You may have already experienced an event management nightmare in one capacity or another. You know the kind we mean. You don’t see them coming until they hit you like train travelling at 100mph, carrying a cargo of potentially unhappy guests and crew. You know you need to derail it quickly, but how when you already have a full timetable?
We don’t want to keep you up all night thinking about the what ifs every time you plan an event. If we did, you’d never sleep, and lack of sleep can make you grumpy and no use to anyone. No, this Halloween, instead of scaring you to your wits ends, we thought we’d do the right thing and talk about how to turn these fears into action plans.
Repeat after us “I am a cool, calm and collected event manager, who will never be spooked again”. Or at least you will be, after this play by play of the most ghoulish and ghastly event-frights out there…
1.“I’m sorry but there seems to have been a mistake, the venue has been double booked”
Oh no, it’s happened. You thought it never would, but it has. The side of your brain that told you not to trust in the competence of others teases “I told you so!” while the other half screams “how will I ever find a new venue in a week”. Stay calm, relax. The show must go on, and if you’ve done your planning right, then it will. If, after speaking to the venue manager and the second booked party, you’ve exhausted all avenues, it’s time to take it back to basics.
When initially looking for your venue, you may have mapped out the locations of similar spaces within the desired area. You might have written a list of places that are equal, or of a similar distance to, local transport links. You could have even called up each of those venues to query the likelihood of availability across your selected dates, before securing your desired spot. If you have, you’re already on your way to solving the issue. Just remember to keep your guests informed throughout the process and let them know if the changes cause any accessibility issues.
2. “I’m afraid your artist hasn’t arrived and won’t be playing the headline slot tonight”
Aside from ensuring you’ve removed all of the brown M&Ms from the snack bowl and that everyone’s happy, you can’t physically make people do something they can’t or don’t want to do. Especially if that person hasn’t arrived at the venue. From rock stars to public speakers, sometimes things ‘come up’, but that doesn’t and shouldn’t mean that your world comes crashing down around you.
Like before, it all comes down to planning. Perhaps you already have someone in mind as a replacement? Maybe you already heard through the grapevine your artist has a reputation for no-shows? This may have resulted in you carefully selecting the headline’s predecessor. Are they an accomplished business person that can draw from more experiences to discuss the dropouts topic? Are they an artist whose breakthrough album would wow the crowds just as much as the new tracks they’ve already played? Think of all the elements of your production as Jenga pieces; but only the ones in the middle. That way, if you take one out, the rest of the structure’s still standing.
3. “And the total cost of beverages accrued at the free bar is, £15k. Would you like to pay by cash or card?”
It sounds outrageous, but this has definitely happened. Underestimating the drinking abilities of your employees and guests is a big and costly mistake – one you can’t erase. We use this as an experienced example.
When working in the corporate world, a free-for-all function spiralled a tad out of control, leaving the event manager with a rather hefty bar bill at the end. In this case, there was absolutely nothing to be done to rectify the situation, and the hit was taken gracefully. It is true that hindsight cannot rectify this situation, but pre-planning will help stop it happening in the first place. Are you sensing a theme here?
Setting budgets and limits per person or team is not only a good way to make sure you don’t go overboard, it’s also an extremely valuable way to accumulate insights that event managers dream of when planning future events. Imagine if you knew, prior to plans commencing, how much teams or individuals were likely to cost you before the event started. And how about if you knew how much of their allocated budget went to waste on unused items? Wouldn’t that be nice for event management…
Find out more about how to keep track of your event budget in our blog.