Event Planning

Event Planning

Planning a large event for a group of friends, family, or associates? Arranging all aspects of a trip for a family reunion, destination wedding, business meeting, sporting event, or other large group gathering can take an extraordinary amount of effort. Understanding ways to stay organized, overcome key obstacles, and find quality resources before starting out can help make this a much easier process:

Planning a Destination Event

Start with a budget.


Seasoned event planners agree that creating the right budget is a critical part of planning. Determine how much to spend and then

stick to the overall budget as you research and book

accommodations, activities, entertainment, food (buffet or table service?), beverages (no-host bar?), equipment rental, and decorations.

Set aside an extra 10%

just for unforeseen extra costs like additional equipment, extra food, or incidentals.

Create a budget spreadsheet

clearly listing all of your expenses and keep it up-to-date. Also, if in charge of taking deposits or payments from invitees, you will need to maintain a list who will be attending, their contact information, amount due, deposit dates, and total paid to date. Inform the invitees as soon as possible about what they owe (or will owe) and important deadlines. Note: if more than one person is responsible for updating the spreadsheet, you might want to import your Excel file to Google Spreadsheet (or a similar online application) and grant others the ability to edit it.

Create a planning committee.


Collaborate

with a few, organized friends

and delegate

some of the planning tasks. Triporama's

Group Trip Planner

can help your planning committee finalize important decisions like where to go, when to go, where to stay, and what to do, as well as manage your task list. Find, share, and organize travel research within your planning committee using Triporama bookmarks and our browser button, which allows you to bookmark "on the fly". For a large event, try to confirm the date and book the venue at least six to eight months in advance. For a smaller event, set the date three months in advance (sooner, if you're trying to book during a busy time).

Take into account special needs.


When setting up your event, it's smart to plan (or poll the group) for special food needs such as vegetarian, vegan, kosher, and potential food allergies and to provide appropriate choices so no one goes hungry. You should also determine if handicapped seating, wheelchairs, required ramps, and special transportation or handling is needed.

Promote social interaction and fun for all events.


The success of events ultimately is based on the social interactions that ensue. This is also true for business meetings, where success can come from an engaging speaker, great entertainment, or structured social time. Get a sense of what type of

group activities

would be appropriate to help the group come together before and during the event. Schedule a fun game, a group lunch, a welcome party, and/or a group shuttle from the airport to encourage interaction between invitees. Schedule

unstructured down time

so your guests can explore or just take a break.

Utilize event planning tools and resources.


There are increasingly more resources available online to help you with event planning. Triporama recommends

Hilton's e-Events

, a one-stop website where you can find and book group accommodations for up to 25 rooms, plus meeting rooms, food and beverage, and audio/visual equipment. Also see the link below for event management software tools available for download.

Above all, stay organized. Make a plan for your event and stick to it. Everyone on the planning team should stay informed of the progress and don't look back once you've booked. With a little effort and good planning early on, you'll be able to enjoy your event all the more when it all comes together!

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