When you’re hosting an event, you want to make the best impression possible. You need to know every detail of what will happen – including all the information on your guests and speakers. Event planning research is the key to success in this area – read on to find out more.
Do your research
Knowing what exactly what you’re planning for is the most important part of organising an event. Research is needed on every area – from caterers to conference material. Here are the key areas where research is vital:
- Make sure there’s a market. If you’re planning a business event, is there interest for it? Research your area of the market, and ensure that your event is in line with the interests of the market – but also that it will provide something different which will draw people in and boost attendance.
- Know your audience. Conducting research on your target audience is key to understanding and providing what they will want at your event. Whether it’s an exhibition or a wedding, know what your target audience will like and dislike – and make sure you know whether the people you’re inviting have any dietary, cultural or religious needs that you need to be aware of.
- Put the word out. Once you’ve determined the interest in your event and have singled out your audience, the next step is advertising. This research concerns the best places to put your advertising, so that your target audience will see it – that way you get a good return on investment on your advertising spend. Your advertising needs to be specific to your audience – whether that’s through placing adverts within set geographical bounds, or using the interests of your target group. Use all the channels available to you – website, social media, pay-per-click advertising, magazines, posters and targeted mailshots.
What to research
A good event is made up of many elements. The venue needs to be right. The access for people travelling by car, train, bus and on foot needs to be good. The availability of any audio-visual equipment is important, as is the ability to lay out the room in the way you need, and to offer additional rooms for break-out areas. Away days need to include food and drink options and possibly overnight stays. There will need to be event registration desks and plenty of people on hand to make sure things run smoothly – somewhere that you might be able to make use of external virtual assistant staffing services.
And that’s all before you’ve finalised the programme for the day itself. For a straightforward conference or training event, you might need to consider:
- How many talks are suitable for the length of the event
- How often people would like a break
- The desired of format for the day
- The balance between presentations and Q&A sessions
A good events manager will be able to keep track of all the elements that need to come together, dealing with venue managers, caterers, speakers and exhibitors, ticket sale sites, marketing and promotion and more. With such a heavy workload, it might be useful to hire a virtual assistant offering secretarial services, who can do anything from managing a social media campaign for your event to conducting post-event market research.
It’s just as important that attendees can give their thoughts on what went well and what could be improved on once the event is over. This information can then be used as research for your next event – providing valuable insight over time into the needs and expectations of your target group. A key way that feedback can also be gathered in real time is over social media – if you promote a hashtag alongside your event, you can then follow what people said about your event online afterwards.
Know your competition
If you’re planning events, then chances are that there are other people in the same business – and here you need to do your research. Event management always comes with an element of competition, and knowing what your competitors are providing is key to creating a more interesting and rewarding event.
Competition research may involve attending competitors’ own events and noting the way they do things – which services they use, how their programme works, what food they provide – along with the atmosphere and response of the attendees. Work out what it is that draws in their audience, and see if you can provide the same service.
Need some help?
Planning an event, conducting event planning research, running the event and carrying out post-event feedback can be quite a challenge. If you’re interested in getting some virtual event planning research help from an event management assistant or would like to know more about our other virtual employee services feel free to call us on 0800 994 9016 or use our contact form in the menu above.