Anna Stacy
Sage Gateshead

How to Plan a Successful Corporate Event

Anna Stacy, head of conferences and events at Sage Gateshead looks at how to plan a successful corporate event.

The one thing that is true about corporate events is that every single organiser wants theirs to be memorable for all the right reasons and that takes forethought and creativity.

At one time conferences were rarely fun, but times have changed and our corporate clients certainly appreciate that the most effective way to deliver a message or share information is experientially, offering the delegate or guest the opportunity to experience firsthand a new product or campaign. A great example of this is Emirates, whom we worked with to launch their new routes from Newcastle Airport. Creating live interactive food stations to reflect the latest destinations was a fantastic way to ensure the core information and locations were remembered.

Knowing where to start can sometimes be daunting however, so if you’re looking to organise a corporate event in 2013, here are a few pointers that might just help.

The Brief
The better the brief you can supply at the point of enquiry the stronger the proposal you’ll receive and the more time you’ll save. As well as basic background, the following details are critical to getting the most from your spend:

Dates
Let your chosen venue know whether your dates are flexible because they might be able to provide a more cost-effective option at another time.

Space Requirements
Rather than say you need one large room explain what it is you need to accommodate within the space, as that way the venue can think creatively about the various spaces on offer (potentially giving you a real point of difference)**.

Event Purpose**
What is the event all about – a celebration, team briefing or a confidential meeting? Once the venue understands what you’re aiming to achieve they can offer advice about how to create the greatest impact and ROI.

Your Organisation
What matters to your business – the green agenda? Healthy food options? Share this information to help your venue work with you to create an event experience that is on brand.

Special Requirements
Educating the venue about the needs of your delegates / guests will ensure everyone has a comfortable experience.

Of course as with most things, often decisions come down to budget. Being clear on costs from the outset is crucial, and sharing that information with the venue will make life much easier! Once given a ballpark or set figure, most venues are happy to build bespoke packages and add value wherever possible.

Planning
Once you’ve selected your venue and the budget has been agreed, you’re into the planning stages. Always make sure your requirements have been understood and run through timings and schedules with your designated event planner. Key elements to address include set-up and get-out, theming, catering, AV requirements, power requirements, parking, registration, storage, deliveries/collections, security, health and safety, catering, housekeeping and room layouts. If you’re unsure on any point, don’t be afraid to ask for support.

Ensuring Success
To get the greatest success from your corporate event, be clear about the purpose of the event and the objectives, plan in advance as much as possible and develop a good relationship with the venue. Always expect last minute changes, for example corporate clients’ delegate numbers can be erratic. Most venues can react to late requests if the rest of the planning has been addressed in good time.

There is one final thing that is really important to gather and that is feedback from guests and delegates. Sourcing short evaluations can help shape future events and if you feedback the details to the venue, it means they know how they performed and can improve their service too.

For more information visit Sage Gateshead website.

Media contact

Sarah Hall at Sarah Hall Consulting on 07702 162 704 / sarah@sarahhallconsulting.co.uk.

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