Event management involves efficient top-level leadership. The execution of a successful event involves many steps and a lot of strategic planning. In this guidebook, we will cover the following topics as it pertains to event management. Be sure to bookmark this page so you can utilize it as a resource in the future!
Basic and Advanced Details for Planning for the Event
Creating a Time Line and Project Roadmap
Building the Optimal Team Structure
Areas of Responsibility for Each Team Member
Management Tool Suite
Execution of Plan
Day of Event Execution and “Fire Fighting”
Post Event Reflections
Learn how EventHub helps to simplify your event’s planning by streamlining sponsor/vendor management.
Planning The Event
The very first thing any event creator should do is sit down and map out their event basics. Details such as event type, location, date, and lead time required for infrastructure and talent will dictate how far in advance the organization should start working on the event. For something as large as a music festival, 12-18 months may be required to properly execute. A smaller event, like a craft fair, may only require 6 months or less of lead time.
The sooner basic details can be worked out the better. Here are some critical questions to ask during the planning phase:
- What kind of event will it be? Will it be a concert, beer festival, endurance race, or another kind of event?
- How far in advance do talent and entertainment need to be booked?
- Where will the event take place?
- How many vendors and sponsors will be involved?
- What time of year is best to host the event?
- How much infrastructure is already in place? What will need to be created?
- How will the event be funded?
After figuring out these key details a project roadmap and timeline can be created. This will show what tasks need to be done. It will also highlight when they must be completed in order to properly execute the event.
In addition to crafting an overall plan, contingency plans for weather and other natural disasters (such as a pandemic) should be created. Events that create some sort of Crisis Checklist are better prepared to handle any curveballs that may be thrown their way.
Once the general parameters of the event are set, it’s time to select the right team to carry out the execution of the event. By delegating roles and responsibilities, an event creator can create more bandwidth and operate more efficiently. Especially if you have a small team, dividing up the work and ensuring that everyone feels empowered and confident in their role is important to the success of the event.
In addition to a core team, the event may want to consider recruiting interns to assist with the planning process. This is an excellent opportunity for someone with little experience to get exposure to the live event space. Creating an intern program is also a great way to create a path to recruit future employees. By training someone as an intern first, they get to know the event and gain valuable experience. Then once they are more seasoned, they become desired candidates for future events since they already know the organization well.
Roles of The Team
An event may have more roles and functions but this is a general list to get the ball rolling. Each event organizer should analyze the specific needs based on their event type and bandwidth. Once the team is in place it’s time to assign them to their part of the plan to execute.
- Operations- A fairly broad role that changes from event to event but one of the most important. Depending on the type of event this person or team would focus on the overall execution of the event. They are the ones securing permits, ordering golf carts, and completing administrative tasks.
- Production- This team makes sure the lights go on, the stage is built, and the sound is functioning properly.
- Talent- If the event has any sort of entertainment that requires performers or other talents then one person should be dedicated to booking and serving as liaison to them.
- Sponsorship- Events looking to bring on sponsors to help increase funding should consider having a dedicated person to prospecting, pitching, and managing sponsors.
- Marketing- This essential role focuses on getting the word out there about the event. They will leverage social media, email, and other tools to amplify the event’s messaging. They are also in charge of handling press and managing stakeholder communication.
- Waste Management and Sustainability- This is not a requirement but for a larger event having someone in charge of creating a plan for dealing with the waste created and implementing efforts that make the event more sustainable could help to reduce any impact the event has on its environment.
Ultimate Event Management Tool Suite
Leveraging the correct tools can help any team, especially a small one maximize their efforts. There are several tools out there that can help with all aspects of the event management journey. From marketing to administration, here are some helpful tools that event creators should leverage:
- Project Management: Trello, Asana, Base Camp, ClickUp
- Event Programming: Sched, Whova
- Accounting: Xero, Quickbooks
- Ticketing: TicketSpice, Eventbrite, ShowClix, PromoTix
- Vendor/Sponsor Management: EventHub, SalesForce, Google Sheets
- Email Marketing: Mailchimp, Constant Contact, Marketo, Hubspot, Active Campaign
- Social Media Management: Hootsuite, Trello, Later, Sked
- Internal Team messaging: Slack, WhatsApp, Voxer, Calling, Texting
- Day of Event: Radio, Cell Phone
Execution of Plan
Now that the planning is complete it is showtime! Depending on the event’s timeline, the execution of the plan could start months before. Typically marketing and sales will be the first to ramp up. Then sponsorship. Then talent and production depending on the event type.
Once the wheels are in motion it’s important to organize a weekly meeting with the team. This will ensure that things are still completed on time. If you find that tasks are not done on time then parts of the plan may need to be reevaluated. While having a roadmap is vital, being flexible and making changes when needed is also important. “Roll with the punches,” as they say.
Throughout the execution of the plan, it can be easy to get wrapped up in the internal ongoings of creating the event. Make sure that when changes arise you are not forgetting about stakeholders. Be sure to identify the key stakeholders, prioritize them, and select one person to be in charge of correspondence. Remember to communicate early, often, and in small bites to maintain a positive relationship.
Fire Fighting- Day of Event Management
Unfortunately, no matter how much an event manager plans, there are going to be things that go wrong. Vendors won’t show up, signs can break, and it rain. That just comes with the territory with live events. This is why ensuring that your team is properly trained and equipped to handle problems as they arise is essential.
On the day of the event, it’s important to maintain composure. Implement a system such as radios or a text/call chain to communicate any “fires” that need to be put on event-day. For team members that have never used a radio before, you may want to provide some basic training on radio protocol.
Finally, try to enjoy the event! Even if it’s just taking a moment to look around at the smiling attendees, don’t forget to stop and take it all in.
Post Event Insights and Reflections
Just because the event is over does not mean the work is over. Immediately following the event, it’s important to get the team together to create an After Action Report (ARR). This should be a summary from each person about how the event went. The ARR illuminates what alternative actions to explore for the following year. It helps identify inefficiencies and room for improvement while celebrating successes and victories.
This is an important task that is usually overlooked. Often, event managers are exhausted and the last thing they want to think about is the event. However, it’s important to reflect while the event is still fresh in everyone’s mind. That way more is remembered. Once, the team creates the ARR, then it’s time to utilize it to start planning all over again!
In addition to the ARR with the internal team, post-event interviews should be conducted with all sponsors. This is a meeting where the event can show how it delivered on promises made in the proposal and also demonstrate the value it added to the brand. It’s also an opportunity for the event to receive any feedback from the brand on how to improve for next year.
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