Whether you are planning an award ceremony to thank your employees for their hard work or you are looking to recognize professionals in your industry for their success, these festivities are a great opportunity to gather everyone together to say thanks. In this article we will highlight how to plan a show-stopping awards ceremony.
2019-2020 awards season is now in full swing for many industries. Each year during the fourth quarter, many organizations gather to recognize the best of the best in their industry. Planning an awards ceremony is a massive undertaking and like any event requires an extensive amount of pre-planning. Award ceremonies are an excellent opportunity to pay homage to professionals in your industry for their hard work, dedication, and success.
An awards banquet is also a great opportunity to increase exposure, generate brand awareness, develop new partnerships and even raise funds for your company or organization.
If you are considering hosting an awards ceremony and want to make a considerable impact, here’s everything you need to consider when planning a successful event.
Start planning early
If you want to succeed at organizing a stellar awards ceremony, start the planning process at least 9-12 months in advance. A well-executed event is one that is set up for success at the from beginning to end. To plan a successful ceremony, you must invest time upfront and think about your end goal. At the forefront, define specific, realistic goals and objectives that are obtainable. Those specifics should include:
Have a planning and execution timeline
To ensure your event goes smoothly as planned, identify milestones and deadlines that are needed to achieve optimal success. Work with stakeholders to determine the event scope, resources required, deliverables, and anticipated timeline to execute. Write out all of the tasks that need to be completed during the execution phase of the planning process. Tasks, like booking the caterer and securing the venue, can be broken down into mini-projects and assigned to stakeholders to handle.
Assess the market need
Before you get into the weeds of planning an awards ceremony, assess the need for an event like this in your industry. What other awards ceremonies exist in your industry? When do your competitors host their event? These are all critical factors to consider before starting the planning process. If the industry is saturated with several awards programs, it will be challenging to market your event.
Set the budget
Your budget is the first thing you need to determine in the planning process. There’s no point in planning a lavash affair if you can only afford to host a small gathering. Key line items in your budget should include venue cost, food and beverage, operations, décor, trophies, live entertainment, security, and AV. These are all things that can eat up your budget.
You also need to think about the marketing costs required to promote your event. Will you need to pay for advertising to market your event? This could get expensive, depending on the number of people you want to reach.
Once you have an estimate of how much it’s going to cost to host the banquet, you can determine ticket pricing and sponsorships.
Organize a planning committee
As an event organizer, it’s your job to enlist a team of people to help plan your event. As we mentioned earlier, planning an awards ceremony is a big undertaking and the more help you have, the better. Sometimes the planning can fall on one person. Enlisting the help of a steering committee of skilled volunteer experts will decrease your stress levels and increase the chances of your vision coming to life. Assign roles and responsibilities to each committee member. There should be an event chair and sub-committees in charge of sponsorships, marketing, and food and beverage.
Secure a location and date
When determining a venue for your awards ceremony, you’ll need to consider your budget and the number of people you want to invite. Most industry awards ceremonies are often held at upscale and historic venues. This could increase the budget. Look for a place that has an all-inclusive package that includes on-site catering and AV support. This will eliminate the need to look for an outside caterer. Also make sure the venue has excellent lighting, ambiance, and sound quality.
Selecting a date is just as important as choosing a venue. Make sure the event date doesn’t fall on the week of a national or religious holiday. Also, check to see what other industry events are taking place during that same month. If people have to travel to a far distance to attend, they are most likely not going to want to attend two industry events during the same month.
Select award categories
The primary purpose of hosting an awards ceremony is to recognize award recipients for their success. Before the nomination process opens determine what categories you want to give out awards in. Remember the more categories you have, the longer the event will take place. Save your attendees from a dull and mundane awards ceremony and limit the presentation to 1.5 to 2 hours. Also, determine if awards recipients will be allowed to give acceptance speeches. If this is a route, you want to take, limit speeches to three minutes to avoid going overtime.
Choose judging panel
A great way to elevate your awards show presence is by selecting the perfect panel of judges. Finding a panel of judges that are well-known thought leaders in the industry adds credibility to your event. Judges can come from multiple backgrounds; you can narrow your selection down by sector and relevance.
Look to have a diverse panel of judges who can bring different perspectives to the table when selecting award participants. Reach out to local universities, magazines, and executives at Fortune 500 companies. There is no guide to finding the perfect panel of judges. However, keep your end goals in mind when deciding who should help with selecting award winners.
Also, have a “people’s choice” category that allows the public to vote on a winner. Having a “people’s choice” category is a great way to increase online engagement and drive external buzz for your event.
Align with a media partner
If you want to garner attention from the media about your event, partner with an industry-leading publication to host the ceremony. As a component of the partnership, the magazine or newspaper could publish a feature article and list of the award recipients. This will further position your brand as a leading industry thought leader.
There’s a lot to think about when planning an awards ceremony, but now you have of the steps needed to pull off a stellar event. Remember that your end goal is to make this an excellent experience for award winners and the people attending to support them. This is also a great opportunity to increase your brand exposure and celebrate everyone in attendance.