Advanced Corporate Event Planning Guide (2019 edition)

Would you agree that planning corporate events is not an easy beast to tame?

Seriously, how can you get advice on planning events for the most demanding audiences out there? You probably know it all.

Yet the world is not perfect and attendees, especially corporate event attendees, get bored very easily. So, I got my team together to think how can we help you running successful corporate events.

This is the plan we came up with:

First, we collected 100+ exciting corporate event planning ideas to use for your events. North of 100. Because we know you know how to run events. Sometimes you just want that unexpected twist that makes attendees go wow. No worries, we got your back.

Then, we created an advanced corporate event planning checklist. Probably the most comprehensive ever created on the subject.

Does that sound useful?


Ok, but before we start, let’s make things clear and look at what we mean by corporate planning, what it means to plan corporate events and the different aspects you should consider when planning corporate events as opposed to regular events.

What is a Corporate Event and Why is it Different?


Events in a corporate environment are usually tools to market externally or internally a message proposed by the brand, the company, the boss. The common denominator of corporate events is the use of events as tools to change internal company behavior or external behavior of customers towards the brand, company or products of the company in question.

The main difference with standalone events that are run like businesses is the occasional lack of ticket selling and sponsorship selling. While these are necessities of independent events, they may or may not be present in corporate events.


The objectives of corporate events tend to differ substantially, making the consequent planning and production of the event extremely different from other types of events.

They can promote a product, an internal initiative. They may help to celebrate a company achievement or to bring a team together. In some instances, events are the main focus of brand or product campaigns. They launch the latest and the greatest product or they have the objective to change perceptions.

Corporate event planning objectives can be:

  • Changing customers’ perceptions
  • Making a team bond
  • Motivate sales personnel
  • Entertain executives and managers
  • Create press coverage
  • Stimulate social media coverage
  • Support above the line marketing activities
  • Make one person, the boss, happy
  • While these objectives can be part of the mix of other types of events, they can be the sole aim of a corporate event.

Planning and production will change substantially. When the objective is one and very specific, the whole event has to point in one direction. There is no room for dilution, diversion, noise. All the event decisions need to be aligned to support the achievement of that objective.

That becomes extremely difficult when the events happen on a regular basis. The thirst for ideas, novelty, innovation is great, but it can be difficult to reconcile the laser-focus on corporate objectives for the event with the constant demand to come up with new corporate event planning ideas and experiences.

This is why this post will be particularly useful whether you are entering corporate event planning or you are an experienced corporate planner.

Corporate Event Planners: Who Are They?

Each company plans their events differently. Some use a corporate event planning company, while others have dedicated staff.

In many cases, corporate event planners sit under the marketing department or under the PR and comms department.

These individuals may not be dedicated event planners. Often, they are tasked with one-off events, depending on their responsibilities, and organize them on top of their existing job roles. For instance, someone in the marketing department or in an assistant role that handles a trade show or someone in customer support who coordinates parts of a users conference. This is more common of smaller-to-medium-sized companies.

In larger organizations, corporate event planners are often individuals or dedicated teams within the company that have their own department and run both internal and external events.

Corporate event planners are in charge of:

  • Meetings
  • t Corporate hospitality and client entertaining
  • Product launches
  • Employee training
  • Board retreats
  • User events and conferences
  • Focus groups
  • Sales meetings
  • Seminars
  • Trade shows
  • Team building or leadership retreats
  • Dinners and awards ceremonies

In addition to these recurring events, you may have special business anniversary celebrations, holiday parties, or milestones that you will plan.


In January 2018 we conducted one of the largest pieces of event planning research ever completed. With 2,400 contacts and over 1,000 respondents.

We asked specific questions that pertain to event budgets. We are happy to release the results.

If you would like a copy of this research for publishing you can request it here: State of the Event Industry Research 2018.

Budget: Budget is the Biggest Concern for Corporate Event Planners

82% of corporate event planners are most concerned about their event budgets. 62% are focused on finding new ideas and 54% are prioritizing ROI.

Innovation: Corporate Event Planners Strive to Be Innovative

81% of event planners care most about innovative ideas when planning corporate events. 65% care most about the choice of venue and 48% about marketing.

Networking: Networking is Top Priority for Those Attending Corporate Events

We asked event planners what the priority is of their event attendees and 82% said that it is networking, followed by learning (71%) and entertainment (38%).


What do you need to know about risk?

How do you communicate with attendees or find them in the first place?

How will event success be measured?

These are just a few of the major differences between corporate events and other types of events. While it's easy to assume an organized person can plan all different types of events, the focus of corporate events and the necessities are quite different. To be a top-notch corporate event planner, you’ll want to consider all of the nuances.

Here’s what you need to know about how planning corporate events differs from other event gigs. This handy table below gives a quick comparison of a corporate event planning and general event planning role.