The Ultimate Event Planning Checklist
Are you thinking about putting on event, but don’t really know where to start or how to organise your time? Don’t panic! We’ve put together a detailed Party Planning Checklist that will reduce your stress and ensure that every detail is covered.
Are you ready? Let’s go!
The best time to begin the event planning process is at least four to six months prior to the date when the event is to be held. The sooner you can start the planning process – the better!
Begin by writing down your aim and objectives. The questions you need to ask yourself include:
« What is the reason for holding the event?
« Who are the people you want to attract?
« How many people are you expecting to attend?
« Is the event free or are you charging for entry?
« If you’re charging for tickets – how much will they cost?
« Where will the event be held?
This will help you determine the size and scale of the event, and what areas you’re going to need to focus on as you go forward.
What is Happening at Your Event?
You need to review your objectives and target audience before you can finalise an event. Look at what other events have done and brainstorm ideas for what you can do. Make firm decisions on the style, tone and length of your event.
Establish an Estimated BudgetWrite down the likely sources of revenue. This list should include any money you’re investing into the event, other potential sponsors, potential partnership deals with other promoters, and businesses that might want to invest in return for some promotion.
Once you’ve got your likely incomings, you need to work out your outgoings. This is everything – right down to the tea bags and choccy biccies. Make sure that you also include any licenses and insurance costs.
Select a Location / Venue and a Back Up.
You need to decide the most appropriate venue for your event. Look at capacity, what is included in the hire (staff, toilet usage, security, lighting, etc). Once you have your first choice, it’s a good idea to look for an alternative, just in case your first choice isn’t available when you need it.
Choose a Date
Check events calendars for your local area and nationally. Try to avoid putting your event on the same day as larger more well-known events.
Book Your Venue
Once you’re certain of the venue you want to use and the date of your event, you need to book the venue to ensure that your event can go ahead in that place on that day. Make sure that you and your venue both understand what is expected and who is supplying what. Get a written contract, don’t just accept a verbal one.
Reach Out and Connect with Sponsors.
Once you know what type of event you’re holding and who your target audience is you need to create a list of potential sponsors. Research how much similar events are charging for sponsorship packages to establish the market rate and start reaching out to the people on your list. Make sure you provide them with an overview of the event, how many people you expect to attend, good reasons why their brand would work with your vision, and the proposed date and venue.
8. Keep Your Financial Projections Up to Date
Each time you make changes to your event plan or confirm a booking, you need to update your budget projections. This will help you keep on top of any changes you might need to make when it comes to ticket and merchandise pricing.
9. Make Your Bookings
Source the people and acts that you want attending your event. Make sure that you get written confirmation of their attendance and pay any advance fees that are necessary. It’s also important that you agree on a cancellation policy and a specific time frame in which they need to contact you if they can no longer attend the event.
At this point you should also create a list of alternatives so that if anything goes wrong, you’ve got back up choices. Check availability with your backups and how much time they would need to be notified for a booking. Write this down on your plan so you can refer back to it if necessary.
Make Arrangements for All Other HiresUsing your plan and the size of the venue as a guide, you should have a good idea of how many people you’re going to need to hire for the night. Start making arrangements for these positions to be covered. You also need to make sure any other hires are done (such as lighting, toilets, security, etc) and have written contracts not verbal agreements.
Register Your Event on Your Ticketing PlatformList your event on the Ticketing Platform, making sure to include any different ticket packages or promotional tiers you are making available. Fill out the page with as much detail as you can. This should include:
- Time, Date and Location
- Type of Event
- Confirmed Guests
- Any Restrictions (such as no under 18s)
Make use of the ability to embed videos and images into the content so people have a visual cue as well as the text.
Make Sure Your Promoter’s Profile is CompleteThe more information you can give your guests about your event, and who you are – the more they will build an emotional connection and trust in your brand. It’s especially important that you provide a way of getting in contact, not just for your guests but for potential sponsors and promoters too.
Check-In with Your Acts and VenueJust because you’ve booked them does not mean they will come. Make sure you keep in touch with your acts and the venue. You should be doing this regularly, that way if an issue does occur, you’re not left floundering at the last minute and can put your backup plans into effect.
Ask for Promotional Goods from Your SponsorsAs well as providing funding for the event, your sponsors may be willing to provide you with some promotional goods to use for your marketing.
Get Your Own Promotional Pieces PrintedIf you’re using flyers and posters, etc then you need to make sure you’ve got them printed in good time. Make sure you take printing and delivery time into consideration when deciding when to order; you don’t want to be ordering 5,000 flyers only for them to arrive on the day of the event! Also, carefully check your graphics – make sure they have the correct information and no spelling errors!
Start Promoting Your CampaignMake use of the different promotional platforms you have available:
- Local Promotion – Flyers, Radio and Newspaper Adverts
- Venue Promotion – Posters, Email Newsletter and Website
- Social Media Promotion – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and other relevant platforms (such as Twitch). Create a bespoke hashtag for your event to get others involved.
- Ticket Platform Promotion – Provide your ticket platform with a high resolution image of your flyer or promotional graphic to allow your ticket seller to promote your event across their social media channels.
- Run Competitions and Countdown Posts as the Event Gets Nearer
Build momentum with your marketing campaigns and encourage people to get involved. Share your confirmed guests, make sure to tag the people who are sponsoring you, and respond to comments and questions. The more interaction and sense of community you build, the more people will remember you and want to attend your event.
- Email Your Guests
If you’ve created an email guest list, you should send out an email to your guests. Thank them for their purchase, give them the highlights of what they can expect to experience, links to any merchandise shops you’ve created, and an option to upgrade their ticket to the next level (if appropriate).
In the email, make sure to include an easy-share option where guests can share on social media that they’ve bought their tickets and this is where other people can buy theirs too.
- Send Out Reminders
Just before the Cancellation deadline that you agreed upon with your Acts and Venue, send out a friendly email that reminds people that the event is getting closer, that you’re pleased to be working with them, and you can’t wait to see it succeed.
This will not only help you build anticipation and enthusiasm, but if anyone does decide to cancel, it’s giving you enough notice to either replace them (staff) or bring in your alternatives (acts).
- Make Public Announcements of Any Changes
If the date, venue or Acts change, you need to let your audience know immediately. People will not respond well if they think they’re coming to watch one Artist and then find that they’ve cancelled – this negative reaction will be even worse if they find out that the Artist cancelled well in advance.
- Get the Venue Ready
It’s likely that you’ve delegated a lot of the tasks involved in preparing the venue, but it’s a good idea to go and walkthrough yourself. Take your initial checklist and the contracts you’ve signed – this will allow you to see who is responsible for what, and make sure everything has been done!
- Prepare the Check-In Area
When people arrive, they don’t want to spend forever queuing, nor do they want to wrestle past long lines of people to try and get to the toilet.
Sort out your check in area so that it’s efficient as possible. If you’re using a combination of paper and digital tickets, it’s a good idea to have two different sections – one for each. Digital check-in is a lot simpler and faster, so this should be given priority, and ideally when you’re selling your tickets, you should promote the digital option more heavily.
- Create Event Plans and Share Important Documents
Give your crew a simple event plan that lists what is intended to happen and in which order. Give them each a document that tells them exactly what their roles and responsibilities are, and where they are expected to be on the night.
Make sure that there is a clear chain of command for problems, questions and responsibility so everyone knows exactly who they need to talk to if something goes wrong.
- After the Event, Evaluate Your Sales Data and Finances
Look at your financials to determine if you made a profit. You should also look at your ticket sales – were there any tickets left over? Could you have sold more?
By evaluating your ticket sales and other data, you can determine whether the venue was the right size, whether you need to do something bigger or smaller next time.
- Follow Up with Your Guests
Make sure you post photos and videos of your event on social media, keep using your bespoke hashtag and getting involved with the people who attended. Encourage your guests to share their content and rate / review your event.
This event may be over, but you’re already building goodwill and anticipation for the next one!