If you are wondering what it is like to be an event planner, it is learning to be in a state of constant change and flux. By now, we are used to it, and have not only survived in this environment, but we have learned how to thrive and adapt. The pandemic showed us that we are truly flexible and able to be resilient during turbulent times. Now, with the pandemic (hopefully!) behind us, we have been dealing with constantly changing project timelines as we navigate the waters from virtual events to live, in-person events.
When we were only producing virtual events last year, the tight timelines were feasible. We didn’t need to plan for travel, site visits, set up and take down time, and other in-person event challenges. Therefore, when a client came to us wanting an entire conference built from the ground up in a matter of months, we were able to do the job. Now that people are making quick decisions to have their events in-person again, we are finding that most have not considered that we (event planners) need to begin planning for that additional time again.
Our Seasonal Event Guide for this spring and summer outlines 5 different kinds of events you could have this season. Below, we are going to take a look at the approximate time you should give yourself for the planning of each and then we will hammer out what procedures may take the most time.
For Appreciation and Awards events, normally you would want a minimum of 3 months to plan your event, depending on the program and number of award recipients.
For Fundraising events, you will want approximately 6 months or more to plan your event.
In-Person Conferences, we suggest 4 – 6 months minimum.
Social Events, Galas, and Receptions can typically be planned in 3 months.
When planning Tradeshows and Exhibitions, it is best to have 6-8 months, especially for larger, public events.
Generally, you need to also allow for:
- City permits
- It can take several months for an outdoor public venue to be approved for your event.
- Hybrid events
- Producing a fully functional event platform as well as a physical space is very time consuming and one should not be ‘better’ than the other.
- Award creation
- If you are presenting recipients with a physical piece that is custom, branded or engraved, it will take time to make.
- Booking entertainment
- With the pandemic, a lot of performers had to look for other work, meaning a lot of talent is already booked. Have back up plans for entertainment and speakers in case your first requests do not pan out.
- Multiple locations
- It will take longer to book events in multiple locations that run concurrently, as there is more to book, more research to do and more people to facilitate.
- Silent auction
- It takes a great deal of time to get sponsors and auction items for your event. In addition, most of the large companies plan out their sponsorship a year in advance, so start those conversations early to ensure you are top of the list for funding.
- Event registration
- Attendees simply need time to sign up for an event and/or plan for travel, child care and accommodations. Depending on your audience, this should be anywhere from a couple weeks to a few months.
- Gifting and packages
- There are still shipping delays and supply-chain delays, so make sure anything you want to give as a gift or provide in a package has more than enough time to get to you.
- If you’re running any event virtually, always give yourself lots of time for speaker rehearsals and tech rehearsals, even if you have run the event before.
- Pre-event meetings
- We opt for meetings with all of our entertainment, speakers, vendors and staff before an event, so this can take a great deal of time, but it is worth it to have everyone on the same page.
Check out our latest Seasonal Event Guide for ideas on how to host your own virtual, hybrid and in-person events for this spring and summer. And of course, reach out to us if you need any help planning and/or managing your event – even if it doesn’t fit into the time requirements we listed above – after all, nothing is impossible for Team Tycoon!
– Your Tycoon, Steph XO