Here's a copy of a blog from http://saltsolutions.blogspot.com that I thought would be great to pass on.
TOP TEN TIPS FOR EVENT PLANNING...
Key elements for consideration before you start planning any event.
1. Key Objectives
•Be sure to set out and understand the objectives of the event.
•Consider what you are trying to achieve and how you will achieve this?
•Who are you trying to target and where do you need to be to reach them?
•Be sure to identify the the unique selling point (USP) of your event and make sure you shout about it when marketing and advertising!
•Be original - don’t aim to copy other similar events.
•Decide on your budget and set it out in an easy to follow format. A simple Excel spreadsheet is more than adequate for this.
•Keep this budget sheet up to date and review regularly.
•Carry out a cost analysis to establish how much of the budget needs to be allocated to specific tasks. It’s no use planning a gala dinner dance if you have allocated 75% of your budget to the entertainer and then can’t afford to feed all of the guests.
•Be sure to set aside an element of the budget as a contingency – (approx 10% should be sufficient).
•Establish a Planning Team and nominate one person as Project Manager to coordinate and oversee the progress and budget planning.
•Make sure everyone else knows who this person is and ask them to provide regular updates on their activities to the Project Manager.
•Agree a schedule of regular planning meetings. Make sure these meetings are minuted and clear action points assigned.
•Be certain to allocate timelines to each activity and set clear deadlines to avoid any creep in the overall project timeline.
•Compile a list of venue ‘must haves’ and appoint one person to research suitable venues.
•Be sure to check availability dates, seating and catering capacity, facilities and parking and any other events that might be taking place on the same day.
•Produce a shortlist for inspection and book the venue before announcing any dates to your attendees
5. Action Plan
•Set out key procedures for the following;
•Invitations/Location Map/Parking Permits
•Delegate/Guest arrival and/or registration.
•Managing entertainers/speakers/sponsors/exhibitors and guests.
•Source caterer and ask for referrals from previous satisfied clients.
•Wherever possible ask to attend a tasting before making your final choice from the menus available
•Make sure they can accommodate the date you require.
•Establish menu and any special diet menus.
•Check available facilities for catering at venue.
•Agree timings and numbers of servers with caterers. Hire additional staff if necessary.
•Keep caterer up to date with guest numbers and dietary requirements.
•Ensure all guests receive tickets/passes/parking permits in advance of the event.
•Check for any special dietary requirements.
•Check parking and accessibility for any wheelchair users, disabled or infirm.
•Secure any entertainment, special guests or keynote speakers early on to avoid disappointment.
•Make sure the venue can accommodate their set up requirements.
•Check any licence requirements for the type of entertainment you are planning.
•Provide all entertainers/speakers with a clear itinerary of how the event will progress. Make sure they understand what is expected of them, at what time, and for how long.
9. Check, Double Check and Check again.
•Use checklists, plan ahead and don’t leave anything to the last minute
•Always double check rather than guess.
•Make sure that all bookings with caterers, entertainers, flower arrangers, key speakers are confirmed in writing and always, wherever possible, hold back a final balance payment until they arrive at the venue on the day.
10. On The Day
•Make sure that one person is ‘in charge’ on the day.
•Be sure to signpost the venue well so that guests/delegates understand where they need to go.
•Issue badges or coloured bands to identify guests or groups and manage numbers from a Health & Safety aspect.
•You could either use the services of an Event Coordinator or nominate a member of your team as the point of contact for all onsite staff, contractors, caterers etc. Whoever you decide to use it is vital that you have one person who can stage manage every aspect of the ‘on the day’ activity.