In the twenty plus years we’ve been in the event industry, we’ve been given some priceless pieces of advice. We’ve also heard some real humdingers. We’ve rounded up the best, and worst corporate event planning advice we’ve heard so that you don’t fall victim to these well-meaning, yet potentially disastrous, pieces of advice.


“Don’t sweat the small stuff”

This may be a great piece of advice to follow if you’re prone to overthinking everything under the sun until the early hours, but when it comes to corporate events, you can’t afford to ignore the details. Paying attention to every single facet of an event – however small – is what event planners get paid to do. As we’ve written before, all it takes is one overlooked detail to derail an entire event.


“Talk to the duck”

One of the greatest pieces of advice we’ve ever received was to “Talk to the duck”. We’re not using this phrase literally, instead, we’re referring to the practice of verbalising a problem, instead of trying to muddle it through your own mind. By talking through a problem from beginning to end, you’re forced to re-evaluate it. The best part of this practice is that you don’t need a human audience to benefit from it.  Whether you grab a colleague or simply mouth off to a picture of your dog or an inanimate desktop decoration, verbalising the situation is often enough to identify a viable solution without having to resort to escalating the issue.


“You don’t really need a plan B”

Much like the first gem of an insight in this blog, this is one piece of advice that flies in the face of the essence of corporate event planning. Planning for any and all eventualities is nothing less than crucial. We’ve witnessed the importance of a plan B first hand, many times over, and if it weren’t for a backup-up plan, some of the events struck by unforeseen circumstances would have ended up as full-blown disasters. As laborious as setting up safeguards can be, this is one aspect of the job that you can’t afford to leave off your list.


“Double check. Then check again”

You can never be too conscientious about dotting your i’s and crossing your t’s. It’s often only in the final run-through of a set-up that an overlooked issue comes to light. There are countless people involved in the orchestrating of a corporate event, which means that human error can, and does, happen all the time. As such, checking and re-checking that everything is in place is essential.


“No one will notice x,y or x”

Corporate event planning is a detail-orientated industry. Clients are finicky (often, for good reason) and guests – no matter how seasoned an attendee they are – always notice the little things. Unfortunately, guests tend to hone in on mistakes right away: the misspelled surname, an ignored dietary request or the fact that they’ve been sat next to the restrooms. If you think that sloppy work will go unnoticed, this isn’t the industry for you.


“Never so say no to clients”

Many of the issues corporate event planners face stem from the client side. Super-tight deadlines, tighter purse strings and outlandish demands call for a strong resolve. And while we’re loathe to turn a client down, sometimes the only thing to do is to say “No”. While corporate event planning entails a great deal of client service, it shouldn’t entail bending over backwards to such an extent that all other priorities (and your sanity) go out the window.

We’d love to hear the worst – and best – pieces of advice you’ve ever received about planning or running corporate events. Let us know over on Facebook or Twitter!

Contrary to popular belief, the hard work involved in a corporate event doesn’t end once your venue is packed up and your guests have gone home. If you want to ensure your corporate event achieves its objectives – regardless of what these are – you need to tick off the following five action points once the physical event has culminated.


1.Send out a post-event survey

To make the most of this exercise, you need to strike while the iron is hot, so to speak. Sending out a post-event survey via your event mobile app, SMS or email as soon as the event has finished allows you to tap into the minds of your guests while they’re still ruminating on their experience. Keep your questions short and opt for multiple-choice – the easier it is for guests to complete the survey, the more responses you’ll get. Don’t forget to lead with a ‘Thank you for attending’. Good manners pay off!

2. Analyse your event data

This is where the good stuff is. And by good stuff, we mean the crucial insights into your guests that enable you to understand them and the way they interact with your brand. Don’t forget that the difference between a corporate event that succeeds and on that falls flat is an in-depth understanding of the people in attendance, so mining all event collateral is an essential undertaking. Look at attendance reports, pre-and-post sales reports (if applicable), mobile event app data, social media feeds and post-event surveys.

3. Set an email marketing campaign in motion

Staying in touch with guests once they’ve attended your corporate event is essential. Depending on the nature of your event, a thank you email may suffice, but if your event forms part of a bigger marketing campaign, such as a product launch, you’ll need to construct an email marketing campaign that continuously provides relevant information to your guests. The key to email campaigns that successfully drive recipients to take further action, whether this is to purchase a product, visit your website or follow you on social media, lies in the content of your mails. Personalise all correspondence, employ a master wordsmith to craft compelling copy that’s relevant, and make sure each email provides the recipient with something of value. (Don’t forget about POPI!)

4. Refine your social media strategy

Keep your brand top of mind by using post-event data to fine-tune your social media strategy. Follow guests who were in attendance or who’ve recently followed or mentioned you, and send them a direct message to thank them for their attendance.  Post a recap of the event and tag all relevant parties – the more exposure, the better. Even if your next event is months away, keep new and old followers alike updated with news about your brand to pique their interest in the interim.

5. Pick up the phone

Thanks to the plethora of communication platforms available, it’s easy to opt for electronic means over an in-person phone call. The point of any event is to form a personal relationship with your guests, and what better way to solidify this than by picking up the phone and reaching out to your attendees? Thank them again for their attendance and ask them for additional feedback about their experience. By doing so, you’re further personalising your brand – an act that goes a long way in increasing brand acknowledgement and adoption.

Make sure your events achieve your objectives, and then some, by finding out about our corporate event management software. Easy and intuitive to use, we’ve built our software to help corporate event managers get the most out of their events. Download our brochure below.

hidden-gems-corporate-event-planning-checklist.jpgSafely tucked away in any event professional’s ring binder file would be that item so essential to the event planning process that, were it ever to be lost or destroyed, the world would surely come crashing down around them. I’m talking about the unsung hero of the event management process – the corporate event planning checklist.

The ultimate function of an event planning checklist is to keep event planners sane

The corporate event planning checklist details it all – from every line item in a corporate event’s budget down to who will be responsible for placing water on the lectern for guest speakers on the day of the event. This is why this checklist and its associated documents are often referred to as the event planner’s ‘bible’ and why no event planner worth their salt will be seen without theirs close at hand on the day of their corporate event.

So, what kind of information should (or do) event planners keep close to them during an event?

Checklist templates for event planning abound on the internet. Examples of what should be included in this checklist differ according to event planner, business and events agency. One thing that we feel is pertinent to include with every checklist is an event call sheet. A call sheet is one of those hidden gems in an event planner’s file. It contains the contact details (cell phone numbers and email addresses) for every caterer, supplier, media person, emergency personnel member, project coordinator, hostess, taxi service, car hire company, audio-visual guy – you name it – whose involvement is pertinent to the successful running of your event on the day.  

Call sheets are distributed to the entire event planning team to ensure that they’ll know who to contact or follow up with should someone run late or a problem arise. Event planning call sheets should also include key setup times and locations for your team members throughout the day. A call sheet can also be used to direct your event planning team’s movement across locations. The RSVP Agency, for example,  recently ran the registrations for corporate event activities that required multiple call sheets for multiple teams spread across various locations.

A section of your corporate event planning checklist should always be dedicated to event compliance procedures

A crucial aspect of any planned event is its level of compliance with appropriate health and safety procedures. Regulations exist to ensure that event planners take health and safety measures at events seriously. These regulations touch on appropriate venue and site design, fire safety, incident planning, the types of communication channels that need to be in place to ensure optimal safety for event guests, the necessary protocol for crowd management and crowd control – and much more.

Another gem to add to your corporate event planning checklist would then be our Event Compliance Checklist. This checklist will help you cover your event compliance bases when planning your upcoming events. You can download this checklist here below.

For more information about The RSVP Agency’s professional event management software solution, give us a call today.

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playing_chicken_2_by_manbearpig82.jpgHave you ever played the game ‘chicken’ before? If not, that’s ok –  it’s generally not the wisest of entertainments. It involves two people willingly rushing towards each other, at high speed, in cars or on motorbikes or bicycles, to see who will be the first to lose their nerve and swerve to get out of the other’s way. The one who (sensibly) exits the dare in time is labelled as the ‘chicken’. The game can also be played with unwitting parties: Like oncoming trains. In these scenarios, if you make a dash for safety too soon, you are a chicken.

We know, crazy right?

In many ways, running a corporate event without being sure that you are compliant with the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act is much like playing a game of chicken – you are definitely taking your chances. You may initially get away with dodging POPI compliance, but what about that one day when you don’t? This is why we recommend that you be sure to include processes for POPI compliance in your corporate event planning checklist.

The POPI Act should be foremost on your mind when you are in the initial planning stages for your corporate event

In short, the POPI Act holds event organisers responsible for protecting their guests’ personal information from data breaches or hacks. Should a data breach occur, event managers are required to contact guests to inform them of the breach and how it happened. According to an Ernst & Young publication, misdirected faxes and failure to shred paper records before throwing them away also constitutes a data breach – you will need to inform guests if this should it happen. Pretty strict stuff, hey?

If you are still uncertain as to what POPI compliance is all about, read our recent blog on cybersecurity and POPI, in which we unpack how the POPI Act translates to the real-world handling of your guests’ information.

The POPI Act is enforced by an Information Regulator, to whom all complaints are directed

The Act further protects guests from the mishandling of any information they have entrusted to you – such as having their details shared with a third party for unsolicited marketing purposes. Should any data subject (a person from whom you have gathered information) feel that their personal information has been mishandled, they have recourse to lodge a complaint with the Information Regulator, who is responsible for investigating and resolving such complaints.

It’s therefore probably not the greatest idea to play chicken with the Information Regulator

Can you now see why it is so important to put POPI compliance on the top of your corporate event planning checklist? And why you need to make sure your event management team is also aware of POPI requirements?

Have you password protected all your devices? Do you store, distribute and destroy printed documents in a way that’s POPI compliant? You will also need to make sure that your Event Management Software (and all its touch points) are appropriately secure. The RSVP Agency’s Email Invitation and Event Management Software, for example, has been designed with POPI compliance in mind. The product takes the protection of personal information very seriously, and, if used appropriately, sets you up to be POPI compliant from the get-go.

On the upside, being POPI compliant will help you build and maintain trust with guests, sponsors, your big boss and HIS big boss…

Download our event compliance procedures to see what you need to consider when planning your next event experience.

Image credit: Deviant Art

Our extensive experience has taught us numerous lessons about the industry. We’ve planned and managed hundreds of world-class events for international brands, and in the process we’ve gleaned valuable insights. Successful corporate event planners are essentially multi-tasking magicians. Events that delight both your clients and guests rely on a comprehensive plan and attention to detail. The saying ‘the devil is in the details’ couldn’t be more apt – every single element of the corporate event planning process requires meticulous attention. Late nights and caffeine reliance aside, here are eight things we’ve learnt from our years in the industry:

Your event is only as good as your brief

Corporate event planning relies on a clear brief – it’s the very foundation of an event. It’s impossible to create an event that fulfils your client’s expectations if they’ve only got a vague idea of what they want. Keep asking your client for information until you’re absolutely certain what is required of you. Details such as budget (this is paramount), the objectives of an event and the demographics of guests should be covered.

Trust is paramount

Any working relationship that’s beneficial to both parties relies on trust. Your clients are putting the reputation of their brand in your hands – which means that you need to do everything you can to demonstrate your professionalism. Honesty works both ways, which means that your clients need to be upfront about their expectations and resources in order for you to be able to create an event that’s successful.

Know your work and work your plan

This mantra has stood us in good stead throughout our event planning career. The more information you’re equipped with, the easier it will be to pull everything together into a well-orchestrated, smoothly run event. Spend time doing thorough research about all aspects of your event – including vendors, suppliers, guests and legal considerations. Once you’ve used this data to formulate a detailed plan, stick to it.

Never assume anything

This is without a doubt one of the most important lessons we’ve learnt. Don’t take someone’s word that x has been checked, or y has been completed – failing to check everything can have disastrous consequences for everyone involved in an event.

We were once tasked with a function that required the erection of a bedouin tent on the balcony of a high-rise building. The company who managed the building had given us the go-ahead, saying that the balcony was capable of supporting the structure. Our staff were on their way to erect the tent when the client’s logistics engineer stepped into the elevator – and informed them that there was absolutely no way that the balcony could support that amount of weight. If we hadn’t bumped into him, we could have had a disaster on our hands. Always ensure that you obtain written permission from the building’s architect prior to setting up any sort of structure.

Plan for every single possible scenario

Corporate event planning entails a minefield of considerations, which means that a workable back-up plan is required for every element of your function. Always have a back-up guest list (also known as a B list), a generator in case of a power outage, an emergency procedure in case of fire, etc. and a list of emergency services.

Know your venue inside out

Every venue has different challenges. Firstly, ensure that your venue of choice is suitable for the event and all that it entails. Make sure you’ve assessed elements like ceiling height, access roads, emergency exits, electricity points and parking capacity.

Devote adequate time to set-up and breakdown

Technically, this piece of advice falls under ‘know your work and work your plan’ – but it’s so crucial that we thought we’d elaborate on it. Far too many event planners land in hot water after under-estimating the time it takes to set up an event and then break it down once it’s over. Safeguard against the embarrassing and incredibly unprofessional instance of making guests wait while your staff finish laying tables or doing a sound check. There will always be something or someone who runs late – so make sure this doesn’t affect your event’s schedule by allocating more than enough time to the task.

Keep detailed records of everything and update them frequently

Many event planners fail to pay enough attention to this process – to their own detriment. It’s paramount that you have a system of reporting on status meetings as well as quotations and invoices from vendors. Ensure that all staff know what is expected of them and when by including details about responsibilities and time frames. Corporate event planning is an intricate endeavour, which means that keeping track of every single thing is near impossible. Making use of an efficient, systematic approach benefits not only you, but your vendors, staff and clients too.

Image Credit: USA Business Report