1. Question yourself before your event planner .

Before you talk to an event planner to discuss budget and other questions you might have for your show, you need to step back and ask your self the question, “what do I want and why?” Making sure you have all your own strategies and ideas in order before talking to and event planner is going to make things much easier when you finally chose one.

2. Why do you need the event planner.

Now that you have you strategy and ideas in order, you need to find out what it is you actually need from an event planner. Do you need hotel stay? Is this a local destination or will there be travel involved? What kind of catering do you need, if any? Is Audio Visual necessary?

If these are things you need, it would be good to ask your potential event planner their plans and connections to making these work.

3. Budget.

Now that you have determined you needs and what it is that your event is going to be about, you’ll need a budget. Budgets are hard because everyone is going to want an event that is gold, but you want a bronze price. It’s good to have a number ready for your planner so they can let you know what it is that they can do with that budget and changes can be made from there.

4. Get a qualified event planner.

Ok, so here is the part where you need to do some real work. You have a budget, and it’s important get someone who can actually handle that budget. You need to do some research and look for a company that does everything you want. Get online and start using search terms that are relevant to your event and look for event planners that have real experience and are proven. Choosing a company based off of word of mouth is fine, but if you want a specific event planner that is ideal for your event, you need to search for one on your own.

5. Source event planners through local chambers of commerce and hotels.

If you want to know who has a reputation for delivering services or expertise in a particular market, check with the local convention and visitors bureau. Many event planners are active members. They also maintain relationships with local chambers of commerce.

Another way to source experts is to reach out to the hotel convention sales department. They’ll share with you who they trust.

6. Interview at least three event planners.

If you are going to hire an event planner, you need to act like you are hiring an employee. They are working for you, you are not working for them. Now you will have to give them as much information about the job as you can, but make sure they are answering the questions when you are having the interview. You need to be sure they can fill the role and get the job done right.

7. Are they asking the right questions.

A good planner will ask you questions about your event too. You have given them as much as you know, now they need to fill in the gaps with their expertise. If they aren’t asking you questions about event specifics ( i.e. attendee amount, locations, seasons, times) you and your event planner are going to miss out on vital information that needs to be know way before the event even starts.

8. Meet in person if possible.

Meeting an event coordinator can be difficult sometimes because you don’t have to live in the same state of the event planner to hire them. If you are able to meet them in person, or at least face to face on the computer, you will find out if it is someone you are able to work with. Personalities can clash, and if you don’t feel like there is a good connection with you and the planner in person, you might have a bad time working with them for a whole event.

9. Pick one and listen to their ideas.

You have laid out the plans for your event planner, now you need to sit back and but on you listing cap. You have gone through an extensive process to get to this point, if you truly believe you have chosen the best option for you event, you need to let them prove you right. Let your choice sit you down and discuss their ideas and plans to make this event work.

10. Event planners budget is going to be different.

So you trust your choice, which means you should trust their opinions. Budgets will change, there is nothing you can do about that. It could go down… not likely… and it can also go up. Event planners know what they need to pay to get what you want, and they need to be paid too. This doesn’t mean you have to pay more, you can be firm in your decision on what your budget can be and the event planner will do their hardest to meet that budget. Just be warned if you have no room to budge, you need to understand that you will most likely not get everything you want in your event. Be prepared to negotiate your budget to cut or add ideas to the event.

11. You’ll need more then one pair of eyes! 

Now that you have gotten the details hammered out its time to sign the papers right? NO! Even if you agree with everything that is in the contract for hotels, budget, travel, deposits, etc… you need to have a legal council look over your contract to explain to you the fine print. Neither party wants to be surprised that the other person doesn’t do what they thought they were supposed to do. Its best practice to cover all your bases before signing anything that you are legally bound too.

12. Time to get clingy.

It can’t be stressed enough that you and your event planner follow through on their promises. How can you assure that? Well, one of the best ways is to attach yourself to their hip! Stay up to date with your planner and make sure you have the list of todos getting checked off one by one.

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