How to Plan and Execute Event Logistics for a Successful Event

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Posted on December 1, 2023

How to Plan and Execute Event Logistics for a Successful Event

If you’re putting on an event, you’ll want your guests to have a great time and for it to run without any unexpected hiccups. Planning an event means you must think about everything from the catering to the technology and how to pull it all together seamlessly. 

Without properly planning the logistics, there’s a chance you’ll overlook something important. Whether you want everyone doing the conga or an energetic guest speaker, read on for our no-nonsense guide on how to plan and execute event logistics for a successful event.

What is event logistics?

Event logistics is the process of planning and executing an event from start to finish, including every last detail, such as the table centerpieces. This involves finding a venue that works, sourcing and coordinating vendors, blagging merchandise for swag bags, arranging the catering, and onboarding hosts and guest speakers. 

Of course, this is all just the tip of the iceberg. There are the less obvious behind-the-scenes things to plan, like setting up the sound and lighting, guest ticketing and registration, and compliant data collection and storage. 

What’s more, it all has to come together on the big day. This means planning contingencies for delays, cancellations, or errors and making sure communication solutions are up to scratch by using the benefits of CPaaS, such as video conferencing for virtual events or internal communication channels to bring teams together.

What are the 5 Cs of event management?

Whether it’s an in-person, hybrid, or virtual event, many of the elements of event planning remain the same. The process of planning event logistics can be thought of as a lifecycle. Following a lifecycle helps to break the planning phase down into logical steps. The 5 Cs cover the five common stages of planning event logistics, which can help teams manage delivery times, improve focus, stick to the budget, and review progress. 

  1. Concept

The concept is where you define the main details of the event. This means outlining the reason for the event, the expected benefits of the event, the type of event (such as a black-tie dinner, a fair, or a conference, etc.), when it will be, and the venue.

  1. Coordination

This is one of the trickier parts of the planning phase. Coordination involves working out how to execute the concept by bringing together all the pieces of the event. Some of the things to check off your list during the coordination phase might be:

  • Approving a budget
  • Putting an event team together
  • Planning the timeline
  • Deciding on a theme
  • Booking a venue
  • Approaching keynote speakers
  • Arranging the marketing
  • Setting up an event landing page or social media event
  • Writing a contingency plan
  • Approaching potential vendors
  1. Control

Maintaining control is something that will continue throughout the process. It involves checking in with all involved to make sure everything is on time and on budget. Keeping on top of teams and vendors can help you make tweaks and changes as they arise. There’s nothing good about an ‘unforeseen circumstance’. Being in control and having regular updates from third parties and internal teams can help prevent that and ensure a successful event.

  1. Culmination

The culmination or ‘climax’ refers to the big day—where everything finally comes together to make the event a success. This may mean liaising with vendors, catering staff, security, and speakers and making minor changes to the agenda if needed. Here, you’ll be monitoring everything, dealing with anything unexpected (and there will be something unexpected), and overall making sure the event runs smoothly.

  1. Closeout

The closeout phase happens after the event. This is where you thank your guests and speakers, make sure the venue is left in a good state, and tie up any loose ends, such as final payments.

The closeout will also involve:

  • Checking that contracts have been fulfilled.
  • Gathering feedback to see how well received the event was.
  • Seeing if there is anything that could be improved for future events.
  • Reviewing KPIs and goals.
  • Debriefing staff.
  • Rewarding and praising teams.

Don’t forget to praise yourself too!

What are the key components of event logistics?

Whilst the lifecycle deals with key parts of the process, the components are the key parts of the events. This is where the foundations of event logistics are put in place, like jigsaw pieces to eventually form the big day.

  1. Consider the logistics of your venue choice

Getting the venue right for the type of event you’re offering is essential in making the event a success. An impressive venue can certainly provide the wow factor, but there are other more practical considerations to take into account. 

  • Does the venue fall within budget? 
  • What’s included in the price? 
  • Can it hold the number of delegates you expect?
  • Is the venue accessible for vendors and delegates and well connected for transport links?
  • Does the venue fit with the concept of the event?
  • How do the in-house services, such as catering, compare to outsourced services?
  • Can they provide professional images of the venue for your marketing literature and event webpage?
  • Think about the presentation and packaging of promotional items or merchandise for your event. Consider using custom mailer boxes to enhance the branding and professionalism of your event materials.
  • Do you need a website? If so, do you need a local website? For example, if you’re based in Canada, websites with .ca domain names will often rank higher on the Google results page. This can be helpful for promoting in-person events. 
  1. Catering

The food should also fit the concept and style of the event. Planning the catering isn’t just a case of feeding people. It largely depends on your vision for the event and the concept. An evening event might be best suited to a black-tie dinner, while a fair-type event could enjoy casual, quirky food vans. 

An important part of most events is networking, and meal times are a great opportunity for this, so think about foods that can be eaten while talking, such as bite-sized food like canapes. Food could also used as an ice-breaker activity, such as a build-your-own burger station or a simple serve-yourself buffet.

Careful planning of catering logistics can help improve efficiency and sustainability, reduce waste, and keep costs down.

  1. Technology

If your event is online, you will need to make sure your video conferencing software is in place, along with the digital registration process and full instructions and system requirements available for delegates. 

An in-person event will usually need a screen and sound system as well as lighting, microphones, and music systems in place for guest speakers and hosts to use. If event management software is needed, it’s important to have a laptop and check the internet and servers are all working. 

Behind the scenes, people working to make sure everything is running smoothly may need access to tablets and walkie-talkies. Because events are sometimes away from the office, remote screen sharing might help event coordinators communicate with people back in the office. If you run into any technical glitches, your IT team can access your on-site computer wherever they are.

Whatever your tech requirements are, don’t forget to test that everything is working properly before the event.

  1. Organization and communication

If you’re in charge of organizing the logistics for an event,  part of your role is to delegate activities and coordinate. Communication and systems management software is essential in ensuring a smooth ride.

With so many people working together, it’s important to make sure everyone involved understands the goals and objectives of the event as well as their own duties and the roles of senior figures should they need support. 

There may be cases where certain vendors will need to communicate with other third parties, such as the venue’s event planners. Communication channels may need facilitating to make sure this happens smoothly. Storage and delivery of food, merchandise, and decorations will need to be arranged, and the key people involved will need clear communication. This is where a good project management software to help streamline communication can come in handy.

Having a contact centre as a service can bring real-time communications to existing business applications and help contact centers offer an omnichannel approach to suppliers, vendors, and customers. This can help streamline communications and give event logistics planners quality information to review.

  1. Create an event planning timeline

Like the budget, the event logistics timeline is a crucial part of early planning and must be considered throughout the entire event lifecycle. Ensuring deliverables are met on time is an important factor in the success of your event. Because the event cannot be moved, a lot of work has to go into making sure everything else is happening at the right time.

Delays could mean changing vendors, increasing team numbers, or reviewing the budget so there’s no time to waste. 

Even if your event is online, you will need to plan a timeline for registration, ticketing, attendance gathering, and installing any hardware or software you may need.

Having a cloud contact centre solution means you have a secure and reliable telecommunications system to handle event bookings or inquiries as they come.

Prepare for success with event logistics

Extensive logistic planning is the only way to make your event a success. The better your planning, the less you’ll be running around fixing issues on the day. The culmination should involve running through the plan – just how a rehearsal makes a theatre performance.

Whilst you can’t prevent every problem that could arise, such as a power cut, good contingency planning can help overcome big hurdles on the day. 

A careful review of the planning, the event itself, and the feedback afterward can show you what went well and what could have been better. 

This means you can make your next one an even bigger success!

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