10 Things Organisers Overlook When Planning A Live Event
The thunderous applause that marks the completion of a successful event is music to the ears of those charged with organising them.
However the days and weeks leading to this moment can play out against a very different soundtrack, one unlikely to be classed as easy listening.
Event planners saddle themselves with great responsibility, spinning multiple plates in a bid to facilitate a great conference, product launch or award ceremony.
This is challenging at the best of times but these are hardly the best of times. A global pandemic has added a further level of complexity and more in the way of workload.
New and veteran organisers alike can then be forgiven for losing sight of a consideration or two.
That’s where UKSV come in.
Our team, which combines 150+ years of collective experience in the events industry, have compiled a list of those things most commonly overlooked in the preparatory stages. Read on to add them to your own checklist and partner with us to ensure all bases are covered.
If you’re hoping to draw a big crowd, including attendees from right across the country, it serves to set up shop somewhere with good transport links.
Major cities boast these, hence the enduring appeal of hotspots like London. Yet somewhere out-of-town can also fit the bill, providing it can be reached via rail and road of course.
If yours is an international event meanwhile, it makes sense to base it within reach of a local airport.
The secret… never make people work too hard to reach you.
Additional factors determine the suitability of a venue in 2022.
The modern event is heavily reliant on high-speed WIFI. It’s pretty much impossible to stage any kind of gathering without this today, yet not all locations boast a reliable internet connection.
Sustainability has also taken on added significance, with attendees and hosts taking a vested interest in companies’ missions and goals, particularly those targeted at combatting climate change. These values need to be in evidence on the day itself.
So too do the likes of attendee facilities and suitable signage to go with them.
What’s billed as a premier venue may not necessarily cover all the right bases. This is why research and preparation are vital.
They say timing is everything and that adage certainly applies to the events industry.
You could plan the most spectacular occasion, with an array of guest speakers and live entertainment, but that effort will go to waste if you pick the wrong date.
Factoring in seasons, days of the week and start times are obvious… less clear are diary clashes.
Be on the lookout for other occasions set to take place in the same window. You may want to avoid clashing with something as historic as a Royal Wedding or World Cup Final… unless you plan to incorporate elements of them into your own agenda. Either way, it serves to know exactly what’s on the horizon.
This is the kind of forward planning many forget about.
A great event demands great branding, something which can pique interest and boost turnout.
Settling on the likes of a logo and font will allow you to invest in traditional assets such as banners and leaflets… collateral which adds a degree of professionalism, not to mention décor, on the day itself.
Moreover they allow organisers to spread the word beforehand. You can distribute flyers, posters and formal invites offline, whilst executing full blown marketing strategies digitally. You can, for example, adopt your own hashtag for social media posts, all of which point to a dedicated website.
Social walls are also growing in popularity and are commonly seen at awards events where a live stream of social activity is actually displayed on screen, thus boosting user participation.
A strong brand can facilitate a strong attendance. Don’t overlook that fact.
Lockdowns with no obvious end in sight forced even the tech shy to onboard with mod cons. There is no escaping the fact technology now underpins each and every event, no matter the setting, no matter the industry.
But simply assuming your chosen venue has access to a complete suite is naive. Even the most popular locations can be found wanting in this respect, adding great emphasis to the ‘try before you buy’ motto.
The safest way to avoid disappointment/embarrassment due to a lack of equipment is to partner with a flexible events team who plan ahead, ensuring the right creative and theming solutions are in place, along with any associated tech support. Having a one stop shop for your full event delivery can be a real time and work saver and UKSV can manage everything for you.
Sustenance is too often relegated to an afterthought when in fact it should be uppermost in the minds of event organisers. Trust us when we say, it will be in those of attendees.
Everything from a training day to an exhibition should have some form of catering attached to it. Refreshments… be they in the form of snacks or a three course meal, should be made available and prepared to a high standard.
Depending on the venue, this could see you ordering in or calling upon the on-site kitchen/restaurant.
It also serves – quite literally – to consider ‘food miles’. Sourcing locally produced products allows organisers to cater for all dietary requirements, in an environmentally conscious manner.
Never see them leave with a bad taste in their mouth.
There was a time when putting bums on seats was considered the key to a successful event. In many ways, the opposite is now true… as you look to increase participation and engagement.
The modern event has become an experiential one, with interactive elements the best way to retain attention spans.
It’s not enough to arrange for someone to lecture to an audience for two hours. Organisers should devise ways of involving the audience, who appreciate innovation and originality on this front. You can probably guess whose responsibility that is…
Depending on the size of your event, custom signage can prove a real help.
Conferences spread across an entire complex might involve several acts ‘performing’ at the same time. Clearly signposting where they can be found is vital to avoid any confusion and disappointment on the part of attendees.
Similarly, you may have erected temporary help points, toilets… even photo booths. Directional signage will allow for the safe passage of varying crowd sizes.
Digital signage is also impactful, particularly those tied to event apps. These allow for the likes of custom agendas to be displayed quickly and easily, without any physical effort. Not much, anyway.
Don’t assume the venue itself will arrange that. In fact, don’t assume anything.
Amid the desire to increase footfall and wow an audience it’s easy to lose sight of why an event is delivered in the first place.
Those that conceived of it clearly had a reason. Those trusted with implementing it will be expected to justify that.
As such, they need to find a means of defining measurable results. This could very well be in the form of turnout but also product sales, media coverage, customer feedback surveys. Being able to point to an event as being value for money is vindication and as such a key consideration.
Granted, few event organisers are ever tasked with luring a global superstar. We’ll leave that to those working on Glastonbury.
Yet securing someone of standing can make a real difference to an occasion… even in less “glamorous” industries.
It’s easy to play it safe and stick to a tried and tested formula, one with little variation and the same, often tired voices. Annual events in particular fall into this malaise, and cry out for a shot in the arm, if only to re-energise those involved.
Reaching out to keynote speakers of status, be they legends or up and comers, can turn an average event into an intriguing one.
Moreover it provides an incentive for would-be attendees. The biggest draws should be booked well in advance.
While the world gears up for a return to live events it does so amid a new kind of normal.
The impact of the Coronavirus will be felt for years and maybe even decades to come. That sad reality necessitates a new approach to planning.
Of course no event organiser is going to forget about COVID, but they may be less sure on the ever changing safety procedures that result from it.
And regardless of official government advice, many attendees will now expect precautionary measures and a genuine regard for their safety as a minimum requirement.
Yes folks, hand sanitisers are here to stay.
Depending on the nature of your event – and the capacity – you may want to go further still, implementing temperature checks and complimentary masks for instance, as well designing the event layout and agenda with social distancing in mind.
Protocols might also be needed surrounding vaccination passports.
The prospect of a comeback tour is exciting but nobody should lose sight on why virtual events were needed to begin with. The pandemic remains every bit a fluid situation, so stay up to date. If you’re at all concerned about doing so, team up with professionals whose duty it is to comply.
So there you have it. Ten things even seasoned organisers can overlook when attempting to meet all manner of deadlines and expectations.
Concerned about things slipping? Fear not, UKSV can assist your business in delivering an unforgettable live event, certain to capture the imagination.
We can own everything from tech support to content creation, offering peace of mind and a great experience for planners and attendees alike.