April 21, 2015 admin

What Event Planners Really Do

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The age-old question when planning an event often lies in the uncertainty for the necessity of an event planner.

“Do I really need a planner?”

“What do event planners even actually do? Just order napkins and matching silverware?”

To you, booking a planner may seem like a waste of money that could be better spent elsewhere, but the common party-goer frequently underestimate how much work it actually takes to put on an event.  We are mesmerized by the flashiness of the end result, and easily forget the zillions of microscopic details strung together that are the foundation of its fabulousness.  All of these details and little nothings we admire at an event for just a minute as we walk by were arranged by an event planner.

An event planner, also known as a meeting and/or convention planner is someone who coordinates all aspects of meetings and events and aims to bring people together for a common purpose.  The work of an event planner can be fast-paced and demanding.  Many are required to work long, irregular hours in the time leading up to a major event.  They travel regularly to attend events they organize and to visit prospective event venues and sites, sometimes in exotic locations around the world.  Event planners usually specialize in planning one or two types of events and the tasks they must complete are dependent on several factors, including the type and size of the event.  The stages of the planning process and duties performed in each are usually broken down like this:

Research: Planners must conduct extensive research to meet the needs of the client. In the research stage, an event analysis must be created, that captures the goals, identifies objectives and the target market of the event.  Once the objectives are set, planners begin creating an event plan and must discuss the plan with everyone involved.

Branding the event has become a huge part of the process.  Steps in the branding process include brainstorming names, identifying how you want your event to differ from other events in your sector, creating a tagline, and designing a logo to name a few.

Research must be done regarding venues, locations, activations, guests, etc. Through their research, planners must establish expected outcomes, produce timelines, and outlines for events.  An event planner’s job starts by sitting down with you and figuring out exactly what you need.  They will question everyone involved and are comfortable even asking vendor questions you might feel uncomfortable asking.

Strategic Planning: This is where the logistics and organizational needs are determined along with the necessary resources required to create the final outcome.  The strategic part of the process includes developing a budget, creating a publicity plan, and making sure the client gets the best event possible for their money.  Planners begin reaching out to sponsors and establishing partnerships to help fund and support the execution of the event.  Planners manage the money and in some instances, handle the payment to vendors.  You won’t go broke when using a planner.

Organization: For large social and corporate events, planners need to reach out and communicate with dozens of outside vendors needed to execute the event. For even small events, there are many vendors involved, especially for weddings.   This phase includes soliciting bids from places and service providers (for example florists or photographers) and coordinating event services such as rooms, transportation, and food service.  This is one of the larger and most time consuming stages, as communicating back and forth with vendors can take weeks or months.  Not to mention, having to go on constant site visits and placing tons of orders for materials.

Implementation: The actual operations and management of the event is this stage. Coordinators must visualize and execute the client’s wishes.  From configuring the perfect AV and sound to installing light fixtures and carrying heavy boxes of ordered items, an event planner’s duties dabble in just about every area of production, especially on the day of the event.  On the day of the event an event planner can work from very early in the morning to late into the night, making sure the event runs smoothly.

Evaluation: How will you determine if your event is a success? Do you measure success by the numbers of registrants or attendees or is it dependent on your breaking even or raising a target amount in donations?

The event is over and the guests have gone home.  While planners may be eager to move on, right after the event is over it’s time to evaluate your success and discuss opportunities of how the event can be improved.  A thorough post-event evaluation ensures you will capture the important details your organization needs to improve.  Don’t want too long to conduct an event download.  Speak to the client within a week to get any feedback.  Social media is an amazing tool to discover the success of an event.  Many consumers often live-tweet and post about events they attend, which should be monitored to see where they felt the event fell short.  Create a survey using Survey Monkey and send it out to customers who attended to get their feedback.  To complete the evaluation process, planners create a portfolio summarizing the event including a financial report, list of stumbling blocks and possible solutions, interview notes, and a copy of the survey to guests and a summary of responses received.

There are an infinite number of things which can go wrong during an event.  Mistakes are made, accidents happen, and things get forgotten.  Above all else, event planners provide clients with a piece of mind, knowing that they can focus on what they need to, like making presentations or entertaining their guests.  Even if there are no problems, someone needs to be the captain of the event.

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