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Industry Experts Share Their Top Tips for Hosting a Large Scale Event

Industry Experts Share Their Top Tips for Hosting a Large Scale Event

2018 has arrived and the event world is changing. Corporate event planning, for example, is no longer (for want of a better word) ‘dull’. You must be innovative and exciting, providing your guests with enough opportunity to want your services. Our event planning experts have hosted more large-scale events than you have had hot dinners. They understand the basics of hosting a celebration, and know exactly what goes into that event planning checklist. Keep on reading for their event planning tips for your company this year.

Our Event Planning Experts

Maria Sullivan, Communications Manager: British Heart Foundation

“There are three main factors. Customer experience; create an event experience tailored to your audience. Think about why they are there and what they want to get from attending. Second is contingency.Always have a back up plan, from speakers pulling out at the last minute to catering forgetting the vegetarian option, plan for train strikes and bad weather etc. By having a back up plan you'll stay in control and calm. Finally, briefing. Do not underestimate the power of a good briefing. From the smallest of details like the full address on a map, to running through the whole event end to end.”

Patrick Grace, Group Communications Manager: The Mears Foundation

“Think about what the purpose of the event is and who your target audience is. This will deliver the strategic objectives as part of a project plan. Prioritise and plan every detail, including contingency time. In the events business, something will always change so allow yourself to be flexible, and don’t worry if plans change. All you can do is be ready for change, embrace it and look on the positive side. You should also know your audience and what they expect. Once you know expectations, you can deliver and surpass them.”

Jordan Hewitt, Events Coordinator: Sunderland Software City

“Communication: Never forget the importance of communication, and communicating effectively. Relevance: You might come up with a brilliant event concept, have a vision of your venue and even drafted an engaging, and rather hilarious, invitation. But just how relevant is it to your audience? Partnering: If you’re hosting an industry/sector specific event, don’t disregard the option of partnering with a fellow business or organization. Planning: Never underestimate the power of a great plan.”

Rachael Stevenson, Events and Entertainment Planner and Manager: Rachael H Stevenson Ltd

“Budget is always at the forefront of a planners mind. However, always take great consideration into the overall guest experience even if it may come at a higher cost to the client. Never underestimate the power of hiring professional and experienced event staff and entertainment. It does not matter how well planned or creative your event is, if you do not have the correct staff and or entertainment in place. Lastly, once you have finished planning your event with the end in mind, step back and start to make a second plan for contingencies.”

Nic James Jennings, Chief Marketing Officer: Naoris

“Take the opportunity to arrange face-to-face meetings with some of those difficult-to-reach people you know will be in attendance. Events at the core, are about networking, so grab the opportunity to do just that. You want to make the best impression to support the development of valuable relationships. However, while you can book the best entertainment, goodie bags, speakers and catering - the event experience comes down to the atmosphere you create. Small details can mean the difference between a good vibe and a cold event. Good lighting and background music can help to bring about the atmosphere you’re looking for.”

Catherine Harland, Media and Communications Director: DigiPro

“Strategic planning is crucial to a successful event. Know your target audience, even ahead of booking the venue. It’s imperative to understand and reach who you are trying to attract to your event. Use social media wisely with a well thought out strategy. Generate further interest by being savvy on social media platforms and wet your target’s appetite with well thought out posts, posted at times when your target audience will most likely see them. Finally, it’s a great idea to have attendees check in, even if you aren’t charging for an event. You want to be able to track how many people attended, and if you ask for their email address, you can follow up and announce future events.”

Victoria Tait, Former Head of Events: DC Thomson

"Putting on a spectacular corporate event, one that has the potential for year on year growth, repeat attendees and sponsorship renewal, requires more than the unique venue, great food, state of the art Audio Visual, and brilliant speakers or entertainment! It is essential, in broader terms, to understand, and, if necessary, adapt to the industry that you’re working in. Seek out the challenges faced by both your clients and that industry, then explore ways to overcome those challenges. Create a unique, event specific hashtag, and use it from the start, ensuring that your clients brand is tagged in all social media activity and included in any event information online. I would also look into Snapchat for your event. Creating a Snapchat Geofilter for an event, is a relatively straight forward and cost-effective way to build a strong connection with your audience."

Kirsty Edwards, Hospitality & Events Sales Manager: Notts County Football Club

“We at Notts County feel there are a number of factors involved. The first, and arguably most important, is the venue. It has to be flexible in order to cater for any last-minute requirements. Next up is timekeeping. There’s nothing worse than being held up by a presentation which overruns, throwing the whole day off-schedule. It’s also crucial that you know exactly what you need to get out of your event, and plan to deliver that effectively. Whether you’re looking to present crucial information, gather delegates’ opinions or provide networking opportunities, preparation and planning are essential.”

Joe Lennard, Events Manager: Roundhouse

“Keep a cool head. Inevitably, in the fast-moving world of events, things sometimes don’t go to plan. Putting contingencies in place is all very well, but reacting to unexpected challenges in a calm and collected manner is essential. Being stressed achieves nothing! Another key attribute of a successful event organiser is to put yourself in the shoes of your guests. You may have a created a beautiful and immersive experience for your attendees to explore, but is it accessible for a wheelchair user, for example? The impact of creative design at an event should not be underestimated but it should never come at the expense of your guests’ needs.”

Natasha Cuthbert, Freelance Events Manager: Curiosity Events (LinkedIn)

“The three things that I feel are very important when planning a major event. Talk regularly with your key stakeholders on the agreed objectives. Discuss the things that are going well and, also importantly, things that are not going quite to plan. Taking these people on the planning journey will only benefit you in the long run and minimises any surprises. Secondly, surround yourself with good people, who will deliver the event you have worked hard for over the months. Build a network of fun, hardworking and reliable team members. However, you also need to have your own back and check in with how your feeling. It’s vital to recognise your own stress levels. Event management requires you to manage multiple tasks and make big decisions in a high pressured environment, and you need to be thinking clearly.”

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