How to succeed at corporate event management

Thomas Paris
September 3, 2021
How to succeed at corporate event management | Hoppier

Event managers play a huge role in bringing amazing experiences to life at corporate events. These memorable moments don’t happen by accident — they’re a result of a team’s dedication, knowledge, and experience in corporate event management.

In this guide, we’ll explore what corporate event management is, the steps to make things happen, and our best advice on how to approach this key role with confidence.

What is corporate event management?

Corporate event management is the art of taking an event plan or idea and turning it into reality. Corporate event managers use project management techniques and their carefully built relationships to bring the finer details of an event together on time and on budget.

In most cases, corporate event managers take care of a range of different types of corporate events. It’s not unusual to see event managers involved with trade shows, conferences, meetings, and workshops. They might also help organize in-person or virtual social events — like holiday parties or team building events. Corporate event management covers both large-scale and small events, as well as in-person events and virtual events.

Corporate event management vs event planning

If you’re not a seasoned event professional, it’s totally understandable that there’s some confusion around the roles of corporate event planners and event managers. Here’s an easy way to distinguish between the two.

Corporate event planners are responsible for dreaming up an event plan. They take a goal or idea and come up with a way to meet it, through the medium of an event or experience. They’ll usually be responsible for sourcing the perfect venue, coming up with a menu, and setting the tone for the event through entertainment, theming, and event design. The process starts with corporate event planning and then is handed over to an event manager.

Corporate event managers take that event plan and execute on it. They’ll put together a clear event schedule with tasks and responsibilities assigned to different team members. Event managers will oversee the process from plan to analysis, including liaising with the venue on details, setting up ticket management, and coordinating on the day. It’s an event manager’s job to make sure these tasks are completed, and handle any setbacks along the way.

Your simple guide to corporate event management

A woman uses a tablet for corporate event management

Corporate event management isn’t an easy job. It involves a lot of different tasks, broken down into even smaller steps. To be a great event manager you need to be organized, responsive, and a great motivator.

When it comes to taking on your next corporate event, use this simple list to guide your project management. It’ll help you focus on the big picture, while taking care of those all-important details.

1. Review the event plan

Start your event management process with a thorough review of the event plan. Even if you’ve been involved in the planning process already, take some time to sit down and look over the plan with your team.

This is a great opportunity to:

  • Confirm that the planned event is possible
  • Review the event budget
  • Check which details are confirmed — e.g. the date, venue, sponsors, suppliers, etc.
  • Ask for additional resources — e.g. budget, team members, tools
  • Raise any queries with the event planner

Once you’re happy with the event plan and understand it well, it’s time to move on to breaking it down into smaller tasks that your team can tackle.

2. Assign roles and tasks

Before you can get started with all those jobs, you first need to assign them out. It’s tough to take on everything alone, so pull in resources where you can to help you pull off an amazing event.

When assigning tasks, consider:

  • Your team members’ expertise
  • Deadlines and any potential interruptions — e.g. vacations
  • Your team members’ current workload
  • Fairness in distributing tasks
  • Current resources and whether you need more
  • Any training or support needs for your team
  • Whether you need to outsource to external partners

If you’re a team of one or taking on a freelance event management project, you won’t have an in-house team you can assign tasks to. In that case, invest in some great project management or event management software to keep yourself on track with your list of tasks and goals.

3. Oversee the pre-event management

There’s always something to do when it comes to event management, which means you’ll be kept busy liaising with your vendors or checking in on progress with team members. As the event manager, it’s your responsibility to oversee what’s happening and be proactive about resolving potential issues.

Your pre-event management tasks could include:

  • Checking you have the right licenses — e.g. noise, health and safety
  • Preparing a detailed audio visual or event technology plan
  • Checking in with caterers on numbers and details
  • Staying in contact with the event venue to share updates
  • Preparing a contingency plan
  • Making a schedule for your team to follow on the day
  • Hosting a run-through with your team and partners
  • Preparing printed materials and event goody bags

The exact tasks you handle will depend on the type of event you’re running, how much lead-in time you have, and who’s working on your team. Sometimes you’ll be able to outsource most of this to your team members — other times it’ll fall on you to stay in touch with everyone.

4. Be the go-to person on the day

Your role doesn’t become any less busy once the day of the event rolls around. Most times, it’s on you to be the face of your team on the day and to provide in-person support to your exhibitors, vendors, and team members.

Here’s what on-the-day event management can look like:

  • Hosting a briefing for your team before the event opens
  • Directing team members
  • Supporting exhibitors, sponsors, and stakeholders with queries
  • Being available to help with a crisis

In larger event teams, you might hand this responsibility over to an event coordinator. Whoever takes on the task, they need to be an expert at crisis management and people organization, and be an approachable resource for your stakeholders and guests.

5. Analyze the success of the event

The event’s over, and it’s time to sit down and run through a post-event analysis of what happened. This is the time to review everything that contributed to the event’s success (or not-so success) and figure out how you can make your next event even better.

Consider reviewing these metrics in your follow-up meeting:

  • Number of people that booked vs. attended
  • Guest feedback and ratings
  • Budget and costs
  • Feedback from exhibitors and sponsors
  • Impact against goals and KPIs — e.g. number of new leads

While it’s not your sole responsibility as an event manager to make the event a success, you play a crucial role in it. Don’t be afraid to make strong suggestions or recommendations for ways you can have a bigger impact with different resources, tools, or strategies.

7 Expert corporate event management tips to help you succeed

A woman celebrates succeeding at corporate event management

Corporate event management is a fun and rewarding role, but it’s also one that requires you to have lots of different skills to juggle the ever-changing demands. If you’re looking for new ideas to bring to your role, here are some expert corporate event management tips to help you succeed.

1. Create a system that works for you

Event management is all about staying organized and knowing what’s happening when. While some people will favor one project management system or tool over another, the key is to find what works for you and stick to it.

Explore different ways to stay organized — from project management tools like Asana and ClickUp, to a good old fashioned pen and paper list or sticky notes. Create templates and standardized lists that you can replicate for each event, and find new ways to automate as many of the time-consuming tasks as possible. That way, you can focus on things that can really make a difference — like perfecting the event experience for your guests.

2. Build relationships with your vendors and sponsors

When you work in events, almost everything you do comes down to the relationships that you build with those around you. Whether it’s the venue coordinator or your local audio visual supplier, aim to forge strong bonds with the people that help make your events a success.

Having a strong relationship with your vendors, sponsors, and stakeholders can help you go far in this industry. People will go out of their way to help, support, and champion those that they feel close to. Building relationships can help you with everything from securing sponsorship from an amazing industry partner to negotiating a more favorable rate with your favorite event supplies company.

3. Assemble a winning team

All the best large-scale events don’t rest on the shoulders of just one person. Having the best possible team around you can help you take an average event or a challenging goal and transform it into a successful experience for everyone involved.

Work on building a strong team, so you can put on the best possible event. When staffing your events team, look for curious, dedicated, and organized people. They’ll be the people you can rely on when you’re on a tight deadline. Apply the same logic to supporting teams you outsource to as well — whether that’s the marketers responsible for your event marketing campaign or an exhibitor stand partner that’s helping you put on your biggest trade show yet.

4. Simplify your event logistics

There’s nothing worse than when your event merch doesn’t make it on time or when you realize that there’s nowhere for your food truck to park. Even virtual events aren’t immune to event logistics struggles — especially if you opt to send out gift parcels to event guests. Look for ways to simplify this where possible, and avoid those pre-event worries and frustrations.

A great way to simplify your event logistics is to use a tool like Hoppier. Our virtual cards allow you to streamline the event catering and gifting side of virtual and hybrid events. Instead of ordering for and packing hundreds of goody bags, send your guests a virtual card that they can spend with your partners. And in place of organizing complicated catering for a trade show, let your guests order their favorite take-out with their virtual credit card.

5. Actively grow your network

Corporate event management is a hugely relationship driven industry where knowing the right people can open up doors and expose you to great partnerships and opportunities. Even if you’ve already got plenty of wonderful people in your sphere, take the opportunity to look beyond and connect with new people.

A great way to find new potential sponsors, partners, vendors, and fellow event professionals is through social media platforms. Send a request for a coffee chat to mutual connections on LinkedIn, join a Facebook group for event managers, or strike up a conversation with local vendors and companies on Twitter. Put yourself out there, build genuine relationships, and enjoy the benefits of becoming someone’s go-to — or them becoming yours.

6. Learn how to deal with a crisis

It’s rare that an event runs perfectly to plan. There’s always something that goes wrong — whether that’s a mix-up with rooms at the venue or a speaker cancelling at the last minute. These things happen, so you'll need techniques to stay calm and be proactive in a crisis.

Those first few mishaps can make a dent in your confidence, but even with the best planning some things are just out of your control. Take a class in crisis management, ask other event professionals how they deal with it, and become an expert at finding creative ways to solve problems. Having the right approach when things go wrong can help you transform a disaster into an opportunity for something even better.

Simplify your event catering and gifting with Hoppier

With so many things to handle when organizing events, we’re big advocates of taking the simple route wherever you can. Investing in the right tools and software can help make those frustrating event management tasks easier. Here’s how Hoppier can help your workflow.

Easy and fun event catering

Organizing event catering can be a fun experience, but it’s also one of the trickiest things to get right. You need to account for everyone’s dietary needs and preferences, and offer a great menu while still being mindful of your budget. It gets complicated.

With Hoppier, you get to bypass those details and streamline your event catering experience. Instead of planning a menu, negotiating prices, and worrying about whether you’ve over or under-catered, simply take the digital approach.

Send your event guests a Hoppier virtual credit card and let them take the lead with their own event drinks, snacks, and meals. They can redeem their card almost anywhere, so they can get take-out from their favorite café, deli, or restaurant. They get the ultimate choice, and you can cross "event catering" off your to-do list.

A virtual credit card that can simplify corporate event management

It’s easy to set up your event catering to run through Hoppier. Create a program, give it a name, and start customizing the experience. Use your brand or event colors and logo for the virtual card design, and set a spending limit for each guest. Keep the vendor list open so guests can order from anywhere, or tailor it to feature only your event partners for a more immersive experience.

You can set a deadline for funds to be spent too — with any remaining funds sent back to you after the event. It’s a smart way to save money and reduce unnecessary food waste. Plus, you’ll never have to worry about running out of food or choosing the perfect menu options for your guests again.

A less wasteful approach to corporate gifting

Hoppier isn’t just useful for streamlining your event catering experience. You can use it for corporate gifting too, so you can say goodbye to hours spent in the office packing goody bags.

Make the switch to Hoppier for your corporate gifting, and you can not only make your pre-event prep easier, you can also give your event guests more choice. They might not want a branded notebook, but they might be thrilled about the idea of using their Hoppier virtual card to fund a new online class.

A list of vendors that event guests can purchase digital gifts from

Your move to a virtual goody bag experience doesn’t just give your event guests choice — it’s a win for the environment too. It means fewer branded event goodies heading into production, only to end up lost in someone’s filing cabinet drawer or garbage bin. If your target audience is a conscious crowd, this could be a unique selling point for your events.

Make your next event even better than your last

Corporate event management can be challenging at times, but it’s so rewarding when your event is a hit. Take these tips, ideas, and tools, and use them to help you plan successful corporate events that meet your goals and engage your attendees.

If you’re planning a virtual event, take a look at our webinar on how to overcome the challenges of running successful virtual events. We’ll guide you through some virtual event management tips to help you create a rewarding, engaging, and successful event experience.

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