How our corporate event plan was nearly sabotaged by a monkey

The beginning of an event sets the tone for the entire function. Making the best possible first impression is crucial if you want your guests to become brand advocates. Theoretically, a fool-proof event plan should mean smooth sailing. In practice though, your meticulous planning can veer wildly off course. Tom Hanks’ infamous line from the movie Forrest Gump: “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get”, couldn’t be truer for the eventing industry. In the event world, there are surprises lurking around every corner. Planning for every single eventuality (no matter how unlikely it may seem) – is paramount.

Orchestrating a corporate event leaves no time for monkey business. Unfortunately, this event was filled with just that.

Whenever we advise our clients to never, ever, ever, assume anything, we’re reminded of a debacle that involved a high-profile corporate event held at a bush lodge. While a venue in the great outdoors can make for a stunning event, it does come with its own challenges. While we’d prepared for any eventuality, the one thing we hadn’t counted one was being outsmarted by a troop of marauding monkeys. Yes, that’s right, an event consisting of 200 delegates was almost brought to a standstill, thanks to a bunch of mischievous apes.

We’d compiled luxury welcome baskets for the entire guest list, unfortunately, the local monkeys mistook these for an early Christmas present.

A miscommunication with the venue in question resulted in the event managing team having to pack and deliver welcome baskets to our guests’ rooms at the last minute. Since the venue had originally said they’d do this for us, we didn’t have keys to the room. This didn’t seem to be a problem until we realised that as soon as we’d put the edible welcome gifts outside each room, a troop of gleeful monkeys would descend on what they no doubt thought of as manna from heaven. An amusing scenario – for everyone but the event planning team.

While you might never have to deal with a thieving troop of monkeys, you will have to deal with unexpected obstacles.

It’s always only in hindsight that one realises what you should have done. In this case, the gift baskets should have been pre-packed and sealed. Importantly, it should have been made explicitly clear what was needed from the venue’s staff. While we can’t hop in a time machine and do this, we can share our learnings. An event plan that includes contingencies for every possible event is key. In addition, a team of fast-thinking event planners who’re all on the same page goes a long way when push comes to shove.

If you want to ensure that you’re able to tackle whatever an event throws at you, you’ll need to have all of your information in the same place.

All of your guest list data needs to be stored in one central database that’s accessible remotely. It should also be updated in real time. Equipping yourself with the necessary event planning software facilitates teamwork, enabling you to respond to last minute emergencies that much faster.

If you’d like to find out more about our event management software that helps top South African brands stay ahead of the game, give us a call or drop us an email.

Image Credit: Crazy Goan Girl