How to Successfully Organise Live Private Events
Organising live private events can be a challenge. You want everything to be perfect, whether a wedding or a business showcase. Here we offer some pointers from Highlights own experience to ensure your next private live event is the talk of the town for all the right reasons.
Before you begin making arrangements, define the purpose of the event. It may be a celebration for an individual or a team. It could be an educational event or an event to launch a new campaign or promote the brand. When you know precisely what you want to do, it’s much easier to relay that message to those providing services.
Define your goals
To achieve your mission, decide if you want to create an intimate, niche event or large scale public event. You may want to get people excited about a new situation or perhaps your focus is to change people’s minds. Choose a theme and consider how the venue, speakers and ideas can reflect the theme.
Be realistic and include everything. Include how many attendees are needed to breakeven and how this impacts on cashflow. A spreadsheet can help you stay on budget. Include other suppliers and contracts you may need to negotiate and manage include signage, furniture, audio visual, flooring, crowd barriers, flowers, stewards, health and safety consultants, marketing, printing, designers, transport, insurance, portaloos, registration and box office and licences including alcohol and music. Asking when suppliers require payment is vital to cashflow.
Venues host private events to support business during seasonal lows and have much experience that you can depend upon. If you want good food at your event, consider a live music venue with a restaurant and bar, even if you do not plan to play music. Here you will already have a stage, contacts and an in-house food and beverage component that makes for easy planning and accessibility.
A smooth, simple guest experience can be helped not just with an in-house restaurant, but also a live-music booking team and full-service staff. They may also have teams to help with security, bar management, stage and production management who will all collaborate on your plan.
If you prefer your venue to be a blank canvas, such as a warehouse or outdoor marquee, you will need to include the hidden costs such as, stewarding, traffic marshals, first aid provision, as well as furniture, electrical supply and catering.
If you want to bring in your own caterers, include the extra cost of the chefs, waiting staff, kitchen space and equipment hire. Tell the caterers your budget and ask what menus their chefs are able to create for you. If you are using a non-conventional venue, an alcohol licence will be required and can take time to be processed.
At the same time, prepare a contact list with all the relevant contact details of those involved in preparing the event.
Consider how your guests will arrive. Check there is parking for everyone or arrange car-sharing or information about nearby public transport. Check facilities for those with disabilities. You will need to decide the number of people you need to make the event run smoothly to deliver the experience or message that you want. Include a menu that offers options for all diets. On the booking form, add an option for people to ask questions which can help you gauge any special requirements.
Marketing, PR and Advertising
Draft a poster with the date, time, venue, chief guest, name of the event and a theme or tag-line for the event. Decide how you will mail this out to people – either via email, post or social media. Use sites such as Eventbrite and look for an online site such as Ticketbud to sell tickets. For big public events, finding media partners often work well.
On the day
Have a running sheet listing all the necessary information sorted by time and/or room that is easy to read is useful to everyone. Have a team briefing for everyone involved – your team, volunteers, all the suppliers, venue, caterers, security and any other relevant parties. This will help if a speaker is running late or if dining is taking longer than expected. Have a plan B for the decision makers, so your guest experience is seamless. Ensure that all team members know the decision making structure and what to do in an emergency.
Follow Up and Evaluation
Plan this well in advance of the event so that it takes place immediately after the event to ensure all the good energy and goodwill is capitalised on and turned into increased business. If it is a fundraising event, then securing new donors and increasing and managing relationships from existing ones are critical as part of the follow up.