When an event goes wrong, it is usually the case that the cause of the failure could have been prevented. Over the past 12 years we have worked from a simple 10 point checklist to make sure we plan for the unexpected and ensure events run beautifully.
Here is our list of top ten points to check:
1. Function Sheets
Always go through these with a fine tooth comb and ensure that all the basics (like your delegate numbers, menu choices, dietary requirements and room access timings) are as per your specifications? Also check the event date is correct and that the facilities in the booked function spaces are included and confirmed to be in working order?
A good client of ours who hadn’t involved us in this part of their event was sadly let down by a leading London hotel who had failed to mention that some of their electrics were not working and the DJ booth was not only broken but had not been fixed in time for their event.
2. Room access
Even if you have sole use of a function room from morning until early evening, some leading venues sell the space in the evening for gala dinners and events. This means that any branding or visual display you have in place will need to be moved out and re-installed before you start again. This can be a real pain and something not all venues are forthcoming about!
3. Wet weather and sun down
Even if you are in a location with year round sunshine and the forecast is looking good for your event, it never hurts to have wet weather options in place. Delegates appreciate this and hate being wet.
There’s nothing worse than enjoying an outdoor dinner or team building activity, but then being left in the dark as the sun has set! Lanterns, torch lights or tea lights will all help enormously and as well as being functional, set a nice ambience.
4. Other events in the venue
If you are in a hotel or venue with several function spaces it’s worth checking out if other events are on at the same time as yours, especially if there is another one that is bigger. Hotels especially do not always disclose this and if you are aware, you can time your breaks so that they are not at the same times and there is no over-crowding or using the same facilities at the same time. You can also let the venue know to ask the other groups to be mindful of your event and that noise must be kept down if delegates are outside or near to your function space.
5. Last minute cancellations
If your delegate numbers decrease and you have passed the date where you are eligible for a refund on cancellation or reduction, it’s always worth asking anyway. If a hotel is experiencing a busy period, they may re-sell the space and therefore refund you.
6. Emergency Kit
Pain killers, plasters, travel sickness pills, antacids, bandages and cold packs are just some of the things worth keeping in a zip lock bag and to hand at all times. You will become a delegate saviour if you can whip one of these out on request
7. Contact list
Do you have everyone’s phone numbers, with international dialling codes, to hand in one list? Ensure all your team also have this and saved on their phone.
8. Public Liability & Event insurance
It’s always worth checking your company policy and ensuring insurance is in place and to know that you’re covered for all activities you are doing and locations you are visiting.
Do you have other options for all the event elements if something falls through? For example, an alternative venue, another live act, a different restaurant, another transfer company or replacement AV facilities. Whilst you will probably never need these, they are always worth having on your speed dial to make the process of re-organising as quickly as possible, especially if you are in another country.
We were running one event when a drunken delegate (from another event!) trashed the projector at 3am. Because we had an AV specialist on standby, we were able to get the projector replaced and ready to go for their 8am start!
10. Risk Assessments and Method Statements
It’s better to know what to do when working in a tricky environment or one where hazards can occur. If you know all the pitfalls in advance you will know what to do if faced with a difficulty. Previously identified hazards and your accompanying step-by-step guide on how to work through them safely will help you to act quickly.
All events have an element of the unknown about them, but the more you prepare in advance the easier it is to deal with challenges.
If you would like to discuss any of the points raised in this checklist, or need advance on planning your next event, please call our team on 0207 617 7856.