Six Mistakes Event Organizers Make That Will Change The Way You Plan
When you plan an event, it is your responsibility to make sure that the event runs as smoothly as possible. You want your guests to have a good time and take away lasting memories from it. Unfortunately, as Murphy’s law stipulates, if something can go wrong, then it probably will. It is not possible to cover every possibility in the real world, and things will most definitely go awry somehow. It is your duty to make sure that the hitches are as few as humanly possible. You should be aware of critical planning mistakes everyone must avoid. Forewarned is forearmed. To help you avoid some basic errors that could prove to be costly, Houston Event Planning has put together a list of six mistakes event organizers make that will change the way you plan.
1. Hiring a planner based on their website or claims alone
When planning an event - nothing should be left to chance. Websites nowadays can look extremely polished and attractive - but that doesn’t mean that your planner will be a professional! Many planners in the industry may work from home or start their company as a way to turn a hobby into a profession. Vetting and verifying is key! You should ask your planner if they can provide you with a reference for a similar type/style/theme. For example, if you’re planning a wedding with specific cultural traditions, it helps if they have prior experience. If you’re planning a particular type of event, such as team building, your planner should know how to coordinate the various elements and create a timeline to keep attendees motivated. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your planner’s experience will allow you to see what aspects of your event you will need to educate them on.
2. Not vetting your planner’s preferred vendors
Most planners within the industry have a trusted circle of vendors they’ve worked with. After you’ve made sure that you are comfortable with your planner and their credentials, you’ll need to set your sights on their vendors. Best practices include looking at reviews and their past events - do they have a consistent style? Do any of their past events have elements of what you envision for your event? Be sure to meet with the vendor or at least have an extended phone conversation before making the decision to hire. It’s also important to work with someone who understands and accepts your budget, and this conversation can help you make sure of that. When it comes to working with vendors, don’t make assumptions. Make sure everything is clear during the entire process, especially when discussing the terms of the contract.
3. Not confirming vendors
You may have late arriving vendors, vendors going to the incorrect location, vendors who confuse your Sunday event for a Saturday one, or worse. If you have the planner’s preferred vendors, they should be providing this service for you. If you are using vendors you’ve selected, verify vendor contact information so your planner has someone to call if there is a problem. Make sure that your vendors have the contact information for your planner as well. If you are planning solo, read on to find out how to confirm the details of your vendors’ services.
Confirmations should take place via phone or in-person with the vendor ALONG WITH a follow-up email. You will want to confirm the details two to three weeks before your event. If you start before this time, some information may change, and you may have to follow-up with the vendor again, and if you start too close to the event, you may not have time to address any issues that arise. Pull out your contract and review it, paying particular attention to any items that are missing (date, location, delivery times, set up times, and other important information). A lot of times, information is left TBD (to be determined) because you may not know the information when the contract or form is drawn up. Compile your emails or other correspondence containing important agreements and details that were not listed in the contract. Make sure you keep all of your receipts and payment details (canceled checks, last credit card payments) and determine your balance due (if any) before the event.
4. Overlooking competing events
Noisy events in the same venue can seriously compromise the quality of your attendees’ experience. Similarly, competing events can increase demand for facilities like bathrooms, which can also affect attendee experience. Check for competing events, and make sure you don’t schedule noisy events next to each other on the same date/time frame. For those planning a larger, profit-based event, failing to acknowledge any competing events on the same date as yours could present a significant challenge. When you begin to shortlist locations and venues, always ensure that you spend time researching any local events scheduled nearby. If anything is happening in the same area, then we would recommend rethinking dates as not only will venue availability be limited, but public transport and accommodation will also be busy. This may put attendees off as they do not want to factor in the hassle of being stuck in traffic, fully booked hotels, or lack of space on public transport.
5. Not having a contingency plan
Contingency plans help you and your team recover quickly when something unexpected happens. Things happen, people and technology are not always reliable. You, however, must be. Remain resilient if a vendor cancels last minute, a speaker blows out, a computer crashes, or the Wi-Fi doesn’t work. Bad weather, emergency closure of venues, or important people calling in sick can affect your events. Regardless of the event that you are planning, your ability to stay on a budget will remain one of the key contributing factors to whether you are successful. However, what many people fail to do is allocate a contingency budget, which is a small percentage of cash that is put to one side to use in the event of an emergency. On average, it is recommended to factor in a contingency fee of around 5% to 10% of your total budget.
6. Not using a packing list
Managing an off-site event typically requires an extensive list of supplies. Of course, you usually have several weeks to get all of these supplies in order, but they won’t do any good if they never make it to the venue. Failing to use some kind of packing checklist will almost always result in forgotten items, leading to compromises or wasted time spent retrieving the pieces left behind.
Before you box everything up to get your event set up, take a moment to keep track of all the gear you packed up. Predictably, you will forget to bring something back with you at the end of a long but successful day. Having a packing list will help keep track of your belongings and keep an inventory so that you don’t have to buy a new extension cord for your next event.
To avoid these and other mistakes, reach out to the experts at Houston Event Planning.
We started in 2003 with the idea of making every special moment count. Since then, we have done thousands of events in Houston, Texas, and in the nation for our clients, from gorgeous weddings to large corporate events. Our event planners provide professional planning services for Corporate Events, Weddings, and Casino Parties across Sugar Land, Katy, Houston, Mission Bend, Cinco Ranch, and Bellaire.