Regardless of how long you’ve been doing it, event planning never seems to come without its own unique twists and turns. In fact, it’s the one industry where you can almost expect a curveball.

But good news! There are a LOT of event planners out there who’ve dodged those curveballs before, and who are willing to share their experience – and pro tips – with you. In fact, we tapped into our own little event planning hub here at MemberClicks and asked those folks, “In your experience event planning, what’s one major hack or pro tip you’d offer others?”

Here’s what they had to say:

Lindsay Smith, Director of Marketing at MemberClicks

Pro tip: “Don’t forget the small details! Those personal touches can really heighten your event and your attendees’ overall experience. It will require a little extra work onsite, but trust me, you won’t regret it. Your attendees WILL notice.”

One example of adding in small, fun details: The FUGA Shack at MC LIVE! 2018, MemberClicks’ technology conference designed to help association and chamber professionals thrive. FUGA stands for Feature User Gap Analysis, and by requesting a FUGA report, you can see how well you’re utilizing your MemberClicks system.

Sounds a little dry, right? Well…ok, it is. But we made it fun by turning the room in which you review and analyze  your report into a tropical FUGA shack. We had leis, non-alcoholic margaritas (gotta keep it professional!), and best of all, this man in this suit:

FUGA Shack at MC LIVE!

Details make your event fun – and memorable!

 Krissy Conant, Marketing Specialist at MemberClicks

Pro tip: “It’s crucial that you find event contacts that you can rely on in your industry. Whether it’s for swag, lodging, or rental spaces, you NEED to know that you have good, reliable people handling those matters without them hanging over your head. (You have enough to handle already!)

Even better, when you’re looking to research new contacts/companies (for a resource you’ve never utilized before), go to your reliable contacts first and see if they have any strong recommendations. Chances are, they won’t do you wrong. And best of all, it’ll save you a TON of time!”

Alex Davis, Senior Marketing Specialist at MemberClicks

Pro tip: “Don’t fear the negotiation process. When you’re planning an event, there are many things that you will have to negotiate – from the food and beverages to the audio visual services. When you’re engaged in this process, don’t be afraid to push back a bit – there is always wiggle room and it could save your organization a chunk of change.

Also, treat your sponsors like gold. They’re paying to be there, and that’s a relationship that should be nurtured from the moment they sign the dotted line and hand over a check. Make sure to collect their feedback after the show so you can get an idea of how much value you were able to deliver, address any concerns, and continuously make event sponsorship an exceptional experience that vendors will WANT to be a part of.”

So there you have it. Event planning tips from the pros! Want more tips for planning your next event, whether it’s a fundraising gala or a traditional conference? Check out our Complete Guide to Association Event Planning below!