To Hire or Outsource? Which #EventPlanner Path is right for you?

From venue selection, to registration management, to speaker management, to F&B options, to onsite delivery, planning an event or conference is a ton of responsibility. Do you hire in-house or do you outsource? Which one is the right path for you?

First, you need to fully understand the responsibilities of an event professional

First and foremost, event professionals exist because they love the industry! They build experiences that match the goals, objective, mission and values of the organization – and hopefully with a unique design and a little flair!

Regardless of whether you hire in-house or outsource, you need to make sure your professional is capable of the following responsibilities/processes:

  • Creativity in Design/Vision: the first thing you should be getting out of your professional is a brainstorming meeting. You need to make sure that they are “in the know” with the message, values and suggested themes. Successful event professionals can quickly start suggesting ideas that will bring your vision to life.
  • Creating a Budget: All too often, we see or inherit budgets that are a couple of line items – one or two revenue lines, and 3-5 expense lines. Your budget needs to be WAY more detailed than that. Revenue should be broken out between fee structures, sponsorship revenue, partner revenue, complimentary tickets need to be captured and ALL expenses should be accounted/planned for too – not just a big lump sum.
  • Ability to create a critical path. Based on the scope of the event, the scope of work and who is responsible for what, the critical path is, well…CRITICAL. If you don’t know how long you have or when things are due, it can create undue stress and panic a couple of weeks out.
  • Venue Selection & Management: Allow your planner to do what they do best – choose a venue, conduct the negotiations, select your menus; contract other suppliers; all within or under budget. Making clever decisions about small details like catering and venue navigation has a huge impact on attendance experiences. Trust us – a good event professional stays in the loop through publications, industry events, and other professional development opportunities.
  • Understand the Tech-Side: AV can be daunting – what do you need, how many staff will it take to operate and what should it cost? A non-experienced planner will get by; but in many cases for a lot more money coming out of your budget than necessary. An outsourced event professional most likely (as is in our case) developed relationships with many audio-visual suppliers; often over years of conferences taking place. They are more willing to come to the table to negotiate with someone they know has buying power on behalf of several organizations.

So, how do you find this exceptional person?

Finding the right person requires a good understanding of the traits and competencies this rockstar should possess. Here are some traits you should be looking for:

Someone who is able to balance their busy schedule, professionally and personally; the ability to multi-task between your program’s to-do’s as well as other items/projects.

Someone who is tech savvy – one who can speak the language; knows which registration platform is right for you; can work with and manipulate any event app; and who is using interesting technology choices to increase the attendee experience onsite. Ask for examples!

Are their cons? Sure, we suppose there are! But the decision needs to be entirely yours. Here are some things to consider:

  • Smoothly run event or conference: Your event professional has tools and strategies to help build high-quality events. Many organizations just don’t have the time or resources to ensure that the process is seamless – if this is you; you may need to outsource.
  • If you are planning your next conference with a team of your staff members who have each taken on a role; but that these responsibilities may be overshadowed with priorities in their day to day tasks; you may want to consider outsourcing. Your event or conference deserves the attention an outsourced event professional can give.
  • There are costs associated to outsourcing. Yes, and the cost can be considered “high”, but in many cases, their fee can and should be folded into the event budget; and still show profits. There are still some organizations who don’t see it this way however; which is why you are likely still trying to rely on internal resources you already have.
  • Trust. If you hire corporate event planners, you should trust these people. Unless you choose a certified professional or someone who has been recommended by a friend, it might be a better choice to entrust the whole thing to your internal staff.
  • Conclusion
  • Before planning an event, you should give good thought about whether to hire corporate event planners or to choose a DIY approach. Formulate the vision for your event and try to align it with the expertise you have inside your organization. If it doesn’t work, don’t waste your time on endless trial and errors, go for high-quality outsourcing instead.

Are you ready to make your decision? Are you ready to see what an event professional can do for you? Send us your RFP and we can show you how!

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