Many events that you plan are likely annual events, possibly reaching the point of running themselves. You already have a great foundation for planning the event, you have a good relationship with the venue, have used the same vendors year after year and your attendees know exactly what to expect. Sounds great right? But, when your event starts to feel like you could plan it with your eyes closed, it is likely a sign that something needs to change. If you have gotten to that point, but aren’t sure how to go about driving changes and taking your event to the next level, here are some suggestions to support you along the way.
Creative objectives.Before you start making changes just for the sake of making changes, take some time to reflect on your event and create some new objectives. Has your event attendance been consistent over the past few years? Perhaps your objective could be to increase attendance by 20%. Have you had the same sponsors the past few years? Your objective could be to secure $10,000 in new sponsorships. Creating objectives will help to keep you focused on creating results to drive change.
Start your “final report” as soon as your start planning. This really just needs to be a word document that you can easily access and write down ideas along the entire planning process. Even if you are in the middle/end planning stages of your event, start this type of document now. We often get so busy with planning, that when it comes time to look back on the details there is so much that has already forgotten. Keeping track of any feedback or ideas that come along during the planning process will help you to drive change in future years, as the feedback or idea will be much more complete than if you were trying to recall information from a few months before. Be sure to include your objectives in this document as well, as it will help to keep notes organized for future use.
Ask the right questions. Create your post-event survey based on your change objectives. For example, if your objective is to increase sponsorship revenue ask your sponsors what type of sponsorship benefits they value the most. The information you gather from this could be used to make changes to your sponsorship package for future years.
Record notes in the moment onsite. Along with your event timeline that will be stuck to your hip onsite, add another page or two to record notes and be sure to include your objectives as well. Let your team know this is the place to write any feedback or suggestions for next year’s event. Making a mental note isn’t enough! Jot down a few brief words that will trigger your memory, as you will often have minimal time on site.
Feedback from not only attendees, but also suppliers. We always send a survey to attendees about their experience, but your suppliers and venue can also provide valuable feedback in their area of expertise. Give them a call a day or two after the event and ask for feedback as well as anything else they may have noticed. Suppliers likely attend several events a year and can have valuable insights into your event from a unique perspective.
These tips will assist in taking your event to the next level, but keep in mind that the change isn’t going to happen overnight. Change isn’t always easy for people to accept from the get go, but if you go about it in the right way everyone can become powerful advocates for a newer and better event.