Whether it’s an annual sales meeting just for your company employees or a massive conference for everyone in your industry, hosting a corporate event in Seattle takes a lot of planning and preparation. If you want to avoid the most common event planning mistakes, Pic Station has some suggestions and advice for you! Explore our top tips here to gain insight from our party planning experts!
1. Defining Your Event
Knowing exactly what type of event you’re going to be hosting is critical for nearly every aspect of planning. You’ll need to nail down exactly how long your event is going to be, an estimate of the number of people who are going to be attending, and what types of activities you’ll be hosting during your event. A corporate event in Seattle that includes a sit-down dinner presentation will need a completely different venue type and catering plan that a two day series of lectures in a presentation hall.
2. Budget Ahead of Time
Once you’ve defined your corporate event in Seattle, you can start estimating your budget. Consider your venue, catering, entertainment, accommodation, and transportation costs as well as promotional and marketing requirements. You can use past events of similar size and scope as a template for this event and make educated guesses for the budgetary needs you aren’t quite sure about. It’s also a good idea to plan for any problems that may arise, so add 10-15% to your budget total in case of unforeseen expenses.
3. Venue Amenities
Seattle offers a number of unique venue spaces for any size event. Whether you’re planning a small, medium, or large corporate event in this city, keep an eye on the amenities these spaces provide. Do you need audio / visual connections? How about wifi? Does your catering company require that the venue have an onsite kitchen? Is there enough parking for your estimated number of event registrants? You should also consider whether you have enough space to accommodate any entertainment you may book ─ like a Seattle photo booth rental.
4. Room Layout
Most corporate event venues in Seattle offer more than one room to meet your needs. Often, hotels have tons of meeting spaces that range in size and shape depending on the type of event you’re hosting. Some of the most common room layouts you should consider include:
- Theatre Style
- Banquet Seating
- Hollow Square
- Classroom Style
- Conference Style
A dinner presentation would probably do best in a banquet style layout while a seminar with many speakers would benefit from classroom style or theater-style rooms.
5. Appropriate Entertainment
While there are some themed entertainment options that are great for very specific event types ─ like Santa at the company holiday party ─ other entertainment vendors are ideal for nearly any type of event. If you need a versatile entertainment option, consider one of our Seattle photo booths, live music, or a closeup magician. These are typically flexible performers that can set up anywhere throughout your corporate event in Seattle and don’t require a captive audience.
6. Planning Activities in Seattle
Some corporate events in Seattle span multiple days of meetings and seminars. During these types of conferences, you want to provide your attendees with a number of entertainment options outside of the venue to let off steam. With a number of guided tours to local hot spots and popular museums, you can keep guests in line and on time when they have to return to the event venue. Consider taking your guests to one of these options:
- Chihuly Garden and Glass
- Seattle Art Museum
- Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP)
- Seattle Asian Art Museum
- Pacific Science Center
7. Transportation & Accommodation
Seattle is a massive city with over 100 hotels that can accommodate any size conference. Reserve room blocks for guests at your event venue or at hotels that offer easy travel options to arrive at your event space. As a bustling metropolis, Seattle provides a number of affordable transportation options. Rapid bus routes, the light rail system, and downtown streetcars provide connections between Downtown Seattle, suburban areas, and even the Sea-Tac airport. Make it easy to get around the city as well as to and from your corporate event in Seattle when you provide guides for your guests.
8. Event Promotion
After booking the venue and setting your dates, it’s time to start promoting your event to industry leaders and company directors. Create a new page on your website and share it on social media to ensure everyone knows what’s going on. Every time you sign on a new speaker or book additional entertainment, share this with your followers to generate more buzz and hype about your corporate event in Seattle.
9. Day-Of Contingencies
It’s pretty rare for any event to go off without a hitch, so plan for any day-of disasters well in advance. You should have plans in place for some of the most common problems you may encounter, including:
- Venue problems
- Transportation disruptions
- Lack of attendance
- Speaker cancellation
- A/V malfunctions
- Bad weather
- Staff no shows
If you’re prepared for any of these during your corporate event in Seattle, you can still ensure success.
10. Surveys & Thank You Notes
The event is over and everyone has gone home, but it’s not over for you yet. If your event included sponsors and vendors, you should send them thank you notes for their participation. For corporate events in Seattle that included other industry professionals, email out surveys to check in with guests. Ask what their favorite part of the event was and how you can improve for the future.
Did these tips provide you with a starting point for your event planning endeavors? Keep reading for more expert advice on our blog!