by Devin Carver August 16th, 2021

stage prepared for corporate event
Asking for help is sometimes hard. It’s even harder when what we need assistance with has the potential to impact our career or career growth. And, when the task includes inviting colleagues, co-workers, supervisors, board members, and other VIPs, handing over responsibilities and oversight can be remarkably difficult. This is why finding professionals and experts you can trust is so vital, especially for corporate events.

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What is a Corporate Event Planner?

A corporate event planner is a professional whose expertise lies in the logistics of hosting a corporate event of all sizes. Corporate event planners play an essential role in all aspects of event planning from preparation to the actual event and follow up with your guests/attendees.

Their role is to guide and assist in all facets of hosting a successful event, regardless of the event objective. 

What Does a Corporate Event Planner Do?

Given that their role is to assist in all stages of your corporate event, event planners are doing a lot. And, when they do it well, you barely know they’re there. 

Their ultimate goal is to deliver an event that can seamlessly move between scheduled activities and provide your guests with an unforgettable experience. Think of them like a project manager for your event.

Planning and Preparation

Prior to an event, a corporate event planner will help you:

  • Select a date
  • Establish a timeline
  • Plan the scope of the event
  • Help create a budget
  • Assist in identifying a theme
  • Recommend and help select venues/locations
  • Identify, negotiate, and help select various vendors
  • Coordinate travel and accommodations for guests 
  • Ensure adherence to budget
  • Report on pricing and costs of various contracts
  • Oversee the planning and logistics of client-approved activities 

behind the scenes

During the Event

Corporate events can be hectic. There are a lot of moving parts, even if you’re not juggling multiple spaces, hundreds of guests, scheduling, speakers, and food/beverages while acting as a point of contact for vendors and managing technology and/or staff. 

During an event, a corporate event planner will help you:

  • Ensure event vendors are on time 
  • Ensure spaces are prepared
  • Test equipment and technology
  • Coordinate and manage event staff
  • Keep planned activities on schedule
  • Coordinate vendors as needed
  • Oversee ongoing preparation of spaces and make changes
  • Help greet and welcome attendees
  • Assist with event registration
  • Assist with swag bags and guest appreciation
  • Assist with guest problems and concerns
  • Act as your point of contact for event concerns 
  • Manage vendors for billing and coordinate payment

Post-Event

As attendees, we leave an event and tend to think it’s over. As a host and as a corporate event planner, the work is not done. After the event, your event planner should:

  • Ensure all vendor agreements are met and payment handled
  • Coordinate thank you emails, cards, or notes to attendees, speakers, VIPs, and more
  • Coordinate the collection of guest/attendee feedback
  • Help identify and coordinate additional follow-up opportunities 
  • Provide event reports regarding attendance, activities, costs, and other data to evaluate ROI
  • Assist with event analysis based on reporting and feedback
  • Help identify additional virtual or live event opportunities

While not an exhaustive list of the ways in which an event planner should be assisting you during all stages of your event, this likely provides an idea about how much time, energy, and know-how go into corporate event planning. In fact, several items on these lists include multiple moving parts, which, in hands less adept than a qualified event planner, can cause unnecessary issues. 

Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Event Planner

Hiring a corporate event planner is an important process, which requires a lot of trust. From your personal and your company’s reputation to your overall guest experience, ensuring success is, of course, important to you.

But, success should be important to your planner as well. For that reason, your screening and selection process should be rigorous.

Whether it’s your first time hiring a corporate event planner or you’d simply like to ensure you’re getting the best, here are a few questions you’ll want to ask:

  • What type of events have you helped plan?
  • Is there a type of event you specialize in?
  • How do you help create an overall tone or feeling for an event?
  • What size events have you assisted with?
  • What specific services do you offer? Are there any aspects of the event for which you are hands-off?
  • In what ways do you stay up-to-date with event trends?
  • What event technologies do you provide or assist with?
  • What type of venues do you work with?
  • What is your experience with food and beverage services?
  • What is your experience with travel coordination and accommodations?
  • Who are your references? What other events have you planned?
  • What would you consider your most successful event and why?
  • How do you gauge an event’s success?
  • What types of communication do you use with our team? With vendors?
  • What types of reports do you provide before and after the event?

Again, this is not an exhaustive list, but it may help you identify the ways an event planner can assist with the type of event you have in mind. In part, the answers to these questions will provide you with some concrete information about their experience, expertise, and attitude. However, there’s more to consider than logistics and experience.

Top 5 Tips to Find the Right Event Planner for Your Corporate Event

In addition to gauging an event planner’s expertise and experience, there’s more you’ll want from your relationship with them. Here’s a few other tips to consider when looking for the right corporate event planner.

1. Find a Good Listener

While your event planner should have expertise in the industry, one of their top skills should be listening. You’ve hopefully already established that they’ve got an ear to the ground on industry trends, so you’ll want to make sure they’re also listening to you. 

You’ve got a vision for your event. An event planner’s role is to help you bring that vision to life. Certainly their expertise should help you refine that vision to ensure the event delivers, but you want to know that you’re being heard about everything from theme and entertainment to guest experiences and speakers.

2. Look for Positivity and Confidence

Anyone who’s been in the events industry knows that nearly every event presents challenges and sometimes complications arise. You’ll want an event planner who sees resolution and remains calm and confident in what can sometimes be a high-stress environment.

Similarly, this is the kind of leadership you want for others participating in planning or delivering the event, and the right event planner will keep the mood upbeat and positive. That translates directly to your guests. Your event planner can set the tone, so choose one who chooses JOY.

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3. Evaluate Credentials and References

Don’t just give this step lip service. Taking a good look at an event planner’s previous corporate events and listening to their references can help you identify whether they’re a good match. If the events they’ve held in the past don’t seem to capture the feeling, tone, or energy you’re hoping to create, it may just not be in their wheelhouse.

This goes for a variety of event aspects, including venue choices, speakers, entertainment, lodging and accommodations, guest gifts, and more. Do your due diligence beforehand, so you don’t regret it later.

4. Establish Budget Boundaries

Whether you’re on a limited budget or not, you want to work with someone who can create the best event possible within those limits. Find out, first, if they require a minimum budget as that may help you weed out some planners from the start. 

But, you’ll also want to find an event planner who has experience staying within a budget and keeping costs low. Find out if your planner has partners or vendors with whom they can leverage their relationship for deals. You can either save your money or reallocate it for other expenses. 

5. Check Culture & Personality

Don’t underestimate the importance of finding an event planner with whom you just gel. Often these are the qualities that will make them stand out from other event planners you interview. You’ll be working closely with this person over the next few months (or longer), so personality clashes can make what should be an amazing experience more stressful.

Similarly, you want someone who can match your energy. If you’re excited about your industry, product, and event, you want someone who meets you there. You want to work with someone who can harness that energy and be creative about its expression (the event). Think about the characteristics you value in anyone you’d hire for your company, and seek out your high value characteristics in your event planner, such as honesty.

Planning an event isn’t easy, and often, there’s a lot riding on its success. A great event can have a significant impact on your employees, customers, product, and brand. It can change the way people see, think, and feel about your business, so it’s important to think of it as an investment. You wouldn’t hand an investment over to just anyone, so why do that with your corporate event?

If you’re ready to talk to the experienced team at Bishop-McCann about how we can plan your next corporate event, get in touch with us today. We’re ready to help you and your team bring your event vision to life.
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