Planning for a successful event can be an all-consuming process. A lot of moving parts need to be set up, organised and supervised to ensure a smooth, memorable, picture-perfect attendee experience. From tackling last-minutes changes to unexpected human errors, your big event can go wrong in a lot of ways and as an event organiser, you always need to be ready to think on your feet.
The best way to avoid an unforeseen setback during your live event is to identify the common mishaps that are expected to happen and plan your way around them. Let’s go over the 6 biggest pain points you’re likely to experience while managing an event, and solutions for how you can resolve them.
1. Never-ending Queues:
According to a report compiled by the Association of Independent Festivals, an average person spends a whopping £395 at an event, with £88 per day going to just food and beverages. As an event organiser, this makes for a significant revenue amount that not only determines the profitability of your current event, but also helps you expand and grow your upcoming events. The only thing standing (quite, literally!) between you and the event attendees’ disposable income is a long, winding queue of people getting more impatient by the minute.
Having to struggle with the ever-increasing assemblage right outside the entry point, the bar area perimeter or the merchandise counter is an unavoidable occurrence at events with a large footfall and limited resources. Keeping attendees waiting for a prolonged period of time results in public backlash, damages the event reputation, and most importantly, costs you money.
- Have a clear understanding of all the different roads, routes, and paths that the event-goers will likely use. Keep these areas clear and unobstructed!
- Create clear signage or assign volunteers in appropriate positions to guide the event-goers in the right direction. Keep things moving!
- On that note, install proper barriers that encourage attendees to form orderly queues, and prevent people from skipping lines.
- Use RFID access control to validate tickets, store attendee information, and facilitate multi-level admittance for patrons. RFIDs integrate easily with your event management and ticketing software to provide you with real-time customer insights, unlimited accreditation types, uninterrupted offline service. Most importantly, all of this is done with a single tap – speeding up entry and transactions all the way through your event.
Additionally, you can enable cashless payments, reduce staffing costs, eliminate financial errors, speed up the ushering process and increase on-site revenue by up to 30 percent by investing in self-checkout kiosks that can be set up throughout your event venue. You can also simplify your merchandise distribution, where the attendees simply tap their RFID wristband at the designated pickup points, instead of fumbling with their paper ticket, ID or credit card.
2. Connectivity woes:
Large-scale events are notorious for system failure and poor internet connectivity, especially in remote areas with unpredictable weather conditions. It’s not hard to imagine the scanner at your event entrance runs out of power just when a crowd of people arrive expecting to be let in. You also dont want to let your vendors down, with heavily compromised sales due to a sketchy internet connection. Unreliable technology systems create an unreliable event, you are risking customer disappointment and jeopardising a steady revenue stream.
- Go wireless using mesh networking: Robust RFID platforms use mesh network technology to offer an offline network sync. What this means is you stay operational regardless of the availability and strength of internet connectivity. This ensures that the EFTPOS transactions at bars and vendors don’t get affected, even if your payment processing systems are experiencing a run-down.
- Secure a private, local WiFi network for your event: Hundreds of attendees posting online about having a good time gives you an unparalleled street cred in the digital space. For example, Encapto offers rapidly scalable network architecture and short-term event licensing for setting up a Wifi integrator, a rich array of monetization options, authentication methods, download controls, content filtering, and user management tools. This is all separate from an offline RFID payment platform, so if the worst happens – your transactions and finances are safe.
3. Communicating with attendees On Site:
When attendees are well-informed about exactly what to expect at the event and where to find everything, they can focus less on getting lost and more on having a good time. If you have multiple performances or sessions lined up across different stages competing for the attendees’ attention, having a dedicated event app can also be an excellent way to keep everyone up to speed.
According to a 2016 study, smartphone usage for events has been on the rise, with 86 per cent of event organisers confirming the usage of an app for their event. Since apps don’t require transporting, printing, mailing, or stacking in boxes, they not only outplay print communication in terms of effectiveness, but drastically improve the carbon footprint of your event. You can also easily update your attendees about any last minute changes, and offer advertising space to sponsors as well.
As an event organiser, you can create a custom event app experience for your attendees using the following platforms:
- Doubledutch allows you set up a customised mobile application without any prior technical experience to enable meaningful attendee connections and convert passive attendees into active event participants. You can also leverage topic-based channels to encourage pre-event networking and real-time communication by pushing relevant updates to attendees based on their location.
- Woov is a battery-friendly, all-around event application that contains a comprehensive event overview, including information about the timetable, performers/speakers, venue, merchandise, accommodation, and more. Attendees can easily navigate through the event grounds – even without an internet connection, and meet up with friends or meet someone new.
If you’re hosting business presentations, training workshops, product launch, or a full-scale gala dinner, communicating a clear rundown of the room layout and seating style with your attendees is important. The purpose of these events is to exhibit ideas and encourage impactful conversations, which can only happen when your audience is occupying the venue as intended. Having a real-time blueprint of the seating arrangement not only saves the attendees’ time, but also helps you in collaborating with your team.
Need to arrange seating? Here are two applications that can help make that task way easier:
- SocialTables is an event diagramming software that can be used to draw accurate floor plans, 3D renderings, and seating charts for a streamlined check-in process. With visual communication, you can easily manage VIPs, security and special meal requirements.
- TopTablePlanner is powered by drag-and-drop functionality that allows you to arrange your seating plans in just a few minutes. You can import your guest list from Word or Excel, choose from table types (rectangular, round, or square), select the number of seats, get a summary of RSVP status, and include guest meal preferences.
4. Vendor Logistics Management:
As an event organiser, your work doesn’t end once you have researched and sourced respective vendors for your event. Managing vendor logistics also includes negotiating quotes on turnaround times, pricing, capabilities, as well as assigning jobs and quality of work to ensure a mutually beneficial agreement.
- Read the fine print of all contracts: Always dig for details and more information before you agree to anything. Make sure you’re clear on due dates, payment fees, and relevant zonal permits, paying close attention to hidden costs that directly affect your bottom line. It’s in your best interests to ask about other applicable charges, trash removal, or anything else that contributes to the success of your event. The ideal vendor contract will also include cancellation terms, the scope of services, payment schedule, indemnification clause, and termination guidelines.
- Get full quotes beforehand: Insist on complete vendor quotes that are inclusive of everything and anything they intend to bill you for. Taxes, service charges, delivery fees, admin invoice, and load-out days are factors that should be outlined in your written contract. While it may seem tedious to request for and collect this data, you’ll be surprised how appropriate documentation can help you avoid small mistakes.
- Financial reconciliation post event: Keeping track of all vendor sales can be cumbersome. Instead, opt for cashless payments to ensure transparency, accuracy and digitise the payment management process.
5. Coordinating with your team:
Having the right set of people by your side while managing an event drastically improves attendee experience, and ensures your never-ending task-list seems less daunting. By delegating responsibilities, you’re able to navigate through scheduling conflicts, unexpected roadblocks and technical issues easily. Maintaining constant communication with your team helps them accountable for the responsibilities, milestones and goals they are assigned.
There are a plethora of team collaboration platforms in the market to help you during the event-planning phase, however, on the big day you can rely on the following tools:
- Whatsapp/Viber: As the most popular instant messaging apps, Whatsapp and Viber can be a really convenient way to stay in touch with your team during the event. Both the apps are free to download, offer end-to-end encryption, and voice/video call functionality.
- HeyTell: Investing in a walkie-talkie might be a deal-breaker for your budget but with HeyTell, a cross-platform voice messenger, you can maintain a constant line of communication with your team using just your smartphone. Simply fire up the app, choose and contact, and start talking, without having to bother about account creation. At 16 kHz, HeyTell delivers 2x more frequency than a normal call. The app works on a 3G, 4G, 1X, EDGE, or WiFi while consuming very little data.
6. Unresponsive audience:
Quite often audience dynamics don’t go as planned and you have to think outside of the box to build momentum. Ensuring consistent engagement with your attendees not only makes your event more fun and interactive, but also enables brand awareness and growth.
Maxmillion recognizes crowdshaping, a process that involves gathering data from attendees to customise the event, as one of the biggest technology trends that will be dominating the event industry in the coming years. Additionally, happy customers are also more likely to post about your event online – sparking a conversation beyond just your event premises.
Improve your attendee experience using the following tools:
- Sli.do makes audience interaction easy by crowdsourcing questions from attendees to maximise the effectiveness of FAQs. Participants can submit questions anonymously and can also vote on the ones they’d like to be included in the discussion. As an event organiser, you can turn on the moderation settings to filter out any inappropriate or off-topic questions.
- Taggbox is a powerful social media aggregator that can be used to display tweets, status, and posts about your event across various platforms on a screen mounted on the event venue.
- CrowdMics allows turns attendees’ phones into wireless microphones, ensuring more participation from everyone, without having to constantly pass a mic around.
- Glisser is a presentation software that comes with an integrated event analytics platform and audience response system. With Glisser, you can send the slides of a presentation straight to the attendees’ devices that breaks the monotony of Powerpoint. You can also conduct anonymous polling, collect audience feedback, and compile participant data using secure customised GDPR consent.
- Loquiz can be used to engage your audience in indoor or outdoor gaming formats, like scavenger hunts, or other strategy-based and adventure games. The framework allows customising of map layers, language, colours, hints, difficulty timers, QR activations and more.
While the software and tools above can help you avert common pitfalls of event management, nothing is a hundred per cent reliable. In the end, always remember that even with the most amazing speakers or entertainment line-up, a myriad of things might not go the way you planned. Focus on making the best of anything unpredictable that comes your way, and move along to the next thing.