By Maria Waskiel-Smit, Event Co-Ordinator at the King’s Centre, Oxford
The task of organising a great event can be a bit daunting at first, especially if you are not an experienced event co-ordinator, or project manager.
At the King’s Centre, Oxford, we have hosted pretty much every type of traditional event imaginable for a wide range of clients. From intimate business networking events, food and drink festivals and wedding receptions through to industry conferences for thousands of delegates.
I am often asked: how can I ensure my event is a success? Event planning is always a huge undertaking and while every event is unique there are some key consistent points that ensure it is a success, whatever the size of the event.
Here are my top five tips to make your event a success:
- SET OBJECTIVES FIRST
- BUDGET CAREFULLY
- PLAN EARLY
- KNOW YOUR MARKET
Make sure you appoint a lead person to co-ordinate the event. Communication is key to delivering a successful event and having a central person who manages the plan and liaises with key parties consistently is vital. Regular dialogue with the venue, caterers, event staff and the like will be key to the smooth running of your event.
It Is important to set your overall goals at the beginning, as this will help you ensure you make the right decisions early on and throughout the process. Think about what you want the event to be, who your target audience is and how you will attract them and engage with them. Once you understand your objectives you can devise a strategy and make sure you select the right venue, catering, decorations, apply the appropriate marketing and create the right look and feel to suit your event. Ultimately you will want your guests to enjoy your event and form lasting positive memories of it. At the King’s Centre, Oxford we always work with clients to ensure they can use our space effectively to create a suitable environment for their event to be a successful.
Like any project agreeing an appropriate budget early is important to enable you to plan how you can use it and make effective decisions. We advise being realistic and remember to allocate a contingency of 10 to 15%. Shop around for suppliers and get comparative quotes. It is always worth asking for referrals and advice. Having a good idea on how many guests you will have will be key when booking a venue and organising catering.
Use project management software to help you plan your event. You can then categorise your event into sections and list your items under each area and input deadlines. This will help you stay on track, secure suppliers early, prioritise and delegate tasks and help you avoid a last-minute panic. You won’t be able to do everything at once, so a planner will help you map out the activity and prioritise and delegate tasks on a daily and weekly basis.
This is key to ensuring a high attendance of the right people to your event. Return to your objectives and consider what your event is seeking to achieve. What benefit will your event offer to guests? What will entice them to attend? It might mean booking key-note speakers, or a sought-after artist. Consider what day of the week would be the best for your target market. Also consider what sort of venue and catering would be appropriate for them. Lastly do not forget to consider transport, we find this is often overlooked by many event organisers. The King’s Centre, Oxford is just a ten-minute walk from Oxford rail station and is on a main bus route. We have also partnered with local taxi company 001 Taxis to ensure a complete transport offering is available for our guests.
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list and other details will also apply in planning your event. But if you use these five core areas as a platform to plan your event you will be starting in the right way.