Common event planning problems can arise due to procrastination, mismanaged event budgets, and unanticipated technical or legal requirements. As an event designer, it’s not easy to anticipate the details that will imprint on your audience, but you can always expect people to share their negative feedback first.
Below are five tips for avoiding common event planning problems.
Get started early
Procrastination will kill your event before it begins. Assume that quality keynote speakers, vendors, and venues will have their schedules booked six months into the future. When planning an event, Eventbrite suggests you follow a pre-event checklist for four to six months in advance of your meeting.
Make sure you leave ample time to build awareness within your target audience and get onto your guests’ schedule as soon as possible. Starting to plan late can negatively impact your event budget and ability to hit deadlines. Contacting guest speakers and other specialists early on will help you secure (and properly promote) the personalities that will define your event.
Hire enough help
Being understaffed is an easily avoidable mistake. Comprehensive staffing and customer-service will keep your event running smoothly and leave a lasting impression with guests. Set clear expectations and deadlines for your team leading up to the event, as well as on event day.
It’s worthwhile to invest in specialised professional help as well as volunteers. Professional bartenders and wait staff will not need training ahead of time and will know what to look for when anticipating the needs of your guests.
Encourage volunteer participation by tapping into networking and professional-development groups in your area. Assign each volunteer a simple, specific task for improving guest experiences. You don’t want any volunteer feeling overwhelmed or overworked by the tasks assigned to them.
Honour your budget
Event expenses will add up fast— needless overspending will undermine your return on investment. Take advantage of free event budgeting templates and when in doubt, seek the advice of an accountant.
You can avoid and amend common budgeting mistakes by starting your planning as early as possible. Booking venues, travel, or entertainment last minute can be stressful and will cause you to spend more than you would by reserving in advance. Ensure significant expenses are accounted for early and plan the rest of your budget accordingly.
Getting quotes from multiple vendors can help you identify all your options. If you have an expensive vendor you love working with, or whose mission blends especially well with your own, ask them to match their competitor’s rates.
Communicate clear priorities and procedures for your team and your vendors. This will make it easier to manage (and budget for) unexpected changes that arise during the planning process or the event itself.
Understand your legal requirements
When planning an event, you need to make sure you’re legally protected. Not understanding your event’s legal requirements can get you (or your vendors) into trouble.
Every location has a unique set of rules regarding permits and licensing. The size of your event, the concessions you serve, and the entertainment you provide can all determine what permits will be needed. Research local codes and make sure you can meet them before deciding on a location.
If you plan on having physical activities (such as bumper cars, trampolines, swimming, etc.), your attendees will need to sign a waiver. While the law doesn’t necessarily require this kind of safeguard, a personal injury lawsuit will haunt your business. Create every protection possible to avoid being held liable.
Serving alcohol will complicate your event’s status and potential expenses. You’ll need to acquire a permit to fit the size and location of your event. This often includes setting a specific end time for your event, hiring professional bartenders, and facilitating safe transportation.
If minors attend your event, stipulate that parents/guardians are responsible for children at all times. Special legal regulations exist to make penalties harsher for incidents involving minors. Limit where drinking is permitted and create barriers to decrease the risk of children getting mixed into activities or entertainment designated for adults.
Test your tech
Whether it’s failing microphones, feedback blaring through loudspeakers, or weak WiFi, technological failures are an event planner’s nightmare. The success of recorded, live-streamed, and crowd-sourced content depends on your technical preparation.
Secure an experienced sound engineer and provide your staff with high-quality equipment. If you’re hosting a smaller event or have a tight budget, train and dedicate someone from your team to manage microphones throughout your meeting. In any case, run plenty of tests before the event begins.
Your venue will likely provide WiFi access, but remember: the more guests in attendance, the more likely your connection will lag. Reliable internet is essential for facilitating financial transactions and for encouraging guest speakers, attendees, and vendors to share their event experience. Consider budgeting for multiple WiFi networks to separate the bandwidth demands of staff and guests.
Don’t forget to have a bag ready with extra chargers, USB drives, adapters, and batteries—and dedicate a corner of your event space to helping guests recharge. Make sure presenters have media backed up on USB drives (in case streaming fails) and check to see if your venue provides specialised IT support.
Your team will be up against the clock from the moment you commit to planning an event. Start the planning process as early as possible, double-check your legal requirements, and provide your team and guests with the best technology you can afford.