Event Planning checklist for any type of event [2020 updated]

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Posted on June 25, 2019

Event planning is all about project management. Pressure is huge and everything needs to be perfect, at the right moment. Good news is: there’s a way to make things work out smoothly. 

Today, we structure the backbone of a successful event planning checklist. The next time you need to start from the blank paper, begin from here. This quick event checklist guide will help you and give you a hand on seeing the big picture of your conference, prioritizing your tasks, bringing things to life and executing a fantastic conference full of momentum.

Before anything, what’s an event planning checklist?

Before you start talking about checklists, you need to know what a checklist is. In fact, a conference checklist is list with tasks you have to do to accomplish your events objective. It is the list that contains certain items that were established with the purpose of making sure about something that has been determined.

This something can be a product, a place, a service or, in this case, an event, in which it is possible to check if everything is on schedule. Among the most famous tools in the world for checking quality, the checklist is at the top of them.

With this event planning checklist, the chances of human failure in your marketing plan are greatly reduced, which is essential in the case of the safety of an event, for example.

Why should I have an event planning checklist?

You make lists of what you need to buy at the supermarket, the topics you need to discuss at a meeting, your personal projects and any day-to-day tasks you want to track. Why? The obvious reason is that you don’t forget important items or your responsibilities from this very moment until the event day.

Checklists can be used in almost any situation to help us organize information, prioritize tasks, maximize efficiency and improve our performance. And if you’re not used to using checklists to plan a conference, consider these reasons for starting to use them.

It’s not the things can happen on a way you did not predict. It’s that they will, for sure.

No matter how much you have planned or are prepared for an event: something can go wrong. It can be as insignificant as napkins of wrong colors or as important as a guest missing the flight. No matter what happens: when you have a well-planned planning checklist, it can help you solve every situation.

There is no doubt that holding a memorable event at your company can be a lot of work. However, if you take the time to develop a very comprehensive planning checklist, you can be sure of every little detail. If you are looking for a checklist to make your next event a success, click the button below.

If you wanna know more about it, check our step-by-step guide on how to elaborate a crisis management plan for events.

The key element

The key element of event planning is strategic planning. And it works out pretty much the same way for any kind of situation, no matter if it’s a huge annual conference, a business trade show or an intimate invitation-only meeting. If you still don’t know the difference among these event types, start from here. In case you know it, let’s go straight to our event checklist.

1. Do a thorough research.

A. Vision

This is when you’ll define the main aspect that puts together every activity in your event. This is what you want your attendees to see as soon as they here about your event for the first time. Craft a short and precise phrase like: [My event] spreads the power of [theme of my event] through [how your event offers value]. Don’t forget that’s your goal: to align the event vision with the overall business strategy vision, regardless if the event is next week or next year. So be specific and get to know your target audience. That’s because every now and then, in the middle of the hustle of event planning, you’ll need to refer back to your vision in order to remember what you’re doing.

B. Venue and legal requirements

Both your in-person, hybrid or online experiences need an event venue to take place. Whether it’s a large event or an exclusive meeting, choose the venue straight away after defining your vision. And the decor right after choosing the venue. Knowing the space where your occasion will take place gains you many points and makes things way more simple to plan.

After you’ve done your research of possible locations, it’s also a good idea to make phone calls to all of your vendors and confirm that they really have what they offer on their website and online materials.

We have related blog posts for you to go deeper into what are the elements of an event website that converts visitors into attendees.

Even if your event is digital, like a webinar, you’ll need to source a supplier that supports live streaming. Don’t forget to pay a visit to the venue and check if it has all the legal documentation to host events, as well as if it complies with safety and security requirements.

Well, here is a very important thing too: you need to have all the necessary licenses, permits and authorizations for the event to take place in the chosen venue. In order for an event to take place, it is necessary that the location is supervised by a responsible authority (firefighters, city council, etc) , which will issue the authorizations you need.

As a result, several other licenses, permits, authorizations and other documents, such as safety certificates issued by firefighters, are required from these safety and security bodies. Therefore, this entire documentation must be part of the event planning checklist security items.

C. Keynote speaker

You chose the perfect place and now you need to bring life to it. Who’s gonna be the face of your event? Who’s going to be the presenters of your great occasion? Exclusive dinners might have only one keynote speaker or presenter, while larger conferences can list dozens. If you’re still in doubt, read this step-by-step guide when looking for entertainers and keynote speakers. Raise up the names of people who fit to your event vision and save budget for that: keynote speaker are a main highlight of your event activities.

If you’re looking for top celebrity speakers, have a look at this selection:

D. Save the date and RSVP

List your attendees, ask them to save the date and, mainly, ask them to confirm their presence. This will bring an idea of how many people are coming to the actual venue at the day of the event. 

We have dedicated articles to help you on massively increasing registration numbers and how to conduct successful registrations.

E. Find Partners

Not everyone need to be hired. Find strategic partners and vendors that can take advantage of the situation and work together. A specialized press vehicle, for instance, can be happy to promote your event in exchange of showing their logo as the official press partner.

F. Brand, promote and make use of FOMO.

Don’t rely solely on word of mouth. Develop and deliver professional promo material. Videos and social media are a must. That’ll need some planning both for the designs and the channel strategy, as well as budgeting for paid promotion. Take advantage of your promotional material – being the main one your event website, as this is where you’ll convert interested people into real attendees – to make people feel like they’re missing something if they don’t attend to your event (FOMO = Fear of missing out).

G. Hire great vendors and suppliers

Ask caterers and any other type of vendors every single information you need. Don’t forget that wrong pricing or misunderstood information will directly affect your event budget.

H. Form you team

Did you think you would do it all by yourself? Nope. Choose reliable and competent staff, so you can delegate tasks and responsibilities on your conference planning checklist. Your function, as the event planner, is to make sure things are being done on time and with the expected quality by each team member. 

Young event planners and students might show up as great choice of volunteers or internship too. After all, it’s a great opportunity for them to learn. In case you are this young student, it’s useful to know that most of pros you admire have worked as volunteers at least once in their lifetime. Volunteers are highly valued and appreciated at major similar events such as the Olympics or the Superbowl.

I. Logistics

How are people going to your conference location? They gonna need any chartered buses or even flights? Is there any way to get there by public transportation? As important as it its to plan how people will get to your place, is to inform them about it. 

2. Dive in methodology.

A. Create an event planning checklist

Your loyal companion, that has to be with you all times. Essential items of this list must inlude: event coordination, registration process, scenography, lights, sound, food and beverage, reception, staff, communications and program.

B. Use a Gantt Chart for your timeline

A Gant Chart is a horizontal bar chart that determines what needs to be done and when. It’s a visual plan that brings better understanding for you and all of the stakeholders.

Gant Chartt example.

C. Set milestones for key deliverables

Never miss a deadline again by setting up milestones. They are small pieces of your whole goal. Brake down your to make sure you don’t skip anything. E.g: before the big day, you’ll need your scenography to be ready. Before scenography, you need to know that you’ll have generators in case lights run out. Before it all, it’s essential to get to know your available budget. 

D. Spreadsheet your expenses

Back to the basics. Set a budget and note down every single cent you spend in a spreadsheet. Timelines and budget frameworks are the foundation of your project.

First of all, it is important to have an estimate of how much you will need to invest in the event. This amount is often called a budget, which is a basis for the amount that will need to be available to fund the event. Some items on your event marketing plan that need to be listed to define the budget are:

  • How many employees will be hired;
  • Which items will need to be purchased;
  • What services will be hired;
  • Which suppliers / vendors will be quoted.

This data collection is the most important step in any business, and it demonstrates that the event organizer knows how to put together a budget worksheet for events and be successful with the result.

Thus, it will be possible to know the estimated value of total costs and if the investment budget meets these requirements. After everything is defined, the closing of services and purchase of products, it is time to divide each contracted area to maintain control on the budget expenses. Most expensive budget allocations for corporate events are:

  • Safety;
  • Decoration;
  • Service (waiters, recepcionists, staff, etc);
  • Food & Beverage;Venue rental;
  • Audiovisual
  • DJ;
  • Promotion;
  • Gifts;
  • Office material.

E. Create scarcity of available spaces

Scarcity is mainly founded in three factors: time, space and money. And you can use all of them in your ticketing strategy. Time, because your event is a unique occasion and you need to tell people about it. It’s not gonna be there at any time they want to attend. Space because you’ll have a limited number of people you can serve at the same time. And money because, the earlier somebody buys a ticket for your event, the bigger is their compensation for that. Thus, people who buy it later, will have to spend more. 

F. Mitigate risk

Eliminate risks and obstacles with great event planning. Even if you are the king of Excel, you know you cannot do everything from there. Hire an event management platform that takes care of the whole process, end-to-end, from a clear event planning checklist, to registration, ticketing and event analytics.

3. Go live.

A. The big day has come

Guess what: most of the problems reported on events are about stages that are supposed to be simple. Make sure your check-in is working fine, with enough resources to make the process agile and quick. People didn’t go there to attend to a line, but to a special occasion.

B. Engage attendees, guests and VIP’s

Take advantage of user generated content. Guests love sharing special occasions. Encourage them to do it screening social media posts on real time, creating an event official hashtag or even rewarding the best comments with discounts or branded gifts.

C. Keep communication flowing.

Your detailed conference plan of months has been perfectly done and this is the occasion to get things done. Maintain constant conversation with your team and make them comfortable to make questions. Otherwise, staff might feel afraid of bringing problems they have identified.

4. Generate repeated and replicable value. 


A. Register it all in professional video.

Remember the use of FOMO in the event planning phase? It’s way easier to do that when you have previous situations recorded. A specialized video-producer

B. Quantify your success with reports .

You’ve been taking care of your event planning for months and your attendees had a fascinating experience. But how you track and measure success and show it to clients and sponsors? After the event, the outcomes can now be transformed in numbers. For that, you need a template. Arrange this numbers in graphic charts and add it the successful case to your event portfolio to prove your expertise. InEvent event analytics can immensely help you with that.

C. Qualify your performance asking for feedback.

Keep the community engaged and looking forward to the next edition. Collect testimonials and ask for feedback. Some successful events are so remarkable, that attendees keep engaged till a next edition, even if it’s one year ahead. Check how recurrent successful events leverage and enhance marketing strategies. Quantitative analysis humanize your numbers. Together, quantity and quality are the final proof needed to leverage your career as an event planner.

The success of an event is measured by the satisfaction of its participants and the most effective way to obtain information about event management is to ask the public. Feedback is important for organizers to identify potential failures and avoid them in future events.

Want to know how to get this information about your event? Some techniques and best practices include:


Master each event planning process and skill with our other learning resources:

Create a successful event template in 5 minutes and replicate to your whole event marketing portfolio. Start with InEvent today, for free:

Also, check our other resources to keep learning:


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