How to Plan the Best Corporate Event Ever: Our Most Popular Guide to Corporate Event Planning

team attending a corporate event

Corporate events are a perfect way to bring employees together, celebrate milestones, and put on the best show for the company.

But corporate event planning is about more than just picking out an event venue-its about creating a memorable event experience that will leave your guests blown away.

Corporate event planners have to work within the overall budget, deadlines, schedules, and logistics while staying within the scope of their client’s vision and desired outcome.

Here are some tips for successfully navigating this process so you can be the best corporate event planner ever!

Corporate Event Planning at its best, event planner getting ready and inspecting crockery before the big event

What Is Corporate Event Planning?

So you want to host the best event, don’t you?

Corporate event planning is more like a spectacular production than a straightforward business meeting.

The key to an event that will be talked about for months is in the details. With planning, you can make your corporate production stand out from others and become unforgettable!

But it’s not just about showing off the company, but also getting its message out there and making it known. This can be done through various means such as social media campaigns, dedicated hashtags, or other marketing efforts with specific details on them that would pique someone’s interest to learn more.

Corporate event planning has evolved into an art form for displaying both a companies’ values and beliefs, but also its contributions.

It’s a way to say: “we’re doing something that contributes to our society and we want you to be a part of it”.

audience raising their hands at a corporate conference

The Who, What, and Why of Corporate Events

It’s no secret that planning such events has become more and more popular, especially for bigger companies whose leaders want to impress and outplay the competitors.

Corporate events are usually held to:

  • Provide entertainment
  • Gather feedback and input
  • Enhance communication and relationships within the company
  • Motivate company employees and increase productivity
  • Build brand awareness
  • Product launch, awards ceremony
  • Annual office get-togethers, celebrations
  • Build relationships with business partners, customers, clients, and board members

What does a corporate event planner do?

In short, a corporate event planner has to manage, make decisions, take action and implement strategies for a big day. 

They plan every single detail in advance so that everyone has a great time at an exceptional venue while making sure that it’s well organized. 

Corporate event planner and event management job description

A corporate or private event planner, often known as an event manager, is in charge of planning corporate or private events for companies.

Their responsibilities include meeting with clients to discuss event objectives, maintaining partnerships with catering vendors, venue sourcing, overseeing the set-up, execution, and cleanup of events, overall guest experience.

Other responsibilities and duties are:

  • Venue selection suitable for the event type (trade shows, conferences, awards shows)
  • Reviewing bills and approving payments
  • Managing services budgets and customer finances
  • Organizing event technology tools, audiovisual equipment in advance
  • Coordinating hotel rooms, logistics, transportation, and food
  • Attending and monitoring activities to ensure client satisfaction and event objective
  • Ensuring a seamless onsite check-in or registration process
  • Overseeing event management software and event planning checklist
  • For both an in-person and virtual event (hybrid event) event app and online content management
  • Public relations for the corporate event alongside other key stakeholders
corporate event to do list on brick wall with chalkboard

How to Organize a Successful Corporate Event 

1. Determine the type of event

As you can imagine, there is no one-size-fits-all definition for a corporate event. And there’s no wrong answer when it comes down to what type, as every business will have its own objectives for hosting these types of events! Here are some examples:

Types of corporate events

  • Seminars, conferences, and annual events
  • Tradeshows and expos
  • Client appreciation events and employee-only get-togethers
  • Awards and recognition ceremonies
  • New service or product launches
  • Networking and ceremonial celebrations
  • Incentive retreats and employee recognition programs
  • Milestone celebrations for businesses and organizations
  • Team building events
  • Virtual team building events for remote teams
  • Board and shareholder meetings

Once you’ve determined the type of event you’ll be hosting, it’s time to define the event goals.

2. Set event goals and objectives

Ideally, make a list of what the event organizer wants, what guests may expect to get, and how you can provide such a unique experience.

When things go well with corporate events not only do the corporate event planners win but so do the clients and attendees as well.

A clearly defined goal roadmap can ensure that an event can reach its full potential while maximizing the benefits and providing participants with more value. 

3. Establish an event budget

Budgeting can help you prepare for expenses as well as avoid excess expenditures.

Make a complete list of the budget line items before stepping into the game. For a larger or more complicated budget look for a corporate event management software that includes a dedicated event planning tool and a built-in corporate event planning checklist.

This will help you track your expenditure easily; generate budget reports and show the ROI of your events. For the sake of your business growth, playing it smart is a must.

List all the must-have items like seating and accommodation, meal and beverages, transportation, speakers, etc to better understand the total projected cost.

List down budget forecasts on the venue, food transportation, and speakers. Revisiting a past event’s budget and expenditures can also help you gather the information you need to build a budget for your upcoming event.

After these steps, you can formulate a formal event plan containing event goals and logistical basics. 

4. Decide on your audience

To find the target audience for your event, first, you need to determine your people profile.

This includes details like professional backgrounds, job titles, and the types of jobs they hold, age group, and interests. The more you know about them, the easier it will be to create marketing materials that speak directly to them.

For example, if you are an event planner for a financial services company hosting a conference open to all employees based in New York, the audience is most likely to be young professionals with an average age of 30s.

Knowing who your event requires there in order to make it successful is also a key element in

5. Plan the event theme and format

Themes allow speakers and facilitators to gain a deeper understanding of the audience. They’re a guide that helps them deliver a cohesive message that is relevant and relatable to the audience.

Themes can also help other event planners determine which speakers, sponsors, and exhibitors should be invited for the corporate event.

Successful events have a specific theme or central idea that ties together all of the elements into one meaningful experience.

Corporate events bring in employees from different departments with varying interests and backgrounds, so it’s important to make sure all their needs are met.

In addition to a theme, the event format refers to how your guests will arrive and interact at the event.

For example, corporate networking events allow for people-watching and casual conversation while formal award ceremonies revolve around planned speeches and presentations.

The right colors for your event matter also matter and it all begins with choosing an appropriate palette that will best represent who the company and organization are.

It’s important to know that a theme may create an emotional buzz or a strong message that will take center stage at the event.

The Five Stages of the Event Planning Process

Research

First, decide on your expectations for the event so you can establish quantitative KPIs that can be tested by the final event.

SMART goals and objectives should be specific, measurable, attainable relevant, and time-bound. 

Event design

The next step is coming up with a corporate event that meets your goals and creates a great experience for your intended audience. 

It’s time to figure out your event production and decide the kinds of event technology you require investment in.

The most time-consuming part of event design is working out your caterers before you know how many people will attend.

Branding and event marketing

Consider what you will name the event. Buy social media management software to increase your exposure (creating a decent hype) by keeping your business organized.

If you think about hosting a big event, it might be a good idea to consider using an event marketing agency.

Confirm your event color scheme and logo, plus, create some graphics for promotional materials like brochures or social media posts.

Invest in event marketing software or social network software to enhance the visibility of your event. 

Day of coordination

Each step in your journey consists of carefully planned events. Your job on the day is to lead event communication and become the first person to whom everyone goes to if they need assistance.

You should host a brief introduction before the event and convey to the staff everything they need to know. Make sure that everyone has a copy of the corporate event schedule and provide contact details in case of emergency.

Being super organized here can be the best thing at your event, but being super organized is usually quite hard in the event planning process and I wouldn’t lie… sometimes it becomes the hardest.

Delegate, review, and post-event evaluation

Once the event is over, review and evaluate your performance to see what went well and where you can make changes. 

The data is there, and it will tell you how successful the event was. However, concentrate on things that you can investigate ahead of time to minimize possible hiccups in the future.

Arrange a follow-up meeting with your event committee. Take the time to write down what you’ve learned as it will serve as a handy reference for your next corporate event. Make sure you document your findings!

corporate event planning checklist concept person sitting at computer with virtual sticky notes popping up

Corporate Events Checklist: What Top Event Planners Use for Hosting a Successful Corporate Event

  1. Prepare a budget. Be sure to include the cost of hiring speakers, event staff, catering, advertising, invitations, and decor.
  2. Find a venue. Usually, your office is the best option but if you want something more creative check out some hotels, theatres, convention centers, etc. 
  3. Designing an invitation is one of the most essential tasks when planning a corporate event. Your guests will be expecting a formal invitation, so you need to design something that the right kind of people will appreciate.
  4. Create a list of potential speakers and select those who have good market awareness and knowledge about your industry.
  5. Figure out food and catering. You’ll have to book a caterer for your corporate event and tell them how many people they need to serve, your budget, and what you want them to prepare if you know. Don’t forget about allergies and dietary preferences! Alternatively you can invite food vendors instead of using caterers.
  6. People tend not to attend events without a set agenda, so make sure there is something on the day that is of value for those who attend. At the end of the day, it’s a good idea to add some free time so people can chat and network informally.
  7. The next step is deciding on reception entertainment or activities that will keep everyone entertained before they eat or while they wait for food.
  8. Make use of event technology to keep your attendees interested in what’s going on at your event.
  9. If you really want a successful event, always have an emergency plan in place for any potential problems that may arise on the day. You can’t anticipate everything so make sure you know how to handle things when they go wrong! 

With well-defined goals, a clear budget, and planning in place, you can make sure your next corporate event will be a success!

Corporate events are important for building business relationships and strengthening company culture, so use the tips and tricks in this guide to host an event your clients will remember!

Hope you learned something new today and will put some of these tips into practice for your next event! If you like what you read, don’t forget to share it with your friends & coworkers. 

Best of luck on your next corporate event.

Looking to host a virtual event? Get in touch with our corporate event planners here at Woyago to see a LIVE demo!