Planning and executing a successful corporate meeting is no simple task. It’s typically a months-long process consisting of several stages and a variety of organizational steps. To help you navigate the business of corporate meeting plan, below are some of the things you need to know:
- Event budget | Event objective
- Event marketing | Attendee engagement
- Venue sourcing | Corporate event planning checklist
As outlined above, corporate meetings can range from company conferences and internal training seminars to team away-days and client hospitality. When planning for any type of corporate meetings therefore, it’s best to assess them in terms of their size.
Micro meetings (otherwise known as ‘simple events’) are planned for up to 100 delegates and often take the form of meetings or more intimate training sessions. The planning requirements for these micro-events may simply involve a room booking, presentation facilities, break-out refreshments, and registration.
Small meetings are classed as between 100 and 250 delegates. They could be seminars, training days or departmental conferences. Planners may need to manage a main stage itinerary and several break-out sessions, along with lunch, refreshments, audio-visual facilities, online registration, and transport.
Midsize meetings rely more on technology. They could be company-wide conferences for up to 1,000 delegates or leadership summits for important client customers to meet with senior leaders. Delegates may require hotel accommodation, plus transport which takes attendees to and from the venue. While a pre- or post-event reception or evening entertainment may be required as part of a complex multi-stream conference itinerary.
Large-scale meetings often require enterprise technology tools to manage elements such as hotel room bookings, delegate flights, budgets, and online registration. These may be multi-day events so you could need offsite activities, dinners, partner programs, an awards ceremony or other complex itinerary planning.
The amount of available budget can impact every aspect of corporate meeting plan, from the choice of venue and speakers to the levels of catering, entertainment, technology, and staffing. Decide if your budget has outgoings only, or will you be able to supplement it with income from exhibitors, sponsors or other forms of external revenue?
Has this event happened in the past? If so, use the previous budget to establish a baseline but ensure that inflation and evolving needs are taking into consideration. Figures from past budgets are useful in providing a clearer picture of how much certain suppliers will charge. Use these to ensure you are not being over-charged when you reach out to suppliers for initial quotes.
Every event budget, however, needs built-in flexibility. Unanticipated expenditure is common and supplier costs are often provided as estimates, rather than fixed prices, so it’s vital that an overall budget is managed accordingly, and a contingency fund is in place. Once you have sourced supplier costings, make a comprehensive list of all the budget line items in the event lifecycle, including venue hire, AV, food, and beverage, accommodation and travel, speaker fees, staffing costs, marketing and service fees.
‘What is the meeeting’s objective?’ This should be the first question you ask when a corporate event is requested. By gaining a deep understanding of the deliverables that key stakeholders are hoping to achieve, it’ll allow you to plan more effectively and communicate your ideas in a language your bosses will understand. Once you have figure out whether the event’s aim is, for example, to build brand awareness, communicate business strategy, reward and motivate, or launch a new product or service, you can then set goals, put the right metrics in place to track results, and determine who the attendees will be, along with their expectations.
When you have well-defined goals and objectives for your meeting, planning, promoting, and sticking to your budget all become much easier.
Meeting objectives should be SMART
- Specific: What is the desired outcome and when does it need to be achieved by?
- Measurable: Return on Investment or Return on Objectives… or both?
- Achievable: Ensure that the event objective is something that can actually be achieved otherwise senior leaders will consider it a failure.
- Relevant: The overall objective needs to remain something that relates back to the company’s goals throughout the entire planning process.
- Timebound: Plan for the event objective to have been achieved between two time periods. This may require subsequent training seminars or a follow-up event to assess the outcomes of the first.