five-event-planning-mistakes-to-say-goodbye-to-in-2016

As a new year stretches out in front of us, endless with possibility, now’s the time to make space for success by saying goodbye to anything that doesn’t serve you. Whether due to tight deadlines, fly-by-night vendors or unpredictable guests, event planning mistakes are part and parcel of the job. The good news? Many of the scenarios that frequently trip up the savviest of event planning professionals can be avoided. Here’s how to make sure that the event planning faux pas stay firmly behind in 2015.

Event planning mistake #1: Dismal attendance rates, thanks to a non-existent event marketing strategy

If an event is held, but no one shows up for it, did it really exist at all? Your events are only possible thanks to your guests. Pouring your heart (and budget) into an event that’s poorly attended is one of the hardest event planning mistakes to swallow. Making sure that the right people know about your event – and then want to attend it – is the first step towards a successful event. In order to do this, you’ll need to strategically plan an event marketing strategy. (Read more about the how and why of this in our eBook Turning your Events into Marketing Gold.) Safeguard the success of your events by being cognisant of the fact that event marketing is just as important as the event itself.

 Event planning mistake #2: Lacklustre, unprofessional corporate entertainment that muddies your event’s image

This repeat occurrence sees brands spending much time and thought planning all aspects of the event, only to pick the first available corporate entertainment act. To their detriment, they’re faced with the unpleasant ramification of unprofessional, audience-inappropriate entertainment. Just like every other event touch point, your corporate entertainment has to be strategically chosen, in order to convey the right message to your guests. Don’t risk the success of your 2016 events; make sure you thoroughly research any potential entertainment, gather reviews from past clients of theirs and – if possible – audition your preferred choice before you include their name on the line up.

 Event planning mistake #3: Having to scrimp on vendors due to poor budgeting

Inaccurate event budgeting can have all sorts of dire effects on your event, one of which is having to resort to second-rate vendors thanks to the fact that you’ve spent too much on another aspect of the event, or failed to allocate adequate capital altogether. Unpalatable hors d’oeuvres, inexperienced hospitality staff or a venue that’s seen better days are all problems you – and your guests – will have to endure as a result. As with all event planning responsibilities, informed planning when it comes to your event budget will save you from having to resort to cowboy caterers or amateur staff.

Event planning mistake #4: Being left high and dry by a vendor or client as a result of failing to draw up a water-tight SLA.

The importance of an exhaustive SLA cannot be stressed enough. Without an agreement between your various suppliers and you, you jeopardise your reputation, your bank balance and importantly – your guests’ safety and overall experience. As we’ve said time and time again, failing to plan is planning to fail. Make sure all of your t’s are crossed and i’s are dotted in order to safeguard against the effects of poor or non-delivery of service, by having an SLA between every single supplier and vendor involved in the event.

Event planning mistake #5: Alienating your guests, due to the fact that you know nothing about them.

Treating your guests like strangers is probably one of the worst event planning mistakes you could ever make. Your guests determine whether your event succeeds, as well as whether it results in ROI. This means that you need to do everything in your power to create a personalised experience that resonates with every single one of your guests. In order to uniquely cater to your guests, the onus is on you to ensure that you’ve not only got adequate (and relevant) data about each and every one of your attendees at your disposal, but that you’ve got the tools needed to collect this valuable information.

In an age where data is the new gold, make sure that you’re equipped with smart event database software that can collect, collate and store this precious information.

Make sure you don’t make any event planning mistakes in 2016. Download our Event Compliance Checklist to make sure your events are a success.

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Your event database software isn’t just a useful tool for storing all of your guests’ details. When used correctly, it becomes an indispensable tool for conducting Event Relationship Management (or ERM as we like to call it). Far too many companies aren’t aware of the power of event database software – and end up missing out on its true power.

Investing in event database software is a futile exercise if you don’t know how to get the most out of it.

Event database software – or any CRM system for that matter – is built with a specific purpose in mind: to give you insight into the way your guests or customers interact with your event or brand. Whether due to complacency, or ignorance, the majority of data depositories remain untapped, filling up with invaluable information that will never be put to work.  The benefits are yours for the taking – you just have to know how to go about it.

Getting the most out of your event database software requires a holistic approach to all of your customer-related data, which means you need to be collecting all interactions you have with customers

In order to accurately assemble the bigger picture, your event data cannot remain isolated. All of the information you collect, from your RSVP process, event check-in and registration, as well as the event itself, needs to be viewed alongside information from your sales and marketing teams. After all, the whole point of having a corporate event is to encourage some kind of interaction with (and hopefully investment in) your brand. When data from your event database software is combined with vital information like sales calls and records, customer enquiries, and blog visits, you’re gifted with a comprehensive view of the relationship your target market has with your brand. This makes it easy to see where you can improve on existing relationships, as well as identify opportunities to start a conversation with a potential customer. In addition, you’ll be armed with the necessary data to help you improve future events in line with your guests’ current relationship with your brand.

Your event database software enables you to identify opportunities to start a conversation with your customers

Regular communication with your target market is crucial if you want your guests to become customers. When you’re able to see how your guests experienced your event (by examining, for example, which guests attended which break-out sessions, or what guests had to say in your post-event survey), you’re much more equipped to provide them with follow-up communication that they’ll find relevant. Using data about your guests enables you to craft targeted post-event marketing material that will further pique their interest in your brand.

When combined with data from your sales team, use your event database software to identify potential leads

If you know that a guest has enquired about a certain product or service, then attended one of your events, you’ll be able to send them information which closes the loop, so to speak. This may be in the form of a follow up call, a free trial of a product or service, or a discount. In the same vein, by recording information about walk-ins or partners, you’ll be able to add them to your newsletter, send them a link to your company blog and notify them of future events.

Importantly, event database software makes calculating event ROI simpler than ever

One of the most useful functions of event database software is its ability to give you insight into whether or not your event resulted in ROI.  Establishing the connection between an event and your sales goals can be tricky – but only if you don’t know where to look. By comparing attendance records with sales metrics, you’ll have a much clearer idea of if, and how, your events are resulting in sales. Bear in mind that the consumer’s journey from a lead to a customer consists of various steps – they may only invest in your brand after attending two or more events. In the same vein, if a repeat guest hasn’t bought anything, or shown interest in doing so, the money you spend on hosting them at your next event would be better spent on someone who’s expressed interest in your brand.

To recap: use your event database software as central depository for all interactions with your target market.

Once you’ve collected all of the puzzle pieces, analyse them regularly.  Remember that getting customers to love your brand isn’t a solo effort – it’s a group effort that involves everyone who interacts with guests and customers.

Our Guest Concierge Management Software is designed in such a way that makes collecting information about your guests easy to do, easy to consolidate and most importantly, easy to analyse.

Find out about our offering – which includes email invitation software – here.

Learn more about conducting professional events by downloading our free eBook, ‘Practical Guide to Professional RSVP’.

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