How to Create an Event Itinerary
When you think your itinerary is done, go over it one more time with a fine tooth comb.
An event itinerary is the key to your event’s success on site. You planned the event so you are certain you know everything. But, I can assure that once you arrive on site and there are questions from everyone you will struggle to remember every detail. So, having an itinerary not only helps trigger your memory, it also allows you to delegate. You can’t be everywhere all the time.
If done correctly, your itinerary will have every single detail of your event, right down to the type of fold your napkin is supposed to have.
Take it Step by Step
To build your event itinerary begin by logging in every session, speaker and activity based on your event agenda. From there work backwards from all key points and detail out every step that will get you to that key point (delivery times, arrival times, load in time, receiving deliveries, etc). Now go back and fill in every step with as much detail as possible. Who is the supplier related to that step? Which staff member is responsible for that step? What AV requirements are needed? Your event itinerary should be broken down to the minute and include every possible detail. No detail is too small!
And finally, when you think your itinerary is complete, go over it one more time with a fine tooth comb. There is always something more to be added. I like to print out the itinerary and go over it with a red pen. I sit in a quiet room and turn every ounce of attention to the itinerary. In my mind I walk through the event and picture each step of the day. I try to find any holes, any details I may have missed or forgotten. I also include any questions I might have now that I am reviewing the itinerary again.
Once I am certain the itinerary is at about 95% complete and perfect, I send it to everyone involved in the project. I ask them to review their component of the event and to provide any comments, questions or changes.
The Final Step
The last step is addressing any details from those I consulted. I update the itinerary one last time, send it out to everyone as the final version (reminding them of course that an itinerary is a living document and things may change between now and event day) and then I print off several copies to have handy on site.
Having the draft done about a month to 3 weeks before the event is ideal. I like to have it out to others for comment at least 2 weeks before and the final itinerary goes out to everyone no less than 1 week before the event.