Every meeting and event features a lot of moving pieces, but with a stellar event company to help manage the details, hosts can juggle concerns about the venue, lodgings, catering, staff, the schedule, event attendees, and more. It’s not like you’re reinventing the wheel, but you definitely don’t have the bandwidth to do everything on your own.
Unfortunately, snafus can occur, even if you think you’ve planned for everything. The weather might not cooperate at outdoor events. Keynote speakers might get stuck in traffic. A competitor might send a social media influencer to pan your event. None of these things are within your power to control, but you can put a backup plan in place to account for certain potential problems and you can control how you react to unexpected setbacks.
It’s also best to be aware of the most common problems so you can find ways to get out ahead of them instead of scrambling to play catch-up when your event is in full swing. Here are just a few common risks you and your event management team should consider well in advance.
Create a Realistic Budget
One of the most common issues hosts and event management partners come up against is a budget that balloons out of control. The good news is that this is also one of the easiest potential problems to account for early in the planning process.
It’s not always easy to know what an event will entail going in, but planners likely have a few ideas about the general theme and the number of attendees, two key factors in creating a workable budget. If there’s time, it’s best to round up some estimates for major costs like travel, venue, lodgings, and catering at your preferred event location so you can use that as a basis for creating a budget. If you’re stuck with a set budget from the get-go, you’ll simply have to work with what you’ve got and allow it to dictate certain factors like location.
What you don’t want to do is blow your whole budget on a must-have celebrity speaker or a lavish event destination that’s sure to impress, but that you can in no way afford. Start with a budget based on preliminary estimates and make sure to leave some wiggle room for overages, which are almost certain to occur. Setting aside 20% of your budget at the outset and keeping track of every expense means you could have a little extra at the end to upgrade catering, add wow factor to the décor, or hire additional support staff.
Have Your Event Management Company Perform Security Assessments
Of all the problems that could occur at an event, the one you most want to avoid is a security issue that puts guests in peril. The country music festival in Las Vegas is an extreme example, but it serves as a vital warning to every host and event company. Do not left any stone unturned when it comes to planning for adequate security, including asking professionals to assess risks and create a plan for potential disaster scenarios.
Work with Your Event Company to Troubleshoot Logistics
Generally speaking, your events are not going to come up against catastrophic failure scenarios. You’re much more likely to end up dealing with a host of minor logistical issues like uncooperative weather, long lines at registration, malfunctioning technology, communication breakdowns with on-site event staff, ferrying out-of-town guests, and so on.
Says John Cotter, COO at American Meetings, “Having an experienced and forward-thinking event management partner to help you pinpoint potential problem areas, implement solutions, and create a backup plan in case things go south is absolutely invaluable. Managing the many logistics involved in a complex event is what these professionals are paid to do.”
Control the Narrative
The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry, but you can recover from nearly any shortcoming if you spin the narrative in your favor. You have little control over what event attendees post on social media, which is why you go out of your way to create an impressive, engaging, and enjoyable event that prompts rave reviews.
Sadly, things don’t always go exactly as you planned, and problems at the event can lead to backlash on social media. You can turn this narrative to your advantage in a couple ways. Everyone knows that problems can occur, and when they do, your response is critical.
You must respond quickly to acknowledge and address the situation, and you have to offer impacted attendees something extra to turn their negative experience into a positive one. With the right response and customer service that goes above and beyond, you and your event company can shift the narrative and come out on top.