How to Host a Successful Event
Hosting an event can be a challenging task. While many will focus upon the physical day of the gathering itself, the truth of the matter is that a great deal of planning needs to take place beforehand so that the event is safe, profitable and rewarding to all parties involved. This is the primary reason why preparation is key and why any stakeholder needs to make certain that specific areas are addressed well in advance. To simplify things a bit, let us take a look at some of the primary areas that need to be attended to as well as the benefits that such foresight will ultimately provide.
What are the Objectives?
In terms of a veritable "road map", this is the first consideration which needs to be addressed. Although this topic may sound simple, it can be deceptively complicated depending upon the type of the event and what it is intended to offer guests. Some of the most common objective-oriented questions to ask are:
- Is the event intended to sell a specific product or service?
- It is instead based around the presentation of information?
- Will the event be one in a series of gatherings?
- What information will attendees be able to take away once it is completed?
The answers to such topics will provide you with a basic framework in terms of how the event will be set up. This can be in the form of kiosks, daily seminars, meet-and-greet scenarios or one-off sales at the conclusion.
Scheduling the Event Itself
Logistics are known to be quite challenging. The main concern here is that it can be difficult to accommodate the distinct schedules of different attendees. This is even more relevant if some will be arriving from distant locations or regions. Scheduling is therefore critical to avoid conflicts of interest and even the possibility that major personalities will not be able to make the journey.
It is wise to contact all participants at least six to eight weeks before the event is being held. This can be via email, telephone or both. Ascertain their schedules and when they are able to attend. Once you have received this information from everyone, compare this itinerary with your ability to host the event within a specific "window". While you may not be able to accommodate the needs of everyone, it is likely that you can encounter an amenable medium that satisfies most needs.
On a final note in regards to scheduling, it is a great idea to place the most important presentations within the middle of the event. Otherwise, anyone arriving late will miss the presentation while those having to leave early will likewise be unable to take part in any sales pitch or discussion. Should this be a business-oriented gathering, this concern is even more relevant.
Although you may very well be planning an event that will change the face of a certain industry, the fact of the matter is that your efforts can prove to be fruitless if others are unaware that it is taking place. In other words, marketing here is key. There are several ways to get the word out and it is best to utilise these in synergy with one another.
First and foremost, digital media has come a long way in recent years. It is a good idea to set up a standalone social media page that is specifically related to the event. You can thereafter create customer-specific invites to get a better idea of who is planning on attending. Automated mass email is an additional tool at your disposal. A simple "yes" or "no" reply to such mail will provide you with the clarity needed to appreciate how many guests will arrive. Should you have a web page, placing the upcoming event within a "news" section as well as on the homepage can spread the word even further. There are also many businesses that make use of regular webinars. Should this be applicable, reminding those listening about the event weeks or even months in advance can go a long way in solidifying their attendance.
We should nonetheless recall that traditional marketing techniques are just as useful. Taking an advertisement out in an industry-specific journal or a local newspaper can help to reach anyone who may not have yet fully embraced the digital world. A short spot on radio or television is an additional possibility alongside placing brochures or posters within a town hall or a chamber of commerce. This is just as true for an industry-specific gathering as it is for a sporting event.
Security can be a concern if the event is very large or if valuable items such as electronics will be on display. Larger venues may actually require that you hire out a security force for the duration of the gathering. It is important to determine whether or not this is the case beforehand. Should this factor need to be addressed, it is important to utilise a service that is highly recommended, that is able to provide testimonials and that is ensured. This is critical from an insurance point of view and an experienced provider will likely be able to meet your needs with ease. Off-site security such as parking lot attendants could be good to look into and if you expect a large number of guests to arrive, it is prudent to contact the local police force to see if they can be of service.
Part of planning any event is addressing potential medical concerns; regardless of how unlikely they may be to occur. There is always the chance that an attendee or an employee will suffer from an unexpected medical condition. Therefore, emergency medical coverage should always be considered very early on.
The first area to address is what is known simply as Event Medical Coverage (EMC). This will help to accommodate for numerous needs if and when they arise. Such coverage is normally obtained after a one-off fee is paid to a third-party firm. They will be able to address such questions as:
- Will aid stations be present within the venue?
- Are public or private emergency services being used?
- What type of financial support (if any) is available?
- Are there certain attendees (such as the sick or the elderly) that require special medical attention?
Of course, the type of medical coverage that you require will partially depend upon the type of event that is being hosted. Sports competitions such as a marathon or a powerlifting competition will obviously require a more robust medical presence. There can even be times when you need to coordinate with an Event Medical Director (EMD) that will address these concerns with an unparalleled level of expertise.
A final area to address revolves around any potential legal concerns that you may have. First, what is the maximum capacity of the venue in question? This is critical to address, for an over-capacity event can pose a real danger and the chances of injuries occurring during an emergency are vastly increased. Should you violate these limits, you or your firm can be held legally responsible for any injuries or damage that occur.
Private event insurance is another excellent form of legal protection that should always be considered; even for gatherings that some would feel are rather small. Once again, the entire point of any such plan is to provide you and any other hosts with the legal protection necessary should any unforeseen circumstances occur. A handful of the areas that are normally covered include:
- Lost deposits
- On-site theft
- Cancellation or postponement
- Basic liability (often provided as a separate quote)
As with the aforementioned security concerned, major venues will likely require that you provide legal proof of this form of insurance ahead of time.
As with any type of legal insurance policy, compare at least three different providers in order to obtain the most amenable quotations as well as to see if they offer additional coverage should it be necessary. Only choose the most reputable firms that provide testimonials upon request.
To make certain that all of your bases are covered, never forget to check with local law enforcement authorities well in advance. They will be able to address additional concerns such as the hours that you are allowed to operate and applicable zoning laws. If the event will be running late into the evening or should there be issues with crowd control, it is best to be made fully aware ahead of time.
Putting it All Together
There are a number of areas that need to be addressed to host a successful and rewarding event. This can be quite overwhelming and the earlier you begin, the easier it will be to appreciate your specific requirements. It may also be a good idea to delegate certain categories to specific individuals. Following this simple checklist will help to ensure that any event is handled with clarity and professionalism.