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Top 8 tips for planning an event

Top 8 tips for planning an event

Your boss has just asked you to plan the event that everyone in the office looks forward to annually and the last time that you planned an event was Aunty Kim’s 60th birthday at the local hall around the corner from her home (we all know those places…). The place had no space for entertainment, the food was BYO and there was definitely no Instagramable moments that you could to post to all social media feeds. You are searching all over the internet for the top 8 tips for planning an event, but can’t find what you need.

The planning aspect is scaring you quite a bit as you have been given a great budget (thanks boss!!), but you don’t know where to start… That is where we at Holiday Inn Melbourne on Flinders come in, we live and breathe planning the ideal party/meeting/birthday party/christening etc.

Our meetings and events team have come together and debated on the top 8 tips for planning an event that we learnt from our recent launch party (#HILaunch2018), so that you won’t need to wing it.


Tip 1 – Create an atmosphere that even Heidi Klum would be jealous of

DJ Playing MusicDuring our recent launch even though it was 6 degrees (#thanksMelbourne), our 100 guests were having too much fun to notice.  Perhaps that’s because we have great heaters our on the terrace that kept everyone warm, but we like to think its because we worked hard with our suppliers and partners.  We transformed our pool terrace to a ‘Touch of Spring’, the theme that people were talking about for weeks after because of the amazing floristry that Flowers Vasette created.

Our pool was transformed into a burst of colour with balloons that floated around the entire space. This was then offset by the lights around the pool and terrace area. We worked with our amazing AV Company Audio Visual Dynamics to deck out all of our spaces with brightly coloured lights that showcased our artwork in our spaces and the beautiful greenery in our terrace area.

We worked with our DJ from Instinct Events and Entertainment to create the perfect playlist. The night started off with quiet beats but the music started once the conference and events spaces had been officially unveiled. Which brings us straight to tip 2…


Tip 2 – The party must have a moment

What is a moment you ask? It’s when you turn the party from good to mind-blowing by showing off everything that you have planned. This could be as simple as awarding staff with prizes or even unveiling a product at a launch party.

For us, this was opening of the blackout blinds at our launch party to officially declare that the spaces were open.  Prior to this the blinds were shut, so that people could not see our spaces.  We worked with our entertainers to make this happen.


Tip 3 – Have a host

Organise to have a host who can introduce the festivities, keep the crowd entertained and feel welcomed. When selecting a host make sure that they know your objectives. For example it’s the CEO’s retirement party and you want to make sure that he knows how much he/she will be missed by all. Brief the host on the timings of the event and anything else that they may need to know.


Tip 4 – Plan activities

Man near doughnut wall

When was the last time that you attended an event and actually stayed until the end? It felt like all of our attendees stayed as they were having too much fun to leave our party. We had a photobooth that posted gif’s or still photos straight to your social media feeds, a DJ that was playing awesome tunes that just made you want to dance and entertainers in each of our spaces.

We chose entertainers that showcased the themes of each of our uniquely Melbourne spaces:


Tip 5 – Giveaway prizes

Everyone likes winning things at a meeting or event, no matter what it is. Not only does it keep your attendees entertained but it also keeps them there until the draw. This could be something as simple as a bottle of wine to a travel voucher.


Tip 6 – Instagramable moments

Ladies having a photo takenApproximately 1 in 3 Australians actively use Instagram, and we know if it wasn’t on Instagram did it really happen? We worked with the amazing florists at Flowers Vasette to create an epic flowerwall that not only smelt amazing but looked incredible on photos. It is simple to also create your own wall, just look at Pinterest for inspiration. We also worked with Place Settings and DecorIt to showcase The Arcade and what a dinner setup could look like.

Also the entertainers that we spoke about in tip 4, ask them to encourage attendees to take selfies with the event hashtag.



Tip 7 – Service is very very important

We can’t stress how important it is for your meeting or event to be run like a tight ship. Make sure that everyone knows the objectives of the meeting or event at a pre-briefing. Run the team through the timings, any VIPs that may be attending and anything that they will need to promote.

The motto at Holiday Inn Melbourne on Flinders is #oneteamonedream. This means that it doesn’t matter what your role is, we can all step in and help make the event a success.


Tip 8 – Food glorious food

Did you really think that we didn’t feed the people that attended the party? We worked with our amazing chef’s to create an epic menu that ensured that nobody went home hungry, and our bar team that made sure everyone’s glasses were topped up.

We created uniquely Melbourne foodie moments in each of our spaces:

  • The Studio had an oversized painter’s doughnut wall which added a splash of colour
  • The Arcade had mini macarons which are found around Melbourne shopping arcades
  • The Arena had footy catering, which is just like being in a private box at the MCG watching your favourite team
  • The Table had grazing by the metre , a grazing platter with all the trimmings

Our bar team created a custom cocktail that was given to each guest upon arrival


Our last word of advice would be: It’s a party make them feel welcome and treat them like you would a guest in your home.


We hope that our top 8 tips for planning event help your event/meeting a success!



Find out more information

To learn more about our conference and event spaces click here.

To organise a personalised site visit, enquire today and our team will be happy to help

Meetings and Events Team
+61 3 9612 5759 -meetings.melsf@ihg.com