Why is Event Planning Important

Stage Lighting for event

Having been involved in the events industry for over 25 years, I know good planning is crucial in the organization and execution of successful events. 

One of the primary reasons event planning is important is because it helps reduce stress for organizers. The planning process allows them to tackle tasks systematically, from securing venues and vendors to creating engaging event content and marketing strategies. 

Furthermore, event planning enhances a company’s reputation, as well-organized events contribute positively to their brand image and attract potential clients and partners.

Essentials of Event Planning

Event Type

It is crucial to first understand the objective of the event, as every event type should have a primary purpose, event goals, and objectives, which give measurements of success. If the event professional understands the purpose of the event, it will lead to better event planning and proper allocation of time and money.

Event Date

Selecting the appropriate event date is vital for maximizing attendance and ensuring all necessary preparations are completed. Consider factors like holidays, other industry events, and venue availability when choosing a date. Giving ample notice and considering the needs of your target audience will contribute to the event’s success.


Establishing a budget is a critical aspect of event planning, as it affects decisions such as the venue, food, entertainment, and marketing. Effective budget management helps avoid overspending and ensures that resources are allocated where they are most needed. Be realistic with the budget and keep track of expenses to ensure the event runs smoothly without financial strain.

Sample Budget Breakdown:

Expense CategoryPercentage of Budget
Food & Beverage25%


Regular meetings are a vital part of the event planning process, as they facilitate communication and coordination among teams and vendors. Schedule meetings at different stages of planning to monitor progress, address any concerns or challenges, and ensure all aspects of the event are on track. Effective meetings promote collaboration, helping to create a successful event. For example:

  • Initial meeting: Define event goals, vision, and expectations.
  • Progress meetings: Discuss updates on tasks, such as venue selection and marketing efforts.
  • Final meeting: Review all preparation details, verify that all tasks are complete, and confirm the event schedule.

Event Management and Organization

Event management is crucial for the successful execution of any event, whether it’s a small gathering or a large-scale convention. It involves the organization, planning, and management of various aspects of an event, including logistics, communication, and coordination1. This section will explain the importance of event management and cover key areas of the planning process.

Planning Process

The planning process is the foundation of successful event management. It involves creating a detailed timeline, outlining the goals and objectives of the event, and identifying the necessary resources and staff. This process helps event managers to allocate resources, develop an event plan, and set priorities to ensure that the event runs smoothly and achieves its desired outcomes.


Managing logistics is a significant aspect of event management. It includes tasks such as selecting a suitable venue2, arranging transportation, providing necessary facilities and amenities, managing security measures, and coordinating various services like catering, AV equipment, and other technical elements. Proper organization of logistics is essential for creating a seamless event experience for the attendees.


Effective communication is vital for successful event management. Event managers need to establish clear communication channels with various stakeholders, including vendors, sponsors, staff, and attendees3. Timely and accurate information dissemination ensures that everyone involved is well-informed of the event objectives, schedule, and guidelines, leading to better coordination and a successful event outcome.


Coordination is the process of bringing all event elements together in a harmonious manner. Event managers need to have strong coordination skills to align the efforts of various teams, vendors, and service providers involved in the event4. The coordination process ensures that all tasks are efficiently executed, and potential challenges are addressed promptly, resulting in a well-organized and successful event.

In conclusion, event management is crucial for organizing and managing various aspects of an event, including the planning process, logistics, communication, and coordination. It ensures that the event runs smoothly and achieves its goals, ultimately leading to a positive experience for all attendees and stakeholders.

Key Components for Successful Events

Marketing and Promotion

A well-planned marketing strategy is crucial for a successful event. The foundation of this strategy includes creating an informative and engaging event website. This site should provide event details, registration information, and any necessary updates. To maximize the online presence and reach of your event, utilize social media platforms for targeted marketing and advertising campaigns. Engaging with the audience through various channels helps create a buzz around your event, ultimately increasing its chances of success.


Event technology plays a vital role in streamlining event planning and execution. It ensures seamless registration, ticketing, and communication with attendees. Furthermore, incorporating modern technological solutions such as mobile applications, virtual reality, and live streaming enhances the participant’s experience and adds a unique aspect to your event, making it stand out.


The entertainment component of an event contributes significantly to its overall success. This is achieved by selecting performers or speakers who align well with the event theme and audience preferences. By offering a variety of high-quality entertainment options, you keep attendees engaged and provide them with a memorable experience. It is essential, however, to strike a balance between entertainment and the event’s primary purpose.


Gathering feedback from attendees is a crucial aspect of successful event planning. This information helps you gauge the effectiveness of your marketing, entertainment, and technology strategies. By analyzing participant feedback, you can make necessary adjustments for future events and ensure continuous improvement. Utilize feedback forms, surveys, and engagement on social media channels to gather valuable insights and measure the event’s success.

Types of Events

Conferences and Conventions

Conferences and conventions bring people together to discuss a specific topic or theme. They often offer networking opportunities, industry-related discussions, and the chance to learn from experts in the field. Professionals in various industries attend these events to exchange ideas, grow their networks, and stay updated on current trends. Types of conferences include corporate events, which are goal-driven and often revolve around a business topic, and conventions, which focus on specific sectors such as technology, education, or entertainment.

Corporate and Social Events

Corporate events are organized to achieve specific event goals for an organization. They can range from product launches, award ceremonies, and team-building events to seminars, workshops, and training sessions. These events facilitate the sharing of information and collaboration among employees, clients, or industry peers while promoting a company’s brand and value.

Social events, on the other hand, focus on bringing people together for celebrations, personal milestones, or just a social gathering. From birthdays, weddings, and reunions to informal get-togethers, these events often showcase the personal interests and preferences of the attendees.

Hybrid and Virtual Events

With advancements in technology and the recent shift towards remote work, hybrid and virtual events now play a significant role in the industry. Hybrid events blend both in-person and virtual components, allowing a broader audience to participate. These events can include webinars, conferences, or corporate events that combine live presentations or workshops with remote access options for attendees who cannot be physically present.

Virtual events take place entirely online, using various tools and platforms to engage remote participants. Digital formats such as webinars, live streams, and virtual expos allow attendees to connect from anywhere in the world and interact with the content and one another. Both hybrid and virtual events offer organizations the opportunity to reach a wider audience, reduce costs, and adapt to the ever-changing landscape of communication in today’s world.

Role of Event Planners

Event planners play a crucial role in the successful execution and management of various types of events. Their key responsibilities include providing expertise, managing details, budgeting, and negotiating with vendors and suppliers. This section will discuss these sub-sections in more detail.


Event planners and managers possess the knowledge and experience necessary to create memorable and well-organized events. They are well-versed in coordinating various aspects of an event, from selecting the venue to arranging accommodations for guests, ensuring that each element comes together seamlessly. Their expertise enables them to provide guidance and advice to clients and seamlessly execute both small gatherings and large-scale conferences.

Managing Details

One of the primary roles of an event planner is to oversee and manage the numerous details involved in organizing an event. This involves coordinating logistics, timelines, and various event components. They work closely with clients to understand their specific requirements and ensure that every aspect of the event is meticulously planned. Their attention to detail and ability to stay organized is crucial in reducing stress and preventing potential issues from arising during the event.


Event planners are skilled in managing budgets to ensure that all aspects of an event are covered without overspending. They are responsible for monitoring and tracking expenses, ensuring that the event stays within the predetermined budget. Their expertise in budgeting helps them to allocate funds effectively and maximize the value of each dollar spent on the event.


Lastly, event planners are often responsible for negotiating contracts and deals with vendors and suppliers. They use their industry knowledge and connections to secure the best pricing and terms, contributing to a successful event while maintaining budgetary constraints. Their negotiation skills are essential in finding the right partners for each event and building lasting relationships with reputable suppliers.

In conclusion, event planners play an integral role in ensuring the success of various types of events. Their expertise in logistics, budgeting, and negotiation contributes to the seamless execution of each event, creating memorable experiences for attendees and leaving a lasting impression.

Event Production Elements

Audio-Visual Equipment

Audio-visual equipment plays a significant role in event production, as it helps create the desired atmosphere and enhances the overall experience for attendees. High-quality audio and visual systems are essential for presentations, performances, and guest engagement. Event planners must carefully consider the specific requirements of their event, such as the size of the venue, the type of content being presented, and the target audience when selecting and arranging audio-visual equipment.

Printed Materials

In the digital age, printed materials still hold importance in event production. They not only contribute to the event’s branding but also provide essential information for attendees. Programs, agendas, name badges, and promotional materials such as posters and banners help build a cohesive theme and ensure smooth navigation throughout the event. Event planners should work with designers and printing services to create visually appealing and informative materials tailored to their event’s unique needs.

Event Sponsors

Event sponsors are crucial for many events, as they can provide financial support, resources, and credibility. Securing the right sponsors can significantly impact the event’s success and attract more attendees. Event planners should carefully research potential sponsors, identifying organizations that align with the event’s goals and values. A well-crafted sponsorship proposal showcasing the benefits of being associated with the event can help secure valuable partnerships.

Keynote Speakers

Keynote speakers can set the tone for an event, providing valuable insights and inspiring attendees. Selecting the right speakers is vital, as they can significantly elevate an event’s reputation and draw larger audiences. Event planners must consider the event’s theme and goals, as well as the target demographic, when selecting keynote speakers. In addition to their expertise and speaking abilities, it’s essential to ensure that the chosen speakers can spark thought-provoking discussions and engage with the audience.

Factors Impacting Event Planning


Weather is a crucial factor when it comes to event planning, especially if the event is outdoors. A clear understanding of the expected weather conditions is important in order to prepare and adapt event plans accordingly. For instance, if rain is predicted, planners should consider having tents or other shelters available to protect guests from the elements. In the case of extreme weather conditions like storms or heatwaves, it may be necessary to reschedule the event or find an indoor alternative to ensure the safety and comfort of all attendees.

Other Events

Another key factor impacting event planning is the presence of other events happening around the same time and location. Competing events can lead to scheduling conflicts, making it challenging to find appropriate venues, accommodations, and resources for your event. To avoid such issues, it’s crucial for event planners to research the local events calendar and ensure their chosen date doesn’t coincide with any major festivals, conventions, or other significant happenings.


Having a variety of accommodation options in close proximity to the event location is essential for both the attendees and the event staff. Event planners must consider factors such as availability, room rates, and distance from the event venue while selecting accommodation providers. Partnering with local hotels or lodging facilities may help planners secure discounted rates or reserved room blocks to ensure attendees have access to convenient, affordable lodging options.


Accessibility is a vital aspect of event planning, as all attendees should feel welcome and able to fully participate in the activities. Planners should assess the event venue for wheelchair access, availability of handicap parking, and the presence of assistance devices such as ramps or elevators. An accessible event not only ensures that people with disabilities can enjoy the event but also demonstrates the planner’s commitment to inclusive experiences for all attendees.

Evaluating Event Success


Evaluating event success is crucial for maintaining and enhancing an organization’s reputation. A well-executed event can strengthen brand image and create positive associations in the minds of attendees. Likewise, a poorly executed event can have a negative impact on an organization’s reputation. Carefully analyzing and measuring engagement, attendee satisfaction, and overall event experience can help shape future events that align with the desired brand image and message. It’s essential to gather and analyze feedback from attendees to identify areas of improvement and learn from any mistakes that may have occurred during the event planning process.

Return on Investment

Another critical aspect of evaluating event success is understanding the return on investment (ROI) generated by the event. Measuring ROI involves tracking the event’s costs and comparing them to the revenue generated, whether through ticket sales, sponsorship deals, or other sources of income. Accurate assessment of ROI allows event planners to determine if the event had a positive financial impact as well as helping to make decisions about allocating resources for future events more effectively. Events with a high ROI indicate successful planning and execution, whereas a low ROI points to areas that require improvement.


Evaluating the success of event themes is essential in order to ensure that the chosen theme resonated with the audience and effectively conveyed the desired message. Additionally, understanding the success of a theme can provide insights into tailoring future event themes to the specific audience. Obtaining feedback from attendees, gathering data on social media engagement, and analyzing the overall atmosphere of the event during the theme’s implementation are some ways in which event planners can gauge the success of event themes.


Acquiring the necessary permits for an event is vital for ensuring it proceeds without any legal issues. As part of the evaluation process, event planners should assess if all permits were obtained in a timely manner, whether they were sufficient for the event requirements, and if any issues arose due to permitting. This assessment helps event planners learn from past experiences to prevent potential complications related to permits in future events and streamline the process.

By evaluating event success in terms of reputation, ROI, themes, and permits, event planners can continuously improve their planning and management processes. This leads to better events that will ultimately benefit the organization and its audience.

Event Management Tools and Resources

Management Software

Event management tools and resources play a crucial role in organizing successful events. One of the most useful solutions is event management software, which helps planners streamline their processes, save time, and achieve better results. Examples of such software include Asana, Cvent, and Wrike. These platforms offer features such as:

  • Task management and scheduling
  • Collaborative workspaces for team communication
  • Integration with CRM systems like Salesforce and Hubspot
  • Resource planning and allocation
  • Budget management and financial tracking

By utilizing event management software, event planners can optimize their workflow, avoid potential pitfalls, and focus on creating memorable experiences for their attendees.

Free Consultation

In addition to software solutions, event planners can benefit from free consultations offered by experienced professionals. These consultations can provide valuable insights into best practices, industry trends, and successful strategies for event planning and management. Many event management software providers also offer free consultations, as well as educational resources like webinars, blog posts, and articles, to help their users get the most out of their tools.

Event managers can access free consultations by reaching out to industry experts, attending trade conferences or workshops, or engaging with software providers to request their advice and guidance. By doing so, they can stay informed about emerging technologies and learn from the successes and mistakes of others in the industry.

In conclusion, a combination of event management software and free consultation services can greatly enhance the event planning process. By harnessing the power of these tools and resources, planners can deliver well-organized, engaging, and memorable events that meet the needs of their clients and attendees.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does event planning affect marketing efforts?

Event planning plays a crucial role in marketing efforts, as it helps create a positive brand image and generate buzz around an organization or product. A well-planned event can attract a targeted audience, boost brand recognition, and increase overall engagement.

In what ways does event planning contribute to entertainment value?

Event planning contributes to entertainment value by ensuring that all event elements are designed to engage and entertain attendees. This includes selecting appropriate venues, curating suitable entertainment, and planning interactive activities. A successful event provides a memorable and enjoyable experience for participants.

How does proper event planning help with budget management?

Proper event planning involves creating and adhering to a well-defined budget. This process includes allocating funds to essential event components, tracking expenses, and making informed decisions about vendor pricing and contract negotiations. Effective budget management helps ensure that an event is financially sustainable and successful.

Why is risk management essential in event planning?

Risk management is an important aspect of event planning, as it helps identify and mitigate potential hazards or issues that may arise during an event. This can include preparing for weather-related disruptions, anticipating technical difficulties, and implementing safety measures for attendees. Effective risk management can minimize the impact of unforeseen circumstances and ensure a smooth event experience.

How does event planning relate to marketing communications?

Event planning is closely related to marketing communications, as the planning process involves creating and disseminating information about the event to potential attendees. This can include designing promotional materials, crafting press releases, and utilizing social media and other marketing channels to generate awareness and excitement around the event.

What role does software play in effective event planning?

Software is pivotal in effective event planning, as it helps streamline and automate various tasks and processes. This can include managing guest registration and ticketing, monitoring budgets, assigning tasks to event staff, and organizing attendee communications. Utilizing software solutions can improve efficiency, reduce human error, and contribute to the overall success of an event.


  1. https://www.cvent.com/en/blog/events/what-is-event-management
  2. https://www.cvent.com/en/blog/events/event-planning-guide
  3. https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/finding-a-job/what-is-event-management
  4. https://eclipse.global/what-is-event-management-why-its-important/

Event Debrief Template (Download for Free)

Event Debrief Template

Debriefing after an event is important for several reasons. Firstly, it allows for a comprehensive evaluation of the event’s success in achieving its objectives and goals. By assessing the outcomes, strengths, and weaknesses, event organizers can gain valuable insights into what worked well and what needs improvement.

Secondly, debriefing enables the collection and analysis of feedback from participants, stakeholders, and attendees. This feedback provides valuable perspectives on the event, highlighting areas of satisfaction and areas that may require attention. Understanding the experiences and opinions of those involved helps in making informed decisions for future events.

Thirdly, debriefing helps identify and address any challenges or issues that arose during the event. By openly discussing problems, organizers can identify their root causes and develop strategies to mitigate or prevent them in the future. This process ensures continuous improvement and enhances the overall effectiveness of future events.

Things to think about:

  1. Evaluation: A debrief provides an opportunity to evaluate the event’s success in achieving its objectives and goals. It allows you to assess whether the event met the desired outcomes and identify areas of improvement for future events.
  2. Lessons Learned: A debrief helps uncover valuable lessons learned from the event. By reflecting on what worked well and what could have been done differently, you can gather insights that can be applied to future events to enhance their effectiveness and efficiency.
  3. Feedback Analysis: Collecting feedback from participants, stakeholders, and attendees is crucial for understanding their experiences and perspectives. A debrief session allows you to analyze this feedback, identify common themes or suggestions, and gain a better understanding of the event’s impact on the target audience.
  4. Problem Identification: Debriefing provides an opportunity to identify any challenges, issues, or shortcomings that occurred during the event. By openly discussing problems, you can gain a deeper understanding of their root causes and develop strategies to prevent or address them in the future.
  5. Continuous Improvement: Debriefing fosters a culture of continuous improvement. It allows you to implement changes, refine processes, and enhance future events based on the insights gained. By identifying areas for improvement, you can ensure that each subsequent event is more successful than the last.
  6. Team Building and Collaboration: Debriefing brings together event organizers, staff, and other stakeholders to discuss the event’s outcomes. It encourages open communication, collaboration, and knowledge sharing among team members. By involving everyone in the debrief, you can strengthen relationships, boost morale, and foster a sense of unity and shared purpose.
  7. Accountability and Action Planning: A debrief session helps establish accountability by assigning responsibilities and deadlines for implementing improvements or changes. It ensures that the insights gained are translated into action and that the necessary resources and support are allocated to drive positive change.

Overall, debriefing after an event is a critical process that allows you to reflect, learn, and grow. It enables you to build on successes, address challenges, and continuously improve the quality and impact of future events.

Use the following as a starter for your own debrief template for events

Access as a Google doc here

Download as a Word doc here

Free Event Debrief Template:

[Event Name]

Date: [Enter date of the debrief session]
Facilitator: [Enter the name of the person facilitating the debrief]
Participants: [List the names of participants attending the debrief session]

1. Introduction

  • Begin the debrief session by welcoming everyone and providing a brief overview of the purpose of the debrief.
  • Discuss the importance of the debrief in evaluating the event’s success and identifying areas for improvement.

2. Event Overview

  • Review the event’s objectives and goals.
  • Summarize the event’s timeline and key activities.
  • Discuss any major challenges or issues encountered during the event.

3. Successes and Achievements

  • Identify and celebrate the successes and achievements of the event.
  • Discuss any positive feedback or compliments received from attendees, stakeholders, or participants.

3. Areas for Improvement

  • Identify and discuss areas where improvements can be made for future events.
  • Analyze any challenges, issues, or shortcomings experienced during the event.
  • Brainstorm possible solutions or strategies to address these areas for improvement.

4. Logistics and Operations

  • Evaluate the effectiveness of the event’s logistics and operations.
  • Discuss the venue, setup, equipment, and overall flow of the event.
  • Identify any logistical issues or improvements that could enhance future events.

5. Communications and Marketing

  • Assess the effectiveness of the event’s marketing and communication strategies.
  • Discuss the promotional efforts, including social media, advertising, and media coverage.
  • Identify any areas where the event’s communication could be improved.

6. Participant Feedback

  • Discuss the feedback received from event participants, such as surveys or evaluations.
  • Analyze the feedback and identify any common themes or suggestions.
  • Determine any necessary actions or changes based on participant feedback.

7. Lessons Learned

  • Share and discuss any lessons learned from organizing and executing the event.
  • Reflect on what worked well and what could have been done differently.
  • Consider how these lessons can be applied to future events.

8. Action Plan

  • Develop an action plan based on the insights gained from the debrief.
  • Assign responsibilities and deadlines for implementing improvements or changes.
  • Determine the necessary resources and support required for the action plan.

9. Conclusion

  • Summarize the key points discussed during the debrief.
  • Thank all participants for their valuable contributions.
  • Encourage ongoing communication and collaboration for future events.

Note: This debrief template is a starting point and should be customized based on the specific requirements of the event and the organization. Feel free to add or modify sections to suit your needs.

What is an event? Surprising Secrets….

Formula E London

Events unite people and foster shared experiences.

Whether they be sports games, music festivals, wedding ceremonies, or birthday parties.

What is an event, and why is it taking place?

I’ve been an event manager and educator for 25 years.

I have delivered thousands of successful events across a range of events.

FIA Formula E – London E Prix in 2022

There is no such thing as a predictable event; they are all different, so finding a standard definition of an event can often be tricky.

In this article, we will explore what an event is as it impacts our everyday lives more frequently than we think; something is always happening!

We will define an event, highlight the different types of events, discuss their importance, and offer some tips on planning and executing an event.

What is an Event?

An event can be defined as a planned or organized occurrence that takes place at a specified time and place. It can be a one-time occurrence or a recurring event that happens at regular intervals.

Events can be social, cultural, religious, educational, or commercial in nature. They can be small and intimate, like a dinner party, or large and elaborate, like a global summit.

The critical thing is that these events are not considered as having an unexpected occurrence pattern, and we define them by purposeful planning and execution. 

What is the definition of an event?

The concept of an event is an essential part of various academic disciplines, including sociology, psychology, tourism, and computer science. In general, academics define an event as a happening, incident or occurrence that is significant, noteworthy, or distinctive in some way and that has an impact on individuals or society as a whole.

One of the most cited academic authors is Donald Getz; he provides this event definition:

“An event is an organized social occasion or gathering, held in a specific location, for a particular purpose, with specific activities and entertainment.” (Getz, 2005)

Sheffield Half Marathon Start
Sheffield Half Marathon Start Line

What is an event: different types

Events can be classified into various types based on their nature, purpose, and audience. Some of the common types of events are:

Social Events: A social event is one that brings people together for socializing, sports, networking, and entertainment, mainly when there is something important happening. Some examples include things like birthday parties, weddings, reunions, and music concerts.

Cultural Events: These are events that celebrate a specific culture, tradition, or heritage. Examples include festivals, parades, and cultural shows.

Religious Events: These are events that are organized for religious purposes and can be a crucial point in one’s life, such as worship, pilgrimage, or festivals. Examples include Eid, Christmas, Diwali, and Hajj.

Educational Events: These are events that aim to educate and inform people about a specific topic or subject. Examples include workshops, seminars, and conferences.

Commercial Events: These are events that are organized for business or marketing purposes. Examples include product launches, trade shows, and corporate events.

Political Events:  Politics affect everyday life, and there are many events associated with it. Examples include inaugurations, the opening of parliament, state visits and many more. 

Corporate Events: These are typically business-led events. Often they are fully funded by a business for something like an annual general meeting. They can also be ticketed events such as a Gala Dinner. 

Fundraising or Charity Events: Many charities rely on events to help raise the money they need to continue providing their respective service. These events often include

Historical Events: These types of events often celebrate how life was in the past. They can include activities like reenactments or guided tours.

If you would like to know more about the different types of events, I’ve written a complete post on this here.

Importance of Events:

Events play a crucial role in our lives and society. They bring people together, foster social connections, and create shared experiences. Here are some of the reasons why events are significant:

  1. Community Building: Events help to develop a sense of community by bringing people together for a common purpose. They provide a platform for people to connect, network, and socialize.
  2. Cultural Preservation: Events celebrate our cultural heritage and traditions, helping to preserve them for future generations.
  3. Personal Milestones: Events like weddings, birthdays, and graduations mark significant milestones in our personal lives and provide an opportunity for celebration and reflection.
  4. Economic Impact: Events can have a significant economic impact by attracting tourists, generating revenue for businesses, and creating job opportunities.

What is an event: planning?

Events planning is the process that you go through in order to deliver whatever event that you are planning; sadly, they do not just happen!

Events are treated like projects and include detailed processes that people go through.

  1. Define Your Event Objectives
  2. Set an Event Budget
  3. Choose a Venue
  4. Create an Event Timeline
  5. Promote Your Event

What is an event: Planning vs Management?

Exhibition Construction
A keen eye on the construction of an exhibition stand in 2022

Many people have different definitions of event management.

Event management can be applied to small gatherings right through to major events like the Olympic games.

It is often confused with the term events planning as mentioned above. Now depending on who you ask, you may get different responses.

In my experience of being in events for over 25 years, I define event planning as the process of designing the event and event management, the process of delivering that creative process to a final outcome.

What is a Major Event?

Major events are typically those that are considered to have large attendances and enormous economic appeal through tourism. Some good examples of major events include the Olympic games, FIFA world cups and major sports or related events.

Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022
Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022

These events often only happen every few years, hence making their occurrence regarded as major.

Major events can mean big business for large cities and countries that often bid for them in order to boost visitor numbers. In this case, the focus is on economic income, and social impacts are a usually minor importance (sadly!)


Finally, events are an important part of our lives and society. They bring people together, build social bonds, and provide opportunities for shared experiences.

Knowing events and their significance can help us appreciate the role they play in people’s lives.

You can organise and execute a great event that makes a lasting impact on guests if you follow the advice in this article.

So, next time you attend an event or design one, remember the importance of creating a memorable experience for everyone involved. If you’re interested in reading about how to design events, click on my post here.

Start An Event Venue Business: A FREE Guide

Event Venue

Are you looking to start your own event venue business that promises big profit but is also full of fun and excitement? If so, an event venue business could be the perfect venture for you!

I’ve been working in the events industry for over 25 years. During that time, I’ve seen event venue businesses come and go. Still, the one thing that has always remained consistent is the passion of those involved in this sector. It is a great place to have your own business.

I’ve been responsible for venues with a million+ turnover catering to everything from small group meetings to 2,000+ capacity concerts.

From small family gatherings to major corporate events, I have had the pleasure of helping people create memorable experiences at every turn. Whether it is finding the right venue or developing unique event plans tailored to each client’s needs, I understand what it takes to ensure an event venue business runs smoothly and successfully.

This post will help you understand the key considerations for becoming a venue owner, including what to put in an event venue business plan.

What makes a great event venue?

I always think that putting yourself into the position of potential customers before starting an event venue is an excellent foundation for your business. In my experience, potential clients are likely to be looking for the following:

A great event venue has three key components: space availability, event planning services and a great overall atmosphere. 

First and foremost, they will consider what kind of event venue is ideal for their event; remember, this is where you want to consider the type of event venue you want to run.

Do you want an indoor area or an outdoor one? Depending on your location, this could be a critical factor to decide on. Some places benefit from great weather all year round, so outdoor space is at a premium.

Research in 2012 showed the following as being the top ten attributes of a wedding venue that people looked for:

Venue Attributes

Weigh the pros and cons of starting an event venue.

With proper planning and preparation, event venue owners can quickly establish a successful business in their local area. If you want to start an event venue, It is essential to weigh the pros and cons before taking action. Let’s have a look at those:

Pros of starting an event venue

  • Generate high profits from event hosting
  • Create unique and memorable experiences for event attendees
  • Flexibility to grow the business in size, location, and services offered.
  • Expand to multiple venues in your local or regional
  • Opportunity to collaborate with vendors in the events industry, such as caterers, florists, event planners etc.
  • The ability to network with potential new customers through events you host

Cons of starting an event venue

  • Capital intensive to start an event venue
  • Finding the right event venue or space which fits your needs and budget can be time-consuming.
  • You may face competition from other event venues in the area
  • There is potential for large amounts of liability
  • Event catering, entertainment, décor etc., can often require a significant amount of investment.
  • An event venue business requires a lot of hard work and dedication to be successful in the long run.

Starting an event venue business can be a highly rewarding venture, both financially and emotionally. The events industry can be tough, and I can only speak from personal experience, but when it’s all working well and you stand back, it’s a pretty incredible feeling!

How to start an event venue business

Starting a new event venue business is becoming increasingly popular; there’s never been a better time to break into this growing industry.

But before we learn how to start an event venue business, we must consider why you want to do this.

Running event venues can be challenging but also a rewarding experience. It requires a special skill set to anticipate customer needs, manage event logistics and create memorable experiences.

Successful event venue businesses require long hours and dedication, successfully accommodating various tasks and roles at any time.

As a manager of an event venue, I’ve cleaned toilets, emptied tables and even had to mop up sick. I still loved every minute!

Before diving into the event venue business, you should first consider the type of space you want to run. Do you want an indoor area or an outdoor one?

From weddings to corporate events, event venues offer an opportunity to host unique experiences while making a profit. With the correct planning and preparation, event venue owners can quickly establish a successful business in their local area, so if you’re ready for an exciting journey into entrepreneurship.

In my experience of running event venues, it is all about the little details that make a single event for a client, but you can’t ignore the bigger picture of running an event venue business.

Identify the need for an event venue in your area.

Identifying the need to start an event venue in your area is essential to make it a successful business. By understanding what potential customers are looking for in terms of event services, amenities and locations, you can ensure enough demand to support your venture.

Knowing the local market will also help you determine which target events would be most profitable based on current trends and needs within your region.

Additionally, assessing the competition from existing businesses will allow you to carve out a unique niche or set yourself apart from other competitors by offering specialized services. With this knowledge, you can create a plan for success!

Conduct extensive market research.

Network with potential clients

People Networking

Speak to event managers or event management companies in your local area and get feedback on their event venue needs. Ask what types of spaces they often use, what audience capacity they’re looking for, and if they have any challenges they face when looking for event venues. This can give you a good understanding of the needs in your local event venue industry, as well as any potential competition.

Make a list of potential competitors.

Find out what event spaces already exist in your local area and how they compare to what event planners are looking for. Knowing the local businesses can help you identify gaps in the market, allowing you to determine where your event venue business could fit in best.

Think about the types of events you could host

Consider the events you would like to support. Think about the event venue you could offer, such as outdoor, private spaces, and other unique event venue ideas. This will help you determine which event types are most suitable for your event venue business.

Use SWOT to analyze what you find.

My top tip here would be to use a tool like SWOT to analyze each of your competitors. Try to understand their weaknesses in terms of their audience, venue or location and consider how to make this an advantage for your event venue.

Identify the target market for your new event space.

In my experience, it is challenging for a single event venue to target all potential event clients. That’s why successful event businesses focus on a specific target audience that best suits their event venue capabilities. This is an essential part of starting an event venue business, but it is often overlooked in the planning stages.

NOTE: this might be one of your competitors’ weaknesses identified in the SWOT; you choose to serve an audience not currently catered for in the local area.

The target audience for event venues will vary based on the event location and event types offered. Generally, event venues should focus on specific target markets that best fit their space, such as corporate events, birthday celebrations, wedding receptions, or other special occasions.

A while back, I wrote about the different types of events, but if you are short on time, here are some quick ideas for the types of events you might want to target:

  1. Wedding Receptions
  2. Corporate Events
  3. Private Events / Birthdays
  4. Graduations
  5. Business Meeting Space
  6. Networking Events
  7. Music Concerts
  8. Trade Shows & Exhibitions
  9. Sporting Events
  10. Fundraisers

Some of the most profitable events involve large groups of people and multiple event elements. Events such as weddings, corporate events, trade shows & exhibitions, and music concerts can generate more revenue than other event types because they often require more time and venue space.

The audience of any potential event can also make a big difference to profit, especially considering secondary spending.

Secondary spending refers to the additional money attendees spend on food, drinks, event merchandise, and entertainment. It is often overlooked or neglected when event organizers are planning their event budget, but it can make a significant difference to event profits.

Once you’ve identified the event types you are most suitable for, you can search for the right space to start an event venue.

Identify A Location For Your Event Venue

Venue Map

The best location for an event venue is easily accessible and offers event organizers plenty of options. For events such as weddings, corporate events, or large-scale gatherings, event venues should be near public transportation to make it easier for attendees to access the venue.

This was one of the key challenges I had with my very first venue. There was a minimal number of parking spaces adjacent to the venue, often putting off would-be hirers and attendees.

For any event venue intended for smaller gatherings, event organizers should look for spaces that provide an intimate and unique atmosphere.

Intimate event venues often offer more flexibility in terms of event layout and event design.

When looking for a venue, consider factors such as size, location, accessibility, and amenities.

Here are some ideas for searching for potential locations in your local area:

  1. Online real estate listing websites, such as LoopNet (US LinkUK Link), allows you to search for commercial spaces by location, size, and price range.
  2. Contacting a commercial real estate agent or broker who can help you find spaces that meet your specific needs and negotiate lease terms on your behalf.
  3. Using social media to network and connect with landlords, property managers, and other industry professionals who may know of upcoming vacancies.
  4. Checking local classifieds and newspapers for listings of commercial spaces for rent.
  5. Attend local business networking events.
  6. Searching for commercial spaces on online marketplaces such as Craigslist and Gumtree.
  7. Walk around and look for empty premises that could be potential event venues!

In the United States, you need to be aware of zoning, which defines the types of businesses that can operate in a particular area. Check with your local city planning office.

In the UK, you need to know that different premises have different use classes. There is an excellent guide to planning classes by the Planning Geek. 

Create Your Event Venue Business Plan

Venue Business Plan

A venue owner must have a business plan that outlines the goals, strategies, and resources of an event venue business. It serves as a roadmap to guide event organizers in making sound decisions and helps them stay focused on their event objectives.

A detailed event venue business plan is critical for success when starting a venue business. A business plan should not only include the venue’s mission, goals and objectives but also outline the target markets, event fees, marketing plans, event logistics and event budgets.

When creating a business plan for an event venue, event organizers should consider factors such as market research and industry trends to help them identify the event types and event services that will generate the most revenue.

In addition to this, event organizers should also consider event pricing and event fees, budgeting for event staff & event supplies, and developing marketing plans to reach event attendees.

By creating a comprehensive business plan, owners can make sure their event venue is well-prepared for event bookings and event attendees.

If you want to learn how to create an effective venue business plan, then Skillshare has just what you need! Their online courses provide event organizers with the knowledge they need to craft event plans that will help them reach their goals and maximize their potential. With our easy-to-follow lessons, event organizers will have all the resources they need to create detailed plans that include market research, industry trends, event pricing & fees, budgeting for staff & supplies, marketing plans and more!

Sign up today and get started on your journey towards success as an event planner! The link below gives you one month of free access to all of their courses.

Sign up for SkillShare

But let’s look at some of the specific areas you should include in your venue business plan.

Develop Your Event Venue Business Model

The event venue business model is a vital strategy event organizers should consider when starting an event venue business. Developing a sound business model can help owners better anticipate potential costs and profits, as well as identify the event types and event services that can generate the most revenue.

Event Venue Business Pricing

When venue owners are creating their business model, they should consider factors such as event fees, event staff/supplies, event space layout/design, marketing strategies and customer service practices.

The top three pricing strategies for event venues are hourly, package, and event-based:

  1. Hourly event venue pricing is a popular approach for event organizers due to its flexibility and simplicity. An event venue typically charges an hourly rate for the use of their space, which event organizers must pay regardless of the event type or the number of guests.
  2. Package event venue pricing strategy is ideal for event organizers who are looking to book their event space for multiple uses throughout a period of time. An event venue charges a flat fee for the use of the event space for an extended period, which provides event organizers with a discounted rate and more predictable costs.
  3. Event-based event venue pricing is a great option for event organizers who need to book event space for specific event types. An event venue typically charges an event-based rate for the use of their event space, which takes into account the amount of time needed, the number of guests and other event services that may be required.

Event Venue Business Catering

It would help if you considered where to offer catering services for the venue; there are several factors to consider. It is essential to determine if your event venue has the necessary kitchen facilities and equipment to prepare and serve food. 

If not, you may have to invest in the right supplies and tools needed for a successful event catering service.

Business plans are essential for an event venue business that need to raise finance. An entire business plan is a must-have when seeking investments, as investors will want to know all the details of your event venue and services.

Event Venue Business Promotion

Venue Marketing

Marketing event venues can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Sadly it is not just about setting up social media accounts; it takes a bit more than that.

With the right strategies in place and some creativity, event organizers can create an event venue that is both inviting and functional for their guests.

With the right plan of action in place, event organizers can ensure their event venue stands out from the competition and attracts potential customers.

In my experience, there is no silver bullet to doing this, as a wide range of factors such as location, target audience, and marketing costs impact what you can do.

MY KEY TIP: Understand who your target audience is and which marketing channels work best to reach out to them!

Here are some ideas to consider

  1. Create a website with photos, videos, and information about the event space to showcase its features and capabilities.
  2. Utilize social media platforms to reach a broad audience and promote the event space. You may want to consider advertising on things like Facebook to get the best traction.
  3. Partner with local event planners and vendors to promote the event space to their clients.
  4. Reach out to local media outlets to generate press coverage for the event space.
  5. Offer special deals or promotions for first-time bookers.
  6. Host open houses or tours of the event space to give potential clients a firsthand look.
  7. Create a referral program to incentivize current clients to refer friends and family.
  8. Use targeted online advertising to reach potential clients in your area.
  9. Network with other event venues to cross-promote each other’s spaces.
  10. Make sure the event space is easily searchable on Google and other search engines by optimizing the website and listing it on online directories.

How to register your Event Venue Company

I must stress that you have a responsibility to check the requirements for this in your local jurisdiction. If in doubt, consult local legal or financial professionals who would be able to advise you best.

As a venue owner, you will be responsible for all of the small business administration, including business expenses, operating expenses, startup costs and cash flow.

That said, a broad overview of business options in the United States and the United Kingdom looks like this.

United States

When registering a company in the United States, event organizers should be aware of several key steps involved. To register a business in the US, owners must decide what type of business entity they want to form and then follow the necessary procedures for registration.

The different types of business entities in the United States include sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), corporation, and non-profit organization. Each type of business entity has unique advantages and disadvantages that event organizers should consider before deciding which one is best for their business.

For more information, check out the US. Small Business Administration website here.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, event organizers have several business entity options to choose from when registering a company. These include sole traders, partnerships, limited companies, charities, and Community Interest Companies (CICs).

Sole traders are legal entities that are owned and managed by one individual. This type of business entity is attractive to event organizers because it requires little paperwork and is relatively easy to set up. There is personal liability associated with this route which means you are personally responsible for any debts of the business.

Partnerships involve two or more people who share ownership of a business. At the same time, limited companies are owned by shareholders. They have limited liability, meaning that any losses incurred by the business cannot be attributed to the shareholders’ personal assets.

A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is an attractive option for event organizers in the UK as it offers several benefits. Firstly, an LLC offers limited liability, meaning that the event organizer’s personal assets are protected from any losses incurred by the business.

For more information, check the UK Government business advice website here.

In all cases, you must register your event venue business with the appropriate tax authority to pay the required taxes on any profits you make. This is the IRS in the United States and HMRC in the United Kingdom.

Get the Required Business Licenses and Permits

As with the previous section, you should consult with local legal professionals to fully understand the proper licenses and permits you will need to operate your business.

In most countries, you will need a license or permits to operate an event venue, including serving alcohol (liquor license) and live musical performances.

Designing and setting up the space

Venue Layout

Event venues should be multifunctional because they offer organizers who book events a unique opportunity to create an atmosphere and experience that attendees will never forget.

What hirers will look for

With the right design and layout, hirers of your venue can customize the space to accommodate any event- corporate meetings, team building activities, private social events, trade shows, conferences, and many more.

When designing an event space, you should consider the likely event goals, event attendees, event technology requirements, and event budget of potential hirers.

Clients will want to make sure that the event space layout allows for adequate walking space, seating capacity for all guests, access to power outlets for event AV equipment such as projectors or microphones, and event lighting that is appropriate for the event.

Finally, event planners will also consider the event furniture they want to include in their event space, such as tables, chairs, and couches.

Event furniture can be rented or purchased to fit any event style. It will depend on your initial startup budget as to whether you buy these outright or hire them in the initial period of operation.

Optimize the layout for your business model

Optimizing the event venue layout is key to creating a successful business model. Being flexible allows incoming event planners to use the space as their see fit.

In my experience, when you are doing client visits to the space, affording them the maximum flexibility to create their event means you are much more likely to win the event.

A word of caution here, no event venue can be all things to all clients or customers. It is worth designing the space to suit a handful of event types, hopefully, the ones you identified in your market research.

Consider the flow of people in the event space.

A key consideration should be maximizing guest flow and comfort, as this will have a significant impact on event success.

Unless the type of event calls for it, don’t just pack an event space with tables. You need to think about how much space people have to move around.

An exception here would be any kind of music event venue, like a concert, where you actually want a decent amount of people to create a great atmosphere.

To ensure smooth movement, you should consider factors such as allowing room for guests to mingle and providing adequate seating arrangements.

It’s also important to consider the venue and how best to use it. Event organizers will pay special attention to lighting, furniture, and decorations.

Consider the technical equipment needed.

Venue Audio

The technical equipment requirements for your potential venue space will vary wildly, and so will the costs!

You might only need a few socket outlets for a yoga class, right through to significant power requirements for large concerts.

You will need to decide whether or not you should rent additional equipment, such as audio-visual equipment (e.g. projectors), sound systems, dance floors and stage lighting.

In some cases, hirers may also consider hiring event production professionals who can support planning and organization.

Finally, any venue rental business needs to plan for event security, which might include hiring event security personnel or event organizers need to ensure that the event venue has proper safety measures in place. This may also include security systems like CCTV.

Ultimately, event organizers will want to create an event venue space that is both inviting and functional.

Managing And Running An Event Venue Business

Hire great staff.

Hiring great staff for event venue businesses is essential for successful event planning, organization, and execution. To ensure you hire the best possible event staff, event venue businesses should take a thoughtful and comprehensive approach to recruitment.

The first step to hiring great event staff for event venue businesses is creating a detailed job description outlining the qualifications and responsibilities necessary for the position.

The job description should include skills such as planning, organization, communication, and customer service experience. It should also list specific requirements such as knowledge of event technology, availability outside of normal office hours when needed, or special certifications or licenses.

Get Business Insurance for Your Event Venue Business

Insuring an event venue business is an essential part of running a successful event. Event organizers should consider getting event insurance to protect themselves and their guests from potential losses.

Insurance policies for event venues are designed to protect event organizers and event attendees from potential losses. Event venue insurance offers liability and event cancellation coverage, providing event organizers with the peace of mind that their event will be protected. Liability coverage protects event planners in case event attendees suffer bodily injury or property damage while at the event and event cancellation.

Developing policies and procedures for booking and hosting events

It would be best if you had robust policies in place to deal with things when they go wrong. This could include policies on cancellation, entry, food hygiene or the admittance of children.

Event Venue Business FAQs

Do I need a business loan?

If the event venue is already established and equipped, then a business loan may not be necessary.

What is a venue checklist?

A venue checklist is an important tool for event planners, as it helps to ensure that all necessary steps have been taken and all details have been accounted for when opening a venu

Do I need a business bank account?

It is essential to open a dedicated business bank account when starting an event space business. This will help you keep track of your income and expenses and manage your finances more effectively.

What Are The Different Types Of Events? Learn what YOU need to know!

What are the different types of event

I’ve had the privilege of working in the events industry for over 25 years, so I’m very familiar with the different event types.

In this post, I’m going to try and explain how the industry is broken down into different sectors so if you’re new to the industry or looking to start a career here you can understand what are the different types of events you need to know about.

There are fundamentally two types of events, business, and leisure. Underneath these, there is a wide range of sub-sectors covering a vast array of different event types.

First of all, let’s start with the basics of what is an event, event management, and then the different types of events.

By the way, here is one of my favourite venues, Silverstone in the UK:

Types of Events: Silverstone

What Is An Event?

Events are temporary, occur once, and involve the assembly of people for a particular purpose

Although events are often held on an annual basis, they are still considered temporary. 

The events industry in the US was valued at ¢1,135.4 billion in 2019 according to Allied Research. It is expected to reach $1,552.9 billion by 2028 so the opportunities around event management will continue to expand.

How to plan an event

FREE guide to planning an event

24-page starter guide, which includes event planning finances, marketing, and much more!

What Is Event Management?

Events management is considered the practice of the organization, implementation, or coordination of activities related to achieving the event objectives.

Ultimately all events need people to organize and coordinate them, but it comes with pressure. Because events occur only once and have a deadline, there can be tremendous pressure on organizers who must be skilled in event management. 

According to Careercast being an event planner is the 5th most stressful job in America (After being in the military, firefighter, and pilots!).

Event planners often use specialized event management software to successfully coordinate all of the moving parts involved in delivering a major event.

Why Do People Attend Events?

For any event, It is really important to understand who the target audience is. By doing this you can better design the event experience for them. 

According to research some of the motivations to attend events include:

  • To relax and have fun
  • Socialize with friends
  • Participate in activities
  • Experience new things
  • Do something different
  • To celebrate something

Further to this, make sure that you do research on your audience both before and after your event so that you can improve their experience in the future.  

What Are The Different Types of Events?

There are many different ways in which events are defined. 

For the most part, we can categorize events either by size or type. There are other methods, but these two are the most common to use.

What Are The Different Types Of Events By Size?

There are typically 4 ways of categorizing events by size:

Local Events

These are the smallest events and can include things like a local community festival or a local business networking lunch. On their own, they are unlikely to draw a huge audience or generate much interest from a tourism perspective. 

The impacts of events like these are likely to be limited on the local economy and require few resources to plan and implement them.

Major Events

The next step up is major events, and the major difference with these events is that they attract people from outside the location as visitors. 

These events are typically hosted by large venues or towns and cities to generate economic income from visitors.

Examples might be a city food festival or a large trade show where people will travel solely for the event.

Hallmark Events

Hallmark events are those that become very associated with the place in which they are held. These events have a huge appeal to visitors and generate large numbers of economic income.

There is usually national or international media coverage of the event. A good example of a Hallmark event is the Glastonbury music festival. This event is synonymous with the small town bearing the same name (although the festival is actually held a few miles away, closer to a village called Pilton). 


Mega events are the largest of all both in terms of their impact and the number of people who attend. example of a mega-event is the Olympic games or the FIFA World Cup. 

Both of these events take place every 4 years and move around the world in a competitive bidding process.

For the host city or country, there is the opportunity for extensive media coverage from around the world which can lead to substantial economic income and regeneration.

In 2022, I was lucky enough to attend one such Mega-Event, The Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, UK. I had a pretty good view as you can see:

Types of Events - Commonwealth Games, 2022

What Are The Different Types Of Events By Type?

There are two different types of events, business, and leisure. All events will fit into one of these two categories. 

Now within each of these two sectors, there are multiple sub-sectors of events. It is even possible for leisure and business events to crossover.

Event Types

Different Types of Events – Business

As the name suggests this relates to all business events that take place in the course of the workplace or doing business. These are often referred to as corporate events.

During the pandemic, many businesses turned to virtual events to keep the flow of business going. A virtual event involves people attending only via the internet on software such as Zoom.

Corporate Events

Every type of business will be involved in some kind of event from freelancers to large international corporations. At each of these levels, the objectives to host or attend a corporate event will be different depending on what outcomes they are seeking, for example, lead generation.

The most comment type of corporate event that most business organizations will engage with are meetings, seminars, tradeshows or exhibitions. 

Corporate event planners are one of the most common roles in the events industry.

For example at a trade show, there may also be seminars, workshops, or networking events alongside the main activity of the exhibition stands.


Seminars are small events that have a specific focus and a particular target audience in mind. They generally take place in a business environment and serve to deliver highly useful information on the subject matter.  This is often educational content.

Seminars often include speakers who will lead and contribute to the subject matter and stimulate discussion around the room.

Networking Events

Networking is one of the main reasons why people attend a corporate event. Networking opportunities can help grow businesses, and promote collaborations and partnerships. Forbes gives three reasons why business people should consider attending networking events. 

As with some of the larger events, networking opportunities can often be part of things like conferences and trade shows. event organizers will make time and space for people to network and connect, both face-to-face and using technology.


Conferences are large versions of seminars and have multiple tracks or themes running through the entire event. 

Conferences are often organized by trade associations or membership organizations to invite their members (mostly annually) to come together for information sharing and networking. 

These events can often have a social element or trade show attached to them. A conference is also very good at reaching a wide range of audiences interested in a particular subject.


Tradeshow - Formula E - Saudia

Trade shows focus on personal selling either to other businesses or to consumers.

Trade shows and exhibitions have booths that businesses book to meet and network with potential customers. 

Alongside the exhibition or trade show, there are likely to be other activities such as seminars and workshops.  

Trade shows are often used by businesses for lead generation for their business comma to network with existing customers or to Showcase new products or services.


These slightly different versions of business events where the owners may be on collaborate between parties to offer some kind of training sessions. 

Workshops can often be used to bring ideas together from a group of people such as employees or members of an organization.  They can also be used to solve a problem or develop a strategy and are particularly good in this respect for inclusion and collaboration.

Team Building Events

Team building events are fun activities that help groups of people work together better. They can be games, challenges or projects that require everyone to cooperate and communicate.

A good team building event can help people get to know each other better and build trust, which can make working together easier and more enjoyable!

Product Launches

A product launch event is a way for a business to formally announce a new product line or service. They are often invite-only including key members of the press and industry in the hope they will attract positive media coverage. 

It is usual for a senior executive from the business to give a keynote speech and for a product demonstration to take place. It is also common for product launch events to be live-streamed on the internet.

Here is Steve Jobs launching the first ever iPhone at an event in 2007:

Product Demonstrations

As we mentioned above, product demonstrations are often part of a product launch event, but they can also be individual events in their own right. They are often used to attract media coverage for a new product or service, particularly in a business-to-business environment. 

They also take place in business-to-customer environments such as supermarkets or shopping malls.

This activity is often called experiential marketing as businesses pay to allow customers to try their product or service for free in the hope that they will buy it.

Keynotes / Lectures

Keynote speeches are often a common way to open a large event like a conference or trade show by inviting an established or renowned speaker from a particular industry to come and give the keynote speech. 

This type of event can also be found as an event on its own, more often known as a lecture. these can be academic or industry based. They are often by invitation only, but some do sell tickets. 

Awards Night

Awards nights are often part of a larger event, but they can also exist as standalone occurrences.  there is usually a gala dinner attached to an awards night where are guests present awards to winners throughout the evening. 

The dress code for awards night is typically formal and often by invite only, although some do sell tickets. 

Different Types of Events – Leisure

Leisure events cover a broad range of different events that can range from a very small gathering of people right up to hundreds of thousands attending. 

One of the key differences between business and leisure events is that people are looking for experiences from leisure events. This is therefore a key criterion when planning this type of event.

Another difference with leisure events is that the attendees are general members of the public and not businesses. 

Leisure events can be broadly split into four areas, social, sport, cultural, and community. 

Different Types of Events – Social

Private Parties

Private parties range in size and in value. these cover everything from birthday parties, christenings, baby showers graduation parties. 

Most of these types of events will be organized privately by members of the public, but there are event planners who are businesses supporting people planning just this type of event. 

One of the key opportunities around private parties is the opportunity for themed events. Think Halloween, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, etc. Check out this page from Eventologists for some 75 party theme ideas to inspire you.


In 2019, 2.02 million people in the US got married (Statista). Weddings are very personal events and vary greatly across different cultures and religions around the world. 

Couples will often employ an event planner to support their big day given how much they can cost. According to The Knot, in 2021 the average cost of a wedding was $28,000!


Reunions are the coming together of former friends and colleagues from High School, College or workplaces for a short-term celebration and to catch up.  

The organizing of reunions has been made much easier since the advent of social media and our ability to connect with old friends and colleagues in a much easier way.

Nightclub events


Nightclub events have been in existence through most of the 20th century. essentially they are held during the nights in music venues across the country where the predominant activity is to go for a drink, socialize, and dance. 

There are variations of this concept comma particularly live music venues which operate slightly differently word primary driver of footfall is the music rather than the socializing or consumption of alcohol. If you are interested in how venues make money, see my other post on this topic

In the UK night clubs have seen a decline in popularity since the covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and the cost-of-living crisis in 2022 where it was estimated that night clubs are closing at a rate of one every two days. 

Different Types of Events – Sport

Sports events cover both participation and spectator. Statista reports that the sports event market was worth $12.44bn in 2022 and is expected to continue to grow. 

There is a clear cross-over between these two types of events as people often go to spectator other people participating in events.

Participation Sports Events

These events involve individuals or teams entering into and participating in competitive sports. The motivations and abilities will vary amongst different audiences but include events like running marathons, local soccer tournaments, athletics, or even dragon boat racing like this event in Hong Kong:

Spectator Sports Events

There are spectator sports events of all different sizes ranging from local community sport teams right through to mega-events like the Olympics and FIFA World Cups. As mentioned previously, these events move from country to country through a competitive bidding process.

Some of these sports events have built big brands like the NFL, The NBA, Formula 1 or Premier League soccer, which have revenues in the millions of dollars. 

Different Types of Events – Cultural

Music Concerts and Festivals

Music concerts and festivals involve performances of musicians to mass audiences. There are concert venues ranging from less than 100 people right up to the largest festivals in the world like Donauinselfest in Austria which attacts over 2 million attendees (BBC)

Music concerts and festivals are big business, in 2022 revenue in this sector is expected to reach $8.49 billion and then continue to grow at an annual rate of 9.49% (Statista)

Venues are an important part of this industry, see how they make money in this other post I wrote. 

Food Festivals 

Another important cultural event for many cities. Food festivals often showcase local food and drink from regional producers. They can often be combined with other types of events, such as music festivals. The Big Feastival is a great example of this, I took my family to this a couple of years ago!

These events have the ability to be high-value tourism events and elevate themselves into hallmark events where they become synonymous with the place they are held. 

There are some great examples of this, such as Ludlow Food Festival in the UK, Taste of Chicago or the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience.

Different Types of Community Events

Community Events

Such is the depth and variety of community events that is almost impossible to list them all individually in a post of this size.

One of the most common attributes though of community events is it they are planned by the community for the community. There is little or no tourism or economic gain from community events.

Check out this post for 15 ideas for community events

Charity Events

Charity events are special occasions where people come together to help others in need. They can be a fundraising event, like a walk or auction, where money is collected to support a good cause. People might also volunteer their time to help others directly, like serving food at a homeless shelter. Charity events are a great way to make a difference and show kindness to others!

So there you have it, a quick introduction to the types of event across the industry. We hope you liked it!


Number of marriages in the United States from 1990 to 2020 – Statista: https://www.statista.com/statistics/195931/number-of-marriages-in-the-united-states-since-1990/

This Was the Average Cost of a Wedding in 2021 – The Knot: 


Sports Events – United States


How do venues make money?

How do venues make money?

Event venues come in all shapes and sizes, but often there are common income sources across each. Understanding what these are and how to maximize them is key to turning a profit with your events.

Venues make money through the sale of event tickets, food, drink, merchandise and venue hire. Additional sources of income include sponsorship or VIP experiences

I was a venue manager for over ten years, there is plenty to be said for the profession, it can be extremely rewarding, but you have to have your wits about you to make sure that your venue can make money and a profit. It is true that sometimes venues can be free (see my other post on this), but there are many other ways that event venues can make money.

Music Event Venue

Venues can host many different types of events such as music concerts, weddings, conferences, art exhibitions and many more. Broadly a venue will fall into one of these groups:

Music / Arts Venues – The kind that host live music, arts, or cultural shoes

Business Venues – Those specifically tailored to conferences or exhibitions

Personal Event Venues – Those tailored to personal events, mainly things like weddings. 

Multifunctional Venues – Those with the capacity to host a mix of the above using highly configurable setups.

Generally, the income and profit are likely to be lowest for music and arts venues. There is little margin in the business model of short events (like music shows) where there may only be a few hours to sell some drinks. 

On the other side, high-standard business or personal event venues can command significant venue rentals and these events benefit from a much longer dwell time. Dwell time is the time you have to sell attendees additional products like food, drink or merchandise. 

How to plan an event

FREE guide to planning an event

24-page starter guide, which includes event planning finances, marketing, and much more!

How do event venues make money?

Each of those different venue groups above will have various sources of income, some of which will be more lucrative than others. Here are the most common forms of income for event venues:

Venue income from event tickets

Many venues that promote their own events or shows will sell tickets for them. This can be a small or very large fee depending on the show or entertainment. In the case of live music, the price is defined by the popularity of the headline artist. See our post on how to price event tickets here for more information. 

Venue income from food

Food is a great source of income for many event venues, particularly those that host dinners, weddings, or parties. Food can also be a good source of income for business events which often span several days and so must provide food to their delegates. The price of the food will depend on the quality of the food and of the venue. It is likely many venues will offer food menus in a variety of different price ranges to suit different clients. 

Venue income from drinks

As with food, selling drinks can be highly lucrative. For business events, this will mainly be refreshment but can involve some alcohol sales. For those music/arts venues or wedding venues, selling drinks is an essential part of the experience for attendees. As with food, the price will largely depend on the quality of the drink and the service style (bar or table service for example). Some venues often bring in mobile bars if they don’t have an in-house service. 

Venue income from merchandise

Merchandise can be another great source of income for certain venues. These is typically music/arts venues and form part of things like live music concerts where people wish to take home a memento of the event. It’s unlikely (but not impossible) that business or wedding venues might sell some merchandise.

Venue income from VIP experiences

Those event venues that operate their own events, particularly music events, can upsell VIP packages such as booths or drinks in order to raise additional income. Typically these have a very high margin and can be very lucrative.

Venue income from venue hire

For many venues, this will be the biggest source of income and the basis of their business model. In essence, venues will charge people to use the space. Venues often offer different packages for different event styles and budgets in order to appeal to the widest possible audience. There are commonly two types of venue hire: 

Event Venue Dry Hire

The venue is hired as an empty shell and the hirer must provide all content and decorations themselves.

Event Venue Wet Hire

The venue provides additional services such as food, drink and decorations.

How much does it cost to run a music venue?

There are numerous costs associated with running a venue, and while there are some nuisances with different styles of venue, there are often common overheads. 

Venues are expensive to run, with operating costs ranging from anything from $100,000 to multiple millions of dollars. The size, type, and location of the venue play a large role in how high these costs will be.

Let’s look at some of the major overheads you would face running a music venue right now. 

Event Venue Costs

Rent, mortgage, or loan repayment

This is often one of the biggest costs and depends on the circumstances of the venue. Often venues are leased and so regular rent is due and this is set by the landlord at the start of any agreement. This should stay reasonably constant whether the venue is trading well or badly. 


This is another major cost and venues often rely on a high number of temporary or part-time staff due to the nature of the business. Some weeks can be very busy and others not, some using part-time or flexible staff is key to keeping on top of costs. 


This will depend largely on the kind of venue in question. Some venues do not take the risk of promoting their own events and so leave this to any hirer or promoter. A small music venue may choose to do this and so will incur the costs of booking things like bands and the associated costs (sound and lighting) needed to put on the show. On the other hand, business events can be largely dry hire, where the venue is hired as an empty canvas. 

How can I make money with a small venue?

There are three main ways to make money with a small venue: dry hire, wet hire or promoting events. Each carries a different level of requirement and risk for a venue owner.

As mentioned above, dry hire means hiring the venue as a blank canvas to someone, wet hire is the same, but you are able to sell add-ons such as food and drink. Promoting events means taking all of the risks of getting attendees to the venue yourself and then selling them add-ons like food and drink.


So there you have it, a full list of everything that goes into the average event venue’s budget. Of course, every venue is different and will have unique costs depending on its size, location, and amenities. But this should give you a good idea of what to expect when planning your next event. If you are interested in starting your own event venue or space, then check out this post I wrote on the subject.

What is Event Design?

What is event design?

The concept of event design is often confused with just being about the event decoration, but it goes much beyond that.

With over 20 years of experience in events, I understand how important this is in event planning from start to finish to give attendees the best experience. 

Successful event design uses a deep understanding of attendees to design event experiences that engage with the senses, creating memorable and emotional responses that satisfy or exceed expectations. It is a key component of modern-day event planning.

While decorations may form part of delivering this experience, it is only one part of it. There is increased demand from all stakeholders associated with events. There are also growing pressures from corporate social responsibility and technology, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic events must now factor in.

What is meant by event design?

Event design is how we consider the entire experience of an event attendee. In academic literature, these are also referred to as touchpoints. Event design considers all of these touchpoints in the attendee journey, from first discovering the event through its delivery and final evaluations. 

Why is event design important?

“If we don’t design, we leave the experience to chance; if we do design, we increase the predictability of the event outcome.” 

(Berridge, 2012).

The working environment for event managers is ever-changing, so there is a need to understand event design and the new challenges they face. Crowther (2014) suggests that there are four key areas in a shifting landscape that make event design important:

1. Heightened Attendee Expections

These reflect the changing world we live in. Younger generations are driven more by deeper immersive and individualized experiences. This trend is spurred on by the increasing pace of technology where we don’t have to be in a physical space to experience the event! Capturing this trend is a crucial part of setting realistic objectives through event design. 

2. A Competitive Event Marketing Plan

has flourished off the back of our increasing desire for these more immersive experiences. The industry continues to thrive, and attendees show a strong appetite for engaging in real and virtual worlds. Because of this, events need to find new ways to stand out and be different; thus, the design of events becomes critical. 

3. Instrumental in getting event investment

Investment in events is vital, and pressure from event funders is ever-increasing, so the need to demonstrate a return on investment is paramount to ensuring the viability of events in the future. With this in mind, the event’s design needs to reflect how the backers of an event perceive its success. 

4. Responsibility for wider impact.

Responsibility for wider impact. There are increasing layers of impacts beyond where the event simply takes place. Events can no longer just consider economic sustainability. They also need to consider their environmental and social impact as attendees are increasingly aware of these impacts. Therefore, the event design needs to consider the different facets of potential effects that surround each event. 

I highly recommend the book these ideas come from if you’re interested in reading more, I use it all the time to teach our event management degree course. You can buy it here at Amazon

Strategic Event Creation

Strategic Event Creation


Info Box

Click here to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Info Box

Click here to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

What are the elements of event design?

There are two main aspects of event design, strategic design and operation design. 

Strategic Design

Strategic event design is a process for creating events that are aligned with an organization’s goals and objectives. It involves a systematic approach to planning and executing events that are intended to achieve specific outcomes.

This can include events such as conferences, meetings, trade shows, product launches, and other types of corporate or social events. In strategic event design, the focus is on creating an event that is not only enjoyable and engaging for attendees, but also serves a larger purpose in advancing the organization’s mission and goals.

In my personal experience of event planning, this aspect considers the objectives, outcomes, purpose, or theme of the event. Setting realistic objectives at the start of any project allows the client to say yes and the successful delivery of the event through the operational design. 

Operational Design

The operational design considers how the physical elements of the event are delivered. This would include things like the decor, food and entertainment. This ultimately provides the experience to event attendees. 

How do I create an event design?

There are a couple of initial steps to follow in creating a successful event design:

  1. Set clear objectives and outcomes

The first step is to establish why you are running the event and how you plan to measure it’s a success. Without setting good objectives, you can never know this. The objectives you select need to be SMART, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound.

  1. Answer the 5Ws – Why, what, when, who, where 

The 5W’s help you to understand the critical strategic elements of an event and so design an event more strategically. To get started, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why are you holding the event? Why can mean asking fundamental questions about the purpose of the event? This includes things such as what is its overall goals or why attendees chose your event over another. 
  • What do attendees want to get out of the event? Think about what the attendees are looking for as a key takeaway from the event. Some things can be planned very far in advance, while some need to be arranged closer to the event date. This question also considers the event’s main programme and how to offer actual value to the attendees. 
  • When will the event take place? Lots of factors play into this, such as venue availability, attendee readiness. You should also consider how often the event will occur, perhaps every year, two years etc. 
  • Who are the attendees? Here you need to think about buying personas. If you haven’t already done so, you should be segmenting your customer base and deciding who the target audience is. This alone can make or break the success of your event.
  • Where is the event being held? Consider the venue, the host city, how this impacts travel decisions for your attendees. Is there sufficient hotels of the required standard near to the event? 

Best event design courses

Many university undergraduate degree courses in event management will likely cover event design. I know because the university I work at delivers this. 

However, for someone already working in the industry, you probably have two options.  The first is seeking out a University Master’s course such as this one at Sheffield Hallam University or taking an online training course. 

With most university degrees, you will likely find that event design is only one part of the course. Undertaking a Masters degree can also be expensive and takes numerous years when studying part-time. 

For some, this length of course may be a great option, but for others they may find online training courses offer a more flexible way to learn the skills around event design.

One such example of an online training course comes from Event Design Collective. Their online training course is based around the event design canvas, a freely available adaption of traditional business models but for event design.  what are they deliver training in person, you can also choose to study online you can find out more at their website 


Here are the sources used in this article; if you are interested in reading more about this topic, I suggest the Strategic Event Creation book as a good starting point. 

Events Design and Experience (2006)

Strategic Event Creation (2014)

What is an event marketing plan?

What is an event marketing plan?

I spent ten years promoting events in music venues, so I have written quite a few marketing plans in my time. There are variations to these depending on the sector of events. This article just focuses on the key elements that will apply to most sectors. 

An event marketing plan shows all of the steps needed to achieve the marketing objectives you set at the start of the event, for example, ticket sales, social engagement or brand awareness. That plan will outline the tools, techniques and channel you will use to achieve those objectives.

Right now, you’ll probably be reading this thinking how to start writing an event marketing plan. It can seem daunting because there is always pressure on to meet event objectives like selling tickets or generating sponsorship. 

Just to be clear, in my view, at this point, an event marketing plan is not the same thing as a marketing event. A marketing event is a type of event ( often for brand awareness) that in itself may have its event marketing plan to attract people to attend.

The key elements of an event marketing plan

  1. Event goals or objectives
  2. Target audience for the event
  3. Marketing channels
  4. Communication and promotional tactics
  5. Marketing timeline
  6. Evaluation

Let look at each of these key elements in detail.

What are my event goals or objectives?

Before you can even begin to write a marketing plan, you need to understand what your event objectives are, also called goals. The terms are interchangeable and can mean slightly different things, but for this article, we will focus on setting your event goals.

These will of course vary from event to event, but you must write these first.

The goals you set must be SMART,  be you can find help on setting smart objectives for events here. By making your event objectives SMART, they should have specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely element. The first two are the most important as it will allow you to under some evaluation of your event marketing plan at the end.

Example of specific event goals

  • Number of tickets to sell
  • To break even financially
  • Engagement on social media (e.g. likes on Facebook) 
  • Clicks on a link on a promotional email
  • QR code scans from a flyer campaign.
  • Sponsors satisfaction.

Your event marketing plan will then illustrate how you intend to achieve those goals. 

Who is the target audience for the event?

A good event marketing plan will clearly illustrate and identify the target audience for your event. The marketing plan will identify this early on clearly describing how the marketing and promotional elements will reach this target audience to satisfy your event objectives.

The target audience for an event can be large or small,  and sometimes you may find that you have more than one audience. 

Having multiple target audiences doesn’t mean you need numerous event marketing plans, but you may need to use different marketing channels such as social media for each. Writing this down in a marketing plan enables you to clear ear about how you will do that.

Which marketing channels will you use?

Your event marketing plan will outline which marketing channels best fit your target audience and therefore offer the best chance of meeting your event goals. You may think that you simply want to use as many marketing channels as possible, but this is untargeted marketing and not advisable.

Untargeted marketing will be expensive as you may be spending money or resources on marketing channels that are not reaching your intended target audience. The alternative to this is to use targeted marketing.

Targeted marketing means you only use those marketing channels where your defined target audience also exist for use.

For example if you wanted to target and mainly teenage audience, you may consider music social media platforms such as Snapchat or Tiktok. This demographic is known to use those marketing channels heavily full stop; this might not be a good strategy if your target audience is made me retired people.

OK, that is a bit of an extreme example. Still, I hope that illustrates why giving due consideration to the marketing channels you intend to use is so essential, especially if you are on on the tight budget and have limited resources.

This method target marketing allows you to gain the maximum return turn for the minimum amount of import. Your event marketing plan should therefore include a list of marketing channels most suited to reaching your target audience.

Communication and promotional tactics

Your event marketing plan should be clear ear around the types of communication and the language you plan to use to promote your event full stop this may start with your brand and the values that you wish to be known.

You should consider the type of language that you want to use in all of the communications you plan to put out. Does your event suit a more formal tone, or would you prefer to speak with more casual language? 

It is essential to make this decision early on and then act consistently throughout the promotion of your event. A communication plan in your marketing is all part of delivering a consistent experience to your potential attendees.

For events, photos and videos are now a crucial element of any marketing campaign, and so you need to consider how and when to use them to best effect. 

Videos can be handy for delivering large amounts of information such as ticket prices and release dates without having to post a long page of text and can often be more attractive to view for your audience.

Promotional tactics vary depending on where you are in the timeline of your event marketing plan. It may also depend on how new or popular your event is,

For example, a brand new event may need to employ promotional activities such as ticket discounting during the early part of the marketing campaign, which often helps to get sales moving and maintain adequate cash flow within the event.

Other promotional tactics could include ticket deals for groups, discounted tickets for previous attendees or using partners such as sponsors to help sell the events as they may have a larger audience than you do.

One final point to consider here is how your potential attendees can interact with you. Many events now rely on the co-creation of value, which means allowing attendees to have a voice and contribute towards the event experience.  Consider how you will manage and facilitate this voice to ensure that people feel their views of valued and therefore building a stronger relationship with them.

Marketing timeline

Your timeline is another crucial element of your event marketing plan. When approaching this experience of past events and evaluation of those event marketing plans should allow you to improve this timeline each year. 

Typically these timelines are designed in software such as a spreadsheet (e.g. Excel), but there are custom event management software available. See our resources pages for ideas.

Another tip to give you here is to consider using social media bookers to pre-plan or schedule social media posts. Again depending on the social media that you plan to use it’s worth investigating even what time of the day is the best time to post your content. We have some of our favourites on our resources pages.


Evaluation is always the last thing in your event marketing plan, but it can be the most crucial element if you run an event that happens regularly. One of the reasons that you set yourself SMART objective at the start was so that you can then measure if you achieve those goals within the context of this marketing plan.

You should look back at various checkpoints during the marketing plan, and your goals for that point,  did you achieve these?

Depending on the original goals, there are a variety of tactics that you can use with your evaluation. Sometimes short surveys of customers can best, other times, perhaps you need to engage in some feedback with contractors or suppliers.

So they have a short overview of what an event marketing plan is. There are variations to this depending on the type of event that you have. But all should have these core elements included. 

What is the best Bluetooth card machine for events?

Bluetooth card machine

There are a range of Bluetooth card machines available on the market today, way more than there were a couple of years ago. Sidestepping away from the chunky and unsightly chip and pin fixed to a counter, small businesses (typically with transactions less than £20k a month) can now have smaller, sleek, and more functional card readers that work equally as well.

The iZettle is currently the best all-round contactless card machines to use at events. It offers the widest choice of card accepted as well as all the major contactless card services such as Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay.

Card machines are a great, cost-effective, and easy to use tool for any event business. Over the past few years, there has been a steep increase in people using cashless payment whether it’s through their debit/credit card, apple pay (via phone or watch) or Google pay. In today’s society, it’s seen as an inconvenience if someone doesn’t have a cashless payment option. Additionally, in light of current times (whilst we are in a global pandemic) cashless payment is even more desirable and valuable for a business.

When it comes to choosing a card machine for an events business, there are a few things you will want to consider in order to get the most out of it. Firstly, I should point out that different machines work better or worse in different locations so just be mindful of this. For example, your location could be:

  • Outside at a festival
  • In a warehouse/remote venue
  • In an exhibition centre
  • In a shop/pop up

The biggest barriers with card machines and locations usually are down to signal for the card machine to make the transaction and also power (to charge the unit and or your smartphone). Another key factor is how often you will be using the card machine for your event or business. Daily, monthly once a year? Depending on different readers available this can affect your value for money and overall cost of your card reader.

How do contactless card readers work?

Contactless payment is taken via an app connected to a Bluetooth card reader. The app is provided by a merchant who will process the payment for a transaction fee. The money taken will usually be available within 1-3 days in the nominated bank account.

As a general rule, you get a small card machine which then connects via Bluetooth to a mobile or tablet. On that device, you will need to download an app which then operates the card machine. You are then ready to use it simply by getting someone to tap contactless or enter their pin, just like your normal card machine. 

Most then don’t have a monthly fee or require a contract (although you can often add in some subscription options with your chosen provider). You just need to purchase the card machine at a one-off cost and pay a transaction fee on a Pay as you go basis.

One thing to point out is that you will need either a Wi-Fi connection or 3G/4G connection for the transaction to be processed.

Below I have listed 5 of the most popular card machines for event businesses, listing out some highlights, things to consider as well as costs to help you make more of an informed decision as to what suits your event business the best.

1. Square Terminal


  • Accepts Mastercard, American Express and Visa, both contactless and chip and PIN
  • Can save cards on file for repeat payments
  • Can be used to sell online, collect payments via invoices and by phone
  • Fixed rate of 1.75% per transaction
  • Remote payment (via a link to a customer @ 2.5% transaction fee)
  • No minimum transaction fees


  • £19 + VAT one off cost for the card reader
  • No contract or inactivity fees

There are a series of add-ons that Square offer. To list a few:

  • Can print receipts from the terminal
  • Inventory management via the App
  • Can sync other apps to it to help with business paperwork e.g. accounting, analytics etc.
  • Can track employee performance using the App

Square reader is a cost-effective and user-friendly reader for any business with the advantages of having integration between payments and accounting across your business.

2. Zettle


  • Accepts the widest range of cards out of all 5 in this post (including apple pay)
  • You can choose the colour of your card machine (black or white)
  • No set up or delivery cost
  • Fixed rate of 1.75% per transaction
  • Remote payment (via a link to a customer @ 2.5% transaction fee)
  • Refunds are free to process (and you get the transaction cost back too)
  • Charges via a USB or via a dock (takes 1-2 hours for full charge) and lasts 8hrs or 100 transactions
  • Can also be used to sell your items online via iZettle’s ecommerce site

Things to note:

  • Minimum transaction fee of £1


  • Initial card reader £29 + VAT one off payment

Overall, this is a great and low-cost card reader for any small business looking to take card payments. Not being locked into a contract is a great plus point, meaning you won’t have any ongoing costs after your initial investment in the card reader apart from your transaction fees.

3. SumUp


  • Accepts all major brands of cards
  • Fixed rate of 1.69% per transaction
  • Comes with a white card machine
  • No setup or delivery cost
  • Accepts contactless, chip and PIN and signature cards
  • Remote payment (via a link to a customer @ 2.5% transaction fee)
  • App automatically connects via Bluetooth with card machine when you pick card as payment method
  • Not locked into a contract

Things to note:

  • You don’t get the transaction fee back on any refunds

Initial cost:

  • Card reader costs £29 + VAT and is a one off cost
  • They also offer a 3G card reader (so you don’t need a smartphone) for £69 + VAT

This reader is a good contender with low transaction and initial set up fees. There are just less add-ons and gadgets that work with this reader. However, it comes with a great advantage of not needing a smartphone if you go for the slightly pricier card reader.

4. Worldpay ZINC Reader


  • 24/7 phone support
  • Accept major credit cards
  • Available in black
  • Contactless, chip and PIN and apple watch compatible
  • Remote payment (via a link to a customer based on a transaction fee – quoted by WorldPay)
  • Comes with 12-month warranty for the reader
  • Receipt can be issued by email or SMS instantly

Things to note:

  • A steeper 2.75% transaction fee unless you pay £5.99 a month which then lowers it to 1.95%
  • Fees depend on turnover and a few other variables
  • Sign up for a quote on their website for fees
  • Require PCI (payment card industry) compliance 


  • Card reader £39.99 including VAT but has been as much as £79.99
  • No set up fees beyond buying the card reader (if you are happy with the higher transaction fees)
  • Contract monthly £5.99 if you want lower transaction fees

Although still a highly rated app, the transaction fees are a little steep compared to other competitors in the market. Without any significant plus points over competitors it could be worth looking at others especially if you are on a tight budget.

5.Smart Trade APP


  • Does not require a card reader (just scan card with your smartphone)
  • Option to pass on the card fees to your customer
  • Can be used to pay face to face, over the phone and through paylinks on emails
  • Can create customised invoices to send out
  • Accepts all major cards as well as foreign cards
  • Can send paperless quotes to customers and have a one click button for them to accept
  • Allows easy integration for some accounting e.g. Xero, quickbooks etc.

Things to note:

  • More aimed at tradespeople
  • You are in a contract but can cancel at any time


  • No card reader needed just the app which is free to download
  • They also have a 30-day trial 
  • After the trail you will need to sign up to 1 of 3 plans:
    • Business: (up to 15 users) 1.85% plus 20p flat rate per transaction plus £26.99 a month
    • Enterprise: (Up to 50 users) 1.75% plus 20p flat rate per transaction plus £89.99 a month
    • Sole Trader: (one user) 2.15% plus 20p flat rate per transaction plus £9.99 a month

A great choice for those who don’t want to bother with a card machine and for those who want to pass the transaction fee onto their customers. The higher cost transaction fees and monthly payments would mean it is not so cost-effective for business, but a good option for those with relatively limited but high-value transactions.

As you can see from above there are advantages and disadvantages to all of the top 5 card machines. To help you choose the best one for your event/business type I have set out some influencing factors and recommendations on what card machine might work best for your event or business.

Large scale event e.g. outdoor festival, trade show

Things to consider:

  • Number of hours trading
    • If it’s a long time you will need a power supply
  • Size of event
    • If It’s a large-scale event with lots of other people and vendors, you could be fighting for signal for payments
  • Expected number of transactions
    • Some have minimum spend caps on or have higher charges if you do only a few transactions
  • Expected use
    • Is this a one off or will you use the card regularly? – If it’s a once in a blue moon you use it consider the fact some charge dormant fees.

Good card reader option: iZettle is a great reader when it comes to the following:

  • Battery life and power (charges super quickly and lasts 8 hrs)
  • No fees for inactivity/not regularly used
  • Flat rate for fees no matter how many, although minimum spent of £1 which most of the time is not an issue

When it comes to signal being an issue there is not a huge breakthrough card machine that can overcome this. Some ways to help with this machine are:

  • Send remote payment links (your customer can pay later through a link on their phone if the transaction would not go through).
  • Think about getting yourself a remote dongle so you have your own personal Wi-Fi connection. This will boost your chances of being able to take payment quickly and easily.

Charity Event

  • Fees/cost
    • You want to be paying as little as possible
    • You can even pass on the fees to your customer to keep costs down as much as possible
    • Similarly, you don’t really want to be locked into a contract unless there are some serious benefits for you.
  • Number of transactions
    • Like above, if you rarely plan to use it be careful as some companies charge dormant fees for inactivity.

Based on that, a good card reader option: Although the Smart Trade APP is the best in regards to passing on fees this comes with a monthly minimum cost of £9.99 for a contract. Other competitors for examples square reader don’t have any monthly fees or contract so means you will only be paying a transaction fee, which if you are savvy enough you could include in your selling price to help keep costs to a complete minimum. 

Shop or stall

  • Look
    • Your aesthetic and look may be more important here, so the option of colour is nice.
  • Online selling options
    • Possibility to use the card reader’s eCommerce site to sell your items on to widen your selling opportunities
  • Recurring payment
    • Might want to set up recurring payments if it’s an item someone wants to buy regularly

Good card reader option: iZettle again, is a great option for a shop or stall. With the option to choose white or black carder readers, and the option to sell on iZettle’s eCommerce it’s certainly a good purchase. Although you can’t set up recurring payments you can send regular payment links out manually to customers to get payment. 

To summarise, why are card readers a great investment for your events business?

  • Shorter queues due to quicker transaction times
    • Payment in just a tap as opposed to routing through for change
    • More customers served = more cash and quicker waiting time = happier customers
  • Safety
    • None/less cash on site
    • Money straight into your account (can’t lose it)
  • Easy to track
    • Connect your account to a financal programme, it helps track finance, and pulls out key figures etc. to help you report your business profits and loss.
    • Also helps with business credit rating, which in turn can help if you want to borrow money.
  • Add validity to business.
    • Make your customers feel you are more legitimate.
  • Recurring payments can be set up.
  • Increased spend
    • Your consumer is not limited to just what cash they have on them – they are more likely to splurge a little more!


I can safely say a card reader at your event or for your events business would not be a poor purchase. Although there are many more than the 5 card readers above, these are the ones that have been tried and tested more and therefore have greater reviews. If I had to choose one for my events, as a failsafe and cost-effective way of taking payments however, Zettle would be my option if just the card reader was needed. If more established, and on the lookout for a more middle of the road reader with a few extra add-ons Square reader would a next best great option, with the ability to print receipts from the terminal without the restriction of a minimum transaction fee.

How to organise a street food festival

How to organise a street food festival

Street food festivals are a great way to bring a host of people together with one common shared passion, food and drink. Street food festivals have become even more popular over the recent years with people’s ever-growing love of new, tasty, good food served in alternative urban environments. 

To organise a street food festival, first plan all of your logistics (particularly road closures), set your budget, find your traders, plan the marketing and ensure you have all of the relevant paperwork in place.

So, what is the difference between a food festival and a street food festival? Although in principle they are exactly the same, it comes down to location and style of food. Street food suggests being served on a street (but not always) and the style of food tends to be takeaway style and more artisan.

Due to the nature of the event often being outdoors in public space e.g. roads, pedestrian walkways etc., there are a host of differences when it comes to planning, managing, and organising a street food festival to ensure it can go ahead safely.

You will find another article here that I have written on how to organise a food festival. This will be more generic for when you are looking to host a food festival at a more conventional venue.

Although I have touched on marketing, budgets, and general organisational tips this other article will give you a greater depth of information. This blog post will focus more so on the key logistics in getting a street food festival up and running on roads which are typically used daily by vehicles and pedestrians.

Step 1: Planning and logistics for a Street Food Festival

Typically, street food festivals are held in public venues/spaces and in some cases roads. Although they are unique and often have high footfall passing the location, the organisation becomes a little more complex. 

When starting to plan, have a think about the following key things to help you:

  • Will you need to close roads and or divert traffic to activate your event?
  • Traffic management plan
    • How will you protect participants from live traffic and other dangers for the whole of your event?
  • Will your event interrupt any public transport e.g. buses, trams, trains etc.?
    • If so, you will need to contact these services
  • Do you need the Police to provide traffic management e.g. stopping traffic?
    • If so, do you have funding to cover this?
  • Contact emergency services for support on the event day(s)
  • Event insurance (Public liability)
  • Have you spoken to residents/businesses to gauge their opinion/how they could benefit?

Find your location

I have seen some amazing street food festivals set off quieter streets (that typically have little traffic) or even in pedestrian areas in city centres. 

These are great locations in terms of footfall and add a little quirky edge to your location – not your run of the mill place!

There are some things that prevent you from obtaining permission to use roads/public space that needs to be closed these include:

  • If it’s a main commuter route
  • If it’s already being used as a diversion route due to other events and/or work
  • If it would prevent emergency services from gaining access to stations, depots, other key roads or local businesses.

Make contact with the local authorities

Once you have decided on a location, it would be advantageous to start contacting local bodies (council, emergency services etc.) to even see if you can get permission for your event to go ahead

You will need to give details similar to the information included below in your traffic regulation order. Once you have done this you may get further questions, or just an acknowledgement, to show they have received and agree to your event taking place. 

Top tip: You will need to leave plenty of time to contact the council and emergency services with your plans (at least 3 months) as not only does it take time to put plans in place, but details will need to be published in newspapers and transport links will need to plan if they are going to be affected.

To obtain permission you will also need to submit a temporary traffic regulation order to the local councils traffic management team if you plan to close the road for any period of time. This should include the following:

  • Organiser name and contact details
  • Event details, programme of the event, the expected number of attendees, size of site needed
  • Proposed location/venue (helpful to attach a map to prevent any confusion)
  • Event date(s)
  • Road(s) that will be affected and for how long
  • Plan for road closure signing and implementing
  • A description of alternative routes
  • Insurance details (public liability)
  • Risk and method statements that covers the below (plus anything else you feel relevant to your specific event)
    • Crowd control
    • Application and removal of traffic management controls
    • Erection and dismantling of any structures/stands
    • Emergency vehicle access
    • Disabled access
    • First aid
    • Fire safety (due to the nature of cooking food)

Top tip: You will need to provide all the necessary signs, cones and barriers in order to close the road to traffic and/or pedestrians. The traffic team will be able to help advise on what you need and there are numerous specialist contractors that will be able to help you with this. 

Will I need emergency services on site?

As mentioned above you need to give the emergency services a heads up. They will attend your event if there is an emergency however, if you would like police officers on-site to help manage traffic, this will come at a cost.

If you don’t have a trained and confident first aider, it is worth paying to have an external first-aid organisation like St. John’s Ambulance representative at your event to step in if there are any medical emergencies. You can work out how much first you will need using our first-aid calculator.

Step 2: Budget; so what will I need to pay for?

You will need to allocate money for the following:

  • Charge for hire of land/space
  • Temporary event notice cost
  • Traffic management specialist
  • Waste management
  • First aid provider (if you don’t have qualified first aiders on site)
  • Charge for preparation and advertisement of any temporary traffic closures or changes/suspensions.
  • Any additional Police Officers that you want to help with road closures or crowd management
  • Insurance 

Each council’s costs will differ when it comes to using space e.g. roads. Previous experience has put site space anywhere between £500 and £2,500 depending on scale, number of road closures needed and popularity of location.

This then will obviously go up depending on how many days you plan for your street food festival to take place.

What facilities will I need?


Due to the nature of the venue being on a road or public space, this often lends itself to needing toilets installed. The number of these can be relative to the number expected to attend and/or the distance to any public toilets.

Although the number of toilets vs people isn’t a requirement, there is nothing worse than long queues for a toilet at an event so the more you can accommodate the better.

As a rule of thumb, I have added the below table to give you a rough guide when planning:

Events less than 6 hrsEvents more than 6 hrs
Females1 toilet per 120 1 toilet per 100 
Males1 toilet per 600 + 1 urinal1 toilet per 500 + 1 urinal
Disabilities1 disabled toilet2 disabled toilets


You will have one of two options when it comes to supplying power for the site. Your local council will be able to guide you through/work with you on this one. Your first option is to use a power source from the surrounding area and run extension cables to your site.

This is on the basis the council have a power source close to your site and isn’t so far away that you have to have lots of unsightly and potentially dangerous cables. Your second option is to use generators. These then can be positioned within your site in a chosen safe place.

You will need permission from the local council to use them and will need to be safely cornered off as well as monitored regularly throughout the event.


When serving certain food and drinks hand washing facilities or cleaning facilities will need to be made available. Again, you will have two options which the council should be able to advise you on.

You will either be able to hook up to a mains water source (depending on the location of your chosen site) or get water tanks with fresh water in to connect to street food traders.

Sometimes your traders will come equipped with water tanks for their specific needs, so definitely make this a topic of conversation when booking in your street food traders

One thing to note is both water and power will come at a cost. Don’t be afraid to pass on some of that cost to your street food traders (write this into a contract) as they will typically be the ones who are consuming these resources the most.


Being an open event (in public space) it makes it a lot harder to secure off your event site especially when you are loading in and out the various stallholders, toilets, any seating etc.

Not only does this add an extra layer of risk to any passers-by but also is a security risk if anyone were to pass and either damage or steal anything from you and/or your vendors. This is mind, from experience, it’s advisable that you have some simple tape and/or post and rope in order to corner off areas.

Accompanying this it’s good to have some security guards. Not only can they protect the site but also direct people away from danger. Security is something you then may want to keep on, instead of using police etc. to ensure the site is safe. They are also typically cheaper than the police too!

Step 3: Find your traders

Finding traders isn’t actually as hard as you think. Most of the good traders will have a good web presence and on social media, allowing you to easily contact them. If you run repeat events you will usually find that they approach you. 

The key is finding the right balance of traders for the event you want to hold. You should give some serious thought to the type of people who will attend your street food festival, what traders can you put in that will offer a wow factor. 

Start your search at http://www.streetfood.org.uk/

Remember, people love unique experiences.

Step 4: Plan your Marketing

The marketing tools you use predominantly will need to be tailored to your target audience and how they best consume advertising and find out information. Below I have highlighted a few key ways to help market your event.

Social media is such a valuable and cost-effective resource when marketing an event. The power of Facebook and other social channels can help reach volume both by consumer shares and paid for adverts. 

Partnerships are a great way to get marketing out there. For example, partnering with a well-established company will help give you further marketing reach and further event credibility helping to entice more people in. 

PR – have an event stand out element. This could be as simple as trying to set a small world record and inviting the local newspapers down to getting a minor celebrity on board to be a special guest. 


Starting your planning with a budget is paramount. Setting out your outgoings, income and projected profit will give you a clear oversight from the start as to what you can and can’t afford. This also will help to highlight where you could most use sponsorships, partnerships, or donations.

When budgeting don’t forget there are a few ways to generate income. These include some of the following:

  • Stallholder fee
  • Ticket/entry fee
  • Partnerships & Sponsors
  • % cut of stallholder’s profit

You then have the option to either charge an entry fee or let people come and go for free. Although a paid-for ticket definitely has its place boosting income and helping to predict attendee numbers, from experience, due to the nature of street food festivals often being in open roads/public spaces, it makes it very difficult to fence off/police a ticketed system. 

Step 5: Paperwork to consider

Alongside your  temporary  traffic regulation order, that you will need to submit to gain permissions before even planning the event, you will also legally need the following to ensure your street food festival is as safe as possible.

Pre-event paperwork

Risk assessments and safety are a major consideration especially when you are opening up to the public. Correctly identifying, assessing, and mitigating or reducing any potential risks is key both when setting up the event but also during and after. 

Safety and risk assessments can seem a daunting thing. However, there is plenty of guidance and ways to educate yourself on this to equip you. A great starting place or even a refresher is here. *please note this is for UK event safety and not necessarily correct worldwide.

Public Liability (PLI) is an essential cover that you will need. Think of it as an insurance policy for your event if damage or injury were to take place on-site. Your stallholders will have cover of their own (it’s good practice to ask for a copy of this).

In regards to cover for the event as a whole, this will either need to come from you (the event organiser) or the venue where the event is taking place, depending on who owns it. 

Food Safety is an essential check. All stallholders by law have to hold health and safety, food hygiene and licensing documentation from the Food Standards Agency. It is good practice to obtain a copy of this when confirming their place at your event. Every food business in the UK should have a star rating from 0 to 5.

There are also a series of food safety rules and regulations that your stallholders need to abide by. They should know these already as they are regularly selling food, however, it’s good to know these to ensure that they are following these rules.

A good place to find these is on the Food Standards Agency website.

Post-event steps

Finally, always do some form of evaluation. Seek 360 feedback from your attendees, your traders, and suppliers. In some cases, it can feel like ripping off the plaster when you gain any bad or constructive criticism after working for months on your event, but it will continue to help you progress and grow as an event and professional. 

Feed this feedback into future events!


To sum up, although planning a street food festival has many similarities to a general food festival, there are some key differences when it comes to securing a location/venue due to the nature of street food typically being held on active roads/pedestrian areas. 

Leaving plenty of time to plan will really work in your favour, especially as there are quite a few more stakeholders that will need to be part of the event in order to get it off the ground. Councils, emergency services and traffic management will all be a pivotal part in your event and will need to be included in the planning of your street food festival from the off.

Another significant document you will need to include is your temporary traffic regulation order to ensure you can get access to roads and/or pedestrian areas for your event. Remember, when filling out that document, the more information you can add the more chance you have of getting the site you desire.

A lot of the other planning involved in organising a street food festival is very similar to any other events when it comes to marketing, staffing, budgets etc. so is very transferable.

References and Useful resources (UK only):

The Purple Guide (Health and Safety) https://www.thepurpleguide.co.uk/

Food Standards Agency https://www.food.gov.uk/food-safety

The Nationwide Caterers Association http://www.streetfood.org.uk/