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Event Planning

Strategies for Successful Corporate Event Planning: A Comprehensive Guide

A2Z Team February 18, 2024
Table of Contents
8 min read

Whether you’re new to corporate event planning or a seasoned veteran, you can improve your results at your next corporate event by perusing and integrating these proven strategies for success.  


You don’t know what you have until you’ve lost it. Such is the case with corporate events. The importance of corporate event planning was elevated post-pandemic, as business professionals across every sector and trade class lamented the loss of these events during the shutdown. As organizations clamored to restart corporate events, they also reimagined how they could evolve to suit better the needs of an audience eager to reconnect. To succeed in corporate event planning today, you need a delicate mix of proven strategies and innovative tactics to engage and delight your attendees while ensuring that your event goes off. It’s a tall order, but those who succeed can professionally and corporately build on that success. 

What is Corporate Event Planning? 

Corporate event planning encompasses traditional user conferences and customer summits to team-building events and charity fundraising days. As the name implies, corporate event planning refers to the strategic development and tactical plans involved in creating events to meet strategic corporate goals. Unlike other event management roles where the goal is typically to generate revenue on behalf of the organizer, corporate event planning typically works to achieve multiple objectives, ranging from customer engagement and product demos to team building and hospitality. 

Types of Corporate Events 

If you think corporate events are only conferences and trade shows, think again. Corporate events encompass all the events a company might plan and execute to further its objectives. Your company may entirely control some events, while other corporate events may be ones your company sponsors, speaks at, or exhibits at. With so many different events under the corporate event umbrella, it’s easy to understand how planning for each type may be uniquely different, while some objectives (such as attendee engagement and the overall framework for success) may be similar. Here are a few common types of corporate events and what makes them unique. 

Conferences: At company-run conferences, corporate event planning includes driving attendees, negotiating hotel arrangements (including technology requirements), and building agendas with keynotes, sessions, and breakout sessions to finding sponsors and creating hospitality and networking opportunities. At conferences where the company is speaking or exhibiting, the planning entails maximizing the company’s exposure and opportunities to engage with prospects, customers, and partners. 

Trade Shows: Like conferences where a company is speaking or exhibiting, the goals here are typically to oversee trade show booth development and requirements (including staff), maximize exposure, draw attention at the trade show booth, and drive leads or sales, depending on the type of event.  

Team-building Events: These small group corporate events are designed to help bring coworkers in a business unit or group closer to build camaraderie and alignment toward corporate goals. These events are sometimes added to bigger events or as a one-day stand-alone. In either case, engagement, and bonding are typically the primary goals, so creating the event, layering in gamification, and finding the right destination within the budget parameters are critical to success. 

Charity Fundraising Days: These corporate events extend a company’s philanthropic effort. They often include volunteering hours from employees, who may receive branded swag for participation. 

This list of corporate event types is far from exhaustive, yet it demonstrates the wide variety of activities that a corporate event planner can expect to tackle. 

Goals: Decide What Success Looks Like 

The first step in planning for any corporate event is to develop and define a clear set of objectives for approval from all relevant stakeholders. Event planners often balance multiple objectives because corporate events provide a rare opportunity to gather and engage customers, prospects, partners, and team members. As long as objectives are clear and adequate resources are provided, you can expect to deliver on a wide range of goals, making corporate events a critical part of the marketing mix. 

Logistics: Set a Date, Format, and Location 

What if you throw a party and no one shows up? You can do your best to avert a corporate event planner’s biggest fear by following a few simple rules when picking a date, location, and format for your event. 

Know Your Audience: The more you understand the personas of your ideal attendees, the better you will do at choosing an ideal date and location. Financial professionals may not appreciate gambling destinations, for instance. Younger audiences may be drawn to nightlife or destinations with high-energy activities, whereas an older audience might prefer culturally rich destinations. 

Consider Seasonality: When choosing a destination, the time of year matters. Warmer climates draw well in the winter (think Phoenix or San Diego in February). However, if your attendees are prospective buyers, there may be an ideal season to attract their attention, such as Q3, when they begin budget planning for the next fiscal year. Summer might seem ideal, but your attendance may suffer if your audience is predominantly young professionals who could be taking summer family vacations. 

Avoid Major Calendar Conflicts: A recent marketing event moved to Las Vegas and was held concurrent with CES (Consumer Electronics Show). Since CES has become a popular destination for marketers because of its trending technology, the event likely lost more than a few prospective attendees. If they had moved the event to just before or after CES, they might have captured a bigger audience by suggesting that attendees add the event to their trip. 

Consider Hybrid: Many corporate events adapted to a hybrid model during the pandemic. Like the remote work movement, many major events now offer a hybrid model, allowing attendees to participate in parts of the event remotely (such as keynotes and breakout sessions). While this approach makes engagement more challenging, it can also expand your event revenue by reaching people who would not otherwise attend. 

You will never be able to select a location and date that suits everyone. But if you strategically evaluate dates and destinations through the eyes of your ideal audience, you are more likely to make a viable, defensible choice. 

Event Theme: Choose a Memorable Concept 

If you want to make a splash with your corporate event, create an engaging, relatable theme to anchor the event. Consider your audience, the destination, and the overall event message when brainstorming ideas. Choose something memorable and clear; overly clever themes often get lost in translation. 

Explore popular party themes available at your local party supply store. Brainstorm how these common themes might resonate with your audience and relate to your message. Create a short list of options and use GenerativeAI to recommend how to tie the theme to your message. Then, take the best three ideas and allow your stakeholders to vote or agree on which would work best. Getting stakeholder buy-in early will help you maintain support later. 

Event Budget: Assess Costs and Source Vendors 

Successful corporate event planning requires laser-focused attention to detail, including meticulous financial planning. Once you know the size of your budget, you should begin to get rough estimates of costs in all the significant areas, such as travel, accommodations, and venue costs, to start. A wholly-owned conference will need a much larger budget than an event where you are exhibiting. If your company has run a similar event previously, use the final budgets and categories as a basis to start. Start a running list of all the items you will need for your event, from booth setups and badges to speakers, signage, food, music, and swag. Talk to 2–3 vendors with expertise and compare costs and benefits before making any final commitments. If you prefer one vendor who’s higher priced, ask what they can do to accommodate your budget restrictions better.  

Speakers: Decide on Keynotes, Sessions, and Entertainment 

Part of your corporate event planner’s responsibilities is being a producer. Think about the big picture of your event and how you can captivate your attendees through the entire experience. Think about how your theme flows throughout the event, from the signage to the swag. Book speakers and entertainers who reinforce your theme and who will resonate with your audience while reinforcing your messaging. While having a powerful keynote to seize the audience’s attention and set the event’s tone is essential, you can book many other speakers and entertainers locally in the event market. While session topics and tracks are often provided by stakeholder teams, your job as a producer is to make them compelling. Craft intriguing names that pique the interest of event attendees. Step back to review the big picture after putting together your event plan outline and flow. Have you optimized your opportunities to engage your audience? Does your plan, as outlined, provide the best opportunity to hit all your metrics? Have you considered networking opportunities, 1:1 meetings, and downtime? What else can you do to create an elite, unforgettable experience? 

Tips for Corporate Event Planning Success 

Hope for the best, plan for the worst. That’s why you develop a contingency plan. Know in advance what you will do if the unexpected happens, such as speakers or vendors pulling out, bad weather, or even changes in management. Gather your stakeholders to brainstorm potential scenarios and solutions so you’re never caught flat-footed, and everyone is ready to expect the unexpected.  

Get Started: Make Your Next Corporate Event the Best Yet 

It’s never too early to start planning your next epic corporate event. Stay connected to the latest news in event planning from those who make corporate event coordination effortless. 


The best way to ensure corporate event success is with thorough event planning. It starts with setting measurable goals with all stakeholders, getting a budget, and choosing a date, format, and location that best aligns with your target audience, company goals, and messaging. Only then should you consider a theme, event elements, and run-of-show. With shareholder buy-in, you can evaluate vendors, speakers, visual presentations, swag, etc. Remember to step back and reevaluate your plan against your objectives. Push yourself and your team to find little ways to make the event unforgettable. Additionally, build a contingency plan for worst-case scenarios so you’ll be ready no matter what. 

Need help with your event registration logistics? Contact us today to see how we can help.