The guests have left, the caterers have loaded out, and your feet are sore. It’s the end of the event, and your event management is over. This is often also seen as the end of the project, but unfortunately, they’re both different things. We asked our team to look back over their time as corporate event managers and give their advice on important tasks to carry out post-event. Although some of these steps may feel like more work, in the long term they’ll make your life easier, and give more purpose to your role. So take a read of our top 9 tasks to complete post-event to support long term success.
Step one to post-event success thanks to your speakers. Often people have given up their time at no cost to speak at your event, so we like to follow up with a small thank you gift. Nothing big or fancy, just something that shows you appreciate them creating space in their diaries for you. Of course, you don’t have to do so. If someone has agreed to speak for free, they won’t be expecting anything, but it’s a nice gesture. Particularly for conferences, speakers are the make or break of your event. If the content isn’t great, attendees are unlikely to come back for a second year. This is also a great opportunity to get the date for next year’s event in people’s diaries and scope out if they’re interested in speaking again.
Reach out to sponsors
In our experience, sponsors tend to not ask too much. In its most basic form, they want to feel valued and gain value. They’ve likely invested a good chunk of money into your event, consequently, a follow-up email doesn’t always cut it. Try to take them for lunch, or get them on the phone at least, to discuss the things they liked and didn’t like about the event. Although they are important, sponsors shouldn’t lead the decision making, so if you don’t agree with some of their points you don’t have to activate them, but it’s a great opportunity for them to feel heard. Again, share the date for next year, and hope they sign again.
Send a thank you for attending email to guests
A well-constructed “Thank you for attending” email is a paramount part of the post-event management process. It’s taken us years to perfect the perfect formula. If you want a copy, join the club.
It’s important to include a way that attendees can leave feedback for the event, as this will be key to your future planning, be that an email address or a survey link, it must be there somewhere.
You may need to incentivize people to fill in the feedback form. Everyone has busy lives and can easily press delete as soon as the email comes in. The aim is to stop that from happening.
Again, this is the perfect opportunity to give your audience the date for next year, and even a link to buy tickets. The event is fresh in their mind, so their commitment to the next will be at its highest. If you don’t have the bookings ready, get them to email someone to register their interest and keep track of the emails. Then when you do launch, you have a list of people you know are likely to buy.
Although several parts of this have been covered above, it’s important that you pull all the feedback and keep it in one central location. Sometimes it’s easy to miss common comments if sponsor, guest, and internal feedback are kept in different places. You should also add your own notes here too. We recommend keeping a note on your phone of all the things you think of throughout the day. Either add to it as you go or at the end of the day, taking five minutes to write down your thoughts on what did and didn’t work. After all, you’re the expert.
The venue, production, catering, florist, internal team, there are lots of moving parts to an event and therefor a lot of room for error. We firmly believe that it’s only fair to give vendors proper feedback so that they A) have the opportunity to improve or B) feel a sense of reward and satisfaction for their good work. As a vendor, we can tell you it gives a huge morale boost when we’re given good feedback, and constructive criticisms are totally invaluable to our business. We’re constantly striving to make our client’s lives better, so telling us how we can do so is gold dust. It helps us to improve our event management program. I’m sure many others share the same opinion, so don’t be scared to say if there’s something you don’t quite like.
Arrange a debrief
It’s up to you how many people are involved in this, but the more people, the more unruly it becomes. At a minimum, the key internal players should be there. Your event management team, whoever is in charge of ticket sales, the on-site event team, the person who’s in charge of sponsorship, and the heads of the department if it’s a biggie. Send a diary invite so everyone knows the time and book a meeting room with enough space for everyone to sit down. Make sure you allow plenty of time for the meeting, no stone must remain unturned. This is such an important part of planning your next event, and we see businesses skipping this step all the time.
Bring the budget into the meeting and all of the collated feedback. Put it up on a big screen and discuss until the cows come home (or as long as you feel the conversation is productive). Event managers put so much time and soul into what they do that it’s hard to hear constructive criticism as a useful tool and not a personal dig. Try to leave this thought at the door, and go into the meeting with a proactive productive approach rather than being on the defensive.
Reflect on your measures of success. Did you meet your targets? If not, why not? If you exceeded expectations, why was that? Have your measures of success actually changed during the process, so although your initial header hasn’t been met, you’d still consider the event a success? If you’re not sure where to start with measurable metrics, check out our article here, and our downloadable sheet here.
Particularly important if you have the tickets for next year open. For more visual people, this will be a clear reminder of the event and how good it was, further enticing them to book their tickets for next year. If your pictures are killer (we always recommend getting a brilliant photographer), your photos will also act as your marketing. Someone will see that picture on LinkedIn and be desperate to attend next year.
Sign off the budget
No one likes dealing with the budget, but it’s the final part of the event management process. Set your team a deadline for getting all of their expenses to you and make your budget sign off date a week later. Make sure you get every invoice in, going through your budget line by line to make sure nothing unexpected will crop up. Some costs might have changed in the process, so we like to create a way of comparing what we thought it would cost to what it actually does, a useful tool for future planning.
You did it! It’s important we all take the time to notice our successes, even if the success is simply that you made it the whole way through without crying.
Are you planning an event and you’re not sure where to start with the Event Management process? Well luckily for you we’re on hand to help. Give us a shout if you fancy a chat.