Your One Off Event Planning Guide

When hosting a one off event, it’s easy to underestimate the amount of work required to ensure everything runs smoothly. In truth, it is a lengthy process; but by ensuring you start out well, it doesn’t have to be stressful.

To make things easier, it can help to break down the different aspects of your event. Think broadly and the things you have to arrange will gradually slot into place. Here’s our quick guide to event planning.

The Early Stages

Before you can start selling tickets, or posting on Instagram about your event, you need to consider the fundamentals.

What’s your goal? Think about what you want your event to signify. What is the ideal end product? Do you want to showcase local music? Maybe you are looking to raise money for a charity close to your heart. By having a clear idea about your end goals, you can strategically plan how your event is delivered.

Budgeting also needs to start from the very beginning. You may not know exactly how much cash you have to play with, but by doing some research you can get a good idea of the associated costs of hosting an event.

Once you know the price range of things such as venue hire, stall holders, decorations and staff wage expectations, you can decide on which price bracket you are working within.

With your approximate budget settled it’s time to start thinking about where and when you want to hold your event.

Consider a number of things from the seasonality, the capacity and the cost of hiring when choosing a venue. Other considerations include what the access is like to the event and whether there are any restrictions that will hinder the enjoyment of your attendees.

It’s not just your guests that you need to think about though. It’s time to start planning the other stakeholders that will be at your event.

Serving food? Then maybe a catering van is on the cards. Remember though, not all guests will have the same tastes or dietary requirements, so variety is always advised.

Food Van
Maybe you’re hosting a festival? If there’s a theme, now’s the time to start drawing up a shortlist of acts you would like to perform.

Contracts and Licensing

Once you’ve got all your ideas in place, it’s time to start booking your performers, food vendors, speakers or any other key people that need to attend. Make sure that any contracts or agreements you have in place lock the stakeholders in place and do not leave you in a tricky situation if they were to let you down.

Licensing is also something to consider if you are serving alcohol, so make sure you don’t leave yourself open to legal issues of operating without a license.

One thing that can often get overlooked is photography and filming at the event. If you are employing someone to take pictures or film the event it’s wise to ensure that plans are in place to ensure that your visitors are aware that by attending the event there’s a chance they could be photographed.

As soon as you start booking contractors, venues and performers consider taking out insurance for your event. A One Off Event Insurance policy will cover you if you are forced to cancel the event, or if a key speaker failed to show. By taking out your cover at the earliest possible opportunity, you give yourself the most cover against financial loss.

The Practicalities

The items that physically make your event tick are probably the most important aspects to consider. Forget something and it could affect the experience of your attendees.

Things such as the access to, and the layout of, the venue need to be carefully considered. Make sure you have a plan for how your visitors will get in and out of the event, without causing them frustration. Most of us have been stuck in a traffic jam leaving an event at some point; try not to let your event be another instance.

If you are using a sound system, or any other electronic equipment, think about the logistics of how they will be fitted. As well as delivering an enjoyable event, you want to ensure a safe one for your attendees, so no unsecured wiring. A poor sound system or audio experience at a festival is bad, but getting hurt while you are there is even worse.

Safety is something that needs to be taken seriously. Things can go wrong for your visitors, it happens. But how you deal with it can really make a difference to your event. Have a good first aid plan in place; Who is in charge of administering it? Where can attendees go for help? What contingencies are in place?

As well as people getting injured, the Great British weather can often have an affect on outside events. If you are holding your event open to the elements, think about your back-up plan. Is there an alternative venue if conditions force the relocation of your event?

Can it still go ahead if the weather is less than pleasant? When taking out your insurance policy, you are able to add on cover for adverse weather, meaning your costs could be covered if you are forced to cancel the event. If your day is outside, this is something to consider carefully.

Marketing your Event

A great event is all well and good, but if no one is attending, then it is ultimately a failure. By taking every possible step to ensure your event gets the best exposure possible, you increase your chances of making it a success.

Before you even come to selling tickets, consider looking for sponsorship. By bringing a third-party on-board, not only do you increase your budget to spend elsewhere but you have another party on board to increase the awareness of the event.

Consider the type of sponsor that you bring on-board. Do they match the values of your event? Are there any other risks in associating this particular company with your event?

Setting your ticket prices could also be the difference between a bumper turn-out and a damp squib. It could be that your event is free to attend, so this isn’t a problem for you. However if you are running a ticketed event, your price points are key.

Advertising is something you need to think long and hard about. There are no right and wrong ways to approach advertising your event. Some small fetes or fairs will have a very targeted, local, audience to market to, where an advert in the local newspaper or posters around town might suffice.

Perhaps you are a niche event, that has a larger, more widespread potential audience base. Consider using social media advertising to get in front of the people you want to attend. Facebook advertising allows you to show your ad to people who like and enjoy your subject matter – a great way to maximise ROI.

Whether you focus your attention on running a superb website maximising excitement about your event, or you try your hand a TV and radio ads, making sure your methodology fits your event is key.

After the Show

Of course, all of this planning is futile if you don’t assess whether your event was a success. A bumper turn-out could suggest at first glance that all went as planned, but without speaking to your attendees, you will never know.

Consider sending out a survey to your attendees to find out what they did and didn’t like about their day.

With these learnings you have a better idea about event planning and know what works for your organisation’s events.

Keep an eye on the press coverage you might receive to get the wider picture on your event’s impact and ensure that the next event you put on goes above and beyond what you delivered this time around.