10 Tips for Planning The Perfect Corporate/Office Party

September 1, 2016

Corporate events can be hugely successful for businesses in gaining new business and encouraging loyal, happy customers. Yet they can also be expensive, time consuming and fail miserably. So how do you guarantee the former? We’ve put together ten tips for pulling off a fool-proof corporate event.

1. Target the right audience

The purpose of your event is, no doubt, to bring more business through your doors, right? The most effective way to do this is by appealing directly to the customers you want. To attract middle-aged or elderly women, a luncheon or high tea might work best. To pique the interest of a male dominated audience however, a sporting match or gentleman’s club style evening party may be better suited. Research your audience, ask them what they like, and stick to it.

2. Preparation is everything

If you’ve ever planned an event before, you’ll know that they don’t just happen overnight. Months of creative brainstorming, planning and organising go into a successful corporate party, so start as early as possible. Write yourself a list of the things you’ll need, and ensure to plan and book in important vendors, entertainers, and other preparations in advance. Some things to consider when you first start planning are – Date and time, venue, target audience, theme, entertainment, and a marketing/media promotion strategy.

3. Get creative

Before you start doing anything else for you event, you need to settle one thing. What is the purpose of your event? Once you know what you want to achieve, you can start getting creative. If you want your guests to talk about your product or business, an experiential event might be best. If you’re aiming to make sales at the event, service is probably high on the list. In order to stand out from your competitors, look outside of your industry for inspiration for themes, event locations and activities. The more creative you get, the more your guests will remember it.

4. Set the scene

Our senses, our sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch are all extremely important when planning an event. If the music is too loud for comfort, an aroma is too strong, or a room is absolutely flat with no ambiance at all, your guests will be uncomfortable. Look to your theme, target audience and venue as indicators of the best type and level of music, the most appropriate foods, seating arrangements and visual displays. An intimate cocktail event may not lend itself to large video walls with funky films, but a brighter party with activities and speakers just might.

5. Timing is everything

The date and time of your event is for some, the easiest decision when planning, and for others the most difficult. The seasons, the highs and lows of your business cycle and your target guests all factor in the decision, helping to dictate the time, place and even theme. If you’re looking to maintain business during the usually quieter periods, hosting the event in advance, during the busy time might be necessary. If your target audience are parents, working around their busy schedules and children’s needs is essential to getting a turn out at your event. Be sure to research and gather as much information as possible before locking in a date and time.

6. The venue

When selecting a venue for your event, ask yourself a few key questions. What is my budget? How large is my guest list? What do is essential from the venue? Keeping these in mind when looking for a venue will help you to narrow down suitable spaces. Before you go to look at the venue, write down a list of questions to ask them, about what is and isn’t included, what you need to supply yourself or from elsewhere, what are the parking and public transport options etc. It’s also a good idea to ask them if they have any recommendations, as often there will be something you may have forgotten.

7. Feed the masses

Food is a key element in hospitality and socialising, which is why it is so important to get right at your corporate event. Food that is well presented and tastes delicious is something that guests will remember. Good food also helps guests to relax and enjoy themselves, making them more comfortable and develop positive connotations towards your brand and the event.

8. Transport connections

It’s always an excellent party until you can’t find a cab home. If your budget and the style of event allow for it, one way to create a wow factor with guests is to provide a courtesy bus to and from the venue to one or more central locations. If this isn’t possible, be sure to help your guests out by including clear information about transport connections and parking at the venue.

9. Get social

The easiest and cheapest way of promoting and broadcasting your event these days is via social media. You can create hype in the lead up to your event by sharing updates and even investing in a social media influencer who can help to boost exposure for you. During and after the event, you can also share highlights and updates for those who might be interested but weren’t able to attend. Social media is also a great way to draw the attention of the press following a press release, by tagging them and sharing information you think they would be interested in.

10. Don’t forget to follow up

The benefits of your event are only just starting when it comes to a close, so don’t let the excitement around it die off. Follow up with your guests to thank them for attending and ask for their feedback. By touching base with them in a friendly way first, rather than a pushy sales-pitch manner, you’re more likely to win over customers and honest feedback. But remember, if you don’t ask, you won’t receive.

If you’re planning on throwing a corporate event, don’t miss out on the Complete Corporate Event Planning Guide. To get started with your own event, contact Pillingers Hire about all of your event hire needs and planning advice.