The Ultimate Guide to Planning an In-Person Event in 2023

The Ultimate Guide to In-Person Events in 2024

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Posted on April 2, 2024

As the world has acclimated to post-pandemic normalcy, it’s safe to say that in-person event planning has made a comeback in 2024. If you’re in the event planning space, this will be music to your ears!

So yes, it is set to be an exciting year ahead for event planning.

While I don’t want to burst your bubble of excitement, I know that in-person events require immense attention to detail. Whether it’s a:

  • Conference
  • Trade show
  • Careers fair
  • Product launch

Or any other type of event, your approach to event planning must be on point.

Anything less will only leave you and your attendees feeling despondent and underwhelmed.

The demand for memorable and impactful events couldn’t be higher. To meet your attendees’ expectations, you must stay ahead of industry trends and be comfortable forming innovative ideas to stand out.

This ultimate guide to in-person event planning in 2024 has all your bases covered: 

  • The Essentials of event planning
  • Marketing must-dos
  • Latest industry trends
  • Plus, so much more!

If followed, you’ll be well on your way to creating an unforgettable experience for your attendees. 

As mentioned earlier, there are numerous event types. No one is the same as the other. So, you must understand the intricacies that each of them entails.

Types of In-person Events:

Conferences Events

person discussing while standing in front of a large screen in front of people inside dim-lighted room

These are often professional gatherings focusing on a specific topic, theme, or industry. As well as keynote speeches from industry professionals, they usually include breakout sessions —an opportunity for your audience to form smaller groups for focused conversations. 

Conferences are also the perfect setting for networking opportunities. So, it would help if you allowed sufficient time for this in your event planning schedule. Networking and breakout sessions serve as breathing space for your attendees.

Without them, they will likely tire from hours of listening to speakers on stage. Creating the right balance is critical.

Remember, your attendees rely on the schedule you set for them. So, you must respect not just their time but also the activities in which they participate.

The most common tactic used by conference event planners to draw in numbers is to secure well-respected speakers. The more high-profile your speakers are, the

more likely, you will attract significant interest in your conference; this is especially true for your keynote speaker.

Often, this person is the highlight of the event. They will be your blockbuster speaker. So, if you want your conference to be the talk of the town, be sure to double down on this. 

Trade Shows Events

crowd of people in building lobby

Trade shows are very different from conferences. They are essentially exhibitions. An opportunity for businesses to showcase their services and products to:

  • Prospective partners
  • Customers
  • Industry professionals

While any event type is a big responsibility, this is especially true with trade shows. So, it would help if you took this seriously.

Why? Because business vendors are relying on you to create a safe and comfortable environment for them and to market the trade show effectively so that footfall numbers are manageable.

That’s not to say that attendance figures are all that you should focus on. Of course, ticket sales play a significant part in your revenue stream. Yet, your charges for each vendor are just as important.

After all, business vendors can showcase their products and services with the floor space you offer. They need you as much as you need them.

Location, location, location! – This is what all vendors are after; as prime of a spot as possible. A floor space area that is most likely to attract more eyeballs and stand visits.

These areas are typically:

  • Closest to the front entrance
  • Not sandwiched in the back corners of your venue
  • Intersections with multiple traffic flows

The better the location, the higher your fees should be.

Career Fairs Events

man and woman talking near the wall

The differentiator between trade and career fairs is that the latter focuses on one thing, and one thing only; to connect prospective employers with job seekers.

It means that your revenue stream will almost always come from companies that hire your booths rather than from visitors because common practice is not to charge job seekers who wish to attend. It makes complete sense if you think about it.
It makes your event planning easier; your sole focus should be on reputable companies looking to hire suitable candidates.

Depending on your venue size, you should adopt a different pricing strategy than discussed earlier with conference event planning. As a career fairs event planner, you are always in a strong position because companies are keen to fill vacant positions.

With candidates, they can grow their businesses. So your ability to attract job seekers is what your clients (companies) are heavily relying on.

Your biggest strength is saving the companies a significant amount of money. The costs associated with hiring a candidate are steep, especially fees associated with recruitment agencies.
You are providing them a more cost-effective solution from all angles of their recruitment process. As I said earlier, they need you as much as you need them. Remember this.

Workshops & Seminar Events

people at the table

Like career fairs, workshops & seminar events are highly focused on providing attendees with hands-on training and in-depth knowledge of a specific subject area.

Unlike the other events discussed earlier, which in their very nature can be busy, event planning for workshops and seminars needs adequate attention to venue ambiance.

Remember, your visitors want to learn and educate themselves. So the last thing they want is an atmosphere that could be more conducive to this goal.

A university gathering is an example; the environments here often exude a sense of calmness and reflection. Similarly, your event planning skills for workshops and seminars should adopt a similar approach.

By creating such an environment, contributors will feel comfortable performing at their best, and your visitors are more likely to immerse themselves in the experience. A win, win for all involved.

To optimize space and ensure efficient organization, consider using advanced warehouse management systems like modula wms. These systems can help in organizing materials and equipment, ensuring that everything is easily accessible and properly stored.

Now that we discussed some event examples. We can now delve deeper into the nuances of event planning.

The Event Planning Process

sticky notes on paper document beside pens and box

As an event planner, you aim to deliver a seamless and successful event. The following steps will help you achieve this:

1. Set Crystal Clear Objectives

Before you even begin with the practicalities of the event itself, you must establish crystal clear goals and objectives for your event. The most effective way is by considering the desired outcomes for your visitors, sponsors, and yourself.

Defining your objectives will guide your event planning process and help you measure success.

2. A Detailed Budget Will Save You Money

The most common oversight in event planning is appropriate budgeting. Over-budgeting is why some events fail, but it can be a different way. Developing and maintaining a comprehensive budget is crucial to managing event costs and ensuring profitability.

Consider all of your potential expenses, such as:

  • Venue rental
  • Marketing
  • Catering
  • Technology

Also, be sure to account for unexpected costs with a contingency fund. It will avoid landing yourself with financial surprises.

3. Venue Is King

You will be surprised. So many events fail due to poor venue selection; do not be one of these event planners.

Selecting an appropriate venue is paramount:

  • Do it well, and your event will succeed.
  • Do it wrong. It will sadly fall flat on its face.

And be sure to consider factors such as:

  • Location
  • Accessibility
  • Capacity
  • Available facilities

It’s also vital that your venue aligns with your event theme and audience expectations.

4. Don’t Fail on Your Marketing Strategy

You can do all the event planning you want. But if you are not willing to pay due attention to an effective marketing strategy, your efforts will account for zero. A well-thought-out marketing campaign will not only increase attendance and engagement.

When contacting prospective partners, stand out with a highly polished and professional event business proposal. Sadly, only some event planners will settle for shoddy proposals. Professional business proposals will win you 113% more business. 

To reach your targeted audience, implement a fusion of both traditional and digital marketing channels:

  • Content creation
  • Email marketing
  • Social media

Also, always appreciate the power of leveraging your partnerships and sponsorships; this will serve as a reach extension and create hype and buzz around your event.

5. Be Open to Incorporating Technology

In today’s ever-changing technological world, it’s foolish to disregard Technology. Embrace them. These include mobile event apps, live streaming, and virtual reality. We will go into more detail about some of these later.

How best can you implement these marketing strategies? Let’s take a closer look.

Event Marketing Best Practices

white printing paper with Marketing Strategy text

As we touched on earlier, effective marketing can significantly impact attendance and the overall success of your event. By following the below steps, you will create a winning event marketing strategy:

1. Your Event Brand Is Everything

When thinking about your event brand, focus on being:

  • Unique
  • Memorable
  • A reflection of your target audience’s wants and needs

Once you master the above, create a consistent visual identity; this should include a logo, color scheme, and typography that resonates with your attendees and sets the tone for your event.

2. Be Clever With Content Marketing

Creating content itself is worthless unless you share it effectively:

  • First, create content that is in alignment with your event theme
  • Second, share your content through social media updates, articles, videos, and blog posts.

By showcasing the inherent value of your event, generating interest will be a natural byproduct of this.

3. The Power of Social Media Leveraging

Sharing content on social media platforms is just one piece of the puzzle. Engaging with your audience through comment replies is where the real magic begins. You see, social media platform algorithms favor engagement above the creative itself. So the more you engage, the more effective your social media activity becomes. 

4. Be Obsessed With Monitoring & Results Analysis

You need more than just pushing the publish button on your marketing campaigns. Keeping your pulse on their effectiveness matters most as it allows you to implement tweaks based on their performance. You can measure this using analytic tools to ensure your decisions are always data-driven.

5. Stay Ahead of the Curve

True professionals stay on top of the latest industry news and trends and incorporate these within their event planning process. Here are some current trends to help you:

Sustainability in event planning

Event sustainability is the buzzword now and is becoming increasingly important in the event planning business. Both attendees and event planners are beginning to align themselves with eco-friendly practices.

Implementing this yourself is not as difficult as you think. Using reusable materials, sourcing local and organic food, and partnering with environmentally conscious suppliers will go a long way in your efforts toward sustainability.

Consider hybrid events

Hybrid events, which combine in-person and virtual elements, have gained popularity as a flexible and accessible alternative to traditional events. Consider offering life

streaming or virtual participation options to accommodate remote attendees and expand your event reach.

Personalization is key

Creating a truly memorable and engaging event experience relies heavily on personalization; this will prove pivotal. Use data and attendee preferences to tailor your event content, communication, and activities.

Consider offering customizable agendas, personalized recommendations, and targeted marketing campaigns to connect with your audience.

Focus on attendee wellness. 

As the focus on mental and physical well-being increases, consider incorporating wellness activities into your events. Examples of these are:

  • Yoga sessions
  • Mindfulness workshops
  • Healthy food choices

The inclusion of these will help to promote overall attendee well-being and satisfaction.

Video Broadcasting and Streaming

black and gray audio mixer

Video broadcasting and streaming have become essential strategies for modern-day event planning. It is a no-brainer! as it increases accessibility and broader audience reach. Here are three top tips:

Tip #1. Choose the Right Platform

Select a reliable and user-friendly platform that supports your event streaming needs. Research popular options like Vimeo, YouTube, or Twitch to find the best fit for your event size and requirements.

Tip #2. Don’t Compromise on High-Quality Production

If you decide to move forward with broadcasting and streaming for your event, invest in professional video and audio equipment. The last thing you want is low-quality production., so consider hiring an experienced production team to manage the technical aspects of your event live streaming.

Tip #3. Engage Your Virtual Audience

Your remote attendees deserve just as much engagement because they are not physically present. An effective way of doing this is by offering interactive elements like live chats, polls, or Q&A sessions. Also, encourage social media engagement and monitor virtual attendees’ feedback to ensure an all-around seamless and enjoyable experience.

To Wrap Up

Pulling off an event that exudes the wow factor requires a controlled and measured approach at all stages of your event planning process. By understanding event types and effective marketing strategies and leaning into industry trends and the latest technologies, you will create an impactful and memorable event that resonates with your audiences and surpasses their expectations.

Stay ahead of the curve. Regularly update your knowledge, be open to learning, and continually seek ways to innovate and improve your event planning strategies.

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