This is a step-by-step guide to understanding and organizing any enterprise event, conference or an exhibition. And the use of event management software and other tech tools.

Managing events has always been a tough job to do. Near the end of the last decade, Forbes listed event coordination to be one of the most stressful jobs with a stress score of 51.15 units. Hence, it is imperative to further orient the event management process by better understanding the events or the MICE industry itself.

This guide is for anyone who is about to organize or manage your first event, or a veteran looking to translate their understanding on event management in a structured manner to your team members, or an independent event organizer, or maybe an event marketing manager, this is for you all.

In this post, we shall cover the following points and so you can read them all or just jump to the section you are most interested in exploring. 


What is Event Management?

Event management, within the scope of MICE events, is a process of organizing and executing meetings with a planned agenda where people or professionals interact with each other and successfully exchange, knowledge, experience or a solution for any particular challenge.   

For event management to be much easy, well-oriented and as much hassle-free as possible, the most important thing is to have a clear event plan.

An Event plan is a simple document that has all the necessary information like your event’s objective, target audience, event theme, execution team, and strategic planning on; execution team, finances, speaker sessions, venue & logistics, marketing your event, planning security, internet & tech.  

Basically, your plan should convey the idea on how to spread event awareness, promote & market event, event engagement & experience, on-ground operations & finally how to analyze the event’s success.

However, how would you plan an event that is largely dependent on the nature of your event, the objective your event is trying to achieve and the industry segment. 

So imagine a train, your event’s “objective & purpose” are its engine and everything else is just a boggy.

Event-Objective-analogy

This brings us to the next very important part of the event management, which is to know what kind of event are you organizing or managing.


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What are various types of Events, their purpose or objective?

In the MICE industry, all events are categorized into four sections, i.e., Meetings-Incentive-Conventions-Exhibitions.

This is how it looks if you dig further into various types of events.

type-of-events-infographic
Classification of MICE events. Download Infographic

Furthermore, here are some of the most common events -to-purpose/objective list that we have known through our clientele’s experience.

Meetings & Conferences

Type Purpose
AGMs & Board Meetings Situation Analysis & Review, Decision Making

Sales Meet
Sales Review, Feedback & Training
Product Launch Marketing, Promotion, Client Interaction, Partner Interaction
Technology Conference Knowledge sharing & Networking
Workshops & Training MeetsEducation, Knowledge sharing & Sales impact
Partner MeetsReview; distribution challenges, product & pricing, revenue targets, reward & recognition 

Incentive & Retreat Events

Type Purpose
Sales Incentive Reward, Motivate & Encourage sales
Reward & Recognition for Partners Encourage, Motivate & Engage with Distribution Network
Customer Loyalty Reward and Retain big accounts

Conventions

Type Purpose
Professional Associations Review Industry/ Profession related standards
Knowledge sharing & technology demonstrations
Media & Advertising Conventions Review Industry/ Profession related standards
Knowledge sharing & technology demonstrations
B2B ConventionsTechnology conference + Product Demonstrations
Promotions & Client meetings

Exhibitions

Type Purpose
Industry-wise Exhibitions
Pharmaceutical, Manufacturing equipment, Chemical, etc
Live Product Demonstrations, Buyer-Seller meet
FMCG – FMCD Product & Technology Live Product Demonstrations, Buyer-Seller meet

Download this table as an infographic

A clear event purpose or objective will let you plan the event better and consecutively keep your efforts oriented to the end goal. Once you have clearly mentioned the event’s purpose, it will automatically align directions for the immediate next steps.

Now then, are you planning or managing an event? What’s the difference? Let’s move on to the next part and understand one of the most complex ideas in the MICE industry.


What is the difference between Event Management & Event Planning?

Event profs often get asked this question, that is, what is actually the difference between planning and managing an event?

Understanding the process of both will give us a clear idea about the difference and how to execute them briefly.

“Plan before you can manage”. In simple words, planning comes before managing, events. 

Event planning is a pre-event planning process within overall event management activities that includes budgeting, establishing timelines, selecting and reserving the event sites, acquiring permits, planning food, coordinating transportation, developing a theme, arranging for activities, selecting speakers and keynotes, arranging for equipment and facilities, managing risk, and developing contingency plans.

A better way to differentiate and understand both the terms is by understanding the process involved in both planning and managing an event.

We’ll start by “planning” an event first and then we shall see what is to be managed in it.

  1. Decide Event Theme & Objective:
    This is the heart of your event, event profs cannot afford a lack of clarity on this. To get this started event marketers or event organizers must try this. Take a pen & paper and write down answers to the questions below.
    • Who is this event for?
    • What is/ are objective/s of this event?
    • How much investment is needed for successfully conducting the event?
    • What will be the form of this investment? Time, money, talent or others.
    • What KPI will you track for measuring the event’s RoI?
  2. Plan & allocate budget:
    Different events have different needs and hence budget allocation is a function of the type/purpose of your event. Planning this is the second big step.

    However, if you still need to generalize this for most event types, one must consider these areas to set aside a certain amount.
    • Venue Cost
    • Software & Tech 
    • Catering & Food budget
    • Transportation & Logistics
    • Marketing budget
    • A/V budget
    • Production costs
  3. Set Timelines:
    Plan the timing of your event is imperative. A simple analogy would be that of releasing a feature film. Any delay in the process could cost a bomb.

    Try to get answers to these questions to keep it simple.
    • When should the event be held? (You don’t want to coincide it with a major festival or other significant events to divide your visitorship)
    • When should you start your marketing campaigns? ( Too early or too late both will result in more spends and fewer returns)
    • When should your registration start and when should it end?
    • What should be your vendor delivery timelines and SLAs?
      A lapse in timing can lead to a significant impact on the success of your event.

  4. Finding event sponsors & partners
    Sponsors and partners are important to plan, most events where the goal of the event and that of sponsors find strong synergy are instantly funded, additionally, they have a strong association demand.

    The next step is to manage the six aspects of an event; awareness, promotion, ground operations, attendee management, engagement & experience and finally the event success parameters.

What are some core aspects of Event Management?

Let us take a look at the six core aspects of managing every conference, business meet or any other.

Event Awareness
We have an event coming up, come join us. Well, not exactly how you’d spread awareness about your event.

We all know that the world is now more active online, so having an SEO optimized event website is a no brainer.

A good event website works as a trailer to your actual events, with feature videos, image gallery, session information, attendee profile, and speaker list. In an event website, you have a medium to showcase the value your event has to offer.

Take inspiration from these amazing event websites if you are working on one.

Next comes, working on your Event SEO. Yes, if you want Google to rank your event at the top and let people know about it, you need to work on optimizing the event website for better search results. Here is a comprehensive article explaining how to execute event SEO, by SEJ.

Promotion & Marketing
You need a full house and for that, you must market your event’s value and sell out all the seats and so, this is exactly how you must work your marketing & promotions game.

To Market, your Event’s value, work on:
a. Communication: In-line with the event’s objective, clear Call-to-Actions (Register, Refer, Buy, Book or RSVP).
b. Choose Marketing Channels as per your attendees’ demographics.

Example:
LinkedIn Ads might be a better option to promote a technology conference than Instagram Ads.
Having Billboard and Newspaper ads might just suit the best when you expect most of your audience to be from the same city or region.

c. Ticketing & Registration strategy – Ever bought those tickets that are on an “early bird” sale? Well, that is the best example of a promotional strategy. There are a plethora of schemes that one might plan to sell out their event tickets. Some trending promotional ideas are Group discounts, Coupons vouchers, affiliation discounts, and membership privileges, etc.

Executing this could at times seem intimidating but there are tech solutions available in the market that does this for you. Hubilo’s Event ticketing & registrations do this for some of the world’s biggest events.

d. Get your event listed:
Portals like 10times allow event lists for free and have one of the largest subscribers bases.  Listing events on such a global or regional portal works best for any open event as they provide larger visibility to the event.

e. Email & SMS:
Email and SMS are perhaps the oldest promotional tactic, yet most effective unless underused. Here is how event professionals must use Email & SMS for event management.

– Set-up Promotional Emails & SMS campaign
– Make separate marketing campaigns by attendee categories
– Draft multiple email copies. Keep your message crisp and clear

  1. Email & SMS with event information and why to buy tickets
  2. Email & SMS about the previous event experience
  3. Email on visitors & speaker profile
  4. An email with special promotional offers, if any

f. Keep your attendees well informed about the venue, how to reach, reporting time & schedule, etc.

On-Ground Operations
The most challenging part about managing an event is ground operations. Let us see, what are some challenging on-site event operations?

1. Event Production:
The most stressful coordination for any event is the production part. It is imperative that your team has people who are great with project management. Managing event production is clearly how good a project manager you have.
Here is a sample track sheet to manage your event’s production.

event-teacksheet-image
Basic Tracksheet Template for Event Production. Download this file.

2. Queue Management/ Attendee Management:
The second most stressful job is to manage live attendees as they start to show up at your event.

One of the best practices we’ve seen so far was by one of our enterprise clients. Here is what they did:

  1. Created Multi-category registrations and provided in-App destination guidance to the registration/ entry booth.
  2. They utilized multiple venue gates for their entry to avoid congestion
  3. Used QR-code based Mobile Check-in via a Mobile  Check-in App
  4. The venue had clear direction signages separated by color codes.

3. Badge-printing:
Ahh! By far the most vulnerable part of ground operations in an event. Badge printing in most events these days makes us of 2 things; first – a badge printing software and second – badge printer.

Why not get them printed in advance? Well, for smaller or close group events this is the best part. However, for events where registrations are open till a day before the event or have on-spot registrations, having badge-printing solutions can ease a lot of your struggles.

Make sure to get your software and printing device their prerequisites i.e. stable electricity and good internet speed.

Event Engagement and Networking

Your event’s attendees come to your event for a reason, that is, the find value in attending it. So, why then their physical presence is required? You could have hosted a webinar, Web-meet or a Web-ference instead?

Your attendees are after all humans who value interactions, networking or engagement. People often visit events to explore the unknown opportunities they might discover upon visiting. Whatever the case might be as an event professional you must focus on the event’s Engagement & Networking” part.

So, how to ensure the best event engagement & networking experience? Such that it elevates the overall experience of your event attendees?

As an event planner, you must ask yourself these questions and answer to those will be how exactly can you manage the most important aspect of any event.

  1. How do you encourage networking at events?
    In order to encourage networking at your event, you must facilitate the below points to your event attendees.
    • Send out Emails campaigns with relevant attendees profiles and book a meeting link.
    • Make the list of fellow attendees accessible to either all or selected people. 
    • Let the attendees send and receive meeting requests, chat online without sharing their numbers.
    • Set-up meeting booths for attendees to meet and have a conversation
    • Create section/categories filters both on the venue as well as online, making it easy for event attendees to search for relevant people to network.
    • Build a strong membership community and offer them a good quality of match-making concierge services.

A large part of these facilities can be provided by using a networking platform or by having an Event App made especially for your event attendees or for the members of the association.

  1. How do you engage attendees at your event?
    Engage the crowd to make them a loyal audience, to do so event planners must give the power in the hands of the visitors. Let them decide what to consume, all as an event professional you must do is to arrange the progression and set-up so that your attendee stays informed. This is how most of our associates, partners, and clients do it.
    • Inform attendees about Sessions & Speakers via social media, Event App or through on-site concierge services
    • Stream live videos of influencers on KIOSK or on the Event app.
    • Create a twitter chat for live events and publish them on your event app
    • Conduct live polls on your mobile application or on social media platforms
    • Host Q&A sessions with industry influencers.
    • Use mobile push notification to keep attendees aware of sessions they have sign-up for.
    • Develop on-site or on-line games for attendees to participants. Example: EWC hosted by the MISK Global forum.

It is imperative to plan for any or all of the above engagement and networking practices in order to give your events an experience. Attendees remember events via the experience they had, hence, a great experience means great attendee retention and this translates to a successful event.

What are some top Event Management Softwares and other tech tools?

event-tech-quote
Quote by Dr. James Morgan on using event tech in the podcast #EventTalks

Here some event management software, tech and tools that modern-day event professionals must use to make event planning and management less stressful and hassle-free.

Before you proceed to take a note of the list of all the event technology tools, it is imperative for event professionals and event marketers to understand two things :

First, event tech tools are not magic wands, simply buying one will not solve any purpose. Every event professional and event marketer must make sure to have maximum utilization of the tool. So they must spend some time understanding the tool and researching all possible use-cases.

Second, the most important point is that event profs must objectify the RoI out of the event tech tool they are buying. So, spend some time listing out answers to “why am I using event technology” – Is it to save time, improve output quality, optimize the experience or just to assist the human resources?

Now that we have made this point clear here are some top event management technology tools you must consider using.

  1. Project Planning tool like Trello & Asana
    Trello and Asana are one of the top work cum project planning tools used by professionals for various jobs.

    Use case for events: Create an event planning board and assign tasks to your team and yourself. Set deadlines and notification alerts to keep a check upon each task. Monitor the task progress in real-time.

  2. Event listing platforms10times.com
    Your event needs attendees and to make the event a “full-house” you must get the right visibility. For this make sure to list your event/conference/exhibition on trusted platforms like 10time.com


  3. Event Budget Calculator – Use Smartsheet’s templates
    Smartsheet is a well-known cloud-based productivity tool.

    Use case for events: Smartsheet has an easy and ready to use an event budget calculator.

  4. Event Website Builder – Hubilo
    It takes ages to get a website ready plus the customizations you need to make it event friendly is a huge task – Not with Hubilo’s event website builder.

    Add your details choose from the best event website themes, add content and media and publish. Yes, with the Hubilo event website tool it is that easy.

  5. Email Marketing Tools – Hubilo, Hubspot or Salesforce
    There are a plethora of email marketing tools available in the market. If you are an enterprise, you’d probably be using a CRM tool to manage all the marketing automation and email marketing tools are a part of it already. Hubspot and Salesforce are two top tools most enterprise use.

    However, if you need something specific only focus on your events, try Hubilo’s email marketing tool. Hubilo email marketing tool is a part of its entire Event management software suite and has been built for multiple event-related Use-cases.

    Use case for events: Promote registration and ticketing offers, Share speaker profiles to lure potential attendees, send emails with relevant attendee profiles to encourage pre-book meetings at events.

  6. Online Registration & Ticketing tool like Hubilo & Eventbrite
    Most events have online registration and ticketing process. For this, we recommend two tools:
    Hubilo Registration & Ticketing tool
    Use case for events: Set up a multi-category ticketing scheme and for all global currencies. Use the event ticket pricing promotion to set various discounts.
    Create a multi-category form like; waitlist, RSVP & simple registration. Tight integration with event management suite.
    On-site check-in management via Organizer app.

    Eventbrite
    Use case for events: Create event ticketing page, list your event for more visibility and use the organizer app for attendee management.

  7. Networking platform & Event App – Check out Hubilo Connect
    Get your event it’s own social media with an event networking platform by Hubilo. Get the networking experience on mobile via a mobile event app or a web-app

    Use case for events: Ice-breaking via event feeds, interact via Live Polling, Q&As, Send – Receive Meeting requests and Business cards and other event gamification.

  8. Event Feedback and survey tools – Use SurveyMonkey or Typeform
    Get an idea about what do your attendees have to say about your event using feedback & survey tools like SurveyMonkey and Typeforms to understand your event’s popularity and attendee perceptions.

Analyzing Event Success

In the past, I have discussed this point in one of my blogs “Strategic Event Analysis and Measuring Event Success”. Here are excerpts of the same to explain the power of event analytics.

How do you define Event Success?
How well did your last event do? If your answer is somewhat on these lines, “ Oh! Yeah, it did very well” or “ The event was amazing” in that case, how good is good? Or how amazing is amazing?

The fact is event managers or event professionals should define an event successfully in a holistic way. Defining event success itself is a maiden attempt for many enterprises, conference organizers or trade show hosts.

But this is perhaps the most important thing to keep an eye on, especially when you’re talking about recurring events/ conferences or exhibitions and business through this.

Key metrics to define event success in MICE industry

An event is considered “well-executed” if it successfully achieves the goals like lead generation, revenue by sales through event participation and overall event attendance.

However, an event considered being successful if it:

– Has a strong potential for recurring participation
– Holds a good audience perception, in terms of value it offers
– Overall audience engagement rates
– Positive RoI for both audiences and organizers.

To be able to grow your event and it’s presence year-on-year it’s imperative to analyze it.

And so,
– Start measuring event success in a holistic way
– Measure event success through 3 levels; sentimental success, statistical success, bottom-line success.
– Include Event ORM (Online reputation management) while measuring event success.
– Measure the number of repeat visitors against the number of new visitors to understand success statistically
– Measure event engagement level to define event success from the audiences’ perspective
– Measure numbers that indicate the bottom-line impact of the event.

Conclusion:
Understand the type of event you are organizing and orient your efforts to its objective.

Managing events is not one size fits all efforts. Whether you are an event marketing manager, an event coordinator or an event planner, try to understand the objective and purpose of your event and organize your approach accordingly.

Defining event objectives precedes event planning and event planning precedes event management.

Focus on the core aspects of managing an event. Do not shy away from employing event consultants or technology or both, but objective the RoI, especially while using tech.



Event Management FAQs

What is Event Management?

Event management, within the scope of MICE events, is a process of organizing and executing meetings with a planned agenda where people or professionals interact with each other and successfully exchange, knowledge, experience or a solution for any particular challenge.    

What are various types of Events, their purpose or objective?

In the MICE industry, all events are categorized into four sections, i.e., Meetings-Incentive-Conventions-Exhibitions.

type-of-events-hubilo

What is the difference between Event Management & Event Planning?

Event planning is a pre-event planning process within overall event management activities that includes budgeting, establishing timelines, selecting and reserving the event sites, acquiring permits, planning food, coordinating transportation, developing a theme, arranging for activities, selecting speakers and keynotes, arranging for equipment and facilities, managing risk, and developing contingency plans.
Event Management Event management, within the scope of MICE events, is a process of organizing and executing meetings with a planned agenda where people or professionals interact with each other and successfully exchange, knowledge, experience or a solution for any particular challenge.

What are some core aspects of Event Management?

Event Awareness
We have an event coming up, come join us. Well, not exactly how you’d spread awareness about your even
Promotion & Marketing
You need a full house and for that, you must market your event’s value and sell out all the seats and so, this is exactly how you must work your marketing & promotions game.
On-Ground Operations
– Event Production, Badge printing, Queue Management
Event Engagement & Networking

How do you encourage networking at events?

In order to encourage networking at your event, you must facilitate the below points to your event attendees.
Send out Emails campaigns with relevant attendees profiles and book a meeting link.
Make the list of fellow attendees accessible to either all or selected people. 
Let the attendees send and receive meeting requests, chat online without sharing their numbers.
Set-up meeting booths for attendees to meet and have a conversation
Create section/categories filters both on the venue as well as online, making it easy for event attendees to search for relevant people to network.
Build a strong membership community and offer them a good quality of match-making concierge services.

How do you engage attendees at your event?

Engage the crowd to make them a loyal audience, to do so event planners must give the power in the hands of the visitors. Let them decide what to consume, all as an event professional you must do is to arrange the progression and set-up so that your attendee stays informed. This is how most of our associates, partners, and clients do it.
Inform attendees about Sessions & Speakers via social media, Event App or through on-site concierge services
Stream live videos of influencers on KIOSK or on the Event app.
Create a twitter chat for live events and publish them on your event app
Conduct live polls on your mobile application or on social media platforms
Host Q&A sessions with industry influencers.
Use mobile push notification to keep attendees aware of sessions they have sign-up for.
Develop on-site or on-line games for attendees to participants. Example: EWC hosted by MISK Global forum

It is imperative to plan for any or all of the above engagement and networking practices in order to give your events an experience. Attendees remember events via the experience they had, hence, a great experience means great attendee retention and this translates to a successful event.