The 4 most common event planning mistakes and how to avoid them. An event organizer is remembered by the experience he provides to his attendees. In the events industry, there is a saying “Once a bad impression, always a bad impression”. Mistakes during event planning can have serious repercussions. If there is a negative experience for your event, you are often finished in the cut-throat events industry and after that, it is usually impossible to “try again”. It would take a lot of effort – both monetary and physical to overcome that destruction. Before we examine the 4 most common event planning mistakes committed by organizers, we highlight the three traits of a successful event.
The 3Rs of Event Planning: Recall, Recognition, and Reputation
For your event to be successful and for you to make a mark in the respective event segment – the three Rs are very important: recall, recognition, and reputation. A poor experience will not give you any recognition, damage your reputation and invigorate bad memories on recall.
So, there is not a lot of scope for error and one small mistake can change the entire look and feel of your event and it would end up being a disaster. This is why planning requires such devotion to details. Through this post, we share the four most common event planning mistakes and how to avoid them.
SLOP: The 4 Common Event Planning Mistakes to Avoid
1. Substandard Planning
The most common event planning mistake is substandard or poor planning. Event organizers in haste do not plan to the last-minute detail. As a result what we get is a botched-up event.
A. Not having a backup plan: what if something goes wrong?
You never know, but something might go wrong on your event day and there are chances that the circumstances that caused this, are out of your control. Your speaker might not show up for your conference event, your timing system malfunctions during your marathon event or your participant gets injured during your trekking event. Do you have a plan B?
Having a backup plan or rather a full-fledged contingency plan to account for any possible bad surprises during your event. Plan for in case there is low participation for your event, have backup speakers, have medical aid for trekking event, have alternative vendors in case primary vendor fails to show up – these are some of the things that should be included in your contingency plan.
Always hope for the best, but plan for the worst – never ever forget Murphy’s law!
B. Taking more number of attendees than required
A marathon that was recently organized in Delhi, took number of runners more than their handling capacity. When asked, their reason is – “the first time we are getting so many registrations, so we have decided to take more”. After the event, the feedback from runners who took part in the marathon was overwhelmingly negative. Someone even described it as the worst experience of all the hundreds of runs they have taken part in.
Where did the organizers go wrong? They went greedy.
The organizers self-destructed their own reputation and gave users a very unpleasant recall by taking more than capacity. The valuable lesson here is never go greedy and always set a definite capacity and never accept above the fixed number of tickets. Use event ticketing website to create tickets and set maximum quantity for each ticket.
An alternative is to increase the handling capacity or change the venue.
C. Deciding other things rather than agenda
Event organizers while planning event, tend to focus more on stuff like vendor selection, venue, dates, ticket prices, food, etc. and often forget or do not pay much attention to what the event agenda should be. This event planning mistake is a blunder on part of event organizers.
The first thing you should do when planning an event is to fix your goals and define a clear concise event agenda. All that would go waste if you do not know your own event goals. Before making any decisions, always have your event agenda ready.
D. Relying on outdated technology or not tech-friendly event
One event planning mistake is lack of technology or using outdated technology for your event. If you are using manual or outdated methods to check-in your attendees on the event day, it may happen that there are long queues and the people would get an unpleasant experience right at the beginning of the event. A great event doesn’t start with a huge line of people cooling their heels.
Before the event starts, your team should carry out a full tech-check and ensure everything is working accordingly. This includes entry scanning application, scanning devices, screens, projectors, and any other technology related items you plan to use.
Use event day check-in solutions by Townscript to check-in your attendees with real-time data sync and dynamic functionalities, take spot registrations, print badges on the go and even have self-service kiosks for your attendees. With Townscript event day check-in solutions, the sky is the limit.
2. Lousy Communication
The second most common event planning mistake and the one to be avoided at all. The three types of communication mistakes that event planners do:
Miscommunication can spell disaster. It is often the result of a lack of attention to detail or a careless nature. Communicating the wrong messages to your attendees or your internal team can lead to unnecessary troubles for you.
An event organizer communicated the wrong reporting time for their event – instead of sharing the correct reporting time of 5 PM, they sent announcements with the reporting time of 7 PM. In the meantime, the artists and speakers for the event had to wait more than 2 hours for their audience to show up. This single mistake unleashed a severe backlash from a few major artists on social media.
Ensuring correct communication is very important, and always after sending the communication, confirm with few of the receivers to check whether they have received the message or not, and indeed they have received the right message.
B. Delayed communication
Delayed communication often occurs when dealing with vendors and event partners. Sending the T-shirt count with details at the last moment, booking hotels for your team and partners at the eleventh hour or communicating total count of guests to caterers one day before the event/event day are some of the mistakes that event planners do.
Delayed communication will result in a messy situation where you are not able to get proper service from your internal team and suppliers which cascades into a discomforting experience for your guests.
Communicating punctually is the essence. Always respect your internal as well as external partners. For this reason, inform them important information on time.
C. No communication
Sometimes event organizers tend to communicate too little leading up to an event. There have been situations where the event has been canceled, postponed, the venue changed or time changed but the guests were not made aware of those changes. The result – the organizer got the label of fraud in some of these cases.
When you do not communicate changes, your attendees might be disappointed. Have a dedicated customer support line with one or two personnel (email and telephone both) for your participants to reach you out.
Communication plays a key role in events. Therefore, communicate early, communicate often and communicate well, both with your suppliers and attendees. Also, communicate to all team members relevant information and any respective changes. Keep everyone in the loop.
Use Townscript’s Send Announcement Feature to send information to your attendees with a single click – it is that simple!
3. Overlooking Delicate details
The third most common event planning mistake on part of event organizers is overlooking delicate details. When planning an event, the key is to pay attention to minute details. We cover a few of the most important overlooks frequently made.
A. Choosing arbitrary dates
One big blunder the event organizers do is choose some random dates for their event. They often overlook other competing events or some festival in the concerned locality. The result – the event has very low participation, the event is canceled or it is postponed. For instance, due to elections in the region, an event was eventually canceled.
Event date should be chosen very carefully after considering all factors like competing events, weekends, festivals or any other major thing happening in the vicinity.
B. Not Following up after events
Thinking that your job ends with the event is another huge mistake. Post-event engagement is one area which gets neglected by event organizers.
Why following up post-event is necessary?
- Measuring customer satisfaction
- Create stronger connections with your guests
- Create new sales opportunities
Just like pre-event communication, it is sensible to follow up with attendees. Share a recap with your attendees (preferably in a video) and take feedback to gather data so you can make changes and improve for your next event(s).
Send emails to your participants thanking them with a recap video/document and a survey link to measure customer satisfaction. You can even share with them promo offers relevant to them or a teaser for your upcoming event. Lastly, send personalized thank you notes to your partners and vendors.
C. Improper focus on Event Marketing
The one thing that can get you conversions for your event is marketing and promotions and we have seen planners mismanaging this.
Where do event organizers go wrong?
- Too much or very less social media presence, both are harmful
- Leaving event promotions to the last minute
- Using incorrect media or tools to promote
- Heavily spending on traditional media and ignoring digital media
- Not measuring the various marketing campaigning results and optimizing accordingly
- No website or website with poor UX
Choosing the right social media is a must for you. If you are organizing
- Marathon: use Facebook
- Conference: use LinkedIn and/or Twitter
- Adventure event: use Instagram and Facebook
- Training: use LinkedIn
- Entertainment event: use Facebook and Twitter
In today’s world, where there are a number of events happening every weekend, starting early on promotions is better. Furthermore, go digital – spend more on digital media and less on traditional marketing (but have a balance). Accordingly, engage your attendees on social media before, during and after the event. As a result, you would have better reach and engagement, thus more conversions.
With Townscript you can create your event page which will act as your dedicated event ticketing website. Use Promotions by Townscript to integrate ticketing with social media. Check Townscript Event Analytics feature to check your event page sources which shows you the most popular sources for your event page. This will help you to optimize your marketing campaigns and direct traffic on the appropriate channel.
4. Poor Scheduling
The other most common event planning mistake is poor scheduling. Event organizers either tend to go overboard, do not have enough setup time or have inadequate staff on hand. These are the three types of scheduling mistakes:
A. Cost scheduling
Budgeting is a crucial chapter of the event planning. Event organizers often exceed the budget they had been allocated. For instance, spending more than required on venue, promotions, food, or hard collaterals (brochures, banners, posters, etc.) are some of the mistakes that event planners commit.
Always have alternatives for each item in your event checklist – like having 2-3 venues or having 2-3 menu options. Track your costs at every step. Focus more on digital marketing and avoid printing too much material. This is all you need and you would never go over budget.
B. Time scheduling
Event planners do not do the correct estimation of how much time will it take to setup the event. Moreover, they do not even follow a proper event schedule. In addition to it, they fail to keep a track of changes resulting in an impossible timeline.
There is always a race against time but you should have an estimate as accurate as possible, of how much time you’ll need to get everything sorted. Nothing looks worse than having a room full of workers running about when the attendees arrive. The goal should be to have everything set at least 15-30 minutes before the gates open.
The better strategy is to do a mock run before the event if possible. Have as everyone and everything shown up and walk through the setup steps. This way, everyone comes to understand as to what to expect and what hurdles might turn up.
Dry run is not always possible, so the better alternative is to always track changes. Follow the change tracking process which is an effective way to keep changes registered, communicated and under control.
So, give yourself and your team adequate setup time and do a dry run or track changes and plan a proper event day schedule, the biggest disrespect you can do to your attendees is wasting their time.
C. Manpower Scheduling
Having Inadequate or incompetent staff is the most common of the three scheduling mistakes: not having the right people managing the right things. Improper event staffing is a result of organizers thinking that fewer people can be used to setup and manage the event. For instance, an organizer had less than the required number of staff for handling event day check-in counters. This resulted in long waiting lines and a bad experience at the start of the event itself.
You can’t expect to do everything yourself if you are the planner. Not having the correct kind of personnel managing an event can be a recipe for disaster.
Make sure you do a skills assessment needed for your event and have a proper count of attendees. Accordingly, ensure that between your team and people provided by vendors, you adequately staff your event.
The key to a successful event is getting the right staff with the right skills. All the planning in the world won’t overcome an insufficiency of talent. Remember it is all about making your event a success and achieve all the three Rs of event planning.
In conclusion, no matter how well-prepared you think you are, you should check, double-check and then check again! The best policy is always to check and double check (minimum checking two times).
With current online ticketing solutions, your team can stop doing repetitive tasks that don’t add value to you, your customers, or your organization. The effort, time and money saved can be redirected into better things — like date/venue/vendor/personnel selection or promotions!
With Townscript, you can create a beautiful event page in a matter of minutes. Sell paid tickets, register attendees, or offer merchandise sales. Your attendees can buy tickets or sign up in just a few clicks. Best of all? It’s completely free for you to create and setup events on Townscript. Ready to give it a try and start planning your first event? To streamline your process and start saving time, set up your next corporate event on Townscript.