Category Archives: corporate event planning

Corporate Event Venue Checklist

aquarium event venue with tables, chairs, and centerpiecesAn event venue is the base of a fantastic event; it sets the tone for the event and makes a huge impression on your guests. That’s why we’ve put together a corporate event venue checklist that boils down the monumental task of choosing the right corporate event venue into a manageable task list.

Before you start checking off boxes, make sure you decide on a goal and target audience (break it down into demographic, interests) for your corporate event. Be specific with your purpose, as your goal is going to play into all of the decisions as you plan your event.

Location

__ Convenient for guests

__ Supports goal (i.e. in community where you want to make an impact)

__ Close to hotels for out-of-town guests

Logistics

__ Accessible from public transportation (if needed)

__ Drop-off area

__ Handicap accessible

Atmosphere

__ Venue formality

__ Facility ambience

__ Fits target audience demographic

Space

__ Sized for approximate guests list

__ Room for caterers (if needed)

__ Layout & spaces for event sessions (i.e. breakout sessions, meetings, etc.)

__ Outdoor space (if needed)

Amenities

__ Services needed for event (i.e. security, valet parking, coat check, set up and take down, etc.)

__ Parking accommodations (if needed)

__ Technology needs (i.e. screens, wi-fi, etc.)

__ Acoustics, staging & lighting (for event entertainment, if applicable)

__ Event equipment (i.e. tables, chairs, etc.)

Budget

__ Venue cost

__ Additional expenses (i.e. supply rentals, venue staffing, etc.)\

__ Minimums required/not required

Professional advice can be worth its weight in gold, especially when the success of your event is on the line.  If you are not familiar with a city, such as our national clients who host a corporate event in Chicago, contact a local event planner that knows the area and can make venue recommendations or plan your event for you.

Event Planning: 8 Tips for Over-the-Top Event Success

event entertainers at tropical themed eventWe can tell you that every event—every grand opening, corporate gala, employee picnic, every event—is “its own animal” as the saying goes.  We know because we’ve been part of the event planning process—and many, many events—for far longer than we care to admit.  And yet, while every event is incredibly different, the tips that take an event from ho-hum event to over-the-top success are remarkably similar.

Don’t plan without a goal.

The event planning to-do list can be long; if you don’t have a goal that guides you through that list, each event planning task is going to be just another to-do without any connection to your other event details.  The solution: set a specific goal for your event that guides each decision you make.  Your event goal can be especially important when booking the most essential detail: your venue (tips for choosing the right venue can be found here).

Avoid procrastination.

As soon as your event is confirmed, it’s time to start planning.  Make sure you organize (or hire an event planner who is organized) as you plan to ensure that every detail is taken care of and confirmed.  Don’t wait to get started; the best venues and vendors’ calendars fill up fast.

Select an event date that works for your targeted audience.

As tempting as it may be to book an event date that works for you, the attendance of your event depends upon a thorough consideration of your guests’ schedules.  Statistically, Mondays and Fridays are on average lower attendance days. Once you have a date, create a promotion plan that targets your guests through targeted online and offline channels.

Focus on your guests.

Every corporate event decision and detail—EVERY DECISION—should be dependent on your targeted audience. Your venue should be selected based on the location of your targeted audience.  Your entertainment should fit with guests demographic and tastes.  If you are not able to make those matches, hire a professional with experience so you can make those matches and increase the chance of event success.

Take the old saying, “location, location, location” to heart.

Your venue is one of the most important details—if not the most important detail—so make sure your venue is the right choice for your event.  Your event venue should check several key boxes off your event planning checklist, such as location, adequate space (and spaces), amenities, and other criteria.  If you are not familiar with the area your event needs to be held in, outsource the selection and booking process; you and your guests are going to be glad you did as they enjoy the right venue for your event.

Don’t overlook the smallest detail.

An overlooked detail can be the crux of a corporate event gone wrong. Don’t leave one stone unturned as you plan the food, seating, schedule, signage, and all the other essentials of your corporate event.   Don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations from vendors and agents throughout the event planning process.

Use the pros to coordinate all your entertainment needs.

Hire an entertainment agent for several key reasons, most notably as a time-saver. An entertainment agent can locate the right, quality entertainers for your guests, and handle any needs the entertainers might have—decreasing your workload and increasing the chance of event success.

Be flexible.

With more than 25 plus years of experience in events, we can tell you from experience that you need to take the Scout motto to heart. As your event draws near, be prepared to “sweat the details” and adjust your plans accordingly the day of the event.

6 Tips for Selecting the Right Corporate Event Venue

aquarium event venue with tables, chairs, and centerpiecesWhether planning a grand opening, company picnic, seminar, conference, team building, VIP event—-any kind of corporate event—one of the most important decisions is selecting the right venue for your event.  Choosing the right venue for your corporate event increases your chances of success, so take these tips to heart when selecting the right venue for your corporate event.

Define the purpose of your corporate event.

Every corporate event should have a goal.  Be specific with your goal, and select your venue based on your event purpose.  Does your event check off all the boxes you need to accomplish that goal?  Just as in real estate, remember, “location, location, location.”

Don’t be afraid to ask the experts.

Professional advice can be worth its weight in gold, especially when the success of your event is on the line.  If you are not familiar with a city, such as our national clients who host a corporate event in Chicago, contact a local expet that knows the area and can make recommendations or plan your event for you.

Compile a full guest list.

For optimal results, safety reasons, and guest feedback, select a corporate event venue with adequate space and spaces for your guests.  If your event is going to have breakout sessions, select a corporate event venue with multiple spaces with the options you need (i.e. audio visual, wi-fi, etc.).  With regards to budget, pay special attention to any minimums imposed by the venue to ensure that you are not charged for more guests than you expect to attend.

Know your budget.

Obviously, your budget is going to play a large part in selecting the venue for your corporate event.  If your budget is tight, allocate your resources into items that make the biggest impact on your guests: food and entertainment.  To ensure that you stick to your budget, ask your event venues for a full list of charges so you don’t get stuck with an invoice full of add-on charges (i.e. set-up, overage, etc.).

Determine the type of atmosphere you want to create.

Once you’ve gotten through all the practical criteria for your corporate event venue (budget, adequate space, purpose, location), it’s time to look at the aesthetics of your event.  Think about the atmosphere you want to set, formality of the event, and budget for décor.  If you don’t have a large budget for décor, select a venue with ambiance that doesn’t require a significant investment in décor.

Know your event needs.

Acoustics, amenities, audio visual, kitchen, event equipment (i.e. tables, chairs, etc.), full service staff (i.e. coat check, bartenders, servers, set up & take down staff, etc.), parking, handicap accessibility.  Can your prospective event venue fulfill the needs of your event?    If you need a full kitchen, discuss your options with venues in your desired area.  Depending on the weather, if your event venue doesn’t have an on-site kitchen, you may be able to bring a tent in for your catering needs.  Focus on your guests and their needs (or hire someone that can) for optimal corporate event success.  Choosing an event venue is not a time to take anything for granted; ask and double check your lists.  The success of your event is dependent on it.

4 Tips for a Better Event in the New Year

Pair of glasses of champagne event planningThe New Year is a time for celebration and improvement. If your calendar has a corporate event on it, your New Year is a time for both; an opportunity to initiate your celebration planning and look for ways to improve every aspect of your grand opening, conference, training, seminar, business dinner, or trade show.

Start with a plan.

Before you plan any event details, put your vision on paper. Starting with a cohesive vision sets the tone for a coordinated event. Skipping this step can lead to an affair with a mishmash of details that don’t fit together.

If your event is an annual occasion, take the opportunity to review feedback from last year’s event and refine your plans accordingly.  You absolutely have to start with a plan, or find an event planner who shares your vision. To be clear, your event doesn’t have to be too theme-y, and you don’t have to know every detail, but you need to have a plan that pulls your event details together. Planning is not an option for a successful event; it’s a ‘must have.’

Location, location, location.

NEVER underestimate the role your chosen location plays in the success of your event. Choose a venue that fits the formality of your occasion and budget, is in an extremely desirable location for your targeted audience, and has ample space for your guests. If you need a venue that needs to fit multiple functions (tradeshow, dance, dinner, cocktail hour, etc.), map out the different halls and areas before you make a formal confirmation. Don’t be afraid to consult the experts if you’re not familiar with the area where you are holding your event. Contact a local event planner to make recommendations in your preferred area.

Know your demographic.

This is advice you should take to heart from the moment you initiate your event planning. If you are targeting a crowd of Millennials, your event promotion should be focused online with an emphasis on mobile-friendly marketing tools. Every aspect of your event should revolve around your guests, based on their demographic: schedules, speakers, entertainment. We see the latter every day: as experienced booking agents, we consistently match our clients with entertainment that fits their guests’ demographic. The result is a match made in heaven: entertainers suitable for the age group of the event crowd, creating a wonderful atmosphere with entertainment appropriate to their tastes.

Know your limitations.

Event planning is not for the faint of heart; planning a corporate event takes a significant amount of time and detail-oriented focus. If you are like many companies, you don’t have the time or expertise to take on every aspect of event planning. For optimal results, and an incredible event, outsource your efforts to a knowledgeable event planner. An event planner has the familiarity to select the right event venue, the expertise to coordinate the details, and the knowledge to choose the right entertainment that makes an impact on your guests. In short, an event planner can help you keep your professional New Year’s resolution and give your guests a reason to celebrate in the New Year.

Event Planning Checklist & Tips from the Pros

event entertainersEvery event is different, we can tell you that; we’ve planned corporate events and booked entertainment for every type of party, and every company holiday party, corporate event, anniversary party—every event was its own with unique and different details. At the end of the day, however, the basic elements of every event are the same; the direction you take while planning (or the direction you give your event planner) is going to give your event that unique, over-the-top feel you’re going for. So where do you get started with planning? You can start by using this basic checklist, and customizing it into your own, unique event:

Budget. Your budget is a key detail in every step of your event planning process, and a question you’ll find every vendor asks about. Break down your budget into categories, such as venue, décor, etc., and create a budget tracking system that you can utilize easily throughout the process. Though many would see budget-tracking as a process exclusively for corporate events, even private parties can benefit from an expense tracking system.

Date. If you do not have a confirmed date, choose several possible dates that work, and contact venues to see what date are available. Make sure your date is suitable for your audience, and set with maximum attendance in mind. The perfect on the wrong date is a recipe for disaster.

Venue & location. Choose a venue that fits the formality of your occasion and budget, and has ample space for your guests. If you need a venue that needs to fit multiple functions (tradeshow, dance, dinner, cocktail hour, etc.), map out the different halls and areas before you make a formal confirmation.

Theme. A party without a theme is an event without direction. Obviously for large corporate events, you don’t want to get too “themey,” but you can choose a color scheme for your event details. Use your theme or color scheme to plan your refreshments, decorations and entertainment, even if you use it in subtle ways.

Food. If your event includes meals, cocktails or hors d’oeuvre, find a venue or caterer that can provide the appropriate refreshments that fit your budget. Keep your audience and theme in mind. For example, a corporate crowd is going to expect a much different meal than guests at a wedding.

Decorations. Choose decorations that fit the theme or color scheme, and the occasion. Make sure you check with the venue if you want to put up decorations that attach to the wall or ceiling. Many venues have specific guidelines for decorations. If you can’t hang decorations, consider décor like table centerpieces and lighting. If it’s lighting you wish, check with your entertainers or an audiovisual company lighting that sets the mood of your event.

Entertainment. There are very, very few events that don’t require entertainment. You don’t have to be in the midst of planning a rockin’ party to need entertainment; we’ve secured entertainers for corporate events, grand openings, etc. If you want to locate the right entertainers for the occasion, contact an entertainment agent. An entertainment agent can handle all your entertainment details, saving you time and matching you with entertainment that fits your guests’ demographic. With one call, the entertainment agent can book all the acts you need and handle all the details that come with hiring entertainers. They’ve also seen what works and doesn’t work, and good entertainment agents only hire the best entertainers for your unique event.

Corporate Event Planning Tips

  1. corporate event planningHave a goal and a plan for your corporate event. Corporate event planning takes focus, even when surrounded by an overwhelming amount of details that need to be considered and confirmed. That’s when experience becomes essential; an experienced corporate event planner can keep their eye on the corporate event goal and create an event that meets that goal suitable for the targeted audience.
  2. Don’t wait to plan. The sooner the better. Often venues that can accommodate your large guest list are booked a year, or years, in advance. As soon as your corporate event is confirmed contact your venue, caterer, entertainment agent and other vendors to initiate the planning. If you need another party that can manage the details and save you the time, contact an event planner that can oversee the event planning process.
  3. Be conscious of your date. Don’t just choose a date that works for you; select a date that works for your targeted audience. Statistically, Mondays and Fridays are on average lower attendance days. Once you have a date, set a promotion schedule that leads right up to the day; use a cross channel promotional strategy aimed at your target audience to get maximum attendance.
  4. Focus on the guests. Every decision made about your corporate event—EVERY DECISION—should be centered on what is best for your targeted audience, your guests. Take your entertainment for example. What entertainer or entertainers fit your guests’ tastes? An experienced booking agent can match you with entertainment that fits your guests’ demographic, creating a wonderful atmosphere with entertainment appropriate to their tastes.
  5. “Sweat the details.” An overlooked detail can be the crux of a corporate event gone wrong. Don’t leave one stone unturned as you plan the food, seating, schedule, signage, and all the other essentials of your corporate event. Don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations from vendors and agents as you proceed through the event planning process.
  6. Outsource your corporate event entertainment. Consider hiring a booking agent for several good reasons, most notably as a time-saver. A booking agent can locate the right, quality entertainers for your event, and handle any needs the entertainers might have—decreasing your workload and ensuring that your guests enjoy your corporate event.
  7. Be cautious when planning a corporate event in a city you’re not familiar with. Whether you’re planning a corporate event getaway for clients, or a company picnic for employees at a satellite location, utilize your best judgment when planning a corporate event outside your comfort zone. Research your venue and vendors, or use an event planner familiar with the city. While Artists, Events and Entertainment was founded as an entertainment agency, we have quickly become one of the in-demand full-service corporate event planners in Chicago, and for good reason. With an intimate knowledge of all the corporate event venues and vendors in Chicago, we can assure our clients that your event, and corporate event details, is coordinated with their best interests in mind.
  8. Don’t think that your corporate event planning ends the day before the event. With more than 25 plus years of experience, we can tell you what every corporate event planner should know: your event planning does not end before the event. Be prepared to “sweat the details” and adjust accordingly the day of the event and to do follow-up work after the event is completed. That’s when having a full-service event planner committed to the whole corporate event planning process becomes invaluable; that’s why it’s important to find an experienced planner in your preferred location who can plan your corporate event from beginning to end, and know that the end result won’t be an embarrassment.