Planning a Unique Event
There is an endless amount of competition in the corporate events world. Your target audience is peppered daily with invitations to attend events that are extremely similar, if not exactly the same, as what you are offering. This makes it very easy to get lost in the mix and forgotten. That is why it is key to be able to clearly differentiate your event, and make it a unique and innovative experience for your stakeholders. There are plenty of ways to help make your event standout, but one of the quickest and easiest ways is in your venue selection.
By using an “out of the box” or unique venue you have the ability to create an experience for your attendees that they will remember, which increases the likelihood that they will attend again. For example, you may hold a business conference in a museum space, or a networking dinner at a password protected speakeasy. These simple and easy to execute changes to your typical event setup will instantly jump out to attendees, and require minimal effort on the planner’s end. Although these changes don’t take much effort after they are made, it can be difficult to source the hidden gems within your destination city.
There are plenty of online tools to assist you in sourcing venues, however most of them include hundreds of hotels and standard venue types that you need to sort through to get to the really unique options. Even after combing through hundreds of choices and narrowing down your search there typically aren’t tools offered to assist in the decision making process. That being said, there are some interesting new tools available to solve exactly this problem. Umviia is a newly released event management platform that offers tools for vendor sourcing, vendor comparison, quote and contract comparison, and payment tracking. They also offer a unique set of venues and caterers, so you don’t have to do extra work searching for that one special place for your event. You can easily compare venue offerings side-by-side with just a few clicks, and can submit RFPs to multiple vendors at once, which cuts down on the typical back-and-forth planners have to deal with. Once you receive offers and contracts back, you can compare those on an apples-to-apples basis, all within the Umviia platform. This all makes the process and labor of finding that unique venue to set your event apart much easier and quicker than usual.
Holding your event in a unique space is a relatively quick and easy way to differentiate your event from the competition. However, there are plenty of other ways to do this. No matter how you plan to make your event unique, you should always follow a project plan to get the job done. The below is an outline for the steps you should be considering when implementing your ideas for a more unique corporate event.
Goalsetting – (12 – 8 months out)
- Seek input from all stakeholders about their goals for the event.
- Use this feedback to set a measurable goal and mission statement for the event.
- Use your mission statement and goal to form a theme.
- The goal and theme for your event should drive the location, time of year, environment, etc.
Develop the Unique Aspects of Your Event (8 – 6 months out)
- Research the trends in culture and technology for the region, target market, and key stakeholders.
- Use this research to develop a list of innovations and creative ideas to set your event apart (cast a wide net to start, you can cut it down later).
- Research the costs associated with your ideas.
- Narrow your ideas down based off of criteria such as cost, production time, labor needs, etc.
- Decide which ideas you’ll move forward with and begin the RFP process with venues. Make sure to tailor your search to venues that can support your vision.
- Create project plans for the implementation on the new aspects of your event.
Setup Registration and Market the Event (6 months out – event date)
- As soon as the venue and date are finalized, you’ll need to setup your website and registration pages.
- Make sure to consider all of your registration needs, what questions you want answered by registrants, and if you’ll need an ecommerce processing platform.
- Begin to plan out the marketing campaign around the event
- Email blasts, SEO, and digital and social advertising are all important areas to focus on. Creative physical invitations can also be a great way to make your event stand out.
- Make sure to highlight your innovative and unique approaches in the marketing materials. This will also help your event stand out.
- Make sure to track your pacing so you can adjust your campaign and assure you meet your registration, sponsorship, or fundraising goals.
Assessment of Progress (1 month or less from event date)
- Compare your previously developed project plans to where you actually stand.
- Adjust your timeline and plan to reflect your actual progress.
- Set final meetings at least two weeks before the event to review the implementation of your newly incorporated ideas to ensure for a smooth process.
- Complete a full debrief of the successes, failures, and challenges you faced during the planning and execution process.
- Measure your goals against your actuals and your project plans vs. your actual timelines.
- Analyze the actual impact of your unique implementations. Ask yourself questions such as:
- Did registrations pace faster than expected or in previous years?
- Did additional dollars spent result in additional revenue?
- What were the major issues you encountered?