An event planning checklist is your event’s Bible. Everything you do, plan on doing, or want to avoid altogether, must go through this checklist. Some might feel that creating and maintaining an event management checklist is a burdening task. However, when you get used to it, you’ll soon realize that it’s only for your better.
Planning an event is no walk in the park. You need to have everything in place, and more importantly, this information must reflect correctly in your checklist. The onus should be on creating an optimized event checklist that covers all the critical aspects of your event.
These include details on event scheduling, contractual agreements with the speakers, post-event action items, and much more. Here, we take you through the journey of an event by addressing the integral elements of the “perfect event planning checklist.”
Why Should You Create an Event Checklist
Consider your event planner checklist as an insurance policy. You don’t want bad things to happen, but you still have it to ensure all preventive measures are in place. What’s better, you have more control over the activities leading up to the event. Resources, agreements, time slots, ticketing – everything can be managed efficiently via these checklists.
The best thing about an event management checklist is its scalability. You can create these lists for small and large events alike on similar parameters by simply modifying the logistical details and addressable audience. We advise you to get tech-savvy and leverage event technology trends to get the best out of your events.
Checklist Essentials for All Event
1. Date and Time
Event checklists lay a solid foundation for your event even before D-day arrives. Therefore, start by penning down the date and time of your event. A critical aspect of this checkpoint would be to finalize an ideal date and time slot for your attendees.
Deciding on a venue for your event should be an educated decision. Discuss with your team members, consider past experiences, and think from your audience’s perspective to choose a quintessential venue. Ensure that you mention all the contractual agreements, post-event discussions, etc., in your checklist.
3. Event Objectives
Event objectives are the driving force that fuels the team to work together in the right direction. These set the targets for all the groups involved in end-to-end event management. You need to mention every objective in your event management checklist and ensure that everyone is aligned with their objectives.
4. Event’s Specific Tasks
How do you plan to bring the event to life? Do you have contractual agreements with vendors or entertainers that’ll light up the venue? All these questions must be answered before rolling out the invites to your audience. The event-specific tasks form an integral part of your checklist.
5. Target Audience
The event management and hospitality industry give you instant validation. It’s a sight to behold when your attendees have a fun time at the event, and your executions meet the schedule.
However, things can also go awry if you haven’t done enough research about your potential audience. It’s your responsibility as an event manager to understand your audience’s expectations.
You should convey a glimpse of the upcoming event to the attendees and prioritize their preferences.
Checklist Sections for Scheduling an Event
What should you create, execute, and monitor when scheduling an event? Here are the key pointers that’ll help you out:
1. Create a Template
It’s imperative to have a template in place before you start listing all the to-dos in your checklist. The idea is to have hassle-free access to this checklist template whenever you need it. You’re free to choose any tool or software you’re comfortable with.
Here’s a complete event planning checklist for you. Just make a copy and use it in your every event.
2. Keep the Event Up-to-Date on the Website
Event managers often fail to synchronize the event’s updates on the official website because they don’t have it in their event planning outline. However, this can adversely affect customer acquisition and the entire user journey.
Therefore, always update details regarding the upcoming event on your website. Occurrences like changes in timings, event schedule, food menu, and more are of great value to the attendee. The best way to convey these updates is via your event website. Hence, make sure you have a professional event website.
3. Reminding the Speakers/Entertainers
It’s an absolute nightmare when a speaker or guest celebrity has to pull out of the event at the last moment. However, timely reminders and quick conversations with your speakers can help mitigate this risk. This can also give you an extra day or two to make necessary arrangements.
The entire event management team works relentlessly to send multiple event reminders to the audience. Sending timely reminders to the speakers or the stars of the show would surely place you in a safer space.
4. Management for Overcrowded Sessions
It’s a low moment for any event management team when the event’s arena has empty seats. A bigger setback is when you cannot manage the crowd due to miscommunication, assumptions, or anything else.
Therefore, align with the marketing team on the total expected number and visit the event’s venue to fathom the arena’s capacity. You can discuss with the venue’s owner to understand more about alternate accommodation facilities for the attendees.
How to Go About Planning an Event’s Budget?
Budget is such a vital aspect of any event that it’s fair to say that it deserves a separate document for itself. However, the art of creating an optimized event planners checklist template integrates budget within the same list.
Start by mentioning the major categories like venue’s rent, the cost for meals, speaker’s fee, etc. Once done, delve deeper into these categories to create subcategories. Remember, your event’s budget is a living document, and changes can come on the fly.
Therefore, keep readdressing the expenses to have a clear picture of the overall expenditure. Penning down all your expenses beforehand also ensures that you don’t deviate from what you can realistically afford.
It also offers opportunities to save a few pennies without compromising the quality of food, decor, and the overall event.
Tip: You can easily find sponsors for your event as your venue partner, media partner, or other.
Managing the Marketing Aspects of the Event Through a Checklist
Attracting eyeballs to an event is the holy grail of every event manager. You must promote your event in a way that resonates with your offerings and also goes well with your target audience.
For instance, a fun event for millennials shouldn’t have formal or corporate connotations as it’ll kill their interest to be a part of your event.
There’s a lot that you need to take care of on the marketing front. With some mindboggling event advertisement and digital marketing, you can easily attract a great deal of audience. Therefore, it’s better to have it all compiled in your event management checklist. Some critical pointers include:
1. Social Media
Today’s day and age necessitate the presence on various social media platforms to have maximum reach. Create fliers, craft engaging posters, and post them systematically on different channels to enjoy improved results.
Everything’s trackable on digital media. Therefore, you can modify the content, publishing time, or anything else that you feel is stopping the campaign from hitting its true potential. In addition, you can set KPIs (key performance indicators) to measure the performance of each marketing iteration.
Tip: Nowadays, it is crucial to promote an event on social media to increase revenue and reach a wider audience. You wouldn’t want to miss out on social media promotions.
Powerful branding separates your event from “just another event.” Today, you don’t have to spend a fortune to foster positive results via branding. Simple giveaways, funky merch, and impactful event taglines are enough to draw attention.
Cover each aspect of branding individually in your event planning checklist to ensure it works as a self-reminder.
3. Event Management Website
Having a website to promote your event is no longer an optional tool. You can’t survive in today’s cut-throat competition without hosting an optimized event management website.
It’s vital to note that a user that might land on your website for your upcoming event won’t purchase a ticket for this event. For that, you need great event descriptions and captions to make your event appealing to the audience.
However, a quick view of your event calendar can educate the user about various other events. Therefore, you’re improving your chances of securing organic customers by just having a decent website.
Tip: Creating a structured event management website is a crucial step as more than half of your registrations will be linked to it.
Planning an Event Design By Leveraging an Event Management Checklist
Behind every successful and memorable event, there are several well-timed moments that bring an event to life. The question is, can you plan all of these? The answer is yes. In fact, with an event planning checklist, you can do much more. Here’s all you need to address:
What are the timelines of each performance or speaker session that are part of your event? Who should occupy the stage first and who’ll take the responsibility of ending on a high? All these come under the program banner of any event and command valuable space in your event checklist.
You can keep a few checkboxes for each performance, specify the time slot, and assess the impact of each delivery. Moreover, don’t forget to keep some buffer time for each session to avoid any last-minute hassles.
Planning your event’s layout is the perfect example of how small things make a big difference. It includes the placement of everything at your venue. Seating arrangements, placement of speakers (small and large), food stalls, and everything else is a part of the layout.
Another instrumental element that we often overlook to include in our event planners’ checklist template is the event’s theme. Your theme should resonate with the values and message you want to deliver via your event.
You can deliver a cohesive guest event experience via the theme you host for your event. Today, a theme isn’t just what’s present at the venue. It’s the central hook that drives your entire marketing campaign and creates the much-needed buzz for any event.
Event Management Checklist for Event Logistics
Hassle-free resource availability is a privilege that you enjoy when you have an event checklist in place. You don’t want to scamper at the very last moment to find a secondary mike or an extension cord. Therefore, mention all the logistics in your checklist. Here’s how:
1. Create an Equipment Checklist
Open a fresh page, start listing all the devices and gadgets you’ll be needing for your event, and get a peer review done. Sounds simple, right? It’s indeed pretty straightforward when you create this equipment checklist well before your event.
Don’t forget to keep separate checkboxes for backup devices. This will indicate your level of preparedness as D-day approaches.
2. Online Services
Do you wish to stream your event on a digital space, or are there other broadcasting plans in mind? Showcasing your event on digital media is an efficient way to increase brand awareness and bolster your credibility. However, it’s imperative to sort everything from stream timing, server bandwidth, chat monitoring, and more before going live.
Something as basic as your internet connection while streaming the event can make or break your digital event. Therefore, always have a power backup for your internet in case there are power fluctuations.
3. Catering Management
It’s not just about serving appetizing meals when you include catering management in your event planning checklist. When should the welcome drinks begin, for how many servings, and in which varieties? All these must be answered in your event management checklist and not on the event day.
The best way to decide your event’s menu is by asking the attendees themselves. How? Thanks to the internet, you can ask for their preferences via straightforward 1-minute polls. Moreover, you can record this information at the point of customer registration itself. Chop and choose wisely from the available data to draft the perfect veg/non-veg menu full of delectable delicacies.
4. Attendees for Guests
It’s a temptation to do a bulk of work by yourself. However, you can have everything on your platter at once because there’s a limit to how much you can consume. Therefore, discuss in advance and align with your teammates on who’s going to greet the guests.
Again, greeting your guests doesn’t imply there’s no action item before they reach the venue. Sending event notifications, polite reminders, and assisting them with directions and parking – all come under this banner.
5. Event Backup Planning
No one wants their event management plans to go south. However, you can’t control everything. For example, bad weather can ruin a beautiful night of melodious songs on a rooftop. But, does this mean event cancellation? No. All you need is an optimized backup plan by considering all the natural, software, hardware, and attendance variables.
Keep a separate tab for backup planning in your event checklist. This will assist you in moving to pre-approved solutions in case of deviations. The best part is that you’re covering most of the negatives in your event management checklist. So, you don’t have to bother about coming up with something special in haste on the event day.
6. First Aid Management
You should have proper first aid management in place to provide immediate assistance to the patient in case of a mishap. It’s something you rely on the venue’s staff to arrange. However, you can assign this task to yourself and remove dependency on anyone.
Offering a Memorable Guest Experience
You might think that offering a memorable guest experience is everyone’s topmost priority, so why mention it separately in the event checklist? The reason why you should do this is to ensure everything’s in order well before the event begins.
Guests who arrive early at the venue should not feel uneasy. Therefore, plan for trending ideas like selfie zones, photo booths, funky lobbies, and more as per your budget. Always take event feedback on these ideas from the attendees to enhance your future event planning checklist.
Engage with the Event Volunteers
Regular interactions with your event volunteers allow you to look after their health apart from the progress reports. Arranging a quick meal for them can revitalize their energies.
On the work front, ensure that you’re fully aware of what each volunteer is doing and chip in with your advice when needed. Continue to have short meetings and keep pressing on the event objectives to align each volunteer on the same page. Track all the progress in your event checklist.
What to Include in a Post-Event Checklist?
An event planner checklist isn’t complete unless it has details on your post-event action items. Your adrenaline is pumping after the marquee event, and it’s not a rare occurrence to forget in such an elevated state of mind. Mind you event promotion is an endless process- pre-event, during the events, and post-event. It’s not gonna stop.
That’s why you need an event checklist for post-event tasks. Here’s all you need to cover:
1. Thank You Notes After the Event
Touch base with your attendees after the event’s conclusion. The best way of doing that is by sending thank you notes to make the event memorable. You can also ask for honest feedback on your event in the same conversation.
Ensure that you take the criticism (if any) constructively and build on it to improve your future events. Always be open to suggestions and discuss with your teammates to analyze the best way of introducing the new changes.
2. Post-Event Review Report
The post-event review report is an integral part of any event planners checklist template. This is the time you spend with your teammates to reflect on the positives, negatives, highs, and lows. Keeping an ideology similar to “there’s always room for improvement” can take your event management business to new heights.
Always include your event objectives in this report and assess the ones that were achieved smoothly. Once done, move to the ones that you couldn’t meet. Have open-ended discussions to comprehend where you need to improve and the ways to achieve it. Keep comparing these reports as you host more events to maximize the accomplishment ratio.
Tip: You must conduct a pre-event survey to get an idea of what your audience expectations are and what you should include in your events to sell more tickets for your event.
3. Gestures of Appreciation for your Team Members
Start with a thank you note for your special guests, performers, celebrities, and venue owners. Discuss long-term objectives and work with them like you’d with your business partners. Don’t forget to pat your team members on their backs, especially if the event didn’t go according to plan.
Something as subtle as a social media post appreciating your team members can fuel them to become better versions. Gift items, giveaways, or lunch parties are explorable options as well. This will boost the morale of your teammates before the hustle for the next event begins.
4. Share Photos and Videos
It’s imperative to improve your brand’s credibility in today’s competitive marketplace. Sharing memorable photographs and clips of your successful event is an efficient way of doing it. Tag the attendees and participants to increase the reach of your social media posts.
Tip: Now that your event is over, your post-event marketing and promotions are not. Post-event engagement plays a vital role in your future events. Get a few more tips on how to make your events a huge success.
Event management becomes fun when you have an optimized event planning checklist in place. It helps you delegate tasks to your teammates, vendors, and volunteers and assists with scheduling and logistics management.
You can also analyze the performance of each individual in event management by preparing a post-event checklist. It’s important to understand that an event checklist streamlines all the event tasks. It’s your vigor to conduct the “best event ever” that fuels you to take up these tasks and accomplish all the event objectives!
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Manali is a writer, editor, and content marketer by profession who specializes in event management and planning. She is working with AllEvents to help them create engaging content that drives the event organizers forward.