A Complete Guide to Corporate Event Planning
Corporate events can be designed to achieve a variety of goals, both in-house and customer-facing. An effective company event can launch a new product or service, communicate a new company strategy, motivate or train employees, or excite customers about the brand. Often, corporate events bring team members together, entertain leaders and stakeholders, and support sales and marketing initiatives.
What is Corporate Event Planning?
Corporate event planning includes all steps and processes required to execute a successful company event. The process often requires months of planning, strategy development, and design leading to the final execution. To plan a corporate event, you must determine what type of event you’re hosting and proceed with a series of organizational steps.
Types of Corporate Events
Corporate events can range from conferences, exhibitions, conventions, employee events, client hospitality, etc. The style and nature of the programming vary and are customizable to meet the objectives of the corporate event. Let’s break the events down by size.
Micro events are designed to host up to about 100 attendees. With around 100 or fewer guests, the focus is on meetings or training seminars. These events often entail reserving conference rooms or presentation facilities, planning refreshments, and organizing registration. While micro events have the fewest attendees, they are not necessarily the most simple events. Planning a hospitality event for 50 senior managers can be just as complicated as planning a conference for 500 attendees.
Small events host between 100 to 250 attendees. These events range from seminars and training events to conferences and brand launches. Small event planners typically manage main stage event itineraries, small break-out group sessions, refreshments, lunch, audio-visual equipment, online registration, and transportation.
Midsize events host up to 1,000 attendees. These events range from company-wide conferences and leadership summits to exclusive product or service launches. Midsize event planners typically oversee a branded website, pre and post-event communications, hotel accommodations, transportation, and entertainment.
Large-scale events involve large numbers of guests, often around 10,000 attendees. Planners typically utilize enterprise technology tools to manage flights, accommodations, registration, and budgets. Large-scale events often span a few days or a weekend and involve complex itineraries. Generally, offsite activities, dinners, partner programs, and award ceremonies are included, in addition, to the main event programming. Elements such as speaker and attendee management, registration, staffing, and catering must be scaled to accommodate the large attendee size.
Corporate Event Planning Process
There are several universal steps in the planning process, regardless of the size or nature of your corporate event.
First, it is necessary to understand the budget for your corporate event. The budget shapes the options and influences the decisions made in the next steps of the process.
In the budget development stage, consider the following:
- Is your budget funded entirely by company funds or will your budget be supplemented with income from exhibitors, sponsors, or other types of external revenue?
- Is a budget from a previous event available for reference? If so, utilize the previous budget as a guide, and ensure to factor in inflation and any new considerations.
- Include a contingency fund in your budget to account for unanticipated expenses and possible changes in supplier costs.
Event objectives define the deliverables stakeholders expect to receive from the corporate event. Once you understand the event objectives, you can set goals, establish metrics to track results, create a guest list, and design the programming.
Your choice of venue will be influenced by the budget, objectives, capacity, location, logistics, and availability. Shortlist the venues that might meet your standards, send out requests for written proposals, arrange site visits, evaluate the proposals, and then select the venue.
Event marketing is critical in corporate event communication because it helps attendees and stakeholders engage and feel involved. Event marketing can include emails, social media campaigns, custom accessories, an event website, and on-site messaging collateral.
Attendee engagement is the core purpose of any corporate event. Various tools and strategies can be deployed to engage corporate event attendees. With any approach, the goal is to facilitate meaningful interactions, build connections, and create lasting memories.
Partner with Hamilton for Your Next Corporate Event
Hamilton is an event marketing agency with a 75-year legacy in creating immersive brand experiences for companies throughout North America and around the world. We design, produce, and execute integrated experiences - proprietary events and conferences, corporate environments, exhibits, outdoor events, mobile tours, and digital solutions - that drive meaningful connections between your brand and your audience. To partner with Hamilton for your next corporate event, contact us today!