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Event Planning & Management, Event Templates & Checklists
26 June 2023 

Corporate Event Planning: Checklist and Guide

Chaviva Gordon-Bennett
Chaviva Gordon-Bennett
Corporate Event Planning: Checklist and Guide

Every event professional has the same goal for corporate event planning: to orchestrate an engaging experience that delivers favorable business outcomes.

Corporate event planning checklists can significantly increase your chances of achieving your event goals. Plus, checklists help you stay organized, ensure everything is accounted for, and make it easier to scale your event strategy.

In this post, we’ll examine different types of corporate events, common goals event professionals aim for, what your corporate event planning checklist should include, and tips to remember as you start the corporate evening planning process.

Types of Corporate Events

As you begin planning your next corporate event, your approach may vary depending on the type of event, the size and scope, and what you hope to accomplish. Some of the more common types of corporate events include the following:

  • Trade shows are larger events that unite people who want to experience products, exchange ideas, learn new skills, gather leads, and meet other folks in the industry.
  • Team-building events foster camaraderie by bringing coworkers together to learn new things and get to know each other on a deeper level. 
  • Product launches highlight new products and services an organization brings to market to generate buzz and excitement.
  • Conferences and seminars, like HubSpot’s INBOUND, are typically the largest events and feature keynote addresses, seminars, breakout sessions, networking opportunities, workshops, and more.
  • Networking events are designed to help folks meet other people in their industry and learn new things.

5 Examples of Goals for Corporate Events

According to a report from Allied Market Research, the U.S. corporate event market — which brought in $95.3 billion in 2020 — is expected to reach $510.9 billion in revenue by 2030, growing 17.3% annually. This impressive growth can be attributed to the fact that corporate events deliver several benefits to organizations, like the following opportunities:

  1. Celebrate your wins. You can increase employee happiness, engagement, and productivity by using events to recognize your team’s hard work.
  2. Motivate employees. Events are a great way to motivate your team. Not only will employees feed off the energy of the event, they will also learn new things, meet new people, and develop new skills.
  3. Generate leads. Hosting a corporate event creates the perfect atmosphere for meeting new business prospects and capturing leads. Since most attendees will likely head to your event because they’re interested in what you offer, you won’t have to pitch them cold.
  4. Promote your brand. Events enable you to bolster brand awareness and get people talking about your company on social media, enabling you to leverage word-of-mouth recommendations.
  5. Improve employee retention. Since events make employees happier and help them develop in their careers, they serve as a vehicle for reducing employee turnover — a nice bonus in today’s difficult job market. 

Photo by Canva Studio

The Ultimate Corporate Event Planning Checklist

Having a checklist when planning a corporate event is paramount because it ensures a systematic and organized approach to the entire process. A checklist serves as a comprehensive guide to the essential tasks and details that need to be addressed, helping you stay on track and minimizing the chance you overlook crucial elements. It also enables better time management and coordination among team members while enabling progress tracking. 

But the best part of a checklist is that you can use it repeatedly from event to event, updating as you go for what worked best and what missed the mark. As you begin creating your event planning checklist, here are some things you’ll want to include:

☐ Goals: Decide What Success Looks Like 

Clearly define what you want to achieve with your corporate event and outline what success looks like. Ensure your event goals align with your business goals. 

☐ Logistics: Set a Date, Format, and Location

Pick a date and an event type, considering availability, attendee preferences, event objectives, and potential scheduling conflicts (e.g., holidays or seasonality). Consider second-tier cities and outside-the-box locations to save on event costs and make it easier for attendees to justify coming. 

doing more with less for event planners

☐ Theme: Choose a Memorable Concept

Select an event theme that aligns with your objectives to create a cohesive, memorable experience for attendees. Not sure where to start? Check out these “27 Unforgettable Corporate Event Themes.” 

☐ Budget: Assess Costs and Source Vendors

Figure out how big your event budget should be and identify vendors that can provide the services you need at price points you can afford.

☐ Venue: Choose the Perfect Location

Select a venue that suits your event’s size, location, and requirements, ensuring it aligns with the theme and atmosphere you want to create. Not sure where to start in choosing the right venue? Read our article, “10 Tips for Choosing the Perfect Conference Venue.”

The Vendry and bizzabo find venues and vendors

☐ Speakers: Decide on Keynotes, Sessions, and Entertainment

Figure out which speakers will impact your event most by engaging and captivating attendees. Don’t forget to cast a wide net for diverse and lesser-known speakers to ensure your event meets attendee expectations and that attendees feel represented. 

☐ Marketing: Craft a Promotional Plan

Develop a comprehensive event marketing strategy to promote your event and attract attendees. Be sure to include assets and promotional materials for your partners, vendors, speakers, and others to share on their social channels to boost attendance. 

☐ Run of Show: Create Meaningful Experiences

Map out the schedule and activities for your event, including breakout sessions, fireside chats, workshops, and networking opportunities. Be sure to spend plenty of time on independent activities like self-care, 1:1 meetings, and much-needed downtime. 

☐ Event Tech: Lock in Your Event Management Software

If you haven’t already, vet the right corporate event management software to power your event. The ideal solution will include a mobile event app, event networking tools, and plenty of options for webinars and virtual events. 

consolidating event tech stack ebook

☐ Registration: Invite Attendees and Promote Your Event

Send out invitations to your target audience and actively promote your event on social media, relevant media outlets, email, paid ads, and other key channels. Start promoting your event early so you can send follow-ups and last-chance communications. 

☐ Food and Beverage: Plan the Menu

Hire a caterer or local business and plan the food and beverage offerings to meet the needs and preferences of your attendees. Be sure to consider sustainable materials for your event, including compostables or reusable items instead of plastic. Choose vendors that use locally sourced and processed ingredients to ensure a low carbon footprint. 

☐ Contingency Planning: Consider All Potentialities

Prepare for unforeseen circumstances by developing an event contingency plan to address any issues or emergencies that may arise during the event. Ensure your plan includes options for speakers backing out, vendors backing out, inclement weather, and every other possibility. 

☐ Rehearse: Do Final Walkthroughs

Do a dry run of your event to address any logistical or technical concerns ahead of time and ensure a smooth experience when the big day arrives. Be sure speakers have all the information and prep they need to succeed. 

☐ Event Follow-up: Survey Participants To Measure Success

Collect feedback from attendees, speakers, and vendors by distributing surveys post-show. Consider offering incentives to encourage participation, such as gift cards, sustainable swag, or a virtual meet-and-greet with one of your keynote speakers. 

☐ Post-mortem: Gather Stakeholders To Evaluate Success

Conduct a thorough evaluation of the event’s outcomes, discussing what worked well and areas for improvement to inform future events. Be sure you take plenty of notes and add them to your event documentation so you can pivot at your next event. 

Tips for Corporate Event Planning Success

To increase the chances your corporate event delivers the results you’re aiming for, keep these tips in mind as you finalize your plans:

  • Start the planning process earlier to allow ample time for all necessary preparations.
  • Build an engaging agenda, but leave room for networking and decompressing.
  • Ask attendees what they want to see at the event.
  • Look at historical data and surveys to ensure you’re not repeating sessions that fell flat.
  • Build your list of must-haves and nice-to-haves and communicate to stakeholders when you have to compromise for budget, time, or event goals.
  • Embrace technology and invest in a purpose-built event management solution you can rely on to plan, execute, and analyze your event.

Survey attendees, employees, and speakers afterward to gather event feedback and learn what you can do better next time.

Get Started: Make Your Next Corporate Event the Best Yet

Quote
To be prepared is half the victory.
Miguel de Cervantes
Spanish Novelist
1547-1616

Making your next corporate event one for the ages starts with meticulous planning. By creating a corporate event planning checklist and using it to guide the event planning process, you can ensure no details are overlooked as you prepare for your next event.

To help you tackle planning your corporate event, we’ve built several kits fully loaded with run-of-show templates, budgeting guidance, and much more. Whether your corporate event is in-person, virtual, or hybrid, we have a kit to maximize your efforts and help you spend more time on building experiences and less time on the nitty-gritty: 

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