Every experienced event planner knows full well the meaning of the phrase “expect the worst and hope for the best”. In simpler terms, there are certain things that can and will happen, and if you fail to predict them on time, the situation can go down hill really fast. So, the first step in being ready to deal with a potential issue is to preemptively think about everything that could go wrong; then figure out your contingency plan.
1. Transportation Problems
Whether the guests that are arriving to your event are travelling by bus as a group, or with their own vehicle – complications can happen. Traffic jams, car accidents, getting lost and bad weather are only some of the potential issues you have to be prepared for. If you are aware of a major traffic jam, you can postpone the main part of the event for a later time. Also, make sure to email your attendees the right address with the map of the precise location. You could also consider alternative routes or offer other modes of transportation. If you have hired a bus company, make sure that you are on the line with the driver or some other staff member that will inform you about potential problems and maintain open communication.
2. Attendance Numbers
Another critical factor that can severely disrupt your event is the attendance number. Whether it is too many or too little, it can be disastrous for your event. One of the biggest fears of every event organizer is that nobody will show up! To avoid this obstacle include in your offer a last-minute promotion and if this does not work, consider redesigning seating. That way, you will create a more intimate setting and avoid canceling the event. On the other hand, if too many people show up, that can cause you a lot of stress. Try to limit the number of attendees strategically. Hire staff or volunteers with a counter to help guests register or find their seats. Good communication is an important factor to avoid a mess, and if it is possible, consider relocating the venue to a bigger space. Make sure you monitor real-time sales online to keep track of how many people are coming to the event.
3. Technical Problems
There is nothing that screams “POOR ORGANIZATION” better than technical problems.
Speakers, microphones, lights, wiring, and laptops are all things that might fail you at the last minute. Therefore, take enough time to rehearse and fix any potential issues, ensure everything is charged, and make sure there are lots of power adapters in the room. If anything does go wrong, communicate and apologize to your audience. A refund policy may be a good idea in case the event has to be cancelled due to technical difficulties.
4. Staffing and Volunteers
It is almost inevitable that you will have a certain number of staff members or volunteers not show up. The problem with volunteers is that they are not obliged to do anything. It is up to their goodwill. Therefore, ask for more volunteers than you need. You can always send some home. If worse comes to worst, paid staff can help out.
5. Participant Dropouts
Sickness, delayed flights, family problems all may cause your lead speaker or other VIP participants to be a no-show. What you can do as an event organizer is to get as much information from VIP participants as possible, and potentially have speeches prepared and sent in advance so someone else can read or deliver in their place.
Nothing can be done about a major storm crashing your event. You can utilize overhead covers, huge tents, and gazebos as well as waterproof furniture. Also, if there is a possibility, move the event indoors. Do not forget to let the guests know that the event is still on. If relocating is not an option, be prepared to offer a refund.
The Bottom Line
Planning a big event is stressful enough even if everything goes as smoothly as possible. Unfortunately, things happen. Whether it is bad weather, traffic jam, a power outage, low attendance, or participant dropouts, you can never be too prepared. Always think ahead and figure out the solution(s) before the problem even occurs. Take enough time to rehearse and communicate with all staff members and guests. And if you have some uncertainties or you need help with event planning, feel free to contact us.
EventsAir has been at the forefront of Event Technology and Innovation for over 30 years, continually pushing the boundaries of what an event management platform can do. Built by event planners for event planners, EventsAir is a secure, scalable, cloud-based solution that can manage everything from in-person, virtual to hybrid conferences, meetings and events in a single online platform – anywhere, anytime and on any device. In use in over 50 countries by multi-national corporations, professional conference organizers, government departments and tertiary education institutions, EventsAir is also used in global congresses such as G20, APEC, CHOGM and ASEAN, as well as sporting events like The Olympic Games, World Rugby, Commonwealth Games and Pan Am Games. EventsAir is trusted by event professionals around the globe. For further information, visit www.eventsair.com