When planning an event, an organization has to take many things into consideration. First and foremost an organization has to determine its purpose, whether it is for a wedding, company, festival, graduation or any other event requiring extensive planning. When this has been determined, an organization has to consider the planned revenue for the event, the marketing budget and what the budget is based on. An organization also has to look at what media will be used, what response the campaign will generate and if it is line with the targeted revenue. What is an essential factor in planning an event is having a targeted return of investment and if the campaign will achieve this.
“Cost accounting is an approach to evaluating the overall costs that are associated with conducting business” (www.wisegeek.com). When identifying the cost of the event, an organization has to consider factors such as accessibility, size, facilities, aesthetics and most importantly budget. The table below illustrates the cost that could arise from an organization’s campaign.
|Fixed costs||Variable costs|
Choosing a venue- looking at accessibility and size
Presentation aids – projector, monitors, video player, adaptors, welcome packs
What media to use for communication – visuals (can also be advertising)
Tables and chairs
|Catering – food and drink
Possible car park spaces
Table plans – where people are seated
The budget “is the target against which costings (the actual price you will be paying) will be measured” (Appleby, 2005). Hypothetically speaking, if an organization has a budget of £5000 for a two day conference, they have to ensure that the total cost of the event is within this parameter. To ensure that they are within the required budget, an organization can do a total of each day and then come up to a grand total of the event.
Let’s go into further details (hypothetically of course) of organizing a two day conference.
The total cost
Getting enough space for a conference is crucial part in planning an event. As conference rooms could cost about £100, an organization is looking to pay about £200 for the two days. Tables and chairs will cost around £202.20.As the duration of the event is for two days catering has to be provided and this can take a large sum of the budget. A three course meal on average is £20.95. For 45 people over two days this will equate to £1885.50.
As presentation aids are vital in an organization getting the message across to those attending, hiring a projector for the two days could equate to £800 and a microphone around £15. To hire a video camera for the event will cost around £150 plus a deposit of £350. Advertising is integral in promoting the event and working with an agency could cost around £500 for the two days. As guest speakers are influential in bringing the campaign to life, they usually get their travel expenses paid for. If the guest speaker travels by train this could amount to £16.40 for the two days. In total the event could cost £4111.90 which is within agreed budget (remember I stated earlier on the hypothetical budget is £5000).
Communication is key
“To impart information of any kind we need to find the method of communication appropriate to our circumstances” (Appleby, 2005). To communicate the event to guests, an organization has to look at the most effective method and also remember the audience may have different needs.
Email – Internal & External
By emailing guests internally and externally is a good way of measuring the response rate as the message goes directly to the recipient. However an organization has to think about the best time for the e-mail to arrive to the recipient as they want to maximize the chance of them opening the mail. For example a senior manager could be in a meeting so the timing has to be right.
“Estimates suggest consumer direct mail generates over £25 billion worth of business each year” (Hughes & Fill, 2003). With some guests attending the event and receiving direct mail an organization is able to personalize messages which could improve response rates. When using direct mail an organization also has to make sure that the information being used is accurate and the content matches the needs, wants and expectations that they desire.
By contacting guests by calling them or sending text messages is quick – straight to the point, also helps make communication more personal and can help create familiarity. However, an organization has to make sure it has obtained permission from the owner of the phone as this could breach data protection.
In conclusion, planning an event has to be structured. Much thought and consideration has to go into the planning process. Some of the key factors for any organization in this process should be:
- Making sure your objectives are clear
- Making sure you have plenty of time (plan in advance)
- Planning out the work and DELEGATING (working in close collaboration with everyone to create a timetable and sticking to it)
- Making sure the venue is booked and confirmed
- Making a budget for the event
- Publicity – who do you want to reach and how
For an organization to further improve in event planning, they can look at previous events they have done that may have been similar and learn from them – what went well and what didn’t. A Gantt chart could potentially be used to monitor the budget but it that would depend on the duration of the event. As this hypothetical event is only two days, it would be hard to monitor.
For an organization to get more out event planning, they should capitalize on the information they have on their database as this could be used as a catalyst to get the best communication out to guests which could result in a better response rate and return of investment.
Planning an event takes time and dedication but if you fail to prepare, prepare to fail.