You’ve planned your event and you’re riding high. You’ve got all your i’s dotted and your t’s crossed and then… your speaker cancels. Or the wait staff is hungover. Or you’ve got the perfect webinar ready to go, until a major technical glitch makes it impossible for anyone to hear. We’ve been there, so here are a few event planning fail scenarios that we’ve dealt with and to prevent them from happening again.
Obviously if you have an outdoor event, you’ll be constantly monitoring the weather in the days before and you’ll have a contingency plan (you do have a contingency plan, right?). Finding a backup indoor venue would be ideal, but in reality that might not be possible depending on attendance. In some instances, a contingency plan can be as simple as knowing how to refund tickets quickly or having a future rescheduled date in mind. Many of our events are outdoors, so we always attempt to snag a backup date from the same venue and refund policies in all of our vendor contracts.
Weather issues aren’t just for outdoor events! Even indoor gatherings can be affected by adverse conditions, such as guests having to slosh through the rain from the parking lot. In this case, consider a shuttle service to/from the guest parking lot to cut down on uncomfortable attendees. Plus, be sure to have small towels and umbrellas available if attendees have to walk between buildings or through other uncovered areas. You could even implement a coat check, as long as you have adequate staff and have decided if this is to be a paid service or subsidized.
Prevent cancellation by having your entertainment contract highlight the date and time of the performance, be in contact with your speaker or performer a day or two prior to the event and arrange any necessary transportation for them. If you feel that you’ve left no room for error and they still have to back out well here’s where that contingency plan is key. It’s never a bad idea to have a backup speaker or band on tap. Should your event be dependent on the entertainment, be sure to communicate that as early as possible to your guests and offer refunds or a definitive reschedule date.
Let’s start with the staff. If you find yourself short-staffed before the event, start by asking the staff themselves to recruit other talented folks. If that doesn’t garner enough results, check in with local staffing agencies. The additional costs will be worth it to ensure the event runs smoothly. The benefit of working with sponsors is that they can usually secure staff for you as they will want their brand repped by pros and they can likely negotiate better rates based on their prior relationships.
A great supply of food and drinks is critical. Consider placing your credit card on file with vendors to allow for a swift transaction should you need to order supplies on the fly. We try to over order and add a return policy to events that require large quantities of alcohol so we can get a little back from unopened bottles.
The entertainment is setting up. The food & drinks are ready to roll and … your check-in app is on the fritz. Shameless plug here: Stub Avenue currently has a 99% uptime rate. We’d love for you to try us out but should you go down another road, be sure to have all of the tech support contact info plugged into your phone and on any list of event contacts. Same goes for the internet provider at your venue. Prep for success by having a practice run around the same time as your event the day before.
We sincerely hope that none of this catastrophes befall you but should they do, this list will help prep you for anything and everything that comes your way.