We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: When you’re in the event planning business, things go wrong. It’s unavoidable – live events carry uncontrollable factors so there’s always an element of potential unpredictability, so we’ve learnt to take these factors in our stride and think on our feet when those unavoidable mishaps do crop up. But, what about the avoidable ones?
When you’re an event planner, it’s easy to pass off anything that goes wrong as an unavoidable fail, but in reality, that’s just lazy. While failure can be a great opportunity to learn from your mistakes and become better at what you do, repeating the same mistakes over and over is just asking for trouble.
So, with that said, we’ve put together some of the biggest mistakes we’ve made, and then learnt from, so that you can learn from them too! Because when it comes to eventing, knowledge (and preparation!) are definitely power.
Five event mistakes to avoid
Being too lazy to get creative
Sometimes you might develop a great relationship with a specific speaker, performer, or supplier through working together, which is awesome. So, you book them for another event. And then your next event after that, and after that, and so on and so on. Before you know it, you’ve cut down your available talent pool to a tiny group of people, and your guests (and boss) are pretty tired of hearing the same jokes, or eating the same canapes, or seeing the same dance routine. It’s nice to work with people that you know are reliable, but be sure to explore other options and keep things fresh and exciting. At the end of the day, entertained guests = happy guests.
Letting your guests feel disconnected
WiFi was invented in 1985, and then commercialised in 1999. Twenty years later, it’s no surprise that guests expect quick, reliable and free internet wherever they go – including your event. If you’re asking people to spend an entire day at a conference or exhibition, you need to anticipate that they’ll want to be able to keep a finger on the pulse on their workload, emails, or family life. This is especially true if you’re using tech to personalise your event (think event apps, social media interactions etc.) as you can’t expect people to interact with something they can’t connect to.
Throwing your budget out the window
The event planning golden rule: Stick to your budget. Some of the biggest event fails we’ve seen have come from unprepared, uninformed, and unreasonable event planners who get caught up in the stress (or excitement) of planning their event and forget to consult their budget. We know that planning the event of your boss’ dreams can be daunting, and it can sometimes lead you to making bold decisions, but these should never be made at the expense of your budget. A great event planner knows how to build a budget and prioritise its items, and if you do that correctly, maybe there will be space for that big ticket item after all! Just ensure that it never comes at the cost of important aspects like security, or you’ll definitely regret it on the day.
Forgetting the importance of sustainability
It’s 2018 and, much like providing WiFi, ensuring that you’re thinking green is key to a modern-day event. While you might be a little tired of hearing the word ‘sustainability,’ this buzzword is still trending for a reason, and it’s one that you’ll need to take note of if you want to ensure you’re staying relevant. Make sure that you’re taking our tactics for greener eventing into account along the way, and don’t let this attitude slide once the event doors are closed – a green event should see a positive impact long after it’s done.
Not communicating with the people that matter
It’s all well and good to throw the party of the century, but what if nobody turns up because nobody was invited? In our industry, communication is vital to success. Make sure you’re talking to your guests early and often, and that you’re giving them all the information they need. Nobody likes to be overwhelmed by a constant stream of chatter, but concise, informative communication can be key to getting your guests excited about an event, keeping them entertained while they’re there, and then staying relevant in their minds as time passes. And don’t forget, communication doesn’t have to be boring! Technology can go a long way to create an interesting and relevant conversation.
Ultimately, the best thing you can do to avoid event fails is to be prepared. Consider all the outcomes of a situation, take all variable factors into account, and with some on-the-ball thinking, even the biggest event fails can turn into total event wins.