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A Complete Guide to Strategic Planning For Events

Your event strategy is one of the most important parts of your meetings and events program. It’s almost impossible not to have an event strategy—by not having one, no matter the size and scope of your meetings or events, is setting yourself up for failure. An effective meetings and events program encompasses all event types (in-person, virtual, and hybrid) and comes down to your event strategy. It seeps into every aspect of your business. From event goals to proving event success, your strategy is the roadmap to what you hope to achieve with your meetings and events program and how you’ll measure that success. 

It is a common misconception that the only part of a successful meetings and events program is its actual success. However, each purposeful and strategically sound meeting or event has a special purpose, goal or objective—called goals—and should be achieved by the end of each program. You need an event strategy to make sure you are fulfilling all of your goals and objectives. Your event strategy is where you break down your mission, vision and goals. It sets your mission into a successful strategic plan, sets your vision into a clear and concise vision statement, defines your goals, and defines the road map of how you plan to reach your goals. It includes all of the details of how you plan to make your meetings and events program successful. Furthermore, it would include each step that you will take to get to your goal, which ultimately includes the size, attendance, and revenue of each event. Your event strategy is your creative roadmap to success.

So what is the purpose of a meetings and events program?

The purpose of a meeting or event is to help the attendees achieve their desired goals or objectives. You need to have the goals of your meeting or event written out on a sheet for each event. You can create a weekly agenda and a monthly or yearly or biannual schedule as a perfect guide for your meetings and events program. It helps you to stay organized and on track in your weekly or monthly reviews of your program.

Once the goals of each individual event have been outlined, they can be from 80 to 200 or more goals that are universally compatible with most programs. Companies hold annual events for their employees, as well as quarterly and bi-monthly events. And, same with landlords renting to tenants, they want annual lease renewals and monthly lease renewals. You can also have quarterly sales goals and annual revenue goals. But, there are very few that don’t have meetings and events goals that are universal. This is where the strategic planning of your meetings and events program starts.

Planning a successful meetings and events program comes down to having your meeting and events goals written out and them being actionable. In other words, your goals have to be quantifiable and measurable, resulting in a specific set of steps for reaching the goals. From an event goals perspective, you set your goals around the size of each event, the type of event, and the revenue generated for each. Why does this work? You need goals that are measurable, but ones that are quantifiable. You must be able to count each event, and that also involves setting how many events you hold each year and how much you are willing to have people pay to attend each event. You need goals that are attainable. You can’t always have a goal for everyone in the office to go to a major trade show. But, when you get that paid attendance, you set a goal to pay for that attendance.

Additionally, there is a need to have goals that are realistic. This is why you should not set unrealizable goals for an event. This will result in feeling defeated and will not get you anywhere, and it will show you that the meeting was a wasted time. For instance, you might give a goal to have 25 people attend an event, but if they don’t all show up, you are doomed to failure.

Your Goals

Since each meeting or event is goal based, you have to have the goals for each meeting or event. Your mission statement is the most important part of planning an effective meetings and events program. Your mission statement is what sets your goals and your objectives. Your mission statement is the greatest tool you have to make your meetings and events program a success. It has to be actionable. In other words, you can’t just tell people that they are going to be there for an event. You have to tell them how to get there. Now, this means a goal that is measurable and actionable. You can’t just say that it’s going to be fun. You have to say how many VIPs and corporate attendees are going to attend, what type of space is being rented, and you have to state in your mission statement how many tickets have been sold. There are various ways to set goals for your meeting or event. In the event corporate attendees are divided into three categories, VIPs, corporate attendees and risk-takers, the goal would be that VIPs and corporate attendees will make up 90 percent of the total attendance, 5 out of 6 corporate attendees will attend for at least 30 minutes, and risk-takers will make up 10 percent of the total attendance.

Setting your goals doesn’t have to be difficult. It is about using your creativity to think outside the box. The simplest way to get a goal written is to write whatever comes to mind. It could be a simple goal like conducting an annual virtual event or a highly involved goal that is truly a challenging goal. For instance, if a feature of your meetings and events program is traveling abroad, you can make it one of your goals to have traveled abroad at least twice per year.

Planning Your Success

So, now you have goals for your meetings and events program. Now, you set a plan to get to those goals. But, how are you going to measure the success of your meetings and events program? You can measure the success of your program through three metrics: attendance and revenue. It is important to understand that your goal should be net attendance from a Net Proceeds standpoint. So, if you had an event goal of 252 attendees for an event, you want to ensure that the total attendance of your program nets out to be at least 250 attendees. You can’t just giveaways tickets away if you don’t ensure that the net attendance from the net proceeds standpoint is equal to the number of people who consume the event. You also need to monitor each meeting or event, and notes should be taken of event attendance and attendees’ comments. Think of it as a performance review for your meetings and events program. Get to the root of what is working and what is not working, and keep the latter in mind for your next employee, board meeting, or monthly/annual event.]

The ultimate point of planning and writing your meetings and events program goals is to ensure that it is carried out. You have to keep the goal in mind while planning and writing your meetings and events program. It is vital that you have sponsor’s goals in mind when putting on the meeting or event. If the sponsor’s goals aren’t met, you will not get the benefit of your effort. If the sponsor’s goals are not met or the attendees don’t achieve their goal of making the sponsor a hero, then the meeting or event is a complete failure.

You are the super hero! You are here to help the attendees achieve their goals and objectives. Your goals are the fundamental of your meetings and events program. Your mission statement is the key that will unlock the doors to success.

BUSINESS CHALLENGES

The business of the meeting planner is not conducted by simply creating, putting on an amazing meeting. The planner has to create a business.

Have you purchased a business, and it is just being opened to the public? If so, you can use the services of a meeting planner to help put on the meetings or events. In this part of the book, I address the purpose behind the business, some of the pitfalls that the attendees face, and options to help with the problems. This part of the book also contains an overview of the following topics:

  • Purpose: This chapter covers varied topics that may appear in a business publication, such as serving the public, the responsibility of being a business owner, the quarterly or annual goals, and rules that you should have in place.
  • Pitfalls: This section covers some of the common pitfalls that the attendees face, including inconsistency, the cold call, conflicting agendas, and attendance.
  • Solutions: This section of the chapter will provide you with different types of solutions that you can implement to help the attendees overcome the problems, such as changing the type of meeting or event, reviewing the email, and organizing the room.

Purpose

The purpose of the business owner is to provide, to the best of his or her ability, a rational, efficient, and profitable service to his or her clients. The purpose of the business is to provide a service for the attendees.

Yes, it is important to put on awesome events. It is just as important to ensure the quality of the event. At the same time, you want to ensure the attendees are getting a high-quality experience and that you are providing the best service. You are the business owner, so you are responsible for its efficiency and profitability. By providing a service to the attendees, you are providing a service to the clients. The clients are the attendees. This can be summarized as providing a service.

This is one of the reasons why you want the attendees to be happy. You want them back. The happier the attendees are, the more they will praise your business. This is the goal of a business owner. It is essential that you don’t just set the goal to pay for the events that you are putting on and to get 50 percent attendance. It needs to be to get 100 percent attendance and to get all of the attendees to rate your business as the best of their experience in meeting planners.

This is one of the differences between a business and a hobby. If you start a business on the side, you view it as a hobby. If you view it as a business, it takes on different attributes, and you should take advantage of these attributes. You should not view as a hobby a service that you provide to clients and the attendees; you should view it as a business.

The purpose takes on different attributes when you start your business. The purpose changes as you grow your business. The difference with a business is the focus and purpose. It is easy to get lost and lose focus as you grow, but setting the purpose as from the beginning can help you grow your business smoothly and efficiently.

This may be the first time you have thought to yourself that you want to become a meeting planner. The purpose may be to get something that you have always wanted. It may be to save a few bucks. It may be to learn something or to help students learn something. You want this to be a business. You want this to have a goal, a purpose, and a focus.

The important aspect of this is the business plan. It should be viewed as a business plan. It should have a business plan, written for your business plan, something that you want to have. You can take classes on how to write a business plan. You can join the Small Business Administration. You can go to conferences to learn how to write a business plan. You can find a business plan template that you can customize. You can learn how to write a business plan software.

Many people want to start their business in a hurry. It may be unrealistic to expect you to write a business plan in a few months. It is a better course of action to take a few months to write a business plan. It is a tool that you will use to create your business.

Until you write the business plan, you may be working on creating a business by putting on events. When you write the business plan, people will be able to come and read it, walk through it, and get a good idea of what the business is and what you want the business to be. You can determine what you need to do to get your business plan moving.

conclusion of Strategic Planning For Events: 

 Summarize this essay by saying that planning is all about the customers, the functions, the goals, and the relations.

Pitfalls

Some common pitfalls that the attendees face are inconsistency, failed cold calls, conflicting agendas, and attendance. Pretend you are the meeting planner, and you get to put on the event.

Pretend you are the attendees, and you look at the meeting planner. What are you thinking? You are thinking, “What is the purpose of this meeting? Is this a social meeting or a business meeting?” Is it a social event or a business event? This is an important question. If it is a business meeting, then you may be looking for the president, vice president, or manager to speak. If it is a social event, then you will be looking for two people to speak.

You are the meeting planner; you have to decide. You got to choose. You can either choose not to get a salesperson to speak or choose to get someone to speak. You cannot ask for a salesperson and a client to speak in the same workshop. You cannot get two clients to speak in the same event. You have to choose.

If you are organizing the event, you cannot ask them to bring in a speaker. You cannot ask for two guests to speak. You have to choose. If you are a meeting planner, you have to choose based on the results of your research. You have to make a decision on who is speaking.

If you are the hiring of a meeting planner, you should not ask them to come in and speak and then book them. It is not a good practice by the meeting planner. Do not ask the meeting organizer to come in and speak and then book them. As a result, you are wrong.

If you are putting together an event to help with employee training, and you are booking speakers, you have to make sure that you know the job of the speaker. You cannot just hire them without doing research. You cannot book them by just asking them to come speak.

If you are putting together the event, then you are the meeting planner. You have to define the meeting. You have to decide how it is going to be put on. You are responsible for the quality of the event. It does not matter what the attendees want or what the purpose is if you are putting on an event.

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