Event professionals have plenty of items to tackle while planning and producing a virtual or hybrid event. Even the most seasoned organizer can forget a few things along the way.
Here, we’ll highlight 12 often-forgotten aspects of event planning to keep on your radar.
1. Develop an event checklist early on
Creating an event checklist should be the first step of your planning process.
Building out this checklist helps you map out every step of your event planning journey, when tasks need to be completed, and a timeline for each step—giving you a playbook to help organize an event and future similar events.
Not creating this checklist early enough––or not developing one at all––can derail or complicate your event planning process. As soon as you have the bones of your event—the date, budget, and a loose scope—start your event preparation and make your checklist.
If you’re planning an on-site or hybrid event, the first item on your checklist should be booking a physical venue. Because in-person venues book so far in advance, waiting to reserve space can leave you with limited options.
Tip: All-in-one event platforms like Hopin can help you secure the right virtual and physical venues for your event.
2. Check for competing events
There are few feelings worse in the event planning process than being well on your way to organizing an event—with dates, tech platform and physical venue selected—then learning a competing event is happening the same day.
Don’t make attendees pick and choose between your event and another event. Look for conflicting events within your industry ahead of time, as well as any seasonal happenings, holidays, or local gatherings that could impact visibility and attendance.
Tip: Once you’ve solidified your event date, make sure it’s prominent on your event website. Send out save-the-date notifications and add your event to relevant listings and calendars.
3. Keep your event website updated
Once you’ve created your custom event website, make sure you’re not treating it as a “set it and forget it” task.
As details of your upcoming event take shape, update your website to reflect new aspects of the event. Your attendees will want to know about any new speakers, networking opportunities, time changes, or anything else that might affect their event experience.
Tip: If you don’t want to worry about updating your event marketing materials constantly, all-in-one event platforms often provide data importing that can pull speaker, sponsor, and agenda content into your landing page directly from your event dashboard.
4. Send reminders
Your upcoming event is top-of-mind for you, but others likely need reminders of their participation. With busy schedules and a lot to keep track of, your speakers, presenters, and vendors need periodic refreshers of dates and times they’re expected to be present.
The quality of your event content hinges on your panel members, keynote speakers, and other presenters. Keeping an accurate lineup of speakers is also essential when it comes to driving event registrations and attendee experience.
Tip: Send event reminders several weeks in advance to make sure presenters have time to prep their content and make travel arrangements if they need to be on site for an in-person or hybrid event.
5. Check your tech
Whether your upcoming event is in-person, hybrid, or purely virtual, you likely have technical elements as part of your program.
One thing event organizers sometimes forget when planning an event is scheduling a complete technical run-through to make sure everything is working properly.
To start, make sure you test:
- Wi-Fi connectivity
- Virtual event platforms and software
- A/V equipment
- Audio equipment
While testing technology before your event is essential, one thing to think about is day-of audio levels for any on-site portions of an event. These levels could be much different with an audience talking, clapping, and just the overall energy of a live event. Make sure to bake in some time (and have a pro on hand) to adjust mics, music levels, and anything else that may need a little tweaking.
Tip: Don’t forget about compatibility issues between computer operating systems. It’s best to work out conflicts ahead of time or stick to one operating system throughout for simplicity.
6. Keep contacts handy
There’s a lot that goes into planning an event, and many people have a hand in that planning. For the day of your event, make sure you have all the important contacts you might need readily available.
From an on-site venue point person to keynote speakers, you’ll want to be able to get in touch with key contacts at any point before, during, or after the event.
Tip: Create a digital doc of contacts or keep them accessible in your phone, so there’s no chance of losing numbers.
7. Create a memorable ending
The end of your event is how your attendees will ultimately remember their experience. You don’t want to organize a stellar content program then forget to plan an energizing, inspiring ending.
Here are some ways you can end your program on a high note:
- Save an especially anticipated keynote speaker for the last presentation.
- Host a final networking mixer after the program has wrapped.
- Reveal any big announcements at the end of the event.
- If you have entertainment planned, leave your best performances for the conclusion of your event.
- Announce giveaways or give out goodie bags as things wrap up.
Whichever option you choose, leave your attendees with the lasting memory of a great event experience.
8. Take plenty of event photos
No matter the event structure—virtual, hybrid, or in-person—you’ll want to have photos of your event. And while it might not seem like an urgent task on your long event preparation to-do list, it’s something that should be considered.
Whether you have the budget for a professional photographer or you’re relying on a trusted member of your team, don’t forget to task someone with gathering plenty of photos and video throughout the day.
Capturing all the magic of your event is essential for many reasons:
- It’s a way to remain connected and build community even after the event.
- You can use your photos and videos in future marketing materials.
- Visuals can be helpful to include when reporting event successes to stakeholders.
- Sending photos (or a way to resource the event photos) is a great way to follow up with attendees post-event.
Tip: Hosting a virtual event? Create a hashtag that is proprietary to your event and encourage attendees to share photos and videos on social media of how they're participating in your event using the hashtag.
9. Don’t forget the charging stations
Having an in-person component to an event in 2021 comes with the expectation that your on-site attendees will be carting around mobile phones, laptops, and other tech devices. Keeping your participants fully powered means they can post event updates on social media, continue to network, catch up on work remotely, and keep track of their personalized event schedules all day long.
Having charging stations readily available and well-placed around the physical venue may seem like a small consideration. But it can be a make-or-break situation for many event participants and their overall event experience.
10. Put together an essentials kit
When it comes to day-of event issues at physical events, sometimes the smallest things can derail your day. Compiling an "essentials kit" with any extra supplies that might be needed can ensure you're able to stay focused on the big picture.
Here are a few things to include in your kit:
- An extra phone or laptop charger
- Office supplies like writing utensils, paper, tape, and scissors
- An extension cord
- A mini tool kit with commonly needed items like a screwdriver and zip ties
- Batteries of all kinds for microphones and other tech items
Whether you need to quickly tape down an errant tablecloth or don’t want to run out of power on your own device, you’ll feel less stressed about any unexpected thing that may pop up when you have a kit like this at your disposal.
11. Have a car close by
Having easy access to a car is an often-forgotten tip in event planning, but it can be a vital tool the day of an in-person event.
From last-minute purchases to a speaker who unexpectedly needs a ride, keeping a vehicle on standby is essential for any urgent situations that arise.
12. Plan for last-minute attendees
Hosting an increasingly popular event is not a bad problem to have—but having day-of on-site registrants is a consideration to keep in mind when it comes to logistics.
You’ll need to have a way to print last-minute tickets or use tech that offers entry to your event through QR code scanning, UHF/NFC, or face recognition. You can also eliminate the stress, delays, and errors of pre-printing by using an event management platform with features that allow you to print badges and wristbands simultaneously at check-in.
All-in-one event management platforms like Hopin provide self-serve check-in kiosks to enhance your marketing efforts and allow you to engage with your attendees from the moment they enter your venue.
Event professionals now have so much flexibility when it comes to event structure, and Hopin provides all the necessary tools for event management in one place—and in one integrated platform.
Once you have your event planning checklist ready, you’re well on your way to having a go-to event playbook in your event management arsenal.
Keep these often-overlooked steps in mind during your planning process, and you’re one step closer to producing a successful and seamless event for your attendees, presenters, and sponsors.