Planning for the unpredictable: safeguarding your events

There’s a good reason why event management was named one of the five most stressful jobs on the planet. With multiple variables, vendors and stakeholders involved, things can – and do – go awry. The good news is, an unforeseen issue doesn’t have to spell doom for your entire event – if you know how to handle it, that is.

With a little bit of ingenuity and a hefty dose of determination, you can ensure that unexpected hiccups don’t spiral out into a full-blown event disaster. Here’s how to handle bumps in the event management road:

Compile a Disaster Management Plan according to the unique characteristics of each event.

It goes without saying that an end-to-end Disaster Management Plan is crucial. But what many event managers fail to take into account is that every single event is different, with unique requirements. As such, your Disaster Management Plan should be tailored to these particular components. For example, a Disaster Management Plan for a conference comprising thousands of attendees in multiple venues throughout a foreign city will look very different to that of an exclusive product launch for a select few VIPs in a nearby locale.

Work in unison with venue staff.

Many potential event hiccups can be quickly resolved when your team works hand in hand with venue personnel. The majority of venues have their own contingency plans in place, so meet with them before compiling the Disaster Management Plan. They’ll also be able to advise on alternative arrangements and will be able to contact the relevant authorities should you require additional assistance in the event of an emergency.

Know when to outsource help.

Some crises can be dealt with internally, but should the safety of guests be compromised by events such as a security threat or a natural disaster, ensure that you’ve got a direct line to the relevant authorities who’re adequately equipped to handle precarious situations. As mentioned earlier, your event team should be aware of all emergency contacts well before the event, as should your guest-facing staff.

Invest in insurance.

Safeguard against costly cancellations by investing in cancellation insurance. It’s crucial that your contingency plan includes a force majeure clause (unforeseen, external and unavoidable incidents; also referred to as ‘Acts of God’, such as a hurricane or armed conflict). This should be included in all Service Level Agreements with vendors and contractors to protect all parties involved.

Have a dedicated team to handle guests queries and concerns.

In the event of a crisis, guests look to your event management team for information, and more importantly, reassurance. A convenient way to distribute emergency plans of action and information to your event team is via an encrypted messaging app or network, where alerts and instructions can be posted and received instantly. Having a sole information source goes a long way in saving precious time by mitigating against conflicting information or a breakdown in communication. If guests are yet to arrive, make use of an dedicated social media manager who can post updates and inform guests of changes to the agenda.

Offer discounts or gratuity items if guests are inconvenienced.

If the date or time of an event changes drastically, ensure that guests are incentivised to attend by offering them a discount or upgrades on travel or accommodation. Alternatively, complimentary meals, tickets to local attraction and the like can go a long way in placating guests who’ve been inconvenienced.

When it comes to event planning, the stakes are high. Make sure your events are handled by the professionals. We have extensive experience in planning and managing events that go off without a hitch. Send an enquiry, or reach out on Facebook or Twitter.