The ultimate guide to corporate event planning (2023)

As Peter Drucker once said, "Plans are good intentions only if they don't immediately turn into hard work." If you're organizing a successful party or business meeting for one of the most demanding categories of event-goers, company employees, you need one well thought out plan.

How do you know which knick-knacks will wow your audience? How do you manage your events team? And how do you ensure that nothing is lost? Below, we've made a bold attempt to answer all of these questions and more in a comprehensive guide to corporate event planning.

Here's what you will know after reading this post:

  • What is a corporate event and what are the main reasons for organizing it?
  • What distinguishes a company event from other types of events?
  • What are the main types of corporate events?
  • How to organize a corporate event step by step?

What is a corporate event and what are the main reasons for organizing it?

Whether it's a celebration of your marketing team's achievements, a new product launch, or an incentive trip for a hundred team members to Buenos Aires, all of these wonderful events can be considered corporate events. When sponsored by a company, a corporate event can either focus on internal employees (appreciation parties, team building events, etc.) or on customers (trade shows, fundraisers, etc.).

Considering it's such a huge onevarious corporate event formats, it is easy to predict that each of them has different goals. Here are the main reasons companies put so much effort into planning and running corporate events, along with the types of events they typically cater to:

  • Increasing brand/product awareness (fairs, conferences, product launches)
  • Improve company culture, promote employee retention and entertain employees (incentive trips, Christmas parties, team building events)
  • Recognize team/individual achievements (appreciation events, product launches and incentive trips)
  • Discuss company improvements or project results or motivate your team (business lunches or board meetings)

What distinguishes a company event from other types of events?

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Planning an event for a corporate team is different than planning a standalone exhibition. From a tight budget to failing to meet the company's mission, corporate event planners are always ready to meet all of these needsnumerous challengeson their way.

So how do you know if you've bitten off more than you can chew? To help you determine this, we created a short quiz that perfectly reflects the uniqueness of corporate event planning. Look at the following questions and give a yes or no answer to each:

  1. Can you guess what kind of movies a person likes to watch after an hour of conversation?
  2. Would you discuss an event with everyone involved in the company before you start planning?
  3. Could you manage event attendance without tickets or invites?
  4. Think it's important to create a memorable marketing campaign to promote a corporate event?
  5. Would you develop a timeline for each phase of planning, execution, and follow-up?
  6. Before planning a corporate event, would you create surveys for employees?
  7. Would you analyze employees' ideas about an upcoming event and then try to fit them into your plan?
  8. Do you think you could organize an event in Spain even if you don't speak Spanish and have never been to this country?
  9. Have you ever successfully negotiated a price with an event provider?
  10. Would you document an event budget considering expected and actual costs?

If you answered yes to eight or more questions, put your doubts aside and make an appointment with a client.

Whether you're an event planning hero in your own right or a member of a team, you should know these three laws of corporate event management. First, regardless of the number of invitees, you should always find a good way to manage attendance even when there are no tickets in play. Second, if you work as an employee, you must be willing to sacrifice some of your personal time to immerse yourself in the company culture. Spend some time in the office, talk to people, ask invitees and stakeholders what their expectations are, etc. If you don't know what a company stands for, you can't organize a successful company event for its employees. After all, you must be a survivor. Corporate events are often organized in foreign cities and countries, which requires a high degree of flexibility from you in terms of accommodation and venue booking.find providers, search for the most convenient means of transport, etc.

What are the main types of corporate events?

When you hear the term “company event”, you often imagine a company party with good music, delicious food and networking. As an event planning professional, you should understand that corporate meetings can mean much more. Below are the eight most popular corporate events that your client might ask you to organize, along with their goals and average estimated budgets:

Type of corporate eventdescriptionGoalsBudget
incentive tripIncentive trips to exclusive destinations and resorts are often organized with a focus on the well-being of employees. The program can be built around entertainment activities or combine free time with corporate training.raising awareness of new initiatives; celebrate a success; entertain employees$30.000 – $2.000.000
MesseTrade shows are industry-oriented exhibitions that help companies showcase their products and services. By organizing trade shows, companies strive to become industry leaders and make financial gains. It is crucial for organizers to focus on sponsorship offers and lead generation technologies.Increase company sales; increase brand awareness; establish a leadership position$20.000 – $40.000
appreciation eventFrom a rooftop party to a short internal event, it can be any celebration dedicated to recognizing employee work. Consider using creative awards, nominations, and peer-to-peer reviews in your strategy.Recognize accomplishments$5.000 – $20.000
board meetingA formal meeting, which is usually held at regular intervals, must fit well with the schedules of the board members and provide the necessary materials for effective discussion and debate.Discuss business decisions, results, and major changes1.000 – 30.000 $
seminar/conferenceConferences and seminars are competency-based events that bring together industry experts, well-known companies and investors in one place. A robust ticketing system, on-site registration technologies and intelligent speaker presentation are the aspects that organizers should consider from the start.share ideas; create a platform for industry leadership30.000 $ – 1.500 000 $
Teambuilding-EventFrom a creative workshop to a soccer game, a team building event is any event designed to encourage collaboration and team bonding.corporate culture improvement; strengthen the team spirit$1.000 – $10.000
FundraiserUsually geared towards supporting a specific cause, charity events are often organized by companies that make good use of their networks. The secrets of success that organizers should consider are using a centralized fundraising system and a strong promotional campaign.Collect donations$5.000 – $20.000
product launchThis is one of the “busiest” corporate event formats these days. By creating an event platform for presenting business ideas, companies gain a large media presence and increase sales. Aggressive marketing and connection building are very important for product launch organizers.Present a new product/solution/service; gain new clients1.000 $ – 1.000 000 $

The advanced guide to organizing corporate events

As we address three main stages of event planning, we've compiled a list of the most important steps in planning a corporate event:

Before the event

Leverage stakeholder goals

Because the company's mission is most important, don't start planning a corporate eventFocus on your own goals. Instead, invest your efforts in clarifying the message your customer is trying to convey. Organize a group meeting with stakeholders or discuss corporate event planning ideas one-on-one with the most influential person at least 12 months before an event. It's important to remember that the people you're meeting with don't want to spend hours talking about anything and everything. To make a dialogue really meaningful, prepare in advance a list of questions you want to ask.

Think about the right event case

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Based on the information you gathered, create your event concept by reflecting the main purpose of an event. Come up with good reasons why people should attend and the metrics to measure the success of the event. Let's say you're organizing an appreciation event aimed at rewarding a sales team for winning their first big customer. After discussing the concept with stakeholders, you can develop the following goals and metrics that make up your event case:


  • Ensure the best visibility for the sales team's work
  • Show that you value the work of your employees
  • Reward a sales team with a valuable prize
  • Make an appreciation event a relaxing experience for the entire corporate team through entertainment
  • Set yourself new goals and goals.


  • Personalized post-event surveys for a sales team or the entire workforce
  • Statistics based on attendance or participation

Organize your checklist and schedule

Ideally, you should set a deadline for each task you need to complete before, during, and after an event, and then summarize them in a comprehensive checklist. If you lead an events team, you also need to create a to-do list for each team member. Use an effective task assignment and progress tracking system to keep every step of the event planning process under your control.

Related:The ultimate corporate event planning checklist

Develop a strategic budget

Whether your initial budget is very generous or very tight, the overall success of an event is not dependent on the amount of money you spend on it. Make a list of tasks that require a certain budget, find the best deals, and calculate whether the total meets your expectations. Make sure you have reserves in case unexpected expenses arise. To reduce costs, consider price negotiations, seek support from event sponsors, and recruit volunteers.

Beim Event

Make the most of your marketing power

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You should start promoting well in advance of an event and maybe not stop until weeks or even months after the event for the best results. In terms of marketing, a useful strategy is to organize two checklists: one for the advertising channels you will be using and a second for strategies. Another option would be to create a timeline where you identify the campaigns you have already run or plan to run. Here's a good example developed by the University of Alabama:

During an event, top-notch marketing can help you keep the excitement going through the use of social walls, pre-scheduled email campaigns, and mobile app notifications.

Manage on-site processes in real time

Finding an event technology provider that can ensure a seamless on-site check-in experience is an important pre-event task. However, with the right tools, you should be able to keep on-site registration under control during an event.

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Here are thecutting-edge technologiesto help you make check-in smooth, regardless of the size of a corporate event:

  • RFID
  • face recognition
  • ID card printing as required
  • Self-Registration Technology

After the event

Follow up

Efficient follow-up actions help the trade fair participants to close and are a thank you to the participating employees of a team building event. By using social media promotions, email marketing and surveys, you can close the event in the best way possible. Here is a list of tips for planning a corporate event wrap-up:

  • Use pre-built content.Just in case you're super busy and desperate for sleep after an event, reach out to attendees with ready-made content.
  • Schedule emails.Not only should you say thank you, but sending out post-event emails is a great way to promote a special offer, sell tickets to the next event, or increase registrations. Discuss follow-up goals with your client in advance so you know which goals to focus on.
  • Keep building social media connections.This is particularly useful for product launch and trade show organizers. A social media community built after an event can skyrocket a company's recognition.


As we wrap it up, there's some discouraging news we need to share with you: There's no one-size-fits-all recipe for planning a great corporate event. However, there is hard work and millions of best practices that have worked for other event planners. Document your steps, engage with stakeholders, and ensure you have the best technology at your disposal to run events business teams will love.

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