Event Management – Planning Guide

An event is any gathering of people for a specific purpose

Events can be of various forms and can be undertaken for a variety of reasons. Because of this, there is a need for different levels of event management , planning, activity and preparation, by event organizers, dependent on what type of event is being contemplated. They are many types of events that are organized and these can be on a small or large scale; be one time events or repetitive activities that occur daily, weekly, monthly or once a year.

Some types of events:

  • Corporate meetings
  • Seminars and workshops
  • Luncheons, receptions, weddings
  • Award ceremonies
  • Product launches, trade exhibitions
  • Entertainment and sporting events
  • Special events

 

When you look at, the above list of events it should be evident that the goals and objectives of these activities will be different. A corporate meeting for example, will have as its main focus, the creation of an atmosphere where the business that has to be discussed and conducted can be done, in an efficient and cost effective manner. A wedding will of course be organized to give maximum satisfaction to the Bride and Groom, given the budget they have allocated for the event. An entertainment event such as a concert would have as its goal, entertaining patrons as well as making money for the organizers. Sporting events can be organized to make money, satisfy fans, and to promote the location where the event is taking place.

Therefore it is clear that they can be many types of events, and that the reasons for holding an event can vary. This helps us understand that different goals will be set by event organizers, for the staging of different types of activity. This is important as it directs the event planner as to how to focus on the best way to set objectives, to plan and manage an event.

For example, if it is an award dinner, the goal will be on creating a glamorous atmosphere in which guests and especially award winners will feel appropriately satisfied with the occasion that was created by the event organizers, to honor them for their achievements. With this in mind, the event planners would then set objectives that form the basis of plans, which would lead to the realization of this goal. In such a situation, where the event will have a budgeted cost, the objectives would be decided on, in terms of room design, ambiance, dining facilities, menu, presenters etc…, to produce the required atmosphere, given the funds allocated to the activity. This would lead to development of plans that would make the desired goal of a glamorous award dinner a reality.

Contrast this to an entertainment event which will invariably have as one of its major goals, the making of a profit by the organizers, while entertaining patrons. The objectives and plans that are created to manage this event should reflect those goals – making a profit and entertaining event attendees. Therefore the focus of activities will be different as they has to be good cost management, and creative thinking to find ways to maximize revenue, from entrance fees, concessions, bar sales, food sales etc… Organizers must entertain the attendees, while at the same time keeping costs down so as to make an acceptable level of profit.

So for an event organizer, the objectives of the event, which reflect the goals that have been set, to ensure success for the event, are an important consideration in their planning for the activities.

Some other reasons to hold events include:

  • To increase awareness of a product, service or place. The focus here will be to enhance the public awareness of a product, service or place being promoted by the event. A boutique for example, may stage a public fashion show, to promote its product line and raise its public image. The goal would be to enhance its overall profitability by raising the level of public awareness of the store and its products. The fashion show in itself would not necessarily be a money making affair, but would achieve its goal by generating publicity for the company, which would then go a long way in improving the boutique’s overall profit expectations.
  • Need to increase the awareness of the services of an organization – where the individual services that an organization has to offer are highlighted by events designed to promote to the general public the availability of such services.
  • Presenting a favourable image of a:
  1. Product
  2. Place
  3. Service
  4. Organization

Events can be used for image building purposes as well so as to reinforce the corporate image as perceived by the public of a product, place, service or organization.

  • To increase the sales and profitability of a product or place as events can be used to generate extra revenue for organizations.
  • To provide benefits to other organizations and individuals, who can profit from the activities that surround staged events. For example, government may organize and stage a craft fair at its expense, so that individuals and groups can benefit from the activities surrounding the craft fair.
  • To provide benefits to communities, whether these benefits are social or financial, that would come from the staging of events. For example, Government councils may organize sporting activities in a community, so that residents can benefit financially, and gain from any social improvements that could take place in the community due to the staging of the event.

As indicated before, they are many legitimate reasons for holding events. The reasoning behind the holding of the event will then need to be reflected in the goals, objectives and plans, which are set for the event. Goals need to be decided on for the event so that planners will know the focus and direction that the event has to take so as to make it successful. Success will in large part be a reflection of what the objectives and plans where for the event, and how successfully they were implemented.

Effective implementation of event plans is important as it makes no sense having the best plans in the world and poor execution of them by event organizers. Part of the learning process for event planners is developing their skills to get things done, so as to ensure that the plans they would have put in place for an event, are carried out in an effective manner.