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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