible. Encourage your guests to notify you in time if they are unable to attend the event. That way, you avoid having food provided that has to be thrown away afterwards. It’s also best to work with caterers who are committed to using local and seasonal products.

Step 7: A good event sells itself

Now that your event is starting to take shape, it’s time to come up with your communications strategy and event marketing. How will you inform guests of your event? How can your guests register? Some ideas:

A separate event page on your website with a registration platform
Press conference (e.g. when opening a new building, appointing a new CEO…)
Social media
Printed invitations by mail
Press, radio and TV

The communication does not stop after the event is announced. Also think about how and what you are going to communicate during/after the event. Consider the tone of voice. Of course, this should also be in line with your concept (and therefore with your company, values and target audience).

Step 8: D-Day, the day of your event

Good preparation is half the work. Leave no details to chance and provide a roadmap, including all contact details of the suppliers involved. Make sure everyone is briefed in advance about the task assignments to avoid any (not so fun) surprises. Are you going to go big? In that case, you may want to perform a dry-run of your event in advance. That way you can immediately see where there is still room for improvement and if your planned timetable is realistic.

Very important: put safety first! Make a contingency plan in case things go wrong, both in terms of content and technically. Also consider emergency exits and make sure they are easy to recognize and to reach.

Step 9: Time to evaluate and to say thank you!

Your event is over! Hopefully it was a great success, and everything went according to plan. This last step is often forgotten but is just as important as the good preparations you have already made.

What is the overall impression?
What was the response of your target audience?
What went well? What could have been better? It is important to prepare a debriefing with your team to determine what you can do better in the next edition. There are always learnings to take with you and even with several years of experience under your belt, you can always optimize your event.
Did you achieve your goals?

Don’t forget to thank your guests for coming. This aftercare ensures that your guests are reminded one last time of this wonderful event and that they will remember it longer. In this communication, you can also encourage your target audience to take a certain action or to communicate about your product or company. Preferably, you should also send along some atmospheric images.

As you can see, there is a lot involved in organizing an event. Do you want a perfectly organized event, tailored to your needs and would you rather leave this to real professionals? Our masters can’t wait to get to work for you!