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Event Planner’s Checklist for Chamber Events

06 May 2019, Posted by kfears in Chamber Tips

Despite the many benefits of holding events as a chamber of commerce, it can be intimidating to start planning and see the event through to fruition. Luckily, with a little organization and forethought, you can make sure that your preparations and chamber travel events are perfect, so you reap the rewards.

At Chamber Discoveries, we’re experienced in assisting chambers to hold events and tours as the go-to for Chamber of Commerce Travel Programs. That’s why we’ve put together this checklist for planning the perfect chamber event.

6+ Months – Do the Groundwork for Your Chamber Event

You’ll want to start preparing as far in advance as possible. To begin, get the answers to fundamental, high-level questions to steer your planning process.

1. Define Objectives and Goals

Ask yourself what you want to achieve from the event. Are you interested in raising funds for your chamber, connecting with your members, or perhaps raising the profile of your chamber in the community? Defining your objectives will keep your planning, the event, and its outcome, on track.

2. Declare an Overall Budget

Of course, financials are critical to your event planning success, so it is imperative to get a grasp of your budget early on. This will help you decide what kind of event is appropriate for your chamber, and in turn, maximize your financial returns.

3. Choose the Type of Event

Once you’ve decided on your budget, it’s time to choose what kind of event you want to hold. Do you want to host a one-day city tour or a 14-day cruise? You will continue to refer back to your goals and budget to help you decide what is the best option for your chamber.

4. Choose the Date for Your Event

It’s important to decide the approximate date for your event early. The time of year that you hold your event can have a big impact on costs and availability. Avoid choosing dates on or near national holidays to ensure maximum attendance.

6 Months – Finding Suppliers and Fine-Tuning The Details

Once you have made the initial decisions, it’s time to start narrowing down and focusing on the ever-important details.

1. Put Together A Comprehensive Budget

Once you know the main details of your event, craft a comprehensive budget. These detailed financial plans can inform the price you’ll ask your members to pay for their tickets to the event.

2. Research Any Necessary Licenses/Permits/Insurance

Depending on the nature of your event, you may require licenses, permits, or insurance. Investigate this well ahead of time to give yourself ample opportunity to secure them.

3. Start Contacting and Choosing Vendors

It’s a good idea to contact vendors as soon as possible so that you can secure your first choices and have time to negotiate on price, when possible. Bring a list of questions to your potential vendors and consider issues like accessibility and licensing.

This is a good opportunity to leverage your members’ businesses and connections. Working together for an event can turn out to be a win-win situation for both of you.

4. (Optional) Secure Sponsorship

Sponsorship can be a great way to increase the profit from your event, as well as offer added extras for your guests. Look into sponsorship opportunities (again, your members may be able to help you in this regard) and start negotiating!

3+ Months: Begin Publicizing Your Event

Once you’ve locked in all the details you’ll need for your event, it’s time to start promoting it to your members and the general public, if applicable. Of course, if your event is costly and lengthy for members, you’ll want to start marketing far enough in advance for them to make plans accordingly.

1. Design (Or Outsource) Marketing Materials

You’ll want to put together the branding for your event – things like posters, promotional emails, social media posts and perhaps a designated website. This should all be branded consistently with your Chamber and include all the necessary information such as how to book, FAQs, and contact information.

2. Push Sales for Your Event

Once you’ve got all of your marketing materials ready, it’s time to turn things up a notch and start really promoting it! Make sure that all your members are aware of the great event, and try to reach the wider community if appropriate.

6 Weeks from Your Event: Confirm the Details

As your event approaches, stay on top of the details to make sure the day runs seamlessly.

1. Confirm Your Vendors

Make sure that all your vendors are locked in and have all of the details they need for your event. You should also make sure all your paperwork, such as contracts and invoices, are in order.

2. Track Sales Targets and Financials

By publicizing your event, you should be seeing the return on your hard work. Keep an eye on your financial information to make sure things are progressing upwardly, and that there haven’t been any budget blowouts.

2 weeks from your event: Confirm details

At this point, your event should be nearly ready. Here are some last-minute items to check off.

1. Create a Master Spreadsheet and Communicate with Vendors

You should have an idea of what needs to happen on the day before, during and after the event. Confirm that everyone is on the same page by putting together a master timeline and spreadsheet, which includes all relevant contact information. Distribute this to your vendors.

2. Confirm with Attendees

Once ticket sales close, send an email to all of your attendees to remind them of your upcoming event. You may like to include any useful information, such as parking, wi-fi, an agenda, and anything else they need to know. As soon as you have a final head count of attendees, provide this information to your vendors.

Week of the Event: Final Details

It’s almost time! Here’s what you should be doing the week leading up to the big day.

1. Respond Promptly to Any Inquiries

You should expect to get some questions from vendors and attendees. Be prompt in your responses to get things off to a good start.

2. Pick Up Any Items

Make arrangements for who will be bringing what to the venue. If you are picking them up yourself, do so early in the week. If others are assisting, ask them to confirm with you once they’ve been picked up, just in case.

3. Create a “Day Of” Checklist for Yourself

Things can get hectic quickly, so keep a written list to help you stay on top of it all. Include every detail, no matter how small, so you can check it off the day and be confident that you are not forgetting anything.

Day of the Event: Be Flexible

After all that preparation, the day of your event is finally here. Your checklist should help you with the “day of” tasks but be prepared for questions and minor hiccups. Don’t panic and be prepared to think on your feet.

After the Event: Evaluate

Once it’s all over, take time to evaluate the entire process from start to finish. This could save you time and money next go-round.

1. Request Feedback from Attendees

Input from attendees can be invaluable for helping your chamber plan even better events in the future. Email surveys are a great way to follow up with your guests.

2. Reconcile Finances

Finally, review your budget and financials to assess your performance and return on spend. Hold on to all necessary paperwork, such as receipts and contracts, and confirm that there are no outstanding bills.

At Chamber Discoveries, we are experts in planning travel events for Chambers of Commerce. If you’d like to speak to us about how we can take all the stress out of planning your next travel event, contact us today!

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