When you hire a company to plan your corporate events, you put the success of the event in someone else’s hands. That means it’s important to be thorough when it comes to finding the right group of people to work with. You need a company that understands what you want and has the ability to deliver it. Wondering how to vet a corporate event planner? This will help you get started.
How to Choose a Corporate Event Planning Company
1. Understand Your Needs
Before you can start talking to event planners, you need to evaluate your own needs. Make a list of the essential points, so you understand your event and what you need from an event planner.
What is the purpose or goal of the event? For instance, is it an executive retreat, an education-based event, a day of team-building activities, a fundraising gala, or something else? Figure out the main purpose and any secondary goals you have as well, like gauging interest in a new product or even making sales.
A few details will also help, such as:
- The approximate size
- A tentative date
- Some idea of where you want to hold it – You don’t need to have a specific venue in mind, but it’s helpful to know the city or state.
- Some sense of how much you’d like to be involved in the planning
2. Start Your Search
Once you know what you need, you can start looking for event planning companies that fit the bill. Thanks to the internet, it’s easy to find plenty of possibilities. Do you have a colleague or contact who has worked with an event planning company on a corporate event? Ask them for recommendations. The hard part is whittling down the list to find those corporate event planners that best meet your needs.
It can help to define your search by location. It’s not always essential to work with a local event planning company, but it may be a better fit for you, as they’re more likely to have good relationships with local vendors and venues.
3. Narrow Your Focus
Your next step is some quick research for each company on your list, to find out more about them and what they can do. For each company, check out their website to see if they look like a good fit for your brand and what you have in mind. Read their About Us page to learn about the team, check out their portfolio, and scan their services pages.
You can immediately eliminate any that don’t do corporate events and may be able to eliminate any that don’t operate in the right location. Some corporate event planners also specialize in certain kinds of corporate events; if that’s not what you want, you can cross them off your list.
You can also eliminate any companies that throw up obvious red flags. If the company’s website lacks essential information or if they have no portfolio, pull them out of your main list and put them in the “maybe” pile. You can always go back and take another look if your shortlist doesn’t have what you need.
4. Make Your Final Choice
Once you’ve been through this process, you likely have a list of three or four possible choices. At this stage, you can make your final choice based on the information you already have. But you’re likely to get even closer to the ideal fit if you request a proposal from each company and use that to help inform your decision. Either way is fine, as long as you feel you have enough information to make your choice. If you have any lingering doubts or questions, don’t hesitate to ask! Keep digging until you’re satisfied you have the information you need to make the right decision for your event.
Questions to Ask a Corporate Event Planner
Once you get to the stage of evaluating companies on your shortlist, you’ll need to have as much information as possible to inform your choice. Here are a few great questions to start with:
- What experience do you have with the kind of event I want to hold?
- What level of creative talent can you assign to my event?
- Can you provide references from previous clients who have held similar events?
- Does your team hold any leadership positions in event associations, such as the Corporate Event Marketing Association (CEMA)?
- What aspects of the event do you do yourselves, and what services are outsourced?
- Do you have liability insurance? What amount are you insured for?
- What kinds of contacts do they have in terms of venues, vendors, and entertainment?
- If there are any specific “must haves” for the event, can you make them happen? For instance, if the plan is for a specific speaker or entertainment act at your event, do you have the contacts to provide it?
- Do you have any in-house production capabilities to generate structures and signage?
- Do you have the ability to run a hybrid event that offers great experiences for both in-person and virtual attendees?
Avoid Companies That Wave These Red Flags
Along with the list of attributes to look for, there are some red flags to avoid. Red-flag issues don’t automatically mean the company will do a bad job if you hire them. But these issues are often a sign of low standards or a poor track record:
- The website is sparse and lacks information about the company and the services it offers.
- The website lacks photos of previous events.
- The company won’t provide references or a portfolio of previous work when you ask.
- The company does provide references, but testimonials from previous clients don’t match up with what the company claims it can provide.
- You start discussing what you want from the event, but the event planner isn’t asking questions or doesn’t seem interested in understanding your needs.
- The event planner is more interested in pushing their own ideas than listening to yours.
- You get proposals and estimates from your shortlist, and one company gives you an offer that’s much lower than all the others – This may be a sign that they’re cutting corners or that they’re not providing essential services that other companies do offer.
Take Your Time, Make the Right Choice
Choosing the right corporate event planner is an important decision, so take your time. It’s worth it to do the work to pick a company with the skills and experience you need. It will pay off with a great corporate event and a good relationship with a company you’ll be happy to continue working with for future events too.
The team at ProGlobalEvents has gained a wealth of knowledge and experience over our years of corporate event planning. We can help produce the event you’ve been dreaming of and be as involved each step of the way or take a more hands-off approach. If you’re interested in hearing more about what we offer, contact us today.