The Ultimate Corporate Event Planning Checklist

You’ve just been tasked to organise your company’s next townhall, workshop or celebratory makan and whether or not you’re a complete newbie or an absolute pro, there’s a checklist of things to get through to ensure you put on the best event possible; after-all, you and your Company’s reputation depends on it.

We’ve put together this ultimate corporate event planning checklist as a guide to help you navigate, check-off, remind and ensure that everything is covered, all bases accounted for and all your ducks lined up in a row.

1. Venue

Unless you’re organizing the event within your company premises, the venue alone will take a big chunk out of your budget. Your checklist will need a whole section allotted to venue rental, and it will also need to include the following:

  • Cost – Does it fit within my budget? Does the price differ depending on the time of year?
  • Availability – Is it available on the date of the event?
  • Ambiance – Does it have the type of backdrop and décor that is fitting for the event?
  • Size – What’s the maximum occupancy?
  • Equipment – Does the venue include chairs, tables, audio and visual equipment, or will I need to acquire these items elsewhere? Would the caterer supply any of the above?

2. Timeline

Your checklist should include a timeline, and you should have a time estimate for each activity. The time should include a buffer to anticipate unforeseen problems and delays, such as technical difficulties. In other words, if you think a presentation is going to take 60 minutes, make it 70 minutes on the timeline. Don’t forget to confirm timings with all your vendors too! So that they know when to arrive to have sufficient time for all the preparations and set-up.

3. Food

There are people and they need to be fed. The best planned event can run smoothly and go off without a hitch but if the food isn’t great then that can overrun any goodwill created by all the rest of the things on this list.
Some important questions to ask yourself before continuing:

What time of day is the event taking place? i.e. morning, afternoon, evening or night

Is it a banquet meal, buffet or cocktail style? 

It is important to take into account common food allergies and preferences / restrictions – Vegetarian, Lactose Intolerant, Gluten Intolerant, Halal etc. You should get exact numbers around these dietary requirements.

What time of day is the event taking place? i.e. morning, afternoon, evening or night

Is it a banquet meal, buffet or cocktail style? 

It is important to take into account common food allergies and preferences / restrictions – Vegetarian, Lactose Intolerant, Gluten Intolerant, Halal etc. You should get exact numbers around these dietary requirements.

This is important information for your caterer and can impact your budget, so keep on top of this!
You are likely to be working with a budget and food can take up a big portion of that. Be smart about your options and work out what your budget allows for on a cost per head basis.

4. Transportation and Lodging

First, know how most people will be arriving. Will there be rented buses or vans that can take them back and forth between the lodging and venue? This is especially something to consider if the event spans multiple days.

What lodging options are within a stone’s throw of the venue?

Can you secure a corporate discount rate for attendees?

For VIP attendees arriving from the airport, will you provide special accommodations, such as pickup by limo or by a senior staff member?

5. Gifts

Gifts are an important way to say thank you at corporate events: for sponsorship, business or just simply for attending. Sending people home with a token of your thanks will leave your guests feeling great for having attended. Done well, corporate gifts provide an excellent return-on-investment by strengthening relationships that lead to more and sustained business.

Every aspect of your gift should demonstrate thoughtfulness, from the packaging to the message. Consider unique packaging that will ensure your gift attracts attention before it is even opened. A personal touch to a corporate gift is also a plus and all the more distinct in an increasingly digital age.

Pre- and Post-Event Follow-ups

The checklist should extend beyond what will be covered during the event. The same effort needs to be repeated after the event to encourage consumer loyalty and retention. What are some ways you can engage with your audience outside the event?

A countdown mini event to create hype and anticipation for the event.
Surveys to gauge overall satisfaction.