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The Ultimate Event Planning Checklist: 7 Phases to Create a Winning Event

Victoria Rudi
June 1, 2023

Table of Contents

Whether you’re on the brink of planning a first event  or are a seasoned professional revising your event planning checklist, this guide aims to be your trusted roadmap. 

Based on 10 years of experience, working with thousands of event professionals from iconic brands such as Perrier-Jouet, Pierre Fabre group and Kaspersky, our team has decided to share our ultimate event planning checklist with you today.

This article provides a comprehensive event planning checklist to help you manage every detail for a successful event, from start to finish. 

One of the primary challenges in event planning is managing the numerous details and ensuring you have backup plans for almost every aspect. What should you do when your key speaker suddenly cancels five days before the event? What should you do when the venue you’ve booked becomes unavailable? 

This checklist helps you manage every planning detail, act fast in case of unexpected occurrences, and stick to your event timeline. We hope you find this event checklist useful and easy-to-use.

Disclaimer: This particular checklist may not work for all types and sizes of events. It was built in collaboration with large global organizations that run hundreds or even thousands of events yearly, including consumer events and experiences, conferences, congresses, and more.

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The Structure of Event Planning Checklist 

To simplify your overview, we structured this checklist based on different phases of the event planning timeline. 

It’s worth noting that these stages may vary depending on the type and size of the event. For example a runway show will require more time for planning than a small product launch. 

We divided this guide into seven event planning phases 

  • 1st phase: at least 2 months before the event
  • 2nd phase: 1 to 2 months before the event
  • 3rd phase: 1 week to 1 month before the event 
  • 4th phase: 3 days to 1  week before the event
  • 5th phase: 1 to 3 days before the event
  • 6th phase: The day of the event
  • 7th phase: After the event

Let’s take them one by one. 

Download your event planning template

The template enables you to manage all planning details, reduce the uncertainty and adhere to the event timeline.

1st Phase: At Least 2 Months Before the Event

As discussed, the timeline for planning can fluctuate. For example, if you’re launching a grand opening of a flagship store in a major city, expecting a footfall of over 1,000 customers, it’s wise to start preparations at least four months ahead. For smaller events, such as a masterclass on how to use the product, 1-2 months of preparation might be enough.

Step 1. Define the purpose of your event

This can range from attracting a specific number of customers to your store to converting prospects into loyal customers. Based on your event’s purposes, you can: 

  • Define specific objectives or what are the specific outcomes you aim to achieve. For example, your goal may be to attract 300 attendees and achieve 20% sales of the new line on event day.
  • Agree upon the KPIs to track the event’s performance, including customer footfall, social media mentions, number of sales, and more. 

Step 2. Develop an event master plan 

With clear objectives, work on how your event will unfold. Your master plan should act as a blueprint, guiding every decision and action. 

Here’s how you can structure it: 

  • Summarize the key event details. Cover details like the event name, date, location, and critical requirements.
  • Understand your audience. Recognize who your event caters to. Perhaps you’re targeting a more affluent customer base if it’s a luxury product launch. 
  • Clearly articulate what makes this event (and the products or promotions it features) unique. For a retail brand, it could be an exclusive first look at a new product line or deep discounts.
  • Strategize the marketing and execution. Detail out the promotional activities leading up to the event. In retail, you can plan teaser ads, social media campaigns, or influencer partnerships.
  • Build the sequence of the event. If unveiling a new clothing line, start with a fashion show, followed by a Q & A and then open-floor shopping.
  • Project how you aim to monetize the event. Will it be through direct sales, partnerships, or VIP access fees?
  • Work on safety details. Ensure crowd control measures, emergency exits, and first aid provisions are in place.

Step 3. Secure your event location

Depending on your event’s scale and nature, you might choose your flagship store or an alternative branch. For online events, choose a robust virtual event management platform. 

To ensure the right fit:

  • Select the location based on specific criteria. Evaluate multiple store locations if available. Consider factors like store size, historical footfall data, proximity to target customers, and more.
  • Survey and inspect the chosen location. Ensure the location can accommodate the expected number of customers. Look into necessary arrangements for seating, product displays, or stage setup if required.
  • Familiarize yourself with any permits or permissions required. Ensure all liabilities are covered, especially if expecting large crowds or hosting unique attractions.
  • For hybrid events or solely online happenings, select and test a virtual platform in advance. It should be capable of delivering a seamless customer experience, accommodating expected online traffic, and integrating with your CRM and any other retail software solution if necessary.

Step 4. Outline a detailed budget for your event

Financial planning is paramount to ensure the viability of your event. Understanding costs allows you to set appropriate price points, manage expenditures, and ensure positive ROI. 

Here’s how to structure your budget considerations:

  • Allocate funds for venue and infrastructure. Consider the costs of renting or/and setting up your preferred location, especially if you’re not using your store. This could range from a prime spot in a shopping mall to a large event hall.
  • Budget for equipment such as lighting, sound systems, or display stands essential for showcasing products.
  • Ensure adequate insurance. Ascertain that you’re covered for any liabilities, especially with large crowds or valuable inventory at stake. 
  • Guarantee technical support. If you’re hosting or streaming any part of the event online, consider platform subscription costs, camera setups, and other associated tech expenses.
  • Plan for guest engagement and hospitality. Consider their charges if you’re bringing in a celebrity endorser, influencer, or expert for a talk.
  • Provide refreshments, snacks, or meals, especially if the event spans several hours. In retail, brand-themed snacks or drinks could be an added touch.
  • Factor in logistical expenses: That’s especially relevant if you’re flying in team members from other branches or countries.
  • “Security Personnel” could be another point on your budgeting list. That’s relevant if you hire additional security for crowd control or product safety.

Step 5. Assemble your event team 

Organizing a successful event requires a cohesive and skilled team to execute different aspects seamlessly. This becomes even more crucial in a retail setting as direct customer interaction and experience are at stake.

Here’s how to form your ideal team:

  • Appoint leadership and assign an event manager. This individual will be at the helm of your event, ensuring that each part of the process aligns with your brand and objectives. They’ll often be the point of contact for vendors, stakeholders, and customers.
  • Set up teams for specialized tasks. Depending on the scale of your event, having sub-teams or committees for areas like logistics, marketing, customer service, etc., can ensure focused attention on each detail.
  • Assign roles and responsibilities: Every team member should know their tasks, timelines, and who they report to. This might include positions like product display specialists, customer interaction managers, or sales leads for the event day in a retail setting.
  • Create users via event management software: Implementing an event management solution can help streamline your team’s communication and workflows. Use this software to create user accounts for your team members, assign specific roles and permissions, and facilitate collaboration and coordination throughout the event planning process.

Step 6. Choose the right event management platform 

Virtual, in-person, or hybrid events are increasingly reliant on technology to ensure smooth operation and a memorable experience for attendees. The right event management platform can simplify logistics, foster attendee engagement, and offer valuable data insights.

To select the best event management platform for your needs:

  • Consider the nature of your event. In-person events often require on-site check-in, activity checkpoints and an event mobile app, whereas virtual platforms offer features like webinars, breakout rooms, and online networking, 
  • Evaluate options based on features and functionalities. Some platforms offer advanced analytics, integrations with other software (like CRM systems), and customizable branding options. Choose one that aligns with your event objectives.
  • Research options based on user experience. User-friendly interfaces enhance attendee participation and overall event success.
  • A robust event management platform will provide actionable insights from the data it collects. From attendance and session popularity to engagement rates, these metrics can offer invaluable feedback on the event’s performance and areas of improvement.
  • Technical glitches can arise at any point during the event planning process or even during the event itself. Having a dedicated customer support team can make a significant difference. Platforms that offer ongoing support or provide dedicated event success managers can prove invaluable.
  • Event platforms come in various pricing models, from flat fees, per attendee rates or subscription models. Choosing a platform that offers the features you need within your budget is vital. 

Step 7. Cultivate your event branding

Building a recognizable and cohesive brand for your event ensures it stands out and resonates with your target audience, especially in retail, where presentation matters greatly.

To achieve a robust brand identity:

  • Start with the Basics. Choose a name that encapsulates the essence of your event, remains memorable, and aligns with your brand. 
  • Create your event’s visual identity. Create a logo consistent with your store’s branding but tailored to the event’s theme. This aids in visual recall and marketing efforts.
  • Craft a brief, catchy phrase that encapsulates the spirit of the event.
  • Incorporate additional touchpoints. Consider other branding opportunities, such as in-store posters, digital banners, or merchandise. In retail, this can also involve branded bags, stickers, or even staff uniforms tailored for the event.

Step 8. Construct your event marketing plan

In the competitive world, spreading the word about your event effectively and on time is crucial to ensure its success. An organized marketing strategy guarantees you reach your target audience and create a buzz around your event.

To build a comprehensive marketing approach:

  • Craft a strategic blueprint. Detail the strategies and tactics you will use to promote the event. This includes deciding on the marketing mix – which channels you will use (social media, email marketing, in-store promotions, etc.), the type of content you’ll produce (videos, articles, graphics), and any partnerships or collaborations.
  • Organize your efforts. Structure a timeline for when and where each marketing activity will happen.
  • Expand your online presence:
    • Event Website: Create a dedicated landing page or microsite that can provide all necessary information, from event details to product previews.
    • Event Social Profiles: Set up or adapt social media profiles for your event. Use them for promotions, interactions, and real-time updates.
    • Event Hashtags: Craft unique and catchy hashtags for social media to increase engagement, track conversations, and boost visibility.

Step 9. Create and publish a press release

A press release can be a powerful tool to garner media attention and amplify the reach of your event. Getting it right can mean the difference between a few attendees and a massive turnout.

To ensure impactful press outreach:

  • Create a compelling narrative. Your press release should encapsulate the essence of your event concisely. Ensure it’s short yet captivating, providing all essential details without overly verbose. Aim for 300 words or less to retain the attention of busy journalists and media personnel.
  • Identify potential outreach platforms: Not all media outlets will be relevant to your event—research and list down those that align with your brand ethos and have the right audience. Consider local newspapers, magazines, TV channels, or specialized retail industry publications.
  • Ensure widespread distribution: Once your press release is ready, distribute it to your curated list of media entities. Don’t forget to include influencers or bloggers in your domain who can amplify the reach through their platforms. Follow up with them to maximize the chances of your press release getting featured.

Step 10. Create a shortlist of potential partners and influencers

In today’s digital-centric retail landscape, leveraging the right partnerships and influencers can amplify your event’s reach and impact. Associating with prominent names can lend credibility and attract a wider audience to your event.

To effectively collaborate with partners and influencers:

  • Shortlist potential collaborators:
    • Identify partners: Identify brands or organizations that align with your event’s theme and ethos. Partners can offer mutual promotional opportunities, resources, or even co-hosting capabilities.
    • Curate a list of influencers: Depending on your target audience, look for influencers who resonate with your brand values and have a following that matches your customer profile. They could be big-name influencers or micro-influencers, each offering distinct advantages.
  • Initiate conversations. Reach out to potential partners and influencers with a clear and enticing proposal. Highlight the mutual benefits, ensuring it’s a win-win for both parties.
  • Negotiate terms. Clear out the specifics, whether it’s a deal, paid collaboration, or a mutual promotional agreement. Ensure both parties have clarity on deliverables, timelines, and compensation.
  • Leverage their reach. Once onboard, utilize their platforms for pre-event promotions, live event engagements, and post-event content. This could be in the form of social media posts, stories, blog entries, or even guest appearances at the event.

Step 11. Configure your event page and registration form 

To set up an effective event page and registration form:

  • Establish your page’s aesthetic:
    • Ensure the design and color schemes match your brand and event theme.
    • Use high-quality images, graphics, or even teasers of products to be showcased. 
    • The page’s tone, language, and messaging should be consistent with other promotional materials.
  • Provide essential information:
  • Mention the date, time, and venue.
  • Describe what attendees can expect: product launches, special guests, activities, etc.
  • If relevant, highlight any exclusive benefits for attendees, such as early-bird offers or exclusive product access.
  • Create a seamless registration process:
  • The registration form should be concise, asking only for essential information. Avoid long and tedious forms that might deter potential attendees.
  • If there’s a fee involved, integrate a secure and reliable payment gateway for easy transaction processes.
  • Once registered, attendees should receive an automatic confirmation email or message, providing them with event details and possibly a calendar link. These emails can also contain personalized badges and QR codes to facilitate venue check-in.

Step 12. Open the online registration to your event 

You can open your online registration months before the event, ensuring people will have time to discover your event and confirm their attendance. Making the online registration smooth and user-friendly can significantly enhance your event’s attendance rate.

To ensure a successful online registration launch:

  • Determine registration fees. Based on your event’s scale and offerings, decide on a registration fee that offers value to attendees while covering your costs.
  • Offer early bird rates for attendees who register in advance. This not only incentivizes early registration but also gives you a preliminary idea of attendance numbers. If you plan to introduce tiered pricing or time-sensitive discounts, ensure these are clearly mentioned.
  • Don’t forget to configure the online payment solution such as Stripe or PayPal for collecting attendance fees.
  • Run tests. Before announcing registration, ensure your online registration function is active and running smoothly on your event page.
  • Streamline the process. Making the registration process as seamless as possible is crucial to avoid potential attendees dropping out due to complications or friction. Simplify the form, ask only necessary questions, and ensure the page loads quickly.

2nd Phase: 1 to 2 Months Before the Event

The first phase is about planning your event, setting up a solid foundation, and ending with the release of your early-bird tickets (and the event’s official launch). The next phase is securing all the necessary details to prepare for a successful event. 

In the meantime, week after week, you can monitor and review your registration progress through your event platform.

Step 1. Identify and secure your event speakers

The right speakers or talents can be a game-changer for any event, especially in retail. They can draw in large crowds, offer valuable insights, and be a major attraction for attendees.

  • Based on the event’s theme and audience, shortlist potential talents who resonate with your brand and event’s message.
  • Initiate conversations and understand their availability, terms, and willingness.
  • Strike a fair deal. Negotiate mutually beneficial terms. This can include speaking fees, event exposure, partnerships, or other arrangements.
  • Document everything. Once an agreement is reached, ensure all terms are laid out in a written contract. This is essential for clarity and avoiding potential misunderstandings.
  • Gather essential materials. Obtain bio information, professional photos, and other relevant details from the speakers/talents for promotions.
  • Prepare for your speakers’ arrival. Especially if they’re traveling from afar, ensure travel and accommodations are well-arranged. This can include booking flights, securing hotel rooms, and planning local transportation.
  • Encourage the speakers/talents to promote the event on their channels, social profiles, websites, or newsletters. Their endorsement can offer significant credibility and attract their follower base.
  • Work together to create promotional materials, interviews, or teasers that can be shared across both your and their platforms for wider reach.

Step 2. Initiate partnership campaigns 

Optimizing partnerships can significantly enrich your event, especially with entities you’ve already built a rapport with. It offers attendees more value and ensures the collaborative spirit resonates throughout the event’s execution.

Here’s how you can go about it: 

  • Encourage partners to be involved in co-creating aspects of the event, be it in content, design, or promotional activities, leveraging the combined strengths.
  • Define roles and responsibilities: Clearly outline what is expected of each partner. This could include co-hosting segments, contributing resources, or amplifying promotional efforts.
  • Set shared objectives: Align on common goals for the event, ensuring that the partnership benefits both parties equally and objectives are met.
  • Maintaining a consistent communication cadence, updating partners on event developments, and ensuring their brand or contributions are showcased.
  • Create channels for partners to provide feedback, suggestions, or voice concerns, ensuring the collaboration remains harmonious and productive.

Step 3. Focus on venue, catering, and logistics

From the venue’s ambiance to the catering items, each aspect needs careful planning and meticulous execution. As you progress in your event preparations, getting these foundations right is crucial to ensure your event is memorable and leaves a lasting impression.

Here’s what to consider at this stage: 

  • Prepare the venue. Ensure you’ve made all necessary adjustments to your store or chosen location to accommodate the event’s requirements.
  •  Ensure your venue is wheelchair accessible and there are amenities in place for differently-abled attendees.
  • Determine if you have adequate parking for your expected attendees. If not, seek nearby alternatives or partner with local establishments.
  • Strategically place event signage for easy navigation, ensuring they’re visible and in-brand.
  • Determine the security needs. This could include hiring security personnel, setting up CCTV cameras, or other measures, especially if you expect a large turnout.
  • Double-check if any permits, insurances, or licenses are required to host your event, and ensure they’re procured.
  • Decide on the menu. Partner with a caterer and determine a menu that aligns with the event’s theme and satisfies varied dietary preferences.
  • Prepare a checklist of required audio/visual equipment, ensuring they’re compatible and functional.

Step 4. Craft perfect event flow 

The pacing and sequencing of your event can set the stage for an immersive customer experience. An organized, smooth-flowing event can captivate attendees, ensuring they remain engaged from start to finish. 

Here’s how you can nail down the perfect rhythm for your retail event:

  • Draft a narrative. Design a captivating storyline for your event. This should include pivotal moments like the grand opening, introducing new product lines or speakers, showing appreciation to attendees, and the memorable closing.
  • Integrate brand messaging. Seamlessly weave in your brand’s message or theme throughout the script, ensuring a consistent narrative that resonates with your attendees.
  • Finalize details with speakers. If you’re introducing new products or have guest speakers, ensure their slots are well-defined, allowing them to prepare adequately.

Step 5. Execute your marketing plan

Effective marketing ensures your retail event is on the radar of your target audience and sets the stage for a successful event day. 

Here’s how to meticulously execute your event marketing plan, ensuring maximum visibility and engagement:

  • Crafting engaging marketing content:
    • Dive deep into creating varied content, such as compelling blog posts about the event, engaging ads that capture attention, and captivating videos that tell a story.
    • Ensure your event’s essence is captured in every piece of collateral, from chic invitations, eye-catching posters, to uniquely designed tickets.
  • Media and partnerships:
    • Design an impressive media kit. Incorporate speaker biographies, high-quality photos, and relevant information that appeal to journalists and bloggers.
    • Ensure you get high-resolution logos from your sponsors and seamlessly integrate them into your marketing materials, celebrating the partnership.
  • Digital presence:
    • Carve a dedicated space for your event on your website. This serves as a one-stop destination for all event-related information and updates.
    • Build and optimize dedicated event pages across social media platforms. Leverage these platforms to generate buzz, post teasers, and engage with potential attendees.
    • Draft and schedule engaging email notifications to inform potential attendees about event updates.
  • Wider reach and branding:
    • Increase your event’s visibility by registering on various event publication platforms and online calendars.
    • Engage in relevant online forums and communities to spread the word and generate more interest.
    • Design an attractive event swag bag that resonates with your brand and ensures attendees have a memorable takeaway.

Step 6. Engage your attendees

As you approach your event date, engaging your audience becomes essential. This step involves actively monitoring registrations, providing valuable information, and ensuring a seamless registration process. 

  • Monitor registrations through real-time data: Leverage event management software to keep a close eye on your registration progress in real time. This enables you to track the number of attendees, their demographics, and other crucial metrics. Use this data to make informed decisions and adjust your event planning. Analyzing this information can help you identify trends and areas that require additional attention.
  • Send informational content to engage attendees: Keep your registered attendees excited and well-informed about your event by sending them relevant and engaging content. This can include event updates, insider information, sneak peeks, and valuable tips. Use email marketing and your event website to distribute this content. Engaging your audience before the event builds anticipation and ensures they have all the necessary details.
  • Send payment reminders: To minimize last-minute hiccups and ensure a smooth registration process, send payment reminders to attendees who have registered but still need to complete their payments. This friendly nudge serves as a helpful reminder for attendees to finalize their registration and payments, reducing the chances of no-shows on the event day. 

Engaging your audience in the lead-up to your retail event not only keeps them excited but also helps to build a sense of community and anticipation. Effective communication and proactive measures can contribute to the overall success of your event and create a positive experience for your attendees.

3rd Phase: 1 Week to 1 Month Before the Event

You are getting closer to the event day, and in this phase, you should focus on finalizing details and attracting more attendees to encourage registrations. 

Step 1. Ramp up your event’s marketing momentum

As the event day nears, amplifying your marketing efforts becomes crucial to ensure robust attendance and buzz. This phase focuses on capitalizing on the foundation laid in the earlier stages and maximizing outreach:

  • Send out specially curated newsletters to past event attendees. They are already familiar with your brand and might want to attend again.
  • Offer special deals or limited-time offers to encourage more sign-ups.
  • Increase your ad spend to reach a wider audience. Secure more prominent publication spots to ensure maximum visibility.
  • Announce the big names associated with your event, keynote speakers, headline talents, VIPs, celebrities, or any special guests. Their presence can significantly boost the allure of your event.
  • Share detailed posts about event highlights, schedules, and what attendees can expect, driving the excitement.
  • Publish your news release prominently on your website and ensure it’s shared with all partners for maximum outreach.
  • Whether it’s brochures, banners, or tickets, finalize all printed materials. Ensure meticulous proofreading to avoid errors, ensuring professionalism and attention to detail.

Step 2. Refine coordination with your speakers

The days leading up to the event require meticulous coordination with the key participants – your speakers and talents. It’s pivotal to ensure a synchronized and smooth presentation for your attendees:

  • Double-check travel schedules and itineraries. Ensure pick-ups, drop-offs, and any transit requirements are catered for.
  • Review hotel or stay arrangements, ensuring they align with the preferences and comfort of the talents or speakers.
  • Ask for a copy or outline of their presentations, speeches, or performance scripts. This ensures alignment with the event’s theme and avoids potential overlaps or conflicts.
  • Ensure any special technical requirements or props needed for their sessions are understood and arranged.
  • Encourage your speakers and talents to share about your event on their social media pages or official websites. Their reach can significantly amplify the event’s visibility, attracting their followers or fan base to register or attend.

Step 3. Strengthen ties with partners and influencers

As you approach the event date, solidifying relationships and ensuring cohesive collaboration with partners and influencers becomes paramount. They not only enhance the event’s credibility but can also amplify its reach:

  • Reaffirm commitments. Reconnect with all partners and influencers to reaffirm their roles and participation. Ensure clarity on what’s expected of them during the event.
  • Ensure that all partnership and collaboration agreements are legally documented. This step safeguards the interests of both parties and ensures clarity in roles and responsibilities.
  • Obtain logos, promotional materials, or other brand assets from the partners and influencers. This ensures consistent and accurate representation in your event materials.
  • Leverage their reach by encouraging them to promote the event on their respective platforms – social media, websites, newsletters, or other channels they influence.

Step 4. Move from early-bird to standard pricing

As the initial phase of your event promotion concludes, shifting gears and maintaining momentum is essential. Early-bird registrations are a great start, but the subsequent steps ensure sustained interest and higher participation:

  • Conclude early-bird offer. As the early-bird deadline approaches, ensure clear communication about its ending. This can create a last-minute rush, maximizing early registrations.
  • Launch a new pricing strategy. Immediately after the early-bird window closes, roll out the standard pricing or planned time-based discounts. This ensures there’s no gap in the ticket-selling momentum.
  • Use all communication channels – emails, social media, website banners, and more – to announce the transition. Clearly state the benefits attendees will still receive, even if they missed the early-bird phase.

4th Phase: 3 Days to 1 Week Before the Event

You should’ve finalized the important details of your event in the previous phases, and this phase should be about adding the final touches. Here are the elements you should consider in this phase: 

Step 1. Finalizing details against the event master plan

  • Gather all your team members in a plenary meeting to review the event master plan and ensure everyone is on the same page.
  • Go through each item on the list and make sure that all the necessary details have been finalized, such as:
    • Venue details (address, contact information, capacity, etc.)
    • Speaker and entertainment logistics (travel, accommodation, etc.)
    • Food and beverage arrangements
    • Marketing and promotion materials
    • Event setup and breakdown schedule
  • Make any necessary adjustments to the event master plan based on feedback from your team members.

Step 2. Develop backup plans for various situations

  • Identify potential risks to your event and develop backup plans to mitigate them. For example, you might have a backup plan in case of bad weather, technical difficulties, or speaker cancellations.
  • Communicate your backup plans to your team members so that everyone is prepared in case of an unexpected event.

Step 3. Finalizing event script

  • Finalize the event script, which should include the following elements:
    • Introductions and conclusions for each speaker and performer
    • Transitions between segments
    • Timing for each segment
  • Share the finalized event script with all speakers and performers to familiarize everyone with their roles and responsibilities.

Step 4. Plan practice sessions for speakers

  • Plan practice sessions for all speakers and performers so that they can rehearse their presentations and ensure that everything runs smoothly on the day of the event.
  • Provide feedback to speakers and performers on their presentations and help them to improve their delivery.

Step 5. Planning interview opportunities 

  • Plan interview opportunities with speakers, talents, and VIPs to promote the event and generate media coverage.
  • Coordinate with the media to schedule interviews and arrange for logistics such as transportation and equipment.

Step 6. Plan photo-op opportunities

  • Plan photo-op opportunities for speakers, talents, VIPs, and attendees.
  • Identify good photo-op locations throughout the venue and set up backdrops and lighting as needed.
  • Arrange for a photographer to be on hand to capture the photo-op moments.

Step 7. Confirm media attendees

  • Confirm media attendance and provide them with all the necessary information about the event, such as the date, time, location, and agenda.
  • Coordinate with media attendees to arrange interviews, press passes, and other logistics.
  • Confirm the needs of media attendees and VIPs and make arrangements to meet those needs. For example, you might need to provide transportation, accommodation, or special access to certain venue areas.

Step 8. Assign responsibilities

  • Assign specific responsibilities to each staff member and volunteer.
  • Make sure that everyone knows their duties and timelines.

Step 9. Briefing staff and volunteers

  • Brief all staff and volunteers on their roles and responsibilities for the event.
  • Provide them with a copy of the event schedule and seating plan.
  • Review your backup plans with staff and volunteers so that everyone knows what to do in case of an unexpected event.

Step 10. Brief everyone about their duties and timelines

  • Brief all staff and volunteers on their duties and timelines.
  • Make sure that everyone understands their responsibilities and knows when they need to complete their tasks.

Step 11. Check seating arrangements

  • Finalize your seating plan.
  • Consider factors such as the size and layout of the venue, the type of event, and the needs of your attendees.
  • Ensure that there are clear paths through the venue and that wheelchair-accessible areas are identified.

Step 12. Finalize catering-related details 

  • Finalize your food and beverage arrangements with the caterer.
  • Provide the caterer with an accurate attendance number so that they can prepare the correct amount of food and drinks.
  • Confirm the buffet arrangement and catering logistics details.
  • Make sure the catering arrangement comply with food safety guidelines to avoid the risk of food contamination.

Step 13. Seek technical assistance 

Ensuring a flawless event experience requires foresight and preparation, especially when technology plays a central role. 

As you approach the event date, it becomes crucial to solidify your technical support plans to avoid last-minute hiccups.

Here’s what you should consider one week before the event:

  • Touch base with your provider: Reconnect with your event management software provider. Confirm any pre-discussed arrangements and see if there have been any updates or changes since your last conversation.
  • Review technical requirements: Go over the list of technical requirements and ensure everything is in place. This could include specific software functionalities, integrations, or any other special requests you made.
  • Conduct training and final rehearsals: Conduct a final rehearsal to simulate the event day. Address any glitches or challenges that arise during this run-through.
  • Confirm on-the-day support: Validate that the agreed-upon support from the software provider, be it remote or on-site, is still on track. Know the exact people you’ll be in contact with and their roles.
  • Set up communication channels: Make sure you have direct lines of communication with the technical support team. This might include dedicated phone lines, chat channels, or an emergency email thread.

By following these tips, you can ensure that all the details of your event are finalized and that everything is ready to go on the day of the event. 

5th Phase: 1 to 3 Days Before the Event

You’re on the brink of showcasing all your meticulous planning. As anticipation builds, here are some crucial last-minute tasks and refinements to ensure everything runs seamlessly:

  • Ensure the venue decor aligns with your event’s theme and vision.
  • Recheck the positioning of all signages for optimal visibility and guidance.
  • Set up and organize the registration tables for a swift attendee check-in.
  • Test all software solutions to avoid any tech glitches during the event.
  • Run a comprehensive check on the A/V equipment, ensuring clarity and functionality.
  • Cross-verify that all marketing materials, from brochures to banners, are ready and on-site.
  • Double-check the availability of giveaways, swag bags, awards, and any commemorative items at the venue.

6th Phase: The Day of the Event

While today largely focuses on executing what you’ve planned, it’s essential to pay attention to these often overlooked yet vital details:

  • Manage attendance:
    • Ensure seamless check-in via badges or QR codes
    • Print badges (if done onsite)
    • Manage goodies and giveaways
    • Launch attendee engagement activities, such as live polls, Q&A sessions, quizzes
    • Send updates and notifications via the event mobile app
  • Distribute essential reference materials:
    • Directions to the venue
    • Emergency contact numbers
    • Key placements
    • Seating charts or guest lists
    • Extra parking permits, if required
  • Coordinate with your core team. Confirm that all departments or committees are aligned and ready for action.
  • Engage with stakeholders:
    • Touch base with partners and influencers, ensuring they’re comfortably settled, and their branding is accurately displayed.
    • Connect with speakers or talents, ensuring they’re prepared and aware of their schedules.
    • Offer assistance, as needed, to sponsors, speakers, talents, and other vital attendees to ensure a smooth flow.

7th Phase: After the Event

Though you’ve successfully hosted your event, the curtain isn’t fully drawn. Post-event activities are crucial in setting the stage for future events and ensuring lasting relationships with all stakeholders. 

Here’s your comprehensive post-event checklist:

  • Sweep and inspection:
    • Methodically inspect every venue corner to ensure all items and equipment are included.
    • Establish a centralized point for lost items and ensure all found items are cataloged and safely stored.
  • Documentation and receipts:
    • Collect and file all receipts, ensuring a clear paper trail for future reference.
  • Attendance metrics:
    • Calculate the final attendee count, noting discrepancies between registrations, RSVPs, and actual attendees.
    • Gather and analyze the sales data if the event featured product sales. Compare the performance of different products and understand customer preferences.
    • Revisit your initial budget, inputting actual expenditures and revenues. This will provide an overview of the event’s financial performance and any deviations from the predicted budget.
  • Overall event data evaluation
    • Enumerate successes and celebrate them.
    • Identify and document areas ripe for improvement.
    • Reflect on the budget, noting discrepancies and lessons learned.
    • Review KPIs to gauge event impact and ROI.
  • Acknowledgments:
    • Send heartfelt thank-you notes to partners, influencers, and media representatives. 
    • Email speakers, hosts, and performers. 
    • Email attendees expressing gratitude for their participation. Highlight upcoming events, if any, and share pertinent information.
  • Feedback and insights
    • Deploy post-event surveys using platforms like Eventtia. Extract insights on attendees’ experiences and gauge the impact on sponsors and performers.
  • Engage in post-event marketing efforts
    • Update or unpublish the website or event page to reflect the event’s conclusion.
    • Disseminate a post-event press release showcasing key moments.
    • Produce and share a highlight reel capturing the event’s essence.
    • Distribute event snippets on social platforms and by email.
  • Internal review
    • Convene a team debrief to discuss successes and areas for growth.
    • Disburse surveys to your team, gathering their feedback.
    • Conduct interviews with key team members, capturing their insights and suggestions.
    • Cross-verify any discrepancies in the bills with caterers and service providers, ensuring transparent and correct billing.
    • Organize a short debrief session with your event management platform’s customer success team.

Ensuring a meticulous post-event wrap-up lays the groundwork for continuous improvement, forging stronger connections for future events.

This comprehensive planning checklist will be invaluable in directing your upcoming events. As we wrap up, we’d like to share some additional best practices and insights to further enhance your event planning checklist.

Key Takeaways

  • The Ultimate Event Planning Checklist offers a comprehensive roadmap for managing every event detail from start to finish. 
  • The checklist is backed by ten years of experience working with brands like Perrier-Jouet, Pierre Fabre Group, and Kaspersky. 
  • The guide focuses on managing myriad details and preparing for unexpected occurrences, ensuring successful event execution. 
  • 1st Phase (6 months prior): Start strong by defining the event’s purpose, establishing a budget, assembling a dedicated team, and initiating the marketing blueprint, ensuring the foundation is robust and purpose-driven.
  • 2nd Phase (4 Months Before The Event): Shift focus to attendee engagement by monitoring registrations, securing influential speakers, and deepening collaborations, ensuring the event offers value and is on track for success.
  • 3rd Phase (1 to 2 Months Before The Event): Amplify your marketing drive, fine-tune coordination with speakers, solidify ties with partners, and transition ticket pricing, preparing for a grand event showcase.
  • 4th Phase (One Week Before The Event): Dive into the event’s fine details. Confirm all elements align with the master plan, prepare contingency plans, and conduct rehearsals, setting the stage for flawless execution.
  • 5th Phase (One Day Before the Event): Ensure the venue is primed for attendees, with meticulous attention to décor, signage, technology, and logistical details, leaving no room for last-minute hitches.
  • 6th Phase (The Day of the Event): Distribute vital materials, streamline coordination, and engage deeply with stakeholders, making certain the event unfolds smoothly, with every participant feeling valued.
  • 7th Phase (After the Event): Post-event activities are vital. From venue checks and feedback gathering to acknowledging all participants and marketing reflections, ensuring the event’s success paves the way for future endeavors.

Need help with your event planning checklist? Our experts are here to guide you. Contact us today to explore how Eventtia can level up your events and upgrade your events team’s capabilities.

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Discover how Eventtia helps world-leading brands digitize and scale their events

Victoria Rudi
Senior Content Specialist
With a Master’s degree in Event Management and a keen follower of SaaS technologies, Victoria is an event content master, producing insightful and valuable for Eventtia’s blog and beyond

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