From Freshers Wristbands to DJ Bookings...
Planning an event can be a daunting task, especially if you’ve never done it before, so together with Luke Stretton from Teeside SU we’ve put together our top 10 tips for student event planning. We've covered everything from choosing the right date and venue, to selecting the most suitable event wristbands, so without further ado, delve into our top 10 tips and get planning!
1. Why are you holding the event?
It’s always a good starting point to remind yourself why you’re running a particular event. This might sound a bit silly, but even if it’s blatantly obvious, like “it’s Freshers’s Week, err!” just thinking for a moment about what fresher’s week is all about will help your creativity for all aspects of the planning.
2. Who is the event for?
Again, you might think this is an obvious one, but you won’t always be running a fresher’s event, so have a good think about your target audience and consider things like how many males vs females are on campus and are more people into dub step than indie?
Luke's Top Tip!
"Who is the event marketed at? Think about the different student demographics and what you’ll need to do to lure them away from any competition."
3. Choosing a venue
Your choices might be minimal, but you should always consider the type of venue. Is it big enough? Does it suit the event? You wouldn’t want to host a summer ball in a dingy underground basement, nor would you want to promote a heavy metal line-up at a 5 star hotel!
4. Picking the right date
The chances are, you’ll be battling against other nights and competition in the local area, so when you decide to hold your event is very important. Avoid clashing with nearby high-profile events, check if there’s a big football match on TV that night and depending on the type of event, it's a good idea to run your event just after payday.
5. Does your event need a theme?
It might seem a bit overdone, but a quirky theme can really add to the experience of a club night. Fancy dress has been popular with students for years and is an easy way of creating a buzz around your event.
6. Booking DJs and acts
Having a big name DJ at your event can be a guaranteed crowd-puller but it doesn’t come cheap and if you work on building a strong following, you won't have to rely on famous acts to sell your tickets.
Luke's Top Tip!
"There’s an expectation to have big name acts at a Students’ Union, but when you consider the associated costs of well known artists and the popularity of established local venues it becomes harder for SU’s to meet student expectations.
We try to throw a sensational fresher’s fortnight to solidify the Students’ Union and then top up with 3 – 5 big acts a year, these might be DJ sets from bands or Radio 1 DJ’s."
7. Promotion, promotion, promotion
Social media has opened up a world of possibilities when it comes to promoting your events but just because Facebook and Twitter are free, it doesn’t mean advertising is easy. Interact with your audience the whole year round, get feedback, run competitions and get them to buy into your brand as much as possible. Sending a Facebook event invite won’t cut it these days.
8. Choosing the right wristbands
OK, this one is our speciality. Consider your budget but also think about the loss you could find yourself with if your security wristbands are easy to take off, duplicate or forge. Always customise your wristbands, it's the best way to avoid any dodgy fakes and is a chance to promote your brand. At ID&C, all of our event wristbands have tamper-evident closures, from super cheap Tyvek wristbands to luxury woven wristbands – whatever your budget, don’t forget the importance of security wristbands, each person without a genuine wristband is lost revenue.
Luke's Top Tip!
"The quality and style of the wristbands are associated to the ticket price. At our regular events, we go for Tyvek bands, for end of term events and balls we tend to use vinyl wristbands and then for Freshers Week wristbands we opt for fabric. Our freshers’ have to wear them for up to two weeks and the festival-style wristbands are far more durable, as well as being a great memento of some messy nights out!"
Remember, you’re running a business and in most cases will have targets to hit and funds to raise, so budgeting is an essential on our top 10 list.
Luke's Top Tip!
"Use figures from past events to estimate attendance and revenues. Consider what the price point for tickets and drinks promotions needs to be, then offset this against your expenditure and estimated attendance.
Sometimes you have to run loss leaders to maintain your following. We run a Friday club night that doesn’t always make a profit but it keeps the brand competitive."
10. The red tape
It's the least fun part of event planning, but leave it to chance and you could live to regret it. Remember, you’re working with crowds of people, so safety is paramount. Work closely with the venue and make sure all the necessary health and safety procedures are in place - and the paper work is there to back it up!
If you’re unsure about what’s required with health & safety at your events, this handy online event safety guide will help.
Well, that's all folks
We hope our top 10 tips stand you in good stead. Whether you’re a newbie event organiser or a seasoned pro, keep our guide to hand and you’ll be off to a good start. For more hints and tips, download the full Top 10 guide below and remember when it comes to security wristbands and passes, you'll find everything you need here on our website. You can even design your own event wristbands online with our wristband designer.
A massive thank you to Luke Stretton from Teeside SU for helping us put this guide together. Luke’s been running events for over a decade, so we thought we’d tap into his mind and extract some knowledge nuggets - we hope you found it useful!