event planning tips

11 Tips for Hosting a Corporate Event People Want to Attend

We’ve all received them: a stiff, impersonal invitation in black serif type on white letterhead. It’s the dreaded corporate event invite, an event you need to attend … but don’t necessarily want to attend.

If you’re planning to host a corporate event for your business, whether that be a ribbon cutting, product launch, or networking event, there are ways to flip that reaction on its head. Here are 11 tips for planning and hosting a seamless, successful, and measurable corporate event—one that guests will be clamoring to attend.

1. Nail down your event goals

Our first tip is also the most important one. Corporate events don’t succeed based solely on good catering and adequate bathroom access—they’re built on solid goals. Are you hoping to educate, empower, and encourage your salesforce at your annual sales meeting, or are you looking to convey your brand’s staying power at an anniversary celebration?

2. Define what and how you’ll measure success

Once you’ve determined the end goal of your event, decide and quantify how you’ll measure it. Events are more than parties. When you have clear objectives, you are quantifying the return on your event investment.

Here are some ideas for the examples we mentioned in tip #1.

Annual sales meeting

  • Goal: Educate, empower, and encourage your salesforce to knock it out of the park and increase profits in the coming quarter.
  • What To Measure: Identify sales increase and number of instances where your team met or exceeded their goals.

85th Anniversary Celebration

  • Goal: Thank your current clients for their commitment to your business, express appreciation to your employees, and increase employee longevity and morale.
  • What To Measure: Employee engagement 90 days post-event, client attendance, and media stories on local news stations, websites, and social media pages.

3. See the event from the attendee perspective

A good gut check for any event is whether you’d like to attend it yourself. Put on your guest shoes and evaluate your plan from every angle. Ask yourself simple questions like: Is the food too spicy? Does the event run too long? Does it intersect prime wedding season? Is parking easy at my venue? Is the décor inviting to all guests?

4. Communicate internally (and often)

From day one, organize your team and clearly define responsibilities for all involved. Make sure to create a living, breathing “run of day” document that lists every person who touches the event and what they are responsible for, from set-up to take-down. This list of important people includes your event team, vendors, and media contacts.

5. Strategically plan your venue

Location, location, location. Your venue choice should be based on your audience and the purpose of your event. Take accessibility, space needed, and the overall vibe of the venue into consideration. Ask yourself, do you want to host your corporate event right in the office to showcase a new remodel? Or, does a casual off-site atmosphere align with your event goals?

6. Make touchpoints frequent and special

Every piece of external communication about your event should be thoughtful, personalized, and memorable. Instead of a templated evite, consider sending a creatively designed mailer. Sending a reminder email to your attendees? Personalize the message and incentivize them to open it with a quiz or photo tour of the venue. Post-event, send handwritten thank you notes with a teaser for next year’s event and a clear call-to-action that tells them how to connect with you.

7. Strive to be social and digital

The best events are in sync with your other marketing efforts, particularly those related to social media and digital marketing. One method: set up event pages and posts on your social media channels that drive traffic to a custom landing page that aggregates event info and attendee RSVPs. Your event’s social media presence will make it easy for attendees to interact with you and with each other.

8. Make the first impression count

It’s the smallest details that can make the biggest difference. Make sure your guests feel welcomed as soon as they walk through the door with a team designated to greet attendees. Your guests will feel appreciated and comfortable knowing that you’ve been expecting them.

9. Make an action plan for foreseeable snafus

Stuff happens. And when this stuff happens, the best event coordinators will have a plan in place and a team responsible for handling the issue.

10. Do a post-event review with your team

A day or two after the event, gather your team to evaluate your metrics to see where you succeeded and where you could have done better. Start brainstorming now about what you’d like to do better and different next time at a similar event. Treat each event as a learning experience, and give everyone on your team the opportunity to provide feedback.

11.  If you can’t do it yourself, get help

If this list of tips feels overwhelming, we don’t blame you. Public relations and event coordination are arts and sciences, and they’re most successful when executed by an expert team.

That’s where Element comes in. Our team of PR wizards throws events that draw crowds, get people talking, and provide ROI. Want to learn more? You’re invited to give us a ring today at 920.983.9700. (You VIP, you.)

Director of Public Relations
A self-described chatterbox, it’s rumored that Tara was born with a phone in her hand. It was only natural that she ended up in the marketing communications industry. With more than 12 years of industry experience, Tara specializes in campaign strategy, planning, publicity, and content marketing. In addition to socializing with just about anyone, Tara enjoys running, yoga, and watching her beloved Wisconsin Badgers. She also appreciates the occasional quiet weekend at home cooking and relaxing with her husband Ryan and kids, Julia and Colin.