When your event plan goes awry: a survival plan

You’re a stickler for planning. On any given day, you check, double check and then – once more for good measure – check again that your T’s are crossed and I’s are dotted. Which makes for smooth sailing before, during, and after your events. Until the day you’re faced with an event plan that’s not only fallen flat, but one that’s crashed and burned on a scale that could rival the Hindenburg disaster.

During your career as an event planner, you will be faced with one of the event disasters below – regardless of how watertight your event plan is. Before you start to count your losses, hold up: we’ve compiled the best ways to remedy an event plan that’s veered off course.

Event disaster number one: Your venue costs go through the roof.

It’s no secret that venues gobble up a substantial portion of your event budget. Most sought after venues stipulate that all catering must be done in house. Unsurprisingly, this is where they make their money. If your client is set on a venue that charges an arm and a leg for an entrée, consider mitigating exorbitant catering costs by having a sponsored cocktail hour or after-event meet and greet over dessert. That way, your client’s brand benefits by having an industry-related brand on board, and your budget can stretch that much further.

Event disaster number two: High guest drop-out rate

Dealing with the ramifications of flaky guests is part and parcel of the job. The majority of events (save for a One Direction concert) will have no-shows. Blame it on a lunar eclipse or a cold front that arrives with no warning, a portion of your guests will be flaky. This situation calls for some number crunching. Use your past event data to determine – on average – how many people drop out. If for example, 3 out of 100 people don’t arrive, factor this into your event plan and number of guests you invite. It’s also advisable to further safeguard against a high drop-out rate with a marketing campaign prior to the event; regular pre-event communication facilitates a sense of anticipation, and best of all, keeps your event top of mind.

Event disaster number three: Your sought after speaker cancels at last minute

If there was ever an example of the power of good relationships with your vendors, this is it. Speakers and entertainers are less likely to leave you hanging if you’ve nurtured a relationship with them throughout the year. Spend time with them – even when they’re not booked for an upcoming event. In addition, offering your help with event content goes a long way in ensuring your event plan goes off without a hitch.

Event disaster number four: You get bad press on social media

If you’re running a public event, having a dedicated social media team is a must. If no one is monitoring what’s being posted about your event, dealing with the ramifications of negative sentiment on social media is that much harder if it’s not done immediately. Reigning in naysayers on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn boils down to timing – make sure you’ve got a team on board who’re thoroughly briefed as to the best way to respond to criticism in the public eye.

Event disaster number five: Lack of data about attendees

If you find yourself coming up short with information about your guests, it’s high time you invested in Event Management Software. Many clients have several events during the year – with variations of the same guest list. If you’re re-inviting people to an event, you’ll be able to pre-populate form fields such as: name of partner, car registration number, cocktail preference, etc. – in fact, the possibilities are endless and entirely based on the depth of data you need to collect. In addition, running a post-event survey from your Event Management Software enables you to tap into the zeitgeist of the event – collecting feedback as soon as an event comes to a close.

Image credit: brideonline.com