Tips On Choosing Your Event’s WHEN

If people have to fly out on a weekend, they won’t like it. If you schedule around the holidays, most people won’t have time. If the venue is more than 40 miles away, they’ll find closer alternatives.

The solution to all these problems are simple: take note of your target audience when event planning, especially time and date. We like to use the acronym WHEN to determine the best time to have your event.

Where
Depending on the time of year, event size and activities included, where your event takes place can be very important. States like Florida, Arizona and California have lots of event facilities and great weather most of the year, but no one really wants to head to Phoenix during the summer or Florida during monsoon season. Then again, hot or rainy weather does give your organizing committee a great rate decrease, so if you’re looking to trim costs, Phoenix in July is a great choice.

Where is your event?

Holidays
Events scheduled around holidays that aren’t holiday related cause nothing but frustration for many attendees. Unless your audience is made up of anti-holiday people, plan an event around Labor Day, Memorial Day, Thanksgiving or Christmas is more hassle than it’s worth.

Increased air and vehicle traffic also make major cities a nightmare for arranging hotels, transportation and other needs. Take care when planning around big vacation dates.

Extra work days
Many professional conferences are scheduled Tuesday through Thursdays to allow for travel on Monday and Friday. Both employees and employers enjoy this, as it saves money (overtime) and time (weekends) as people don’t have to catch a Sunday flight to make it to the conference opening bell.

Middle of the week conferences allow for simpler scheduling for everyone involved and conference organizers may be able to get a better rate when booking during the week.

If your conference is more of an expo that relies heavily on retail sales, forget what you just read and think three-day weekend. If the event you’re throwing has great entertainment, room for the kids and cool stuff to buy, by all means throw it on a weekend, and use Friday as a preview day for VIPs as the event is still being set up.

LoopLogic and EventDay team up

Stephane, Merestone employee, Scott Cate and Scott Mitchell discuss logistics.

No Travel
Plenty of corporations and communities have events in their own area that require little or no travel. Often one-day happenings that exist as training or network opportunities, there is no reason to have these mid-week.

When your event doesn’t require a lot of travel time, consider what’s best for your audience, like Fridays for many large businesses, Mondays for many small businesses and weekends for community groups.

There are plenty of great events that break these rules. Geek spring break, aka SXSW, starts on a Friday and ends nine days later on a Sunday. Comic-Con starts on a Thursday. The Arizona Comi-con runs Memorial Day weekend.

But your event likely isn’t any of those. Remember WHEN and you’ll be just fine.

Event Planning Takes Time

Good event planning happens months (or quarters) before an event is announced. We’ve seen far too many well-intentioned people try to shorten this timeline, only to forget something big (like insurance) or overlook something ‘small’ (making sure your name badges don’t suck) because they didn’t bother to outline their event planning process.

Event Planning

Waiting too long to start event planning can be disastrous for events that require a lot of space. Photo courtesy Dylan Passmore.

Most events can’t be planned in a day, a week or even a month. For any event to be successful, planners must take the requisite amount of time and steps to ensure success. Problem is, many new event planners and even a few seasoned ones may not know the perfect amount of time to allot for planning.

EventDay can help. Our software will reverse engineer your event, and depending on size and scope, give you the most accurate possible plan to make sure you have everything ready to go when it needs to be. We’ll help you plan timelines for giveaways, sponsor/giveaway deadlines, A/V rental or setup, speaker/attendee reminders and even throw a few promotional tips your way so your event gets the attention it deserves.

Here are a few tips to get your event planning started:

1. Pick a topic/subject
As easy as our software is to use, we can’t make a nondescript event great. Pick a solid big idea to build on and then follow the rest of the steps. Conferences are seldom huge money makers, so it’s a good idea to have a motive that’s not directly profit related.

2. Find a venue first
Without a place, your event can’t really exist. Venue rentals tend to be the biggest expenditure for any event, so picking one early will give you an idea of how much money you need to budget.

3. Pick a day
Once your venue is set, get the exact date and time taken care of. It’s tough to invite speakers and woo sponsors without a set time. Many people are unwilling to commit if you can’t even commit to a date and time.

4. Figure out your costs
Some things you may be able to live without, like WiFi at a large conference center. Other things, like water and snacks, are going to be necessary. Construct a wish list based on order of importance and eliminate what you can’t raise money for.

5. Pick your team wisely
If you can afford to hire professionals to help you, that’s great, but if you’d rather spend your money on making your event worthwhile to attendees, be sure to pick your management team wisely. Every missed deadline is something the event organizer has to do, so be cognizant of your time.

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