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Everything You Need on Your Corporate Event Planning Checklist

Planning a corporate event can be one of the most energy-intensive projects in the workplace. Whether it’s a one-off product launch or annual awards ceremony, there’s a lot that goes into corporate event planning, such as renting a venue, lining up speakers, hiring a caterer and photographer, and more. Stay organized by creating a corporate event planning checklist to keep everything in order.

Some of these items apply to event planning of any kind, while others are specific to corporate events and activities. Regardless of the type of event you’re putting on, you should start planning months in advance to make sure you can lock in the right venue, make travel arrangements, schedule team-building activities, etc. Let’s take a look at the most important items you should have on your corporate event planning checklist.

1. Create a theme or objective for your event

Having a clear theme or purpose for your event is the most important place to start. Many of the other items on this list, such as the date and location of your event, will follow from this point. Are you planning a weekend retreat that requires intercity travel and overnight accommodations? Or are you planning a team-building event for a small group of executives?

Once you have a clear idea of what your event is all about, you’ll be able to estimate the number of people who will be there, as well as how long the event will last, and what kind of speakers or facilitators you’ll need to hire. A product launch that’s open to the press or public will require a much different set of arrangements than an internal awards ceremony. You’ll need to decide whether or not to sell tickets, hire a videographer or photographer to record the event, and so on.

This is also a good time to decide on a budget, then run the plan by your executive team if you need to get approval for any part of the process.

2. Choose a location and venue

Now that you’ve gotten through the first step on the corporate event planning checklist, you can go ahead and confirm the time and place of your event. If you’re planning an event for a remote team or one based in another city, you can decide whether you want to book a retreat venue or convention center. Alternatively, you can can opt for an unconventional event venue from a local host on Peerspace.

If you want to avoid renting a cookie-cutter corporate event space, then Peerspace may be the right option for you. You can browse unique locations in your region, such as this rural Japanese garden in Woodinville, WA, or a waterfront home on Lake Sammamish in Bellevue, WA. There are also tons of inspiring spaces ideal for workshops, including this natural light-filled studio in Atlanta, GA, or an industrial event venue based in downtown Dallas, TX. You can filter your search results to find places that meet your capacity requirements and other needs.

You can even call up the Concierge service to get help with some of the other steps on your corporate event planning checklist, such as hiring a caterer or photographer.

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3. Hire guest speakers or facilitators

Your event lineup will depend on what type of corporate event you’re hosting. For a formal dinner or awards ceremony, you might hire an MC, stand-up comedian, or motivational speaker. For a retreat or team-building activity, you might choose an experienced facilitator who can lead your group through workshops and other exercises. Some events might call for live music, a movie screening, yoga or meditation workshops, outdoor activities, or field trips.

For a variety of retreat activities and other team-building ideas, check out our list of team outings and corporate event ideas in several major cities across the United States.

4. Announce your event

Once you have your location and dates lined up and have chosen a speaker or facilitator, it’s time to announce your event to the world — or at least your company. If your event is closed to the public, then you won’t have to worry about ticket sales or advertisements, but you should give your employees enough advance notice to make plans to attend.

If your event is taking place during the work day, then your employees may need time to adjust their schedules and workload. If it’s on a weekend or taking place in another city, they may need to make travel plans or childcare arrangements. Give your team advance notice and spread the word about any exciting activities or guest speakers. This way, your employees will be less likely to call in sick and you’ll have a larger turnout.

5. Arrange for catering and bar staff

As the date of your event draws closer, be sure to confirm a caterer and other event staff to keep your team well-fed and hydrated. While some retreat locations may have a preferred caterer that you’re required to use for on-site events, others may be more flexible. Consider unconventional options, like hiring food trucks or a DIY ice cream station for more fun and interactivity.

You can also check with your local Peerspace host to see if they have a caterer they have worked with in the past and can recommend for your occasion. Find out whether the venue is BYOB or if you’re required to have licensed bar staff on hand to serve alcoholic drinks. 

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6. Rent equipment and A/V gear

One of the last steps on the corporate event planning checklist is to arrange for any equipment, furniture, or A/V gear you’ll need. Many Peerspace venues have furniture and A/V gear on site, but they may require additional setup or rental costs. Some locations have different capacity limits for seated dinner events than they do for a standing reception.

You might also choose to produce a live recording of the event for promotional purposes or just for internal use. If you need to hire a photographer or a videography team to record the event, be sure to book them well in advance. You can find camera and lighting gear, as well as stage and sound equipment on our list of the best rental houses in several popular destinations.

7. Create gift bags or branded souvenirs

Finally, don’t forget to bring along some swag bags or other goodies to give away to your team. Try to avoid cheap items and find quality gift bag ideas that your team will actually use. If you’re hosting a team retreat, why not give away a branded backpack or another practical item that can serve as both a souvenir and a display of company loyalty?

If you don’t have the budget, try to find a local company that may be willing to sponsor your event in return for a partnership or product placement at your conference.

Planning a corporate event can take months of discussion — not to mention plenty of phone calls with potential venues and rental houses. Save yourself the hassle of dealing with multiple places by booking an all-in-one package using Peerspace. The Concierge team can help you get your caterer, photographer, and event staff lined up with one easy phone call.

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