We’re continuing with our theme of event planning throughout the month of March. We’re approaching peak season for summer event planners and event managers, and it’s time to start getting all the finer event details done and coordinated. As you know by now, planning and executing a good event is challenging. If you’ve done it before then you’ve probably learned a thing or two along the way, but if you’re managing or planning an event for the first time then there’s a lot that may be new to you. Here are some of our major summer event dos and don'ts to help you through the process:
DO: Think Like a Guest
Set aside time to go through the details of your event, from start to finish, from the perspective of a guest that has no prior knowledge or information to work from. Consider logistics like pre and post-event communication, clear signage, lineups, wait times, volunteers being positioned at helpful locations, onsite access to bathrooms, ease of social media engagement during the event, and the availability and location of food and beverage providers. Being able to consider your entire event from the perspective of a guest will allow you to imagine the actual event-goer experience and identify any missed pieces or ways to improve.
DO: Keep Guests Cool
Whether your event is indoors, outdoors or a mix of both, make sure that you’ve considered the heat. Does your venue have air conditioning? Is there enough shade outside? Are you providing easy access to an ongoing supply of water? If your event is completely outdoors, you could even consider providing umbrellas for shade, small fans or sunscreen during peak hours of the day.
DO: Have a Safety & Security Plan
Safety and security measures are very important for any event where a large number of people will be gathering in one location. Having a security plan in place and security personnel on location is hugely important, both for guests’ peace of mind and also ensuring that if an issue arises there are trained professionals ready to respond. It’s important to also make sure that your guests have easy access to emergency medical attention in case it’s needed.
DO: A Pre-Event Walkthrough
Before any big event, it’s important to do a full walk through to ensure that all the moving pieces are in place, and that the event will physically move and flow in the way that you want it to. Specifically, ensure that all tech requirements have been met and systems are good to go, any rental equipment or furnishing has arrived and is in place, entrances are clearly indicated and won’t cause bottlenecking, signage has been correctly placed and staff or volunteers in each area have been fully briefed and prepared. Doing a physical walk through the day before or morning of an event is a great way to identify any issues that, if unidentified, could be seriously problematic mid-event.
DON’T: Under Staff
Be both realistic and generous when planning out your staffing and volunteer requirements. There are few things as chaotic as an understaffed festival or event. It’s far better to have a few extra staff on hand than not enough available to manage things. Volunteers can be a great asset within any event, but be sure to correctly allocate your staff and volunteer resources to where they are most needed. And account for the fact that, often, not all of your volunteers will show up on the day of the event!
DON’T: Under Resource
One of the worst things that you can do for any big event, specifically an outdoor summer event, is under-resource. From food vendors and bars to water stations and restrooms, make sure that you have enough! Running out of food and water is not only a bad experience for your guests, but it can be dangerous in the summer sun, especially if alcohol is also being served. Be sure to also have enough restrooms for your guests, and have a staff team on hand to keep them as clean and pleasant as possible.
DON’T: Keep People Waiting
A little anticipation can certainly build up the pre-event hype, but don’t keep guests waiting too long! There’s a fine line between exciting anticipation and agitation over waiting for something that you’ve paid good money for. You want your guests to experience the excitement, but not the agitation! Make sure that your timelines are well planned and all scheduled parties are fully aware of their start times and requirements. The last thing you want at your event is an angry group of impatient ticket holders!
DON’T: Over Serve
Alcohol consumption is a normal and expected part of many summer events. Depending on the nature of your event, guests will likely expect there to be alcohol available. It’s important to be well stocked in order to avoid running out, but it’s equally important to have trained, certified bartenders who are able to identify and manage anyone who has been over served. Over serving puts the individuals’ safety at risk, and can make you, as the event manager, liable.
Consider each of these dos and don’ts as your event date approaches, and be diligent in each detail! The more planning and preparation you do now, the easier things will be later on. And don’t forget, if you’re in need of event security or want advice on how best to secure your venue, we’re always here to help.