The event is over, but the work is not. For many meeting and event planners the final wrap-up is the biggest struggle. Not only have you ended months of preparation, now you have to finalize the billings, check the invoices, distribute the monies, etc. The wrap-up may not be fun, but it is crucial.
START THE PROCESS IN THE BEGINNING
Good planners start this final process long before they get on-site. They plan with their vendors how they will verify services during the event, when payments will be due, and what kind of documentation will need to be completed in order to take care of matters in a timely way.
THINGS TO MAKE THIS STEP EASIER
Ask to get all function bills the day of the event so you can verify their accuracy while things are still fresh in your mind. When verifying charges, ask yourself:
- Were you charged for the correct number of people?
- Are there any charges you cannot identify?
- Are there charges you did not anticipate?
Make a daily diary notation of things that worked and didn't work, notes for next year, and things to remember. Write it down or it won't be remembered. Follow-up should include making arrangements in advance to have materials returned or disposed of.
Determine who will receive thank-you notes. Verify addresses, spelling of names, facility, and vendor contacts. Make a note of those people who were especially helpful to you or your attendees!
Schedule a wrap-up meeting in advance with the facility's major department heads, or for small events, your contact. The purpose of this meeting is to find out how well EVERYONE performed, and what could be done differently in the future. This is also a time to ascertain whether you provided the facility and other vendors with appropriate information and instructions. Did you schedule enough time for activities on the agenda? Did you guarantee enough meals within the deadline? Should you have ordered another bar, larger room, or extra servers?
While you are evaluating, make sure you ask the attendees what they thought of the event, the facility, and the program? Do they have ideas or suggestions for next year? Their feedback can be one of the most important tools to help you plan the next event. Take time before the event to design questions that will solicit answers that will help you plan future events.
Last, but not least...reward yourself! Many planners make this their first task of the meeting or event. They plan what they will do after the BIG DAY. Whether it is a bubble bath or an island cruise, plan something for yourself--you've done a great job and you deserve it!