The first step in planning an event is determining the type of event you’ll hold. Are you planning on a formal or informal event? For most events, including weddings and parties, you have the option of making it formal or informal, depending on your preference and event theme. So, what exactly is the difference between formal and informal events? What is required in planning and hosting them?
Formal events are what you would expect in a ceremonial environment–people dressed in formal wear following a specific official event protocol. Only invited individuals are expected to attend such events. Informal events, on the other hand, are the events which do not adhere to the standard mode of formal dressing and event protocols. They are flexible and can incorporate many elements without paying attention to whether they are formally acceptable or not.
Because of their strictness, many people would only associate professional event planning with formal events. Event planning, however, is also critical to informal events since they also require adequate preparation to make them successful. Here are some of the most critical considerations you need to make in planning formal and informal events:
Formal and informal events are held on different days at different times. Most formal events, like executive dinner parties, conferences and exhibitions, are held on weekdays while informal ones are scheduled on weekends. This rule, however, does not apply to all types of events. Some formal weddings for example, are held on weekends when everyone is away from work.
The main perceptible difference between formal and informal events is the dress code. Men in a formal events are expected to dress in tuxes, suits, blazers, bow ties and formal shoes while ladies in gowns, formal dresses and lady suits. Informal events on the other hand, allow their guests to dress as they please. To make your event colorful, you should choose a dress code which corresponds to the theme. Guests at a formal event for example, could be requested to dress in a smart-casual wear with colors corresponding to the theme.
Music significantly dictates the ambiance in an event. If you’re in a formal dinner party with your work mates, you’d expect to have some soft music like jazz playing on the background. Some formal events like conferences don’t even need any music at all. The informal events on the other hand, are characterized with blaring music like rock, electro, house and dance to set the mood for partying and dancing.
Because of the significant differences between these two types of events, it’s important to adjust the planning process according to the event. Finally, make sure that everything is put in place 24 to 36 hours before the event regardless of whether it is formal or informal.
You secured an amazing venue, have enough discounted hotel rooms to accommodate every attendee, and now all that’s left is to figure out the convention schedule. Much of your time in convention planning involves balancing the schedule in a way that makes the event feel full at all times, while facilitating meal break times, set up and tear down times, and other matters that concern your class and workshop presenters.
Establish how much time you have for workshops and classes. Once you know exactly how large the time blocks are, you can start to work in what the main draws are with workshops and classes, and how much programming you need to fill up all of the schedule blocks.
Physically examine all of the spaces for workshops and classes to determine the size and any special features of the room. For example, rooms with windows, centrally located rooms, and those with special architecture features which may cause a problem, such as pillars.
Send a survey to all of your presenters to determine how much equipment they need in their spaces, whether they have any special room requirements, and their preferred time. This way you avoid having a lot of grumpy presenters in the morning, who simply aren’t morning people in the least.
Use a scheduling tool instead of scheduling by hand. Balancing a convention schedule is as much of an art as a science, and getting help from a tool set takes some of the pain out of the process. BusyConf.com allows you to balance out the workshops that are going to form the keystone of your programming with smaller classes throughout, giving your schedule a mix of must-see workshops and downtime that keeps all of your attendees happy. Another advantage to using BusyConf is its ability to streamline the review committee process, automatic mobile schedule creation, and easy-to-use registration.
Don’t overload the schedule. You want to put breaks around the standard lunch and dinner hours to give your attendees time to grab food. Work with the hotel or local restaurants for the best hours for these breaks, so they aren’t getting overloaded during their normal lunch and dinner rush hours. By putting breaks in the schedule, you also give attendees time to network and socialize, instead of making them feel as though there is always pressure to attend the next session.
Conventions require a great deal of time, energy, and effort in order to be successful. You can have the best venue and attendance in the world, but if your scheduling is problematic you’re going to alienate presenters and attendees alike. Use all of the tools at your disposal to create a schedule that makes everyone talk about how excited they are about the next time the convention comes into town.
Want great booth ideas, speakers or activities that people will actually
enjoy at your next event? There is one free, fool-proof way to get all
the ideas you need without a focus group. Here is how you can plan the
perfect event using an unusual brainstorming technique.
Go to the People
The number one best way to get killer ideas for your event is to go to
the people that will be attending it and ask them, point blank, what
they want. There’s no need to go door to door or to send out surveys,
If you have a Facebook page or Twitter account for your business, you
already have people ready and willing to give you their opinion.
Recently, a fundraising event planner decided to expand their Zombie
Walk into an all-day festival, but they needed ideas for events that
people would actually want to attend to fill the day’s itinerary. So, he
went to their Facebook page with a few ideas and pitched them to the
page’s followers. Within a few hours, the event planner had hundreds of
opinions and many new ideas. With just a few minutes worth of time, he
was able to ascertain which ideas where hits, which ones needed some
work, and he also had a list of new ideas. That’s a clear win.
The Anti-Social Media Alternative
What if you don’t have a Facebook or Twitter following that is big
enough to offer any value? Well, there are plenty of places online where
you can reap opinions from very passionate people. The best places to go
are forums that target the people that will be coming to your event.
For example, if you are having a small conference for work at home
mothers, and you wanted to know what kind of classes or speakers work at
home mothers would find interesting and valuable, hit the
WAHM forums and ask them. People are on forums
because they want to share. You may be surprised at how many replies you
Remember, though. Be friendly and be courteous when visiting a forum for
the first time. Of course, it is always best to approach forums in which
you are a long-time member for the best results.
If you don’t have money for focus groups and don’t have time to send out
surveys, these methods are ideal for finding great event planning ideas
that will please your attendees.
The most critical requirement in hosting an event is finance. Additionally, you’ll need a well-structured budget to manage the funds and ensure that they are distributed accordingly. Unfortunately, most people do not stick to their budgets. They end up spending more than they hoped they would. The major reason behind this is poor event planning. Unless you have professional event planners organizing your party and managing your funds, you’ll probably end up spending more than you had budgeted for.
Event planners are very reliable in managing and minimizing event budget. Although you will pay some fees when hiring a planner, his/her services will help you a lot of finances. It should therefore be considered as a worthy investment.
There are many ways that event planners can minimize your budget. To begin with, they are very knowledgeable and experienced in managing event budgets. This helps in aligning the budget according to the type of event, host’s preferences and number of guests. Additionally, it prevents the cropping up of costs which are not accounted for in the budget.
People who host events without the help of professional planners always hire caterers to prepare food and drinks for the guests. Although this may not be such a bad idea, it is more expensive than hiring professional planners. That’s because planners also provide catering under an affordable event package.
Apart from catering, another costly element is equipment hiring. Most people do not have the equipment required to host an event. They therefore hire chairs, address systems, cooking equipment, tables, cutlery, tents and decorative items any time they host one. Unfortunately, hiring these items separately is very costly. The only way to minimize the costs is hiring an event planning company which additionally provides the hosts with the necessary equipment.
Some event planners also provide transport to event hosts and guests. They connect the hosts to transport companies with luxury vehicles for events. This helps hosts spend much less than they would have if they hired the cars separately.
Ultimately, event hosts end up saving more money than they would without event planners. Professional planners are therefore not only effective in the actual planning, but also in minimizing the event budgets.
Your event’s website is often the only chance you get to convert visitors into attendees. It is also a resource for attendees who need access to event information, schedules, and instructions. Unfortunately, event planners often overlook their website and do not take advantage of the opportunity to showcase their event to potential attendees. For those who are interested in creating an event website that will serve as a valuable event marketing tool and a tool for attendees, this is an easy to follow guide on optimizing your event website for attendee happiness.
Download the Perfect Event Website Checklist!
1) Dates of the Event
This one is simple enough, but unfortunately it is something that many event and conference organizers forget to add. The dates of your event should be the single most visible thing on your website. Visitors should not have to scroll down to see the dates. If you want to go even further, use an “add to calendar link” to make it easy for visitors to add the dates to whatever online calendar you’re using. The date should be “above-the-fold”, meaning visitors should not have to scroll down to find it.
3) Venue and Relevant Addresses
The event’s venue and all addresses relevant to the event such as after parties and hotels should be easy to find on your event’s website. It is crucial that the address be displayed in large and clear font. Attendees will often go on your website for quick access to the event address. With Google Maps, you can even create a small map to embed on your website that shows visitors the location along with important areas nearby.
2) Speakers and Activities
People want to know what they’re in for. Having pictures and short biographies of speakers can help promote your event and your speakers. A bio should include what the speaker is known for, social media links, and a little information on what they will be talking about. We recommend asking speakers to submit a short bio along with their talk proposal.
4) Link to the Event Schedule
For your attendees’ sake, do not make your schedule hard to find. A link to your schedule should be on your website and all social network profiles. Attendees need to have access to the schedule at all times so they know what is happening at your event. if you’re using a mobile schedule, and you definitely should be, instruct visitors how to use it. Sometimes that means installing a third party app and then entering a code for that specific event. If you’re using a BusyConf schedule, attendees simply save the schedule to their home screens. Avoid friction and instruct users how to access the schedule, regardless of how simple it may seem.
5) Registration/Attendance Page
If people want to attend your event, make it easy for them to do so! Include a link to the event registration page on your website and every social network profile with a clear call to action such as “Register Here”. Again, have clear instructions on how to register for your event. You do not want to lose attendees because they did not know how to register for your event.
If you are organizing an event, then it is a given that someone will need to contact you at some point. Whether that be an attendee, press, or anyone else, make it easy for them to find your contact information. Having a basic email such as “email@example.com” is not enough. Include the personal contact information of the event organizers, including phone numbers and emails. If an emergency happens, you want people to have access to the organizers. Having contact information also helps build trust, because it shows that the organizers of the event are accessible.
###7) Media from Past Event
If your event is an annual one, including images, video, and information on last year’s event is always a good idea. It will help show attendees that your event is worth attending and gives them an idea of how this year’s event will be. Embed slides from past talks, videos of the event, and statistics on the event such as the number of attendees, speakers, and things that happened at the event. If you’re using BusyConf, your schedule is archived so you can link to it to show visitors to your website how last year’s event went.
Social media is an important part of your event marketing strategy and can help you update attendees with time sensitive information. To ensure that attendees follow you on Twitter and like your page on Facebook, have social media buttons or links with call to actions. Share buttons are also a good way to encourage visitors to share the event website with their friends and followers.
9) Mobile Ready
Every website should be optimized for viewing on mobile devices, especially event websites. Attendees need to access your website while they’re at the event and away from their computers. Many Wordpress themes are mobile ready and BusyConf schedules are responsive to whatever device is being used. With tools like these available, there is no excuse for not having a mobile ready website.
Most corporate and social events are set up with the help of professional event planners. These are professionals who are exceptionally qualified in planning and integrating all aspects of an event regardless of its size and purpose. Some of the events which planners major in include weddings, parties, seminars, funerals, fundraisers, dinners, tradeshows and conferences.
People have always been recommended to consult the experts before holding any event. So, how relevant are they? How does professional planning affect events?
One of the most critical aspects about event planning is the budget. Of course you will not be able to hold an event unless you have the relevant funds to meet all costs. Unfortunately, most people are not knowledgeable on how to effectively manage their budgets to host successful events. That is exactly where planners come in.
Professional planners are experienced in event budget management. That means they can efficaciously plan your event according to the budget to meet your expectations. They are also knowledgeable on the affordable party packages which will help you set up a successful event under a limited budget.
It would definitely be embarrassing if your guests failed to show up for an event. That’s why it’s very important to send out invitations to all the guests you expect at your event. Unfortunately, sending them out is not enough to guarantee a good attendance.
For an event to attract all the targeted guests, you need to not only invite them, but also make them feel wanted. Professional planners are particularly good in doing this. In addition to sending customized invitations, they follow up on the guests to make them feel appreciated, welcomed and wanted.
All your guests will need food and drinks. Since it is cumbersome to prepare it for a large crowd, the only way that you can effectively do this is leaving the planning and implementation to event planners. They are exceptionally good in preparing different cuisines depending on your preferences and the type of event you are hosting.
In the military, they call it backwards planning. Planning out your event, your proposal, or your duties with the end result in mind. What is the desired end result of a conference? Most likely you want to see your attendees leaving with a smile on their face, a sense of determination and enthusiasm, and a guarantee that they will be back next year! Let’s start at the end of the conference, and backwards plan to make sure everything is set up and ready for action!
#10 Get Them Coming Back: Sell tickets to next year’s event during the event. You may not have all the details in place, but hopefully, you have a date and a venue. Sell discounted tickets to attendees for next years event so they walk away knowing they are coming back again next year.
#9 Departing Gifts: What are your attendees leaving with? Make sure they are leaving with something valuable and memorable. An item with your logo and the conference name would be ideal. A shirt, pen, or mug are all something that your attendees can use throughout the year, and it is continued advertising for the event.
#8 Closing Speaker: How will you close the conference? Will you have a dynamic keynote to close out the conference and get everyone fired up for next year? Will you end with a reception and dance? Leave a lasting impression, and make the last hour of your event spectacular!
#7 Dynamic Speakers: Speaking of speakers, do you have a great line up of speakers? Have you heard them speak before? Do they have solid reputations? Are they all relevant to your industry and the conference theme?
#6 Good Food and Lots of Coffee: If your event is taking place at a hotel or conference center, the food is probably being provided by the venue. If it is being catered from another establishment, make sure that you have plenty of food and that it is tasty and easy to eat. Stocking up on water, tea, and especially coffee, will ensure your attendees are well taken care of.
#5 Signs and Direction: Make it easy for your attendees to find their next session or where to go for lunch. Have signs made and start place them before attendees enter the building. Attendees want to know they are in the right place. A welcome banner with your name, logo, and the name of the conference assures people they are headed in the right direction.
#4 Decorations: Table cloths and flowers are an easy and inexpensive way to decorate a large room. Add some simple centerpieces to the tables and you are good to go.
#3 Parking/Transportation: If this is a destination conference, allow ample time for attendees to get to the event. Shuttles to and from the airport are helpful as are ample parking once attendees have arrived. Give them a list of ideas for transportation, and have someone available to answer questions as they arise.
#2 Marketing: Start your marketing early with social media, your website, and print materials around town. It is never too early to start marketing your event. Continue to market your event during and after the conference.
#1 BusyConf: Ready to plan your conference? Contact BusyConf and make it a seamless and effortless ordeal. BusyConf is a one-stop platform that allows you to collect speaker proposals, build schedules, and handle ticket registration.
Backwards planning helps you see your conference or event in a different light. It allows you to look at every step and prepare for the unexpected. Ask yourself what your ultimate take away will be and backwards plan from there.
Every event planner wants to sell more tickets. Selling more tickets not only increases your revenue and helps to pay for supplies, meeting space, food, etc., but it also builds morale for the attendees and speakers. Attendees want to be at a full and busy conference. You, as a conference planner, want as many people as possible. No one wants a small crowd. How do you fill that room and increase your ticket sales? Here are a few action items that you can take:
Popular Venue: Find a venue that is well known and popular in your industry or your town. Perhaps there is a fancy hotel and conference center or a local college. Attendees like recognizable venues or exotic destinations with opporuntities for new experiences. A warehouse by the airport probably isn’t going to attract many new attendees.
Social Media: Social media is a free and easy way to promote your event. Create a Facebook business page for your event, and let people know that you are on Facebook. From your business page you can entice followers to go to your conference. It is a great platform for creating conversation and engaging with your attendees. You can also connect your website to your Facebook page and vice versus. This will create more traffic and more opportunity for people to see your event.
Press Release: Write a press release 6 months before your event and then a few more times leading up to your event. Capitalize on your amazing venue, the dynamic speakers, and all of the ways they can learn more about the event (Facebook, Twitter, your website, etc). Send it to all major news outlets. Many news channels also have free online community calendars where you can promote your event. Go to their website and see if you can add your event to their calendar.
Email Blasts: By now you should have a solid list of email addresses from your customers. Create an email blast to send out to your contact list with details of the event. Include a link to buy tickets and make it as easy as possible. You may even want to include an incentive for your contacts. For example, get two friends to purchase tickets to our event and receive 40% off your ticket! People love a discount and word of mouth is great for you!
Content marketing is ideal for promoting an event. Creating tailored
content for your event helps to build awareness and gets people talking.
Generating buzz is critical because most attendees are unlikely to
purchase tickets on the strength of an invitation alone. People are also
more likely to respond favorably to content marketing than traditional
advertising. 80% of business people prefer to get information in the
form of articles than an ad, according to a recent poll by the Content
Marketing Institute. Below you can learn some specific content marketing
tactics to promote your next event.
Guest blogging can be an effective tactic to get attention from targeted
audiences. With guest blogging, you post on popular blogs in your
industry. There are two approaches you can take with guest blogging to
promote your event. Firsty, you can ask speakers if they would like to
contribute a guest blog post and then arrange for it to appear on a related
blog. Alternatively, you can choose to create the content yourself.
Most blogs will not want to share content that is overly promotional
with their readers. This means that you can’t write a blog post about
the event itself. Instead, choose a topic that will be covered at the
event, and write a blog post centered around it. Try to choose a topic
that is likely to stir up interest or a little controversy. Bloggers
like to see comments on posts, and if it is successful, you may be asked
to write for the blog again. You can use your byline at the bottom of
the guest post to include the event details and a link to your website.
One of these easiest ways to find blogs to guest post on is use Google.
Use the following format for your Google search
[Industry] “Guest Post”
So for example, if we were promoting an event for the healthcare industry
we would enter a search for -
Healthcare “Guest Post”
This should produce a list of blogs that are already allowing guest
posts. Reach out to each of the blogs and pitch them your idea for a
Google Hangouts are an excellent way to build buzz for an event. They
also give potential attendees an advance taste of a speakers content, so
they can decide whether it is something they want to watch at the event.
To use Google Hangouts, arrange an interview with a speaker from your event.
Invite people to attend and ask them to provide questions for the
speaker. These questions will form the basis of the interview. You can also use the video recorded from the hangout to promote your event.
Use Video Marketing
Video can attract a lot of eyeballs for your event. On YouTube alone,
more than 1 billion hours of video are consumed every single month.
Unless you already have a lot of subscribers, consider starting a
specific channel to promote your event. This will allow you to release a
series of videos which steadily builds up buzz for the event. People who
want to receive more video content, can choose to follow the channel.
You can use videos from previous events as well as post event footage.
Video content can include interviews with speakers, footage from the
event, and summaries of what is going to be covered. Don’t forget to
include a link in the video description to the landing page on your
Every time that you upload new content, you should share it through your
social networks. Share a link to your video on Twitter and make sure to
uses an appropriate hashtag so that it is easy for other people to
discover. Facebook is another great place to share video content.
Studies show that Facebook members are more likely to share, like and
comment posts which have video footage in it. You can also set up a
dedicated Facebook Fanpage for your event.
Finally, use the “YouTube Insight” function to gain a deeper
understanding of your video marketing. This tool will give you an
overview of the demographics which are viewing your video content and
where traffic is coming from. If a social network is producing better
quality traffic, you should focus your promotional efforts there.
Promoting your event with content marketing requires creativity,
networking, and a little bit of hustle. However, when it is used properly
it is one of the best ways to build awareness and improve attendance for
Your event may seem like a momentary thing. It comes. It goes. It’s done.
But if that were true, why invest in an event at all? According to
the event industry is growing faster than the economy, because every
event is an opportunity to build your brand. If you don’t shape the
legacy of your event, then you’re wasting a significant portion of your
Before Your Event
Even if you’ve never heard “building buzz” before, you’ve seen it in
action. You’ve seen how trailers tease viewers and actors appear on talk
shows before a movie comes out. If they create enough buzz, the theaters
will be packed the day the movie opens.
You have to build buzz over your event to make it a success. By tipping
off your target audience prior to your event, you can build their
excitement and engagement. Tease them with hints and clues about what to
expect. Surprise and delight them. Build their expectations. Then,
deliver something even better during your event.
During Your Event
While your event is taking place, you need to take steps to make it
memorable, appropriate, and appreciated. Whatever the purpose of your
event, you need to engage your visitors in the moment to achieve your
great suggestions, some of which will work for an event of any size:
- Create an event within your event to engage directly with your
- Use social marketing to create an atmosphere of exclusivity and to
encourage participants with in-event reporting.
- Get honest, real-time feedback from event participants.
- Combine technologies to enhance your event.
Keep your marketing objectives in mind throughout your event. It’s not
enough to make it memorable–a drunken lout knocking over your displays
would be memorable. You want to leave a brand-building memory in the
minds of your event participants.
After Your Event
Once your event is over, it doesn’t have to die. Keep your event alive on
social media sites. Get participants to talk about it. If your event is
successful, they won’t need much encouragement.
“The objective is to create an experience that is so engaging and
relevant that brand loyalists talk about it on social media, post
photos, and assume some of the brandwork of creating a consistent
You want participants engaged. You want them to look forward to your
next event. You want the people who missed your event to know they
missed out. You want your event to have a lasting legacy that keeps your
business and your brand in the minds of your customers. You can do all
of that if you use your marketing creativity to shape your event’s
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