The Many Hats of an Event Planner
Project planners seem to have all the fun. Globetrotting from one destination to another, mingling with A-listers, drinking the finest champagne, staying in fancy hotels, dining in posh venues – the list of experiences goes on but unfortunately, this is a big misperception. While event planners are expected to make the experience happen for guests, most times that’s as far as it goes. Event planners are the people in the background making sure everything runs smoothly, and when we say everything, we mean everything! Event professionals can go from arranging suppliers to being a speaker’s personal bottle opener in a flash … No, you didn’t read that incorrectly, it’s happened to us before.
While there are plenty of upsides to working in the events industry, the downsides seem to be what really separate born event planners from the rest. You may remember our blog about the truths nobody tells you about being an event planner, which often means going above and beyond the call of duty, and it isn’t always glamorous. That’s why we asked our project managers to share some of their experiences and how they kept cool, calm and collected under pressure – here are just some of the hats they’ve had to wear.
Lost and Found Manager: Planning an event after sunset seems like a good idea … until it isn’t. We found ourselves having to put together a search party when guests have a hard time finding their rooms, car keys, and even their cars because they couldn’t remember where they parked! We’ve seen this happen so many times that we now build a special line into our budget to account for shuttles or anything else we think they might need to help them out. So, we make sure clients are safe and have all their belongings after a fun night.
The Personal Shopper: Flexibility came in handy when a client requested something that extended beyond the original event brief. We went on what felt like a journey in an unfamiliar town, searching for a specific toothpaste brand that served a specific function and came in a specific colour pack to ensure the client had what they needed. The product was so rare that it required a refuel at the gas station before making more trips around town. All in a day’s work though, right? We will say, however, that client got their product and we know the town a little better now.
The Caterer: We learned the true meaning of being hands on when we found ourselves in a situation where we were let down by a venue supplier. While screening a LIVE rugby game, our supplier ran out of food and in true event planner style, we ran to the nearest KFC and bought them out of chicken to replenish the buffet. So yes, sometimes you’ll have to take catering matters into your own hands.
Personal Assistant: On two separate occasions we were asked by a client to pack personal belongings into their bags and we gladly got to work so that the client could carry out their tasks. With one item at a time carefully folded, by the end of the day, the clients’ personal (unmentionable) belongings were packed and ready to go! The event planner acting as a personal assistant is nothing new, but it’s not all bad. Sometimes we get to do cool things like sneak into clients’ hotel rooms and leave a nice gift, so we’re here for both the good and the not so great.
The truths mentioned in this blog are so unique and often cannot be anticipated, which means that they won’t be found in the contract fine print. We believe in going the extra mile for our clients, and that’s why our team show up the way they do. While we can’t always predict what ‘out of the box’ requests we may get, we do anticipate and consider the best way to make our client as comfortable as possible, so that they can focus on the success of their event.