An SLA or Service Level Agreement is a crucial factor in creating an event that lives up to your clients’ expectations. SLAs not only protect your clients’ substantial investment (the event), but also protect you, the event planner, from being held liable for suppliers who under-deliver. Surprisingly, there are more event planners who don’t have SLAs in place than ones that do. Failure to employ SLAs is not only incredibly unprofessional, it’s highly risky too.
SLAs serve as insurance for both the client and the contractor.
Like car or household insurance, you never need an SLA until you do. SLAs act as cover, protecting event stakeholders from all sorts of unwanted scenarios. Clients will have SLAs with their suppliers (like their event co-ordinator), and event co-ordinators will have them in place with the sub-suppliers (technical companies, caterers, engineers, decorators, etc.)
Some clients will have a blanket Service Level Agreement that’s given to all of their contractors, while others will draw-up SLAs for every job according to the specific requirements that pertain. Regardless, SLAs are there to protect everyone involved in the event planning process.
Without SLAs in place, event planners are at risk of being held liable for the client’s investment.
If there’s no Service Level Agreement in place, and your suppliers fail to deliver, your clients will hold you liable for the revenue they’ve lost as a result of a caterer who cancelled at the last minute or bar staff who arrived an hour late. SLAs protect you from having to pay the price of suppliers who’ve failed to meet your requirements. These may include the scope of work expected, delivery time frames, working within a budget and cancellation fees.
SLAs are vital, ensuring that all event content remains confidential.
The majority of corporate events entail the presentation or demonstration of material that’s highly confidential. Events are where companies launch new strategies, products or services, which means it’s crucial that all suppliers who’re privy to this information sign an SLA. Without a Service Level Agreement that contains a confidentially clause, you’re inadvertently putting highly confidential information at risk. If a supplier works at a conference and then shares or sells this information to a competitor, the ramifications for both your client, and you, can be incredibly damaging.
SLAs demonstrate both professionalism and reliability, as well as the fact that you have the best interests of your clients at heart.
Not only do SLAs serve as a means of protection, they also convey the fact that you value and respect your clients. In addition, they help to build and solidify a level of trust between you and your clients, as well as between you and your suppliers. SLAs formalise these working relationships too – standing you in good stead for future working partnerships. Further, they enable you to plan an event to the best of your ability. You’re able to constantly refer back to your SLAs in order to make sure that every single facet of an event is on par with the outlined deliverables.
Image Credit: An Edible Mosaic