Event Planning Checklist
This event planning checklist will assist you in planning a successful event. It may not have all of the specifics that your event requires, so brainstorming prior to starting your event preparation is essential. Conference & Event Services is here to assist you in the planning process.
- Set dates and times, avoiding holidays and other major campus events. Check the following to help avoid conflict:
- Outline conference program, including time for social networking events.
- Develop a promotion plan in line with Cornell's name and logo use policies.
- Select an appropriate theme and integrate it creatively throughout the event.
- Be aware of campus event guidelines.
- Determine if you will need additional insurance coverage; contact Risk Management with questions.
- If guests are minors, contact Risk Management and complete all required items.
- Determine any contract needs for speakers or performers that may need Risk Management guidance or Cornell contracts assistance.
- Ensure all vendors are Cornell approved.
- Determine payment methods for the event invoices and guest fees.
- Determine insurance needs and who is providing the insurance.
- Please note: certificates must be submitted prior to the event.
- Determine who is paying for which portions (i.e., lodging, food, promotional items)
- Identify income sources, including registration fees and sponsorships
- Establish fee structure and attendee benefits
- Prepare for paying some expenses up-front, including venue deposits
- Review catering proposals for inclusiveness of tax, gratuity, linen, centerpieces, staffing, alcohol, and rented equipment
- Create printed program in line with Cornell name and logo use policies
- Develop informational website
- Select promotional giveaways or swag bag items
- Coordinate nametags, welcome folders, temporary Cornell ID cards, or other event-related materials
- Determine attendee promotional items distribution timing
- Determine registration process, in-person or online, and information to collect
- Include dietary restrictions and adaptive needs
- Identify online registration software platform
- Establish deadlines and late fees
- Include suggestions for local pre- and post-conference on-your-own activities
- Determine in-person conference check-in staffing needs
- On-campus housing is available in the SUMMER ONLY
- Contract for on- and off-campus housing, considering cost, amenities, and location
- Create hotel blocks for off-campus housing
- Determine the total number of guests for on-campus vs. off-campus housing if applicable
- Anticipate special housing needs and confirm your lodging options will accommodate them (i.e., one person to bathroom, ADA needs, etc.)
- Determine desired on-campus housing housekeeping level
- Determine dining type and location
- On-campus dining halls/eateries
- Off-campus venues
- On own
- Select meal types
- Morning and afternoon breaks
- Late-night socials
- Consider catered meal options
- Boxed meals
- Drop off only
- Consider dietary restrictions when menu planning
- Certain campus venues require exclusive caterers; be aware of how this may affect your selection
- Determine attendee meal plan payment options for on-campus dining halls and eateries
Meeting and Event Spaces
Reserve venues for meetings, receptions, dining, and other events
- Inspect venue to ensure it meets your needs and identify wayfinding needs
- Ensure flexibility of physical space and sufficient staffing during your events; consider accessible meeting guidelines
- Coordinate tables, tents, chairs, lighting, audio-visual needs, podium and staging, or portable toilets as needed for event/meeting space
- Determine support for event speaker audio-visual, technology, and space needs
- Determine set up logistics and if fees are incurred
- Confirm if client or venue staff will provide cleaning support prior to, during, or after the event
- Access to the space
- Vendor access – when, how?
- Caterer access – when, how?
Transportation and Parking
Arrange transportation, including charter service, bus, and parking
- Plan off-campus excursions
- University approval for payment purposes or privately funded?
- Advanced booking recommended
- Parking payment: attendee paid or Masterbilled?
- Coordinate special parking or Masterbilled parking with Cornell Transportation Services
- Determine guest transport from lodging to programming venue
- Confirm airport to lodging guest transportation
- Public transit (TCAT, Uber, Lyft, taxi)
- Pre-arranged shuttle service