It’s hard to hide the excitement we feel in the events industry over the return of in-person events. If you’re planning a large event like a conference or corporate retreat, this list will help you get your basic event plan together and can help you determine when and where to hire help with planning and managing your event. It’s impossible to cover every detail and there’s always overlap, but use this list to get started, whether you are going it alone or hiring someone to help you.

Venue Selection & Management

If there’s one piece of your event plan you need to start well in advance, it’s finding and signing a contract on a venue, especially if you are planning a large event where few venues fit your needs. Here’s a short list of tasks that fall in this category:
  • Venue scouting and site visits
  • Contract negotiations
  • Equipment rental
  • Capacity limitations
  • Test out the sightlines
  • Any licenses or permits required
  • Determine insurance needs
  • Floor plan design (CAD) and layout

Food & Beverage

Contracting a caterer is another part of your event plan that requires advance planning. Caterers plan their calendars out well in advance. Here are a few other needs in this category:
  • Hiring of servers, cleaning staff, bartenders
  • Menu selection and food tasting before deciding on a caterer
  • Special dietary requirements for guests and other attendees
  • Consider adding a dessert bar and other fun food tables
  • Factor in your budget the cost of equipment or furniture rental
  • Ask about Service times maximums and minimums


From emcees and speakers to entertainers, you’ll need someone to make sure you hire talent that will show up and do the job you contracted them to do. Easier said than done. You’ll want to pay attention to these details:
  • Request specific speaking topics
  • Approve content and presentations
  • Make travel & accommodation arrangements
  • Tend to contracts, riders and all financial and legal details
  • Provide promotional details from event to talent so they can help promote the event
  • Get bios and headshots
  • Get speakers’ and presenters’ AV requirements
  • Manage talent during the event


A/V can make or break your event. Imagine having major influencers up on stage, but nobody can hear what they have to say. What a disaster. If you want to avoid other disasters, do this:
  • Ask your venue for the in-house audio visual equipment list
  • Contract with technical professionals to supplement any additional equipment and technical support necessary
  • Determine lighting, audio, and visual needs
  • Create an AV cue sheet that states the sequence of technical cues during the event
  • Survey your presenters to find out their specific AV needs for their presentation
  • Determine what the AV accessibility needs of your attendees (seeing-impaired or blind individuals)
  • Schedule run-throughs and rehearsals with the AV team and presenters
  • Proof all slides and files
  • Confirm internet connectivity/Wifi

Finance/Budget Management

If you think you’re going to wing the budget or that the event will pay for itself, stop right now and map your budget out and make sure you stick to it. The budget sets the framework for how much can be spent and help planners figure out what to put more money into throughout the planning process. These are the things you’ll pay attention to in this category:
  • Establish a budget to calculate the potential ROI of the event
  • The budget depends on the size and purpose of the event
  • Event marketing and promotion need to be part of your event budget
  • Keeping a clear, itemized budget makes event ROI calculation easier
  • Don’t forget to budget for the following event management tools such as the —Event management platform -Event website -Email marketing -Mobile event app -Onsite check-in and registration -Lead capture tools
  • Sponsorship is key to defraying costs and building a budget that gives attendees an experience to remember
  • Collect payments from attendees & vendors


You want your event to look like the high authority, pro event it is and after delivering on promises, there’s no better way to establish that authority than with clear, consistent branding. Here are some things to pay attention to in this area to make sure you shine:
  • Event Swag – to include design, vendor acquisition, ordering, storing, and distributing finished goods
  • Logo design and other physical branding
  • Value proposition and messaging
  • Monitor branding across promotional items
  • Design, create, print paper promotional items, digital ads, and web pages

Sponsor Acquisition & Management

You not only get seed money from sponsors, you can also get help with promoting your event and with lending your event star power. You’ll want to pay attention to the following to make your sponsors happy:
  • Build long-lasting relationships and partnerships
  • Design creative sponsorship packages that allow for a lot of flexibility
  • Ensure the active engagement of sponsors during your event
  • Develop a package that adds value to the sponsor
  • Customize the details for each sponsor contract to include the specifics of the deliverables so there is no room for misunderstanding.
  • Have a clear list that outlines what they get for their investment
  • Offer them VIP perks during the event

VIP Management

Another group to make happy and treat with kid gloves during the conference are your VIPs. These might be special guests or the C-suite members of your company. Similar to sponsors, here’s what to pay attention to here:
  • Be extremely explicit about what you need from them, what you can (or can’t) deliver, and how the event will unfold
  • Quadruple-check everything: hotels, transportation, contact information, speaking materials
  • Have a point person to help you manage your VIPs on event day
  • Send a follow-up thank-you note to all event VIPs to let them know their time was greatly appreciated

Ticketing Sales & Registration Software

You don’t want to skimp when it comes to ticketing. Accurate ticketing with a smooth process, is what counts here. Here are some of the tasks you’ll pay attention to here:
  • Selecting the best ticketing management software for your event
  • Determine your pricing strategy and ticketing tiers
  • Develop a refund policy
  • Monitor signatures for user/attendee agreement or terms of service and privacy agreements

Attendee Management

You don’t have an event without attendees, so let’s take care of them too. They shouldn’t be an afterthought, even if they don’t show up until the event begins. There are lots of details to think of here. This list will get you started:
  • Swag bags – acquire quality, useful items
  • Accommodations – reserve blocks of rooms & communicate surrounding vacancies
  • Transportation – inform attendees of shuttles, offer maps, and communicate during the event
  • During conference communications via apps or text messaging
  • Survey your attendees after the event
Aurice Guyton

Author Aurice Guyton

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