The humble checklist: It’s one of the most basic organizational tools, but it’s a powerful one. Checklists can enhance effectiveness and ensure you’re completing complex tasks. They also provide peace of mind— once that last check mark is in place, you can feel confident knowing every last detail is in order. Checklists are especially important when it comes to planning a successful event. You’ll likely want to customize a checklist to fit your specific event, but here are a few must-have items to help you get started (and make sure no detail goes unnoticed).
Have you clearly laid out the purpose of your event? Is it for leisure? Information? Team-building? It sounds obvious, but you should already have in mind a clear, succinct purpose for your event. You’ll also need to consider what you want to accomplish for your guests, including entertainment and informative speakers.
You’ll need to have a specific date ready to go to hold your event. This sets the tone for everything that follows – invitations, food, entertainment, and more. Plan to refer to an events calendar for the city where you’re hosting your event: you don’t want your big day to coincide with another popular offering!
Hand in hand with the event date is the event venue. Select a place that can accommodate your needs, including indoor and outdoor space,
on-site assistance, food service capabilities, and more. The right venue can also assist with vendors – River City Venues, for instance, works with a long list of preferred vendors to save you valuable time, money, and stress.
Show your guests you go the extra mile by providing helpful brochures, maps, and visitor guides. You can also include an event itinerary and information about the venue. Have all your literature proofed and printed (make sure you have plenty of copies!) so your guests can grab a copy or two at their leisure.
Do you have the help you need to get everyone checked in and on their way? Plan to coordinate with members of your team, and create a check-in procedure prior to your event. Staffing and registration personnel should be debriefed on all aspects of the event so that they can answer any questions an attendee may have.
Take the extra effort to get to know what’s around your event venue. Make a list of dining and entertainment options so that if your attendees ask where to get a bite to eat or have some fun, you’ll be in the know. You can also incorporate this list into the literature you provide for attendees (see above). We recommend separating out dining and entertainment into price points. Create a list of “casual dining spots” and options for “fine dining” as well as free entertainment and ticketed events.
Just as you should have a handle on dining and entertainment near your venue, it’s important to research all the lodging available prior to your event. Get to know the big name brands plus independent hotels and boutique hotels in the area, and remember that choosing an event with a central location is key. At River City Venues, we’re close to the New Orleans Convention Center and downtown neighborhoods like the Central Business District, meaning a wide variety of hotels are at an attendee’s fingertips. You may consider reaching out to select hotels to see if they offer group rates or other perks for your attendees.
Life’s little emergencies don’t make appointments. Perhaps an attendee slips and falls, requiring stitches. Or maybe a storm comes through that knocks out the power. Speak with your event venue and lodging options to see what sort of emergency procedures they already have in place. You also may consider including a list of urgent care clinics in your literature for guests and attendees.
You have enough to do without fielding calls from attendees asking basic questions — many of the answers can be housed online. Create a site and stock it full of FAQ information like links to lodging, a list of nearby restaurants, and a schedule of events complete with dates, times, and speakers. Sure, it requires a little more front-end work, but the results will pay off: you can focus on perfecting your event rather than answering questions from guests about what time check-in is or where to park.
Have you reached out to local media to help drum up support and excitement for your event? Have you created an event-specific hashtag that attendees can use to share their experience on social media? What about a press release with quotes and photos to make media placement seamless and easy? Marketing and promotional efforts are an easy way to give your event the exposure it deserves. Don’t skip this important step both before your event and after!
After your event is over, you’re probably ready to pop some bubbly and celebrate your success. But the champagne can wait, because there are still a few more things to do! Be sure to send thank-you notes (preferably hand-written) to your speakers, entertainment, venue, and perhaps even attendees. You’ll also want to send a follow-up press release or media wrap-up detailing the success of your event.