Planning a corporate event — whether that’s a conference, annual meeting, gala dinner or networking event — can be super daunting. Event planning involves juggling lots of spinning plates, from handling the logistics to coming up with creative ideas and making sure every detail is just right. After all, there’s a lot at stake. One step in the wrong direction can hurt not only your brand, but your budget as well.
The key to hosting a successful corporate event? Be prepared with a thorough checklist.
A detailed checklist, with a big picture overview and a clear outline of tasks you’ll need to complete and when, can be a powerful secret weapon throughout the (often chaotic!) event planning process.
Here at Moda Events Portside, we have lots of experience in hosting successful corporate events with the right dash of style, creativity and sophistication. We asked our expert events team for their best corporate event planning tips and — since they never disappoint — they’ve come up with the ultimate corporate event planning guide, complete with a handy checklist!
How To Plan A Corporate Event Checklist
Set Your Time Frame & Stick To It
Our advice is to start planning early. Ideally, we recommend starting your corporate event planning eight to 12 months out from the actual event. This time frame will allow you to keep up a consistent but even pace, rather than rushing to get everything done. If you have less time, don’t panic: you’ll just need to accelerate the time frame we’ve outlined below to suit your event’s needs.
8-12 Months Before Corporate Event
#1 Establish Your Purpose and Goals
A clear roadmap will lay a solid foundation for your event’s success. It’s important to have a strong idea of what you’re trying to achieve before you begin. Ultimately, you’ll need to decide:
- What is the purpose of your corporate event? For example, is it designed to showcase your expertise, provide an opportunity to engage with business partners, or build team morale?
- What type of event will you have? A corporate dinner, a conference, an award ceremony, annual meeting, or a networking event?
- Who is the audience for your event?
- What are the major goals you’d like to achieve with the event?
- What is the message of the event?
- Is this the best event type to achieve your goals?
Corporate event planning tip from the pros: Stuck for inspiration? You can find great ideas by researching industry trends and looking at what similar businesses are doing in terms of the events they hold.
#2 Decide On Your Budget Allocation
- What is your total budget for the event?
- How do you plan to allocate your budget across venue hire, catering and promotion?
- How much profit would you like to make from the event? This will guide your ticket prices.
#3 Choose A Location & Venue
The location and venue set the tone and mood for your event, so it’s extremely important to pick the right venue.
- What kind of venue will suit the type of event you are hosting?
- How many people do you expect to attend? Can the venue accommodate this number?
- Is the location/geographic area convenient for your guests?
- Does the venue offer event planning assistance?
- Does the venue come equipped with AV equipment to suit your needs?
- Do you need to provide Wifi?
Corporate event planning tip from the pros: Having an event planner on your side can be an amazing help. We recommend enlisting the services of an event planner to help you conceive and organise your corporate event. Some venues, like us, offer assistance from event planners as part of our venue package, saving you lots of money, time and effort!
#4 Select A Date
- Is there an ideal date, time or season for the event?
- Is it a breakfast, lunch or dinner event?
- Is there an opportunity to hold your event in the off-peak season?
- Have you selected an ideal date and a second, backup date?
Corporate event planning tip from the pros: Scheduling an event outside of school holidays and/or public holidays can really help your budget, particularly in terms of flights and venues.
8 Months Before Corporate Event
#1 Select A Theme
Looking for creative corporate event ideas – including a unique theme and attractive event program – will ensure your event is an unforgettable experience. Here are a few questions to get you started:
- What is the tone of your event? Do you envision your corporate event as a low-key, casual celebration or a more formal black tie affair?
- What will the event program look like?
- If you are selecting a theme, what themes will resonate with your audience?
- Does this theme complement the purpose of your event?
- How will the theme tie in with your company image?
Corporate event planning tip from the pros: Searching for innovative event ideas that will help your corporate event stand out? The best corporate event ideas and themes are ones that are a little unique, yet complementary to your brand. An experienced event planner can help you select a theme that is an ideal fit for your brand.
#2 Find Sponsors
• If your event will need sponsors, have you identified sponsors who would be a good fit for the event and your audience?
• Have you decided on a strategy to ‘sell’ your event to sponsors?
• Have you segmented your audience to understand their value to sponsors?
• What is the market rate is for sponsorship packages in your industry?
#3 Find Speakers
- Have you compiled a list of ideal speakers?
- Have you reached out to them and invited them to speak?
- Have you drafted up a speaker agreement or honoraria?
- How do they align with your event’s purpose?
Corporate event planning tip from the pros: If you need speakers to attend, research ones that have spoken at events similar to yours and determine your value proposition. Consider what value the speakers will gain from presenting at your event. This is key to making a compelling pitch for why they should attend your event.
#4 Coordinate With Suppliers
- Have you interviewed and vetted suppliers?
- Have you asked for references and testimonials?
- Have you booked caterers (perhaps your venue will offer catering as part of its service)?
- Have you partnered with a business to provide accommodation to guests?
#5 Hire Corporate Entertainment
- What type of corporate event entertainment would suit your event?
- What would you like your guests to experience?
- Who is your target audience?
- Is there a particular theme you would like to highlight at your event?
- Does your venue have room for a stage?
- Have you asked for references or testimonials?
Corporate event planning tip from the pros: If your event is designed to be social or act as a team reward, there are a range of innovative corporate event entertainment ideas you can consider. Think social photo booths, a corporate comedian, a caricaturist, a cover band, celebrity impersonators, or even circus performers!
6 Months Before Corporate Event
Now’s the time to finalise all details for your event, including your speakers, sponsors, venue and event schedule.
#1 Finalise Speakers & Sponsors
- Have all contracts been signed?
- Have you organised bios and photos for speakers?
- Have you started to arrange their travel needs and accommodation?
#2 Finalise Venue Hire
- Have you finalised your venue?
- Have you secured AV and Wi-Fi equipment?
- Have you worked with the venue caterer on an approved menu?
#3 Finalise Event Planning
- Have you drafted an event schedule?
- Have you set your ticket prices (including VIP, early bird, and launch sales)?
- Have you chosen ticketing or registration technology?
#4 Start Event Promotion
- Have you crafted key messages to support the promotion of your event?
- Have you designed a mobile-optimised landing page on your website for the event?
- Have you organised paid advertising, such as a Google Ads campaign, to promote the event?
- Have you created a social media marketing plan for the event?
- Have you created an email marketing campaign for the event?
- Have you listed your event in online event calendars?
- Have you organised event signage?
- Have you posted blogs promoting the event on your website?
- Can you create a promotional video to advertise your event?
2-3 Months Before Corporate Event
#1 Promote Your Event In The Lead-Up
- Have you urged interested attendees to register before it’s too late?
- Have you engaged with attendees on email and social media to build excitement for the event?
2 Weeks Before Corporate Event
#1 Finalise the Big Picture Details
- Have you distributed the final event schedule to all relevant parties?
- Have you finalised all speech scripts?
- Have you confirmed the schedule with suppliers for setup?
- Have you sent final numbers to your caterer?
- Have you reached out to sponsors and speakers to check whether they need anything?
Planning A Corporate Event – Key Takeaways
Organising a corporate event can be a daunting experience. So if you’re looking for an easy way to avoid the stress and hassle, consider enlisting a professional event planner to do all the hard work for you.
Here at Moda Events Portside, we love bringing corporate events to life, including conferences, gala dinners, seminars, product launches, charity events, award nights and corporate Christmas parties… just to name a few!